Here’s a classic. Let’s start with the ghoulish display of sorrow over the body of a dead boy, allegedly killed by Israeli bombing. It’s aimed right at the heart of someone like Annie Lennox who, upon seeing bombs falling on Gaza, immediately imagines Palestinian babies on the receiving end, rather than Hamas militants targeting Israeli babies. And, of course, the news media snatch up the photo-op.
Haniya and Egyptian PM Kandil mugging for the cameras
Recall this from Kafr Qana, Lebanon, July 30, 2006:
Green Helmet Guy with dusty baby and clean baby toy clip, July 30, 2006.
And, of course, the media run with the story. It’s all so obvious. Boy dead from explosion, Israelis bombing Gaza. As the Palestinian “general” in charge of the investigation of Al Durah’s death put it, “there’s no need to investigate when we know who did it.”
But wait, what about the evidence, asks Elder of Baker Street?
It is unclear who was responsible for the strike on Annazla: the damage was nowhere near severe enough to have come from an Israeli F-16, raising the possibility that an errant missile fired by Palestinian militants was responsible for the deaths.
And Karin Laub, the AP reporter, adds significant detail:
Israel vehemently denied involvement, saying it had not carried out any attacks in the area at the time. Gaza’s two leading human rights groups, which routinely investigate civilian deaths, withheld judgment, saying they were unable to reach the area because of continued danger.
Mahmoud’s family said the boy was in an alley close to his home when he was killed, along with a man of about 20, but no one appeared to have witnessed the strike. The area showed signs that a projectile might have exploded there, with shrapnel marks in the walls of surrounding homes and a shattered kitchen window. But neighbors said local security officials quickly took what remained of the projectile, making it impossible to verify who fired it.
We’ve seen this scenario before. In the summer of 2006, most of the Ghalia family were killed in an explosion on a Gaza beach. The Palestinians, with the help of dramatic but dubious footage of the young daughter, meandering in wild grief among the wreckage, fooled the western news media, who immediately broadcast their claim that the family, while relaxing on the beach, was shelled by Israeli naval ships. Classic Pallywood. Evidence piled up that the Israelis had not been firing there, that the hole caused by the ordnance did not accord with an Israeli shell, that despite claims to the contrary, Palestinian sources and their unofficial spokesman, Marc Garlasco of Human Rights Watch, had no ballistic evidence of what caused the explosion. When it came time to send two of the youngest victims to Israeli hospitals, and at risk to their lives, the doctors hastily removed the shrapnel from their bodies.