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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Staged photo of "injured" Arab makes headlines

Arabic news sites have been showing a series of photos of an Arab man supposedly deliberately run over by an Israeli truck near Hebron:







A Palestinian construction worker screamed in pain after an Israeli soldier drove a trailer hooked to a tractor over his legs near Yatta, West Bank, Wednesday. Israeli forces seized equipment because they said the workers were building in an unauthorized area. (Hazem Bader/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

The last photo in particular has been reproduced all over the world last week as one of the Best Photos of the day, with similar captions to what I showed here.

Only one problem: It appears that the man in such torment was faking it.

From CAMERA:

After checking with both Palestinian and Israeli sources, it seems that the man was not at all injured, and there is no evidence that he was run over. On the Palestinian side, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), which provides comprehensive weekly reports about all injuries, fatalities, incursions, and other incidents in both the West Bank and Gaza, makes no mention of this alleged injury in its report for Jan. 19- 25. In addition, the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency did not cover the alleged injury, even though it does report on Israeli army activity that day nearby in Tel Rumeida. And Ma'an also reported a hit and run incident, in which a Palestinian teen was hit by an Israeli driver at a checkpoint this morning. Presumably, then had this worker actually been run over and injured on Wednesday, Ma'an would have carried the story. Nor does it appear that any English-language wire service or other media outlet covered the alleged injury.

On the Israeli side, Capt. Barak Raz, spokesman for the Judea and Samaria division who had spoken to soldiers at the scene, told CAMERA the following: IDF soldiers were on site to provide security for the Civil Administration, which was preventing Palestinian construction in an area not permitted for building. One Palestinian worker was lying on the ground next to the trailer when he started to scream that he had been run over. Nobody saw him get run over. First he complained that his left leg was injured. An army medic checked him and saw nothing. The medic did, nevertheless, wrap him in a bandage since the worker was carrying on that he had been run over. The man then subsequently claimed that it was his right leg which was injured. According to Raz, the Palestinian Red Crescent, which was also on the scene, checked him, and likewise found absolutely nothing wrong with him.

In short, at worst, this incident is staged, as Raz contends, and the man pretended to be run over and injured, while neither happened. At best, there is zero independent confirmation that he was injured. If neither AFP nor IHT can substantiate the claim, it ought to be immediately retracted.
But it is such a dramatic photo - why ruin it with finding out the truth?