Israeli pathologists involved in the autopsy of a Palestinian prisoner named Arafat Jaradat, who died in Megiddo Prison on Saturday, are awaiting the results of toxicology tests (that might take weeks to receive) which may definitively determine the cause of death.
The death of Jaradat, who was arrested on Feb. 18 after residents in his West Bank village reported that he “was involved in a rock-throwing attack” that injured an Israeli, sparked rioting in Hebron and other cities in the West Bank – a characteristic rush to judgement by Palestinian radicals which mirrors the journalistic rush to judgement by Phoebe Greenwood.
Greenwood led her Feb. 24 Guardian report with unsubstantiated claims by the Palestinian Authority that Jaradat died as the result of torture.
Here’s how the story is presented on the Guardian’s home page, employing inverted quotes around the words “tortured in prison” and deleting the qualifier, “says Palestinian Authority”.
Greenwood’s piece begins thusly:
A Palestinian prisoner whose death in Israeli custody fanned violent clashes across the West Bank over the weekend was tortured before he died, the Palestinian Authority has said.
The results of an autopsy conducted in Tel Aviv were revealed at a press conference in Ramallah on Sunday evening after a day of angry protests across the West Bank and Gaza in which dozens were injured.
The findings contradict the Israeli prison service’s claim that Arafat Jaradat died on Saturday from a cardiac arrest.
A Palestinian doctor’s investigations found that while Jaradat’s arteries were clear, the state of his body suggested he had been beaten in the days before his death.
It isn’t until the fifth paragraph that the Israeli version is emphasized.
That contrasts with an Israeli health ministry statement that said that the autopsy found “no signs of external trauma … apart from those pertaining to resuscitation [attempts] and a small graze on the right side of his chest”.
It said: “No evidence of disease was found during the autopsy. Two internal hemorrhages were detected, one on the shoulder and one on the right side of the chest. Two ribs were broken, which may indicate resuscitation attempts. The initial findings cannot determine the cause of death. At this stage, until microscopic and toxicology reports are in, the cause of death cannot be tied to the autopsy findings.”
Then, we’re treated to Greenwood’s selective bio of Jaradat.
The 30-year-old, a petrol station worker and father of two, was arrested on 18 February in relation to a stone-throwing incident in November during which an Israeli was slightly injured. [emphasis added]
However, unbeknownst to those who depend on the Guardian as their source for information on events in the Palestinian territories, when Jaradat wasn’t working in a petrol station and providing for his two children, he was evidently involved in other, far less noble pursuits.
According to multiple sources, including even the BBC and Arab sites such as Ahram Online, Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, Jaradat was a member of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade – the terror group affiliated with Fatah.
Here’s the relevant passage from Ahram:
“Al Aqsa brigades, the armed wing of the Fatah national liberation movement, mourns with all pride its hero, the martyr of freedom, the prisoner Arafat Jaradat,” the statement said, in reference to Jaradat’s membership of the group.
Here’s Al Jazeera:
Palestinians said Jaradat was a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement.
Remarkably, even Wafa, the official Palestinian Authority news agency, reported on Jaradat’s ‘suspected’ affiliation:
Violent clashes with Israeli soldiers broke out after the death of prisoner Arafat Jaradat, a father of three and charged of affiliation with al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, in Megiddo Israeli prison Saturday as a result to possible torture during interrogation.
Whilst the PA’s motivation for propagandizing about Jaradat’s death is clear – and thoroughly consistent with what many believe has been their tacit encouragement for the increasing number of violent Palestinian confrontations with the IDF in recent weeks – Greenwood’s putative role as a professional journalist requires that she avoid ideologically inspired, selective reporting.
Though we likely won’t learn the cause of Jaradat’s death for weeks, until that time we can be assured that subsequent Guardian reports on the incident will continue to ignore information which interferes with desired narratives invariably showing the deceased Palestinian prisoner in the most favorable light.
- BBC’s Jon Donnison Tweets unverified information again (bbcwatch.org)