Fatal Palestinian road accidents are, sadly, all too common, and it seems unlikely that The Independent would have reported on the tragic death, on Saturday, of a young Palestinian girl in the West Bank if there wasn’t a ‘settler’ angle. The girl, Aseel Abu Oun, was killed after an Israeli vehicle struck her on a road which runs through the Jordan Valley.
Here’s the Indy’s headline accompanying their story on the incident.
The article opens thusly:
An Israeli settler has reportedly been questioned by police after running over and killing an eight-year-old Palestinian girl. Aseel Abu Oun was killed near her village of Furush Beit Dajan in the occupied West Bank. She was leaving a supermarket with a friend when she was hit by the car, Al Jazeera reported.
Then, after citing a Haaretz report that “police detained the driver for questioning and had opened an investigation”, this tendentious paragraph appears:
Members of Aseel’s family told Al Jazeera they had asked for an independent actor to oversee the investigation. “We are used to the Israeli police and their ways of dealing with settler aggression or attacks on Palestinians,” Jawdat Abu Oun, one of Aseel’s relatives said.
So, we decided to contact Mickey Rosenfeld, spokesperson for the Israeli Police, to check on the results of their investigation. Sure enough, Rosenfeld told us that that police determined it was merely a tragic accident, and they ruled out the possibility of any negligence or criminal actions by the driver . Since we were doubtful that the Indy was going to follow-up on their own, we relayed this news to the journalist who wrote the article, Samuel Osborne:
A couple of hours later, the Indy added text noting the police conclusion that it was “a regular road accident.” Though the headline wasn’t changed, the strap line was updated and now reads:
Israeli police say event was ‘regular road accident’