Saturday, March 09, 2013

  • Saturday, March 09, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Last week I revealed that the UN verified that, Omar Mishrawi, the 11-month old son of a BBC employee, was killed by a Hamas rocket during Operation Pillar of Defense. The BBC and other media outlets flatly blamed his death on Israel with no caveats.

The scoop has been tearing through cyberspace, with over 1000 Facebook "Likes" and well over a hundred retweets, many to the BBC demanding a retraction.

More problematic than even the BBC denial that this could have been a Hamas rocket is how Human Rights Watch reported the same incident, in lurid detail:

Israeli strikes on November 14 killed at least four Palestinian civilians, including a man in his 60s, a 20-year-old woman, a 7-year-old girl, an 18-month-old boy, and an 11-month-old boy, and severely wounded a girl, aged about 5, according to news reports and witnesses who spoke to Human Rights Watch. An 18-month old boy injured on November 14 died the following day, Palestinian media reported.

Abeer Ayyoub, a freelance journalist reporting from al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, told Human Rights Watch that she viewed the body of the 11-month-old, and that the 5-year-old girl was “totally burned with blood coming from her mouth.” Medical staff said the infant had been wounded in an Israeli strike.

BBC journalists tweeted that those killed in an Israeli airstrike included the sister-in-law and 11-month-old son of a BBC Arabic Service journalist, and that the journalist’s brother was seriously wounded. Palestinian media reported that Ranan Arafat, the 7-year-old girl, was killed in the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza City, and that the 11-month-old, Ahmed Masharawi, was killed by a tank shell at his family’s home in Shajai’ya.
Now we know that at least two of these victims were killed by Hamas (and a third died later) but HRW has not issued a correction. Nor has it issued any reports about Hamas endangering Gaza civilians with its own rockets. Even a month after the fighting, in HRW's perfunctory report condemning Hamas rocket attacks, there is no mention of Gazans killed by Hamas rockets or even of Hamas rockets falling short - even though by then these facts were well known. (They only say that the rockets being fired from civilian areas endanger civilians open to Israeli reprisals, not the direct danger from the rockets. Yet at that time it was already known that about a hundred rockets had fallen short in Gaza.)

Does HRW know the truth? There is evidence it does. When it released its February report/smear "Gaza Airstrikes Violated Laws of War" it did not mention either the Mishrawi case, or the other case of a known Hamas rocket that killed Gazans, the Sadallah incident. And the OCHA-OPT report at the end of November says:
[I]nformation collected by human rights organizations suggests that up to six Palestinian civilians, including one woman and three children, may have been killed by Palestinian rockets falling short within Gaza.
I don't know if HRW is one of these organizations, but the knowledge that some of the Gaza victims were actually killed by Hamas rockets was well-known by human right organizations during the fighting - and virtually unreported. it seems beyond belief that HRW, among the most prestigious human rights organizations, could have missed this information.

More likely, it simply ignored it, and never bothered correcting its earlier report.

It is bad enough for the media to get it wrong. But HRW still has some gravitas among certain people and their refusal to ever correct their mistakes, and their lack of transparency on how they generate their reports altogether, is far worse.


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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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