Anger over 'sickening' claim in newspaper that IDF shot dead innocent teen

Report in Times contradicted Israel's insistence only terrorists were killed in Jenin operation


A report in The Times suggesting that Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in Jenin, despite IDF claims that only terrorists died in the counter-terror operation, has prompted concerns over accuracy and a complaint to the newspaper.

The article, published online last Sunday, said newly unearthed CCTV footage showed an unarmed boy being shot by an IDF sniper, “exploding Israel’s claim that only combatants were killed”.

In the clip, which The Times verified using local “eyewitnesses” and the boy’s parents, an apparently unarmed teenager, identified as Abdulrahman Hasan Ahmad Hardan, can be seen standing outside a hospital before slumping to the ground. He died five hours later.

The IDF — which The Times said had failed to provide comment on the footage — told the JC that Hardan was a terrorist and a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a claim supported by social media posts in which the terror group celebrated him as a martyr.

Hardan’s coffin was paraded through Jenin by armed militants and PIJ banners were taken to the boy’s family home. The PIJ’s official Telegram account posted his photo alongside the words “one of the PIJ movement’s jihad warriors”.

But the article, by diplomatic correspondent Catherine Philp, supported the claim made by Hardan’s grieving family that he was not a fighter and argued it was common for terror groups to use the deaths of non-combatants for propaganda purposes.

However, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), which lodged an official complaint with The Times, pointed out that in the last year alone there have been at least nine examples of militants not claimed by any group after an attack.

These included Musa Sarsour, who murdered an 84-year-old Israeli woman; Muhammad Suf, who stabbed three Israelis and wounded several more; and Hatem Abu Nijmeh, who in April carried out a ramming attack in Jerusalem.

An early version of The Times piece also claimed Hardan had been the only person not holding a rifle in the PIJ social media posts. However, CAMERA pointed out that several terrorists depicted by PIJ did not have weapons either.

“This undermines Philps’ attempt to sow doubt concerning the fact that, as Israel said, he was a terrorist,” said Adam Levick, co-editor of CAMERA UK.

The article suggested that the CCTV footage disproved earlier claims by the IDF that Hardan had been armed.

It ended with the claim that Hardan was “one of the 35 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in 2023”, with no mention that the majority were terror group-affiliated militants.

An IDF spokesman told the JC it was “unfortunate that The Times journalist discounted the Islamic Jihad’s claim of responsibility for the neutralised terrorist and his association with the terrorist organisation in her article.

“The IDF operated in a densely populated and complex combat zone where hundreds of armed gunmen fired indiscriminately in the area.

"The IDF does everything in its power to avoid harming uninvolved individuals and operates precisely against terrorist organisations.”

The spokesman added that the IDF “continues to examine the video in question and has asked to receive it in its unedited entirety”.

Media watchdog HonestReporting said it was “sickening” to see The Times try to “normalise Iran-backed terrorists”.

Philp has been accused of bias in her coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict in the past.

In December 2022, she accused Israel of “truly cynical pink-washing” by celebrating its gay community “to hide its real time apartheid”.

The Times was contacted for comment.

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