General UK Media

Will media report on investigation’s conclusion that Ibrahim Abu Thuraya was NOT killed by IDF snipers?

Here are some of the UK media headlines in late December accompanying articles about the death of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya during protests on the Gaza border over the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.








Though UK Media Watch was able to prompt corrections to the text of articles at the Independent and Daily Mail to at least add Israel’s initial official comments – which were available at the time of publication – expressing skepticism over the accusations, the headlines were indicative of the media’s overall rush to judgment against Israel, despite the paucity of evidence.

Even The Telegraph’s Raf Sanchez, among the more objective foreign journalists covering the region, wrote, as if it was an undisputed fact which ‘everybody knows‘ to be true, that an “Israeli soldier shot [Abu Thuraya] in the head and killed him”. 

Though most media reports also misled on other aspects of the incident – omitting, for instance, Abu Thuraya’s terrorist background, and providing a false account of how he lost his legs – the central story conveyed to British news consumers reflected claims of the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry: that he was murdered in cold blood by Israeli snipers.  This was the desired media narrative, despite the fact that photos of the body were never revealed, and forensic evidence was not turned over to Israeli medical officials.

However, in early January, Israel’s Military Police launched an investigation into Abu Thuraya’s death, the conclusions of which were reported yesterday in the Israeli media.  According to Ynet, the probe concluded that the double amputee was not killed by Israeli soldiers, and that sniper fire was halted at least an hour before Palestinians say Ibrahim Abu Thuraya was shot.  (The investigation also found Abu Thuraya bid farewell to his family as a ‘shahid’ the night before his death, which raises other serious questions about what exactly occurred that day.)

Moreover, IDF officials have noted an increased use, by Hamas, of disabled Palestinians, including people in wheelchairs, at such protests, often positioned in the centers of friction for the sole purpose of scoring public relations victories if they’re injured. 

Thus far, no British media outlet has reported on the Military Police findings, and we will continue to monitor such sites to see if the Military Police’s conclusions are even noted in subsequent articles about the incident.

Of course, the broader take-away is the media’s perplexing credulity in the face of unsubstantiated claims of a proscribed terror group, and the failure of professional journalists to seriously examine the incident or ask the most intuitive probing questions of both Gaza officials and eye witnesses.

Though we may never learn with any degree of certainty what did cause Abu Thuraya’s death, the media have once again demonstrated their institutional failure to subject Palestinian claims to the same degree of skepticism and critical scrutiny that Israeli claims are almost always subjected to.

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16 replies »

  1. Imagine the reverse situation: Israel blamed a third party for a murder that could be disproved by exhuming the body and retrieving the bullet (or examining the damage and it’s tracking) but refused such a measure of transparency. The resulting outcry of “what is Israel hiding” and finding this refusal to be an admission of guilt would be predictable. Yet, when a terrorist organization proscribed by many Western countries takes that position, the silence is demeaning and, somehow, it’s still Israel’s fault.
    If so-called “pro-Palestinian” activists really cared for the objects of their obsession, they would be calling for an open investigation in Gaza. Of course, the risk is that Thuraya did not die a martyr and his family would be ineligible for payments – and that potential humiliation in Arab honor-shame societies apparently outweighs Western concepts of truth and fairness. Maybe it’s just that simple.

  2. Autocorrect alert: while I suppose under some circumstances silence could be “demeaning,” here I meant to write “deafening.”

  3. @Michael Farmer It’s your one-liner that is laughable. From the article in the Independent:

    “The UN’s human rights chief…has called on Israel to launch an independent investigation into the incident, which took place 15 November.”

    I suppose you would never accept any investigation by any organ of the Israeli state as “independent” but I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one; there was a full investigation.

    “The Palestinian Authority’s health ministry said Mr Thuraya was shot just east of Gaza City, with the Israeli army saying it opened fire on the “main instigators” of violent protests at the Gaza border.”

    Are you seriously sugestting that the PA’s Health Ministry is a “far, far” more credible source than the Military Police? Here you really have to be joking. People pronounced dead by the health ministry have been known to get up and walk, people allegedly shot by Israeli fire were far away at the time, the ministry’s press department is a joke. Do yourself a favour and introduce a leavening of facts into your world view; at Passover, this is the only leavening you would be allowed.

    • fof9l, you may be new around here. Farmer’s only criterion for making a comment is there is way to possibly blame Israel. It’s what gives his pathetic excuse for a life meaning.

  4. The “Jenin massacre”, Muhammad al-Durrah, Pallywood, IDF soldiers “raping”, fake Arab funerals, Hamas rockets killing Gazan’s, . I suggest we all read Richard Landes for this phenomenon.

  5. Oh that’s right Farmer half of those 1,400 “civilians” were armed with automatic weapons and they were “civilians.” Even Hamas later admitted that they were part of their forces. And does the term “human shield” mean anything to you? Of course it does! It means that their served their purpose of dying so that morons like you can complain about it. Furthermore, the Geneva Conventions don’t apply here because Israel never captured territory from “Palestine.”

    Your transparency is one reason that you have no credibility.

  6. The UK media (and others, Gerald!) are at it again, pretending not to know who the savages are.

    As soon as I began to read the article, I knew Michael Farmer would pipe in, e-i-e-i-o. Apparently His Noxiousness’ comments were already deleted when I got here. Glad I missed it.
    Happy Passover!