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Of Lies and Media

The Incredible Shrinking Number

When the incident was first reported, AP reported that 20 PLO Arabs were killed. This number was soon cut to 10. Why was this so? Because the media were relying on the PLO Arab version, which was untruthful. Consider the first version, in which 20 people were said to have been killed:

In all, 19 Palestinians in Rafah were killed by Israeli fire – 10 in two missile strikes, and nine by machine-gun fire, said Dr. Moawiya Hassanain, a Palestinian Health Ministry official.

This very same official later claimed that 10 were killed:

Dr. Moawiya Hassanain, a Palestinian Health Ministry official, said at least 10 people were killed and 50 wounded, 36 of them critically. Among six of the dead identified by Wednesday evening, four were children, ranging in age from 9 to 14. The two others were 17 and 20. Most of the wounded were youngsters.

What happened in the meantime? 10 people arose from the dead? There is no doubt that the PLO Arabs lied about the casualty list, and the media blindly accepted their version.

Now, it seems as though 10 is not even accurate.

The Chief of Staff said that the Palestinians reported a false death toll in the incident. “Of the list of ten people killed, 4 of them were not even killed today. I have experienced the Palestinians lies and libels before”, the Chief of Staff said.

I know which version I am more likely to believe.

Despite the relatively low number of people killed, the PLO Arabs are still crying “massacre”. Sound familiar?

Hiding the Truth

When AP carried the initial story, the headline was as follows:

Israeli Troops Kill 20 in Gaza Camp Raid

Despite the number of dead being wrong, the headline is misleading, since it leaves out an important fact, which is buried deep in the report.

In all, 19 Palestinians in Rafah were killed by Israeli fire – 10 in two missile strikes, and nine by machine-gun fire, said Dr. Moawiya Hassanain, a Palestinian Health Ministry official. A 20th man was killed while handling explosives.

This same phenomenom is evident in this AP report from this morning, which states early on:

Five more Palestinians were killed in separate incidents early Thursday.

Later in the report, the truth emerges:

In two incidents early Thursday, five more Palestinians were killed. Three militants were killed in a missile strike in the Rafah camp near the Egyptian border around midnight, doctors said. The military said a helicopter fired at gunmen approaching Israeli forces. Before daybreak, two militants were killed by a tank shell near the border, doctors said.

By the way, “militants” is AP-speak for “terrorists”.

More PLO Arab Lies

Besides the death tool, the PLO Arabs have been haphazard with the truth in other areas. Like the circumstances of the deaths.

The Palestinians claim that a protest march comprised of Palestinian civilians was attacked en route to the Tel al-Sultan neighborhood. According to the report, thousands of Palestinians wishing to protect neighborhood residents took part in the march.

Now consider the IDF version.

A large procession of several hundreds demonstrators, among them gunmen, organized by the Palestinian Authority, left central Rafah along the main road towards IDF forces in Tel-Sultan. As the crowd, with the gunmen among them, drew near IDF forces, a warning fire of a single missile was fired from a helicopter into an open area, not towards the demonstrators.

In addition, flares were fired in the air to deter the crowd and to prevent endangering the demonstrators. As this did not deter the crowd and they continued to converge on the troops, machine gun fire was opened towards a wall of an abandoned structure along the side of the road and then four tank shells were fired at this abandoned structure. At no point in this incident was intentional fire opened in the direction of civilians.

It is possible that the causalities were a result of the tank fire on the abandoned structure. The details of the incident continue to be investigated.

It should be mentioned that the scene of the incident is an area of combat and an area of frequent exchanges of fire. The road has been rigged with explosive charges planted by the Palestinians. The IDF has not yet cleared the road of these explosives.

In another example of PLO Arab propoganda, they claimed that two children were shot by the IDF.

Twenty Palestinians were killed, including two teenagers shot as they gathered laundry.

However, the two teenagers were most likely killed by a PLO Arab bomb.

Meanwhile, the IDF Spokesman said that the teenage brother and sister killed on Tuesday were apparently killed by a bomb explosion and not by IDF gunfire, as the Palestinians alleged.

According to initial findings after troops in the area were questioned, there was no IDF gunfire in the vicinity when the two were killed.

And while I cannot prove that the IDF version is true and the PLO Arab version is false, the odds are that this is the case, for the following reasons:

1. The PLO Arabs have a long history of lying and exaggerating. Just look at the different death toll versions mentioned above.

2. The IDF has undertaken great pains to minimize civilian casualties. Instead of executing this operation from the air, which would pose less risk to our soldiers, they have opted mainly for ground troops with limited air support. It does not make sense that the IDF would then proceed to fire at innocent people.

3. Instead of immediately rejecting all PLO Arab accusations, the IDF expressed regret for the incident, and began investigating it. They have no trouble admitting their mistakes. But despite this, they have made the aforementioned statements that contradict the PLO Arab versions, suggesting to me that they are more honest.

Hypocrisy

Yesterday, US troops reportedly killed dozens of Iraqis. And while there are different versions of what happened, the US military is not disputing the number killed.

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for the U.S. military in Iraq, told Reuters the attack early on Wednesday targeted “a suspected foreign fighter safe house,” 25 km (16 miles) east of the Syrian border.

But Dubai-based Al Arabiya television, quoting eyewitnesses, said the raid on the village of Makr al-Deeb had targeted people celebrating a wedding and had killed at least 41 civilians.

“At 0300 (7 p.m. EDT Tuesday) we conducted an operation… against suspected foreign fighters in a safe house,” Kimmitt said. “We took ground fire and we returned fire.”

Asked about reports of dozens killed, he said: “We are not disputing the numbers you are hearing. We estimate that around 40 were killed. But we operated within our rules of engagement.”

Despite the much higher number of casualties involved, this story has not been given as much prominence in the media as the Rafah incident. Clearly, another example of the media’s anti-Israel bias.

And now for the hypocrisy.

The White House early Thursday rebuked Israel over its military actions in the Gaza Strip, saying they do not “serve the purposes of peace and security.”

“While we believe that Israel has the right to act to defend itself and its citizens, we do not see that its operations in Gaza in the last few days serve the purposes of peace and security,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said in a written statement.

“They have worsened the humanitarian situation and resulted in confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians, and have not, we believe, enhanced Israel’s security,” he added.

U.S. President George Bush on Wednesday urged “restraint” by Israel and Palestinians. “I continue to urge restraint,” Bush told reporters following a Cabinet meeting in the Roosevelt Room. “It is essential that people respect innocent life in order for us to achieve peace.”

Will someone please explain to me why the US views Israel’s actions as unacceptable, yet views their own actions in Iraq as acceptable?


Yesterday’s incident in Rafah, in which some PLO Arabs were killed, has highlighted the anti-Israel bias existing in the media today, as well as the lies being disseminated by the PLO Arabs.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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