AP Hides Important Fact about Palestinian Who Set Himself on Fire

The AP reports how a palestinian set himself on fire, the reasons for him doing so not being clear.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A 20-year-old Palestinian is in critical condition Sunday after publicly setting himself on fire but his motives remain unclear with family believing he was despairing over Gaza’s dire living conditions and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules the territory, alleging personal problems.

Suicide is strictly forbidden in Islam and cases are rare in conservative Gaza but dozens were reported last year. Several cases of self-immolation have also been reported in Gaza over the past years. This was the first time, however, that one was filmed and posted online.

In the brief nighttime clip, Fathi Harb is already ablaze in front of a residential building. Onlookers rush to put out the fire with rugs and water.

Majda said she doesn’t know for sure what led Fathi to hurt himself. She said he was expecting his first child soon and felt helpless due to the harsh economic situation in Gaza.

Gaza has been under blockade by Israel and Egypt since Hamas took over the territory in 2007. The blockade has devastated Gaza’s economy, made it virtually impossible for people to enter and exit the territory, and left residents with just a few hours of electricity a day. Moreover, the tap water is undrinkable and rising unemployment is at 45 percent.

Israel says the restrictions are crucial to prevent Hamas, a militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction, from acquiring weapons. Critics say the blockade is tantamount to collective punishment of Gaza’s 2 million people.

Hamas, which rules Gaza with a tight fist, has mostly denied political or economic motivation behind recent suicides. Hamas police were quoted in Palestinian media blaming “internal family problems” for the incident.

Fathi’s grandfather, Said, blamed the blockade and also the Palestinian divide for “killing the dreams of youths like Fathi.”

Even though the report suggests the reasons for his self-immolation are unclear, the implication is that it was likely due to economic distress, with the AP placing most of the blame for this at Israel’s (and Egypt’s) feet.

But here’s the thing. In the video of the incident – actually mentioned by AP – the man curses the (Hamas) government – something even the left-wing Ha’aretz reports.

A Palestinian set himself ablaze early Sunday morning in Gaza City, apparently in protest against the government in the Gaza Strip. In a video of the incident, the man is heard cursing the government.. According to a witness, the young man sought money and food for his relatives and attempted suicide because of his economic distress.

Why did AP omit to mention this pertinent fact? One can only speculate but if you ask me, this is another example of an agenda at play.


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