Guardian & BBC got the death of Omar Misharawi wrong: But, nothing will change.

They all got the story wrong.

The Washington Post, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The TelegraphThe Huffington Post, MSN, YahooCBC News, and, of course, the BBC and the Guardian (among others), all accused Israel of firing a missile, during the November Gaza war, at a house east of Gaza City which killed the 11 month old son of BBC Arabic journalist Jihad Misharawi and his sister-in-law. (Misharawi’s brother also later died of wounds suffered in the blast.)

Here’s the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade on Nov. 15.


Greenslade opens with the following:

The 11-month-old son of a BBC staffer was killed yesterday during an air strike by the Israeli army on the Gaza strip.

Here’s a Nov. 15 Guardian report by Paul Owens and Tom McCarthy:

Note: Guardian caption is incorrect. The infant’s name is Omar. Ahmad is the brother of Jihad Misharawi.

The story began thusly:

A grim new feud opened up on social media on Thursday as pictures were traded of babies who died or were injured during the conflict in Gaza.

Pictures emerged of BBC cameraman Jihad Misharawi’s 11-month-old son Omar, who was killed on Wednesday during an Israeli attack. Misharawi’s sister-in-law also died in the strike on Gaza City, and his brother was seriously injured.

Harriet Sherwood reported the following on Dec. 11, in a follow-up on the aftermath of the war:


Of course, the death of an infant is always a horrible tragedy and anyone would be moved by images of Jihad Misharawi’s unimaginable grief.

However,  as with any story deemed worthy of attention by professional journalists, facts matter – and, in contrast with the MSM, others in the blogosphere were skeptical about the veracity of the accepted narrative. 

Elder of Ziyon and BBC Watch (and other blogs) were among those who examined the evidence and suggested the possibility that Omar Misharawi was killed by an errant Palestinian rocket.  

Elder noted that “the hole in the ceiling look a lot like what Qassam rocket damage looks like when they hit homes in Israel” and that the photos of the building where the child was killed looked nothing like the damage to Gaza buildings from Israeli airstrikes.

BBC Watch’s Hadar Sela noted, on Nov. 25, that the “BBC has doggedly avoided conducting any sort of investigation whatsoever into the subject of Palestinians killed or injured by at least 152 known shortfalls of rockets fired by [Palestinian] terrorists during [the Gaza war].”

Their skepticism was well-founded.

On March 6th 2013 the UNHRC issued an advance version of its report on the November war and Elder of Ziyon thoroughly read the whole thing. The report states on page 14 that a UN investigation found that:

“On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.” [emphasis added]

A Palestinian rocket killed baby Omar, Hiba (the sister-in-law of Jihad) and Ahmed (Jihad’s brother who later succumbed to his wounds).

Whether or not the BBC, Guardian and others will revise their stories to note that Gaza terrorists (and not the IDF) were responsible for the death of Omar, Hiba and Ahmed Misharawi, Sela made the following point:

It is impossible to undo the extensive damage done by the BBC with this story. No apology or correction can now erase it from the internet or from the memories of the countless people who read it or heard it.

Sela, in her Nov. 25 post, argued that, “The tragic story of Omar Misharawi [was] used and abused to advance a very specific narrative of Israel as a killer of children.”

In short, when it comes to the activist media’s mad rush to judgement on every alleged Israeli sin, regardless of whether new facts contradicting the original conclusions are eventually revealed, nothing will be learned.  

Lethal Narratives concerning the Jewish state’s ‘villainy’ will continue unabated.

Nothing will change. 

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