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December 14, 2005

Misinformation About Palestinian Death

Chicago's City News Service is closing down at the end of this month, but the organization's famous mantra, "If your mother says she loves you, check it out," is still a good lesson for journalists—certainly when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Case in point: After the death of Palestinian Mohammed Fara yesterday, the Associated Press reported that

Relatives and hospital officials said Mohammed Fara of the village of Abbasan was killed by Israeli tank fire when he was working in his marble factory some 600 metres from the Gaza-Israel border fence.

It seems these relatives and hospital officials, however, were not telling the truth.

As AP later discovered:

A Palestinian security official familiar with the investigation said Fara was drilling through a metal fuel tank that accidentally exploded. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The Israeli army said it had been informed by the Palestinians that the man had been handling a gas canister that exploded.

Such falsification has implications on news reporting, and also on the credibility of organziations like Btselem which rely heavily on anecdotal testimony.

(For more on misinformation, click Misinformation from Sources on CAMERA's Middle East Issues page.)

Posted by GI at December 14, 2005 02:12 PM


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