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Thursday, October 27, 2005


From 'Militants' to 'Bystanders': Palestinian Children's Deaths Ignored, Again

In a story late Thurday, Ha'aretz reported that IOF killed seven Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including a fifteen year old boy, but AP didn't report any children's deaths then or in later reports of the extrajudicial assasination.

AP's disgraceful and dehumanising headline which appeared as the third story on the main Yahoo news page at 12.45 AM, Berlin time early Friday morning read, "Israelis Kill Seven Palestinian Militants." Along with this story appeared a photo of six grieving Israelis at a funeral for one of the victims of the Khadera suicide bombing [Note: Accessing the link now will not lead to the earlier headline, although google news still carries stories with the erroneous headline].

By morning, the AP's headline had changed to Israelis Kill Seven Palestinians and some of the news outlets carried the AP story with a photo of Palestinians mourning the deaths. I had written the following to the AP several hours before:

"Please correct the headline 'Israelis Kill Seven Palestinian Militants.'

"Seven Palestinian militants were not killed unless you include the fifteen year old boy and the old man who was killed along with the two members of Islamic Jihad. The headline dehumanises all of the Palestinians who were killed as "militants." Is that the intention? So that Palestinians who are in the way may continue to be killed with impunity during extrajudicial assasinations, which are violations of international law."

It's probably wishful thinking to hope that my early morning message had any effect, but the offending headline had disappeared by midmorning.

No mention however, that extrajudicial assasinations are in violation of international law and that Israel chooses to assasinate resistance leaders that it could easily arrest. On October 23 IOF forces cornered the head of Islamid Jihad in the West Bank in a house and killed him at close range on a stairwell.

Palestine Center For Human Rights Report was received Friday at noon. PCHR reports that of the seven Palestinians killed three were children who had the misfortune of standing on the road that the Subaru that Israelis missiles targeted was on. The children killed in the street were Rami Riad 'Assaf, 17; Karam Mohammed Abu Naji, 14; and Saleh Suleiman Abu Naji, 15.

In addition to the children Mohammed Rumaih al-Wehaidi, 55; and Fayez Hassan Badran, 52 were killed last night along with "Shadi Suhail Muhanna, 26, a member of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, who wsa the main target by this attack as IOF claimed; and Nafez Mohammed Abu Hassanain, 31, a member of the al-Quds Brigades."

According to PCHR, "14 Palestinians, including 6 children, have been killed by IOF since the implementation of the "Disengagement Plan" on 12 September 2005."

BBC in its report on Friday's Gaza funeral mentions that four "bystanders" were killed. BBC doesn't bother to mention that three of the "bystanders" were children under eighteen. AP's report on the funeral doesn't bother to mention three of the dead were children, referring to them also as "bystanders." Reuters' reports, "Four bystanders died, including one who succumbed to his wounds on Friday."

According to Palestine Monitor, extrajudicial assasinations in the period from September 28 2000 until May 11 2005, have resulted in the deaths of 198 "bystanders."

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