Guardian misleads on autopsy results of convicted terrorist Ziad Abu Ein

On Dec. 11th we asked a simple question after an autopsy (by Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian forensic doctors) of Ziad Abu Ein – the terrorist cum Palestinian minister who died in the West Bank on Dec. 10th following a confrontation with Israeli soldiers – concluded that he died from a stress-induced heart attack.


The question was raised in the context of a Guardian report by Peter Beaumont on the day Abu Ein died which almost entirely focused on Palestinian claims that he died as the result of either a punch, kick or gun butt to the head, or by the impact of a tear gas canister administered by an Israeli soldier.  

Sure enough, Peter Beaumont’s Dec. 12th follow-up story on Abu Ein failed to clearly report on the autopsy results.

Here’s the passage in question:

Following a joint autopsy, the Palestinian doctor concluded that he died as a result of a blow to his body, not of natural causes. The Israeli doctor said the 55-year-old’s death was caused by the blockage of a coronary artery.

Beaumont’s claim (in bold) is quite misleading as, according to multiple reports on the autopsy results, both Palestinian and Israeli doctors agreed that the cause of death was indeed a heart attack.

Here’s an excerpt from the autopsy report:

The death of Ziad Abu Ein was caused by a blockage of the coronary artery (one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart) due to hemorrhaging underneath a layer of atherosclerotic plaque. The bleeding could have been caused by stress.
Indications of light hemorrhaging and localized pressure were found in his
The deceased suffered from ischemic heart disease; blood vessels in his
hearts [were] found to be over 80% blocked by plaque. Old scars indicating that
he suffered from previous myocardial infarctions were also found.
The poor condition of the deceased’s heart caused him to be more sensitive
to stress.

The only disagreement centered on what precisely brought on the heart attack, as most news sites accurately reported:

Both the Palestinian and the Israeli pathologist reports said Abu Ein died of a coronary blockage caused by hemorrhage. But the Palestinian doctor said the bleeding resulted from injury and his Israeli counterpart said it was likely brought on by stress.

LA Times:

The Palestinian and Israeli doctors appeared to agree on the basic findings of the preliminary results, indicating a heart attack, but they were divided on the overall circumstances.In a news conference in Ramallah before the funeral, chief Palestinian pathologist Saber Aloul said the autopsy revealed a “narrowing of the coronary artery accompanied by bleeding in the inner lining of the heart as a result of pressure that goes with severe agony and distress.”
However, he said, Abu Ein’s death was caused by injury.

New York Times:

While the two sides agreed that Mr. Abu Ein suffered a blockage of the coronary artery because of hemorrhaging in the inner lining of the heart that was likely the result of stress, Dr. Aloul emphasized wounds to Mr. Abu Ein’s front teeth, bruises on the tongue, neck and windpipe.

The way Beaumont phrased it would lead the average reader to conclude that the Palestinian doctor who assisted in the autopsy didn’t believe that Abu Ein died of a heart attack – thus butressing the highly misleading narrative advanced in his original article on the incident.
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