It’s all too easy to accuse Israel of any crime you can imagine, especially when the media rely on unnamed Palestinian sources for their stories. Take this from AFP under the headline “Palestinian dies after Israel troops fire on his car“:
A Palestinian died on Tuesday after Israeli troops fired on his car near Tulkarem in the northern West Bank, Palestinian security sources said.
The sources said his car then veered off the road, and it was not clear whether the gunfire or the subsequent crash killed him.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli army, but the police described the incident as a traffic accident.
The Times of Israel reports, however that the AFP retracted the story after the Palestinians notified them that “their information on army gunfire was incorrect.”
TOI goes on to report:
According to Ma’an, Palestinian government sources claimed that the wreck was the result of a high-speed chase by Israeli security forces. However, an IDF spokesperson said that there were no reports of a chase, and the incident was “probably a car accident.”
The real surprise in this case is that the Palestinians owned up to an error. No surprise though that AFP was prepared to run the story in the first place. But just how much damage can a story do before it gets quietly buried by a newsroom?