Israeli army brutality 390.
(photo credit: JNS screen capture)
The Agence-France Presse, an international news service, claims there are X-rays
that substantiate the caption of a recent photograph allegedly depicting Israeli
The caption stated: “An injured Palestinian construction
worker screams in pain after an Israeli army driver drove a trailer hooked to a
tractor over his legs, as he tried to block him when Israeli forces stopped
workers on January 25....”
The International Herald Tribune
, published by
The New York Times
, prominently printed the image by Hazem Bader, as did The
. Several news outlets featured the photo online, including The
Wall Street Journal
, The Guardian
Yet, after checking
Palestinian, international and Israeli sources, it appears that the “injured
worker,” Mahmoud Abu Qbeita, was, in fact, not actually injured. Moreover, there
is no evidence that he was even run over. The Palestinian Center for Human
Rights and the United Nations, both of which provide comprehensive reports about
West Bank casualties, made no mention of the alleged injury.
Israeli side, spokesman Capt. Barak Raz said Abu Qbeita was on the ground
blocking Israeli officials from confiscating the trailer and other equipment
being used for unpermitted construction when he started screaming that he had
been run over. No one saw it happen. Initially, Abu Qbeita complained his
left leg was injured. After an army medic’s examination found no wound, Abu
Qbeita then claimed his right leg was injured. Raz said that the Palestinian Red
Crescent likewise found no injury.
Presented with this information, AFP
Jerusalem bureau chief Philippe Agret angrily responded that because several
media outlets were on the scene, including Palestine TV, Pal Media, and Al Quds
TV, Abu Qbeita could not possibly have faked being run over. The AFP also claims
to have viewed footage of Abu Qbeita on a stretcher, but does not claim to have
seen footage showing Abu Qbeita being run over.
Agret unwittingly raised
a key point: of the several photographers on site who were snapping away, not
one has released images of Abu Qbeita actually being run over.
a February 3 AFP statement contradicted the original caption on several basic
facts. For instance, while the caption claimed the vehicle ran “over his legs,”
in plural, the more recent statement quoted Abu Qbeita: “it drove over one of my
legs.” Likewise, while the caption said he was run over by the trailer, Abu
Qbeita later claimed he was run over by the much larger tractor. Similarly, the
caption noted that the man was injured “as he tried to block” the trailer. In
contrast, the AFP later quotes Abu Qbeita as saying: “I started walking over to
where my stuff was so I could get my phone and ID card and that’s when the
tractor hit me.”
Which one is it? A tractor or trailer? Did it run over
one leg or two? The AFP has gone back and forth on these essential
As for the X-rays, they were mentioned in a “medical
certificate” released by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Why would the
health ministry, and not the hospital itself, release a statement about a
patient? The AFP translated the peculiar document as stating: “We conducted
X-rays on him and found fractures.” The wire service also quotes Abu Qbeita
boasting that he has “a medical certificate and I will show it to anyone who
wants to see it.” But, tellingly, he does not offer to show the X-rays. Nor has
the AFP released them.
The AFP has plenty to answer for, and it can start
by releasing the elusive X-rays.The writer is director of the Israel
office for CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America).
Reprinted with prmission of JointMedia News Service.