fatah in ramallah 298.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
As part of a campaign to discredit Hamas, Fatah has been using a video showing the killing of a girl in Iraq as "evidence" of Hamas's "atrocities" in the Gaza Strip.
On Friday, officials from the Fatah-controlled General Intelligence contacted The Jerusalem Post, offering the "exclusive" video and story for publication in Sunday's Post. They claimed that it provided fresh evidence of Hamas's "barbarity."
The officials even gave the Post the phone numbers of two men in the Gaza Strip who claimed that they had witnessed the "honor killing" of the 16-year-old girl. The two confirmed (by phone) that they had witnessed the lynching of the girl in the Gaza Strip.
Since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, the IDF has banned Israeli journalists from entering the area. Consequently, the Israeli media (and many foreign journalists) are forced to rely on local reporters and Fatah and Hamas officials as a main source of information.
A 16-year-old girl was murdered in the Gaza Strip in July for "dishonoring" her family, the group claimed. And according to Palestinian human rights groups, at least 11 Palestinian women have been murdered in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the year in what is known as "honor killings."
But thanks to the awareness of readers and bloggers, who responded to an article on the video that was later removed from the Post's Web site on Saturday night, the Post did not carry the article in Sunday's paper and has ascertained that the supposed fresh "evidence" of another such killing is actually a Fatah hoax.
The video was authentic, but was filmed in April in Iraq. It shows members of the Yazidis sect killing one of their young girls for carrying on a romance with a Sunni Muslim boy.
According to Dion Nissenbaum, who covers the Middle East as Jerusalem bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers, the same video was feverishly sent around by e-mail and cell phone last month in Syria. Only the Syrians were telling each other this was an honor killing perpetrated by the Druse minority in southern Syria.
The Fatah security officials behind the story claimed on Sunday that they, too, had been misled by some of their colleagues. An investigation revealed that the two "eyewitnesses" who talked to the Post were former Fatah security officers living in the Gaza Strip. The two have since disappeared. Those who answer their mobile phones claim the numbers are wrong.
Last week, Fatah claimed that its security forces in Bethlehem had thwarted an attempt by Hamas to launch rockets at Jerusalem. Fatah later admitted that the "rockets" were old pipes apparently used by Palestinian children during a game. IDF sources told the Post at the time that the pipes were not suitable for use as Kassam rockets, but nonetheless praised the conduct of PA security forces for handing them over to the Civil Administration.
Both Fatah and Hamas are engaged in a campaign of disinformation aimed at discrediting each other. But the timing of the latest Fatah hoax was clearly intended to coincide with PA President Mahmoud Abbas's visit to New York.
The goal: to show that Fatah is combating terrorism and that the Hamas followers are ruthless murderers who don't hesitate to brutally kill a 16-year-old girl.