The Independent or PressTV? Report falsely claims Palestinian kids were “caged” for months

Even by the standards of anti-Israel bias in the British media that we’re used to, a story published yesterday at The Independent is simply astonishing.

indyFirst, Indy editors evidently couldn’t find an actual photo of Palestinian children in “cages”, so they figured this would do just fine:

fenceIt’s only when we click on the top of the image when we see the caption and learn that the photo, from November, depicts children disembarking their school bus (along a fence) as they make their way home to Shuafat in eastern Jerusalem.

Then, there’s the following strap line:

strapThis fantastical charge, that Palestinian kids are being caged for “months” during winter, is repeated in the story – written by Adam Withnall:

An Israeli human rights organisation has accused the government of torturing Palestinian children after it emerged some were kept for months in outdoor cages during winter.

To back up this claim, they cite a report from the radical NGO PCATI (Public Committee Against Torture in Israel), a group with a history of leveling unsubstantiated accusations about the treatment of Palestinian detainees.

Withnall adds the following:

The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) published a report which said children suspected of minor crimes were subjected to “public caging”, threats and acts of sexual violence and military trials without representation.

However, when you go to the actual report (open the Word document at the bottom) at PCATI’s site, you learn that PCATI does not actually level specific charges that Palestinian children are being “tortured”, only that they are currently “investigating” some complaints of torture from over the past ten years.  

Second, there is NO specific claim in the report about the details of the open “caged” imprisonment, nor the length of time they are allegedly held there.  Further, as far as the “sexual violence” charge, there are no details provided in the PCATI report.  The only reference to the broad allegation is as a footnote at the bottom which claims the following:

[1] This [ill-treatment] includes threats and acts of sexual violence.

No evidence appears in the report:

Then, Withnall adds the following:

The country’s Public Defender’s Office (PDO) recently released details of one particularly shocking visit by its lawyers to a detention facility.

“During our visit, held during a fierce storm that hit the state, attorneys met detainees who described to them a shocking picture: in the middle of the night dozens of detainees were transferred to the external iron cages built outside the IPS transition facility in Ramla,” the PDO wrote on its website.

Indeed, if you go to the PDO website, you learn that recently some detainees spent a number of hours in outdoor (open-air) jails until the arrival of the guard (who was supposed to take them to the courts) at around 6 a.m. The statement further clarifies that this practice under which detainees sometimes wait for the guard in outdoor “cages” for several hours has existed in the IPS for a number of months. (Translation from the Hebrew by CAMERA).  So, the word “months” clearly only refers to the length of time this practice has allegedly existed – not the length of time children were held there.  

Further, as the Indy acknowledged, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni called for the practice to be stopped as soon as she learned of it.

So, in conclusion:

The Indy’s charge that Palestinian children were caged “for months” is completely untrue.

The charge that Palestinian children are sexually abused is not backed up with any evidence.

The broader charge that Palestinian kids are “tortured” is unsubstantiated.

Finally, to give you a sense of perspective, not even Electronic Intifada or Russia Today (both of which ran stories over the last couple of days on the PCATI report) make claims as sensational as what the Indy reported.

As we’ve demonstrated previously, the Indy’s recent broad claim – in an official editorial – that the paper does NOT demonize Israel is clearly as fanciful a notion as Adam Withnall’s specific smear about ‘tortured Palestinian children’.

UPDATE: Following our complains, Indy editors amended the article.

28 replies »

  1. “Palestinian children were caged “for months” is completely untrue

    Another example of the effectiveness of this site. The hysterical coverage by some Brit papers is easily identified and other criticisms can be successfully deflected because of it.

    We can talk about the bias of the British media rather than hundreds of thousands of kids brought up in debris and penury with their role models in jails , dead or involved in murderous mayhem themselves.

    All in all, a good result for CIFWatch

    • You’re absolutely right, Webby. We SHOULD be talking about the hundreds of thousands of kids being brought up in poverty with their role models in jail, dead or involved in murderous mayhem. We SHOULD be talking about the neglect and lack of care shown by their leaders, who encourage a poisonous atmosphere of hate in which these children have to live, who consider these children as nothing more than cannon fodder, who use the billions of dollars of aid they receive on themselves, on propaganda and on weapons rather than on easing the poverty these children suffer, who refse and reject avery offer of peace that is put before them…

      …we SHOULD be discussing these things, but we’re not. Why? Because the MSM in the West fails to even acknowledge their existence, and instead chooses to print slanderous rumours such as this piece in the Indy.

  2. Irresponsible and despicable. What this shows is that the media do not provide a service. It’s simply a commercial product. And no, this is not a sudden awakening for me. This example is just happens to be more blatant than usual.

  3. There is an old saying. “If you want to beat a dog it is not difficult to find a stick”.
    Once a particular media outlet has taken a position it then proceeds to produce anything that can be claimed to be evidence. Exaggeration and sensation are their modus operandi. I feel that in the case of both the Guardian and the Independent they employ these qualities at the expense of truth. The problem is that when a real truth needs to be told they are in no position to report it.

  4. Thank you for this excellent rebuttal Adam. I’m going to use it as the basis for a letter of complaint to the editor of the Indy, though I have little expectation of correction or redress.

    Every time I read the Indy or the Guardian I mentally brace myself for the next antisemitic screed that they can get their hands on. It seems that every time they hit bottom they keep digging. This piece is worthy of Der Stuermer in the way it demonises Israel. Absolutely sickening.

    • “Der Stuermer ”

      One of the strengths of this site is that when a hyperbolic attack on Israel by the Guardian etc occurs it can be seen for the excessive nonsense that it is. One of the weaknesses is that the posters can be risibly worse . The Guardian / Indy readership can just look at such dross and place the entire site in the ” For Loopies only ” category .

      • I have been posting here for only a comparatively short time. In that time I too have been dismayed by the quality of some posts and in particular the duelling that rages between posters at the expense of the original argument. What the answer is I have no idea. I only know that the posts that appear on the sites of every newspaper or publication follow a similar pattern.

      • Thank you so much for your concern for the credibility of this site. I’m sure you’re utterly sincere in all you post…

      • Did the Indy or did it not demonise Israel, baselessly accuse it of the worst possible acts, and impute the worst possible motives to Israel?

        If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…

        The only people making this site look like “for loopies only” are commenters like you.

        • ” baselessly accuse it of the worst possible acts,”

          I think you need a lesson in hyperbole .Just look at your words for goodness sake..Israel is accused of keeping children outside ..not killing them… not starving them, nor sexually abusing them. You really should google the word ” worst “

          • Oh sure, so accusations of “torturing children” and subjecting them to “acts of sexual violence” is just a mild rebuke? I suppose these count as mere minor indiscretions to someone like you who is used to apologising for the antics of sereal human rights ignorers like Hamas and the PA.

            • ” just a mild rebuke ”

              No ..get a grip.. Im not saying that …what are you like with your silly attempts to exaggerate what someone really meant. The poster used the expression ” the worst possible acts ” .

              Are you deliberately being stupid or have you found that you cannot help it ?

              • I’m sorry webby, but to me, being accused of torturing and sexually assaulting children is just about as serious as it gets. Disagree if you like – that is your right – but I fail to see how it is “stupid” to have that attitude.

                • “being accused of torturing and sexually assaulting children is just about as serious as it gets”

                  So you complained when the films of the soldiers breaking arms kept emerging? The problem is that this army in the none- too- distant past have shown quite astonishing violence towards kids hence such drastic allegations ( although not proven in this case ) are not completely beyond belief.

                  You make it sound as if such ghastly acts are inconceivable.

  5. When ‘The Independent’ know they are vulnerable to criticism when running a piece of sub-sub-standard journalism, there is no ‘Comment” section to allow anyone to post a rebuttal. That is the case with this disgraceful, anti-semitic article.
    The Indy knew it was nonsense from the start, which makes the decision to publish all the more irresponsible.

  6. As we know, things such as “independent report”, “evidence and “reliability” go out the window when it’s about Israel.
    Have those reporters no shame?!

  7. Oh no! A photo of hildren walking down a sidewalk surrounded by a fence protecting them from a rocky cliff. What would a photo of Stephen Hawking have to say about that!

  8. Isn’t it illegal to publish such lies? Doesn’t facts mean anything anymore to on one? A fair debate about the Palestinian Israeli problem is encouraged, but this? The writer must be directing his lies to stupid, unintelligent people. How very sad that we’ve reached a point that anyone can write and spread evil and hate with no punishment for it.