Guardian

Guardian, Telegraph claim that IDF killed Gaza family in 2014 contradicted by new report


A Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood on Aug. 14th, 2014 (‘Gaza counts the cost of war: Whole families smashed under the rubble’) began by noting that “at least 59 Palestinian families suffered multiple casualties over four weeks of Israeli bombardment in Gaza”.

Among the casualties putatively caused by Israeli bombs were nearly a dozen members of the Siyyam family (alternatively spelled Siyam or Siam).

Sherwood:

Nabil Siyyam, 33, wept as he recalled the morning he lost his wife and four children, along with his left arm. A fifth child was in a critical condition in an Egyptian hospital. Nabil pulled up his shirt to reveal shrapnel wounds over his torso.

Nabil Siyyam, 33, wept as he recalled the morning he lost his wife and four children, along with his left arm. A fifth child was in a critical condition in an Egyptian hospital. Nabil pulled up his shirt to reveal shrapnel wounds over his torso.
At 6am, there were several air strikes near the house, and the family decided to leave, fearing their home was at risk. Grandparents Mahrous and Dalal quickly rounded up the extended family and herded them into the road. Two drone missiles hit the group, killing 11 and injuring nine.

siyam

Guardian photo illustrating Sherwood’s article

At 6am, there were several air strikes near the house, and the family decided to leave, fearing their home was at risk. Grandparents Mahrous and Dalal quickly rounded up the extended family and herded them into the road. Two drone missiles hit the group, killing 11 and injuring nine.“The air was full of dust, I couldn’t see anything,” said Nabil. “I felt my arm hanging by skin, and I was bleeding from the chest.” When the air cleared, “I saw my daughter cut into two. I saw my baby thrown 10 metres from her mother. The drones were still in the sky.” “The air was full of dust, I couldn’t see anything,” said Nabil. “I felt my arm hanging by skin, and I was bleeding from the chest.” When the air cleared, “I saw my daughter cut into two. I saw my baby thrown 10 metres from her mother. The drones were still in the sky.”

He said there was no warning and no reason for the strike. “They have the technology to watch us – they could see there were women and children.”

He said there was no warning and no reason for the strike. “They have the technology to watch us – they could see there were women and children.”

From a deep pocket in his robe, Mahrous pulled a handwritten list of the names, birth dates and identity numbers of those killed. At 67, he and Dalal have become substitute parents for baby Mayar, who was in a cast from her armpits to her toes and had lost her mother, father and siblings. From a deep pocket in his robe, Mahrous pulled a handwritten list of the names, birth dates and identity numbers of those killed. At 67, he and Dalal have become substitute parents for baby Mayar, who was in a cast from her armpits to her toes and had lost her mother, father and siblings.

Similarly, the Telegraph reported the following on July 21st, 2014 about the attack:

Elsewhere in Gaza, he said, Israeli tanks opened fire on the home of the Siyam family west of Rafah in the southern part of the strip, killing 10 people, including four young children and a 9-month-old baby girl.

“Without any warning at all they began bombarding us at midnight, at 2 a.m., said Dr. Mahmoud Siyam, the head of the family. “We are not related to any military or political activities. We are civilized people (living) in this area of Gaza, what crime have we committed?”

Such evocative stories suggesting that Israel recklessly (or even intentionally) launched attacks on civilian targets with no military value were ubiquitous within the UK media.

However, with regard to this specific incident, the Guardian seems to have gotten it completely wrong. According to a subsequent investigation by the IDF Military Attorney General which was recently published, the family was not killed by an IDF aerial attack.

Here are the relevant passages:

In media reports, as well as in a complaint and in reports of NGOs and international organizations, it was alleged that on 21 July 2014, 12 members of the Siyam family were killed as the result of an IDF aerial attack in Rafah. According to the principal allegation raised by the abovementioned complaint and reports, members of the Siyam family left their residence and went into the street after the family home was damaged as the result of an aerial strike on an adjoining building. It was alleged, that at the time that the family was evacuating their residence, and while they were in the road, aerial fire was carried out against a number of the family members, resulting in their deaths. The different sources were not consistent as regards the various details relating to the event, or in regards to the type of munition alleged to have struck the family members. The incident was subsequently referred to the FFA Mechanism for examination.

The factual findings and the material collated by the FFA Mechanism and presented to the MAG indicate that no attack – aerial or otherwise – that could have resulted in a strike on the family as alleged was carried out by IDF forces in the area in question and on the relevant date. The FFA Mechanism also ruled out the possibility that the types of munition described in a number of the reports had been utilized.

Nonetheless, it was found that at the relevant time, and in close proximity to the Siyam family’s residence, terror organizations in the Gaza Strip fired a series of mortars, aimed at the territory of the State of Israel. A number of these launches were “failed launches”, wherein the mortar shells that were aimed at Israeli territory, fell within the territory of the Gaza Strip. Images showing the points of impact of the munitions that struck the Siyam family and the surroundings of their residence, which were provided to Israel by one of the organizations and transferred to the FFA Mechanism for examination, also indicate that the strike in question was not caused as the result of an aerial attack as alleged in the majority of the reports. The FFA Mechanism and the MAG Corps made representations to the legal representative of the organization which had claimed that the strike on the Siyam family had been caused by IDF munitions, in order for them to present evidence that would support such an allegation. These representations did not receive a response.

After reviewing the factual findings and the material collated by the FFA Mechanism, the MAG found, that contrary to the allegations, it could be concluded, with reasonable certainty, that the members of the Siyam family were not harmed as a result of IDF activity. As such, and in the absence of a reasonable suspicion of criminal misconduct, the MAG ordered the case to be closed, without opening a criminal investigation.

An Aug. 24th, 2016 report by the Guardian did highlight the MAG’s investigation as it relates to the Siyyam. The Telegraph did the same.

However, both the Guardian and the Telegraph failed to note that their previous 2014 reports claimed – as if it was an uncontroversial fact – that Israel was responsible for the attack on the family.  Additionally, those original articles have not been amended to reflect this new information suggesting that an errant Hamas rocket was to blame for the tragedy.

We’ve contacted Guardian and Telegraph editors to ask the their initial articles be amended accordingly.

10 replies »

  1. Typically regressive left behaviour is seen in the passages quoted from Guardian and Telegraph in that the word alleged is not to be found though they offer no proof except their own reports that they interviewed some people

    When it comes to Israel these insufferably intolerant rags make sweeping assumptions of incontrovertible and self evident guilt.

  2. So it was a Palestinian weapon. Will Harriet ask Hamas to open a criminal investigation into the perpetrators?

  3. According to the actual rules of war – 100% of the civilian casualties are the fault of Hamas. That of course is merely facts – something the Guardian is totally unfamiliar with