Monday, April 12th | 30 Nisan 5781

October 9, 2015 6:36 am

Watchdog Slams Reuters for False Claim That Undercover Israeli Cops Provoked Palestinian Riot (VIDEO)

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

AFP footage shows Israeli police clash with Palestinian rock throwers near Ramallah. Photo: AFP footage, screenshot.

The AFP footage showed Israeli police clashing with Palestinian rock-throwers near Ramallah. Photo: screenshot.

A media watchdog slammed a Reuters journalist on Thursday for misrepresenting a video released by Agence France-Presse on Wednesday depicting clashes between Palestinian rioters and an undercover Israeli counter-terrorism unit.

HonestReporting took Reuters’ Jerusalem bureau chief to task for falsely claiming that the undercover agents were inciting violence among young Palestinians.

The AFP video shows the security personnel, disguised as Arabs, infiltrating a mob of Palestinian protesters hurling rocks at Israeli security forces near Ramallah. The undercover agents are seen mingling among the rioters, in order to be better positioned to make arrests.

Reuters Jerusalem bureau chief Luke Baker tweeted about the incident as follows:

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Responding to Baker’s claim, HonestReporting said that, in light of the “current security situation” in Israel, it’s “a stretch to believe that Palestinians aren’t capable of instigating a confrontation with Israeli security forces, and Baker offers nothing to back up his allegation.” The media watchdog said further that the footage offers “no evidence” that the undercover agents incited the Palestinians, and that the only incitement “appears to be coming from Luke Baker, as his conspiratorial imagination encouraged antisemites on Twitter…”

Andrea Bernardi, the AFP journalist who recorded the footage, wrote on his own blog that the Israeli agents arrived after the clashes started between the Palestinians and Israeli soldiers. He said the undercover agents were among the protesters “for a while before making themselves known.”

According to HonestReporting, Bernardi’s first-hand account of the incident proves Baker’s allegation to be false.

The watchdog’s CEO Joe Hyams commented: “[Baker] represents a serious news organization and has a responsibility to promote professional journalism. Making such a serious allegation against Israeli security forces without any evidence and in the face of the facts as provided by his own competitors at AFP, is an embarrassment to Reuters and he should publicly retract his slur and apologize.”

Watch the AFP footage below:

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