Sky News Arabia promotes lie that Israel caused Gaza baby’s death

Sky News Arabia’s Gaza correspondent, Mohammed Mashharawi erroneously blamed Israel for “preventing Gaza’s sick from receiving treatment outside”, as the title of his June 29th video declares.

The video, focusing on two Palestinian children (cancer patient Mira Alfejem, 4, and the late Omar Yaghi, who died of heart failure recently at the age of nine months), amplified the lie that Israel is responsible for Mira’s suffering and Omar’s death, when, it was clearly the PA’s decision to cut off medical cooperation that led to these outcomes.

(Sky News Arabia is a joint venture between the UK-based Sky News and the UAE-based Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation. All translations and emphases and in-bracket remarks are by CAMERA Arabic)



Here are text captions whilst the video is playing:

Palestine – Israel prevents the Palestinians from receiving treatment with the excuse of the [Palestinian] Authority halting coordination

Patients in Gaza are unable to receive treatment outside ever since the security coordination was halted

Palestinian Authority’s halting of coordination with Israel deprives many from treatment

The death of a baby in Gaza following the Israeli authorities running late in allowing him treatment

Gaza hospitals are incapable of providing treatment to many patients

Here’s our translation from the actual video:

“[Mashharawi:] Between medical reports and the sick girl’s body, the family of four-years-old Mira tries to find a path for her to escape, such that would get her to one of the hospitals outside Gaza. These papers tell that the condition of the weak body is severe, stricken with a cancerous tumor which cost her [Mira] her eyesight in one eye, threatening the second. According to the family, among what holds the treatment back is the Israeli authorities’ refusal to allow the girl to exit Gaza, after the Palestinian Authority froze its coordination with Israel.

“[Mira’s mother:] they don’t meet [even] the lowest [bar] of a child’s rights, the right to be treated, my daughter does not ask for a luxury or any other right that she is suffering from [the lack of]. I only ask for the right to be treated, I mean, my daughter’s condition deteriorated in [the last] four months. Every moment I have been expecting her death! I mean, there is a case like hers, yesterday when I was shocked to hear that this case [ended with] death… When should the coordination renew? When should somebody start looking for my daughter? When she passes away? Would it be when I hold her ‘Azaa’ [traditional mourning in Islam] as I find them telling me ‘this is it, your daughter is ready’!?

“[Mashharawi:] This is what happened with the child Omar, of nine months. His family says that Israel stalled letting him out of Gaza for treatment, with the security clearance coming on the day he died.

“[Omar’s father:] there are patients other than Omar, hundreds of them… their conditions are bad and they need to enter through the only access, [Egpyt’s] Erez crossing, the supervisor of which is, of course, the Occupation [i.e. Israel], its direct supervisor, and something will happen, good forbid, tragedies involving children and old people…

“[Mashharawi:] Omar is the third patient to lose his life since the beginning of this year due to Israel refusing to grant treatment permits, as the [Human] Rights centers in Gaza have documented.

“[‘Issam Younis, General Director of “Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights”:] responsibility lies within the State of Occupation [i.e. Israel], whether coordination [with the PA] is stopped, suspended or continued. It precedes the establishment of the [Palestinian] Authority and survives it, precedes the unilateral disengagement from Gaza and survives it, all of that does not affect the legal responsibility on the State of Occupation to ensure the welfare of the civilian population and the arrival of food, medicine and other consignments into the Strip.

“[Mashharawi:] Because of the severe weakness the Gaza healthcare system is suffering from, following years of blockade, these hospitals are no longer capable of providing service to many patients who have severe illnesses. The sick call for treatment, all while Israel is oblivious or hides behind the excuse of the Palestinian Authority halting coordination with it. Meanwhile, those who know the international law confirm that the responsibility on civilians lies with the occupier.”

Throughout the report, Mashharawi systematically omitted crucial information, based on the sole criterion that it did not fit the narrative he sought to promote:

  1. Israel did not “refuse” any permit requests from patients due to the PA suspending coordination with it. Rather, it simply wasn’t receiving the requests because they were being withheld by the PA instead of being relayed to COGAT.
  2. No Israeli approval is needed in order to use the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt; the only parties involved in operating the facility and determining who is allowed to cross are Egypt and Hamas, with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh confirming during his Moscow visit in early March that it has been regularly open for the past two years. This is relevant specifically for the case of Mira Alfejem, since her scheduled operation is in a hospital located in Amman, Jordan.
  3. The reason Omar Yaghi’s father said that the only way for patients “to enter” was via Erez crossing was because in his case the hospital that scheduled his operation was itself in Ramat Gan, Israel (the NGO that was set to pay for the operation was Israeli as well).
  4. The claims made by a single Gazan NGO of questionable reputation and reliability that Israel still occupies Gaza are refuted by the Strip’s own Hamas leadership (which referred to “the Occupation’s departure out of Gaza” in January 2012), as well as a gallery of legal scholars. They were also repeatedly retracted by several US media outlets, often at CAMERA’s request.

Research and writing by CAMERA Arabic. Edited by CAMERA UK

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