Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

The Injured Man Who Wasn’t and Agence France-Presse

February 9, 2012 2:21 pm 0 comments

The man claiming to have been runover. Photo: screenshot.

If you’re going for transparency, you can’t do much better than an x-ray.

The Agence-France Presse, an international news service, claims there are x-rays that substantiate the caption of a recent photograph allegedly depicting Israeli army brutality.

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 Washington Post. Several news outlets featured the photo online, including the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and MSNBC.

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.

On the 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.

Moreover, a Feb. 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 questions.

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.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    JNS.org – Nine months ago, Seth Cohen, director of network initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, were schmoozing about the “vibrancy of Tel Aviv and soul of Jerusalem,” as Lane put it. They dreamed about how they could bring young and innovative millennials to the so-called “start-up nation.” From April 3-7, Forbes turned that dream into a reality. Israel played host to the first-ever Forbes Under 30 EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) […]

    Read more →