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September 8, 2017 10:49 am

UK Paper Corrects Story on 2006 Gaza Beach Incident After Watchdog Intervention

avatar by Adam Levick

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A view of Gaza City. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Last month, we posted about an Independent article focusing on the aftermath of the 2006 Gaza beach incident, in which eight Palestinian civilians were killed by an explosion under highly disputed circumstances.

The Indy story highlighted the girl (Huda Ali Ghalia) who lost her family in the blast, focusing on the fact that she recently graduated from college. We complained to editors about two egregiously misleading claims.

First, in the opening paragraph of the article, written by Bethan McKernan, it was alleged that there was no doubt over Israel’s guilt:

Huda Ali Ghalia was just 12 years old when her family was enjoying a day out at Sudaniya beach in northern Gaza in June 2006. What happened next was witnessed by the world: Israeli shells hit the beach killing several people, including her father, stepmother and five of her siblings. [Emphasis added]

However, the world certainly did not witness “Israeli shells” hitting the beach and killing several people, as there were no videos or photos of the blast.

Editors agreed, and amended the language accordingly:

Huda Ali Ghalia was just 12 years old when her family was enjoying a day out at Sudaniya beach in northern Gaza in June 2006. Suddenly, explosions — alleged to be the result of Israeli shelling — hit the beach killing several people, including her father, stepmother and five of her siblings.

We also pointed out that the following paragraph, towards the end of the article, included an erroneous claim:

While the Israeli military initially said it was responsible for the bombing, which killed eight civilians and wounded more than 30 during the 2006 summer war between Israel and Hamas, a subsequent Israel Defence Force (IDF) investigation found that the explosion had been caused by a Palestinian landmine. [Emphasis added]

Contrary to this claim, Israel did NOT ever admit responsibility. Rather, during a cabinet meeting two days after the incident, Israel’s prime minister merely expressed “regret” for the civilian deaths, while awaiting the results of the investigation.

Editors again agreed, and revised the passage to more accurately reflect the Israeli response:

The Israeli military initially said it regretted the loss of life — the explosions killed eight civilians and wounded more than 30 and came during the 2006 summer war between Israel and Hamas. However, a subsequent Israel Defence Force (IDF) investigation concluded that the explosion had been caused by a Palestinian landmine.

The writer covers the British media for CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

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