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The Harshest Images Were Edited For TV

The Harshest Images Were Edited For TV

Translation by Sol Salbe For The Independent Middle East News

[I saw this item in the Hebrew Haaretz on Friday evening (Melbourne time) and have been waiting for an English translation. While the translation below is of high quality (as befitting Haaretz) it does leave out some details. They are not all significant per se but it is the very banality of the description of children’s toys etc that I found most moving in the description. Evidently there are some bits which are not fit for the outside world’s sensitivities. I have added the missing words in BOLD.

Far more important, however, is the devastating below that the description by Haaretz’s own reporter deals to some of the more vile counter claims coming from some of Israel’s hard-line supporters. If I had a hot meal for every copy of such a claim from, CAMERA etc that landed in my in-tray, then my plans to lose weight would have dealt a serious blow indeed. These counterclaims have even been featured on On Line Opinion (a piece by Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University).

Read it for yourself and judge. – Sol Salbe]


[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

Original Hebrew
Haaretz in English

Last Update - 02:33 25/06/2006

The Harshest Images Were Edited For TV
By Avi Issacharoff

GAZA - When Zakaria Abu Arabid, a journalist with the Ramatan news agency, arrived at Al-Awda Hospital in Gaza's Jabalya refugee camp two weeks ago on Friday to photograph casualties of an incident in the Beit Lahia area, a staff member told him that Israel had shelled the Lahia beach. He headed to the spot.

Two weeks later, Abu Arabid and Haaretz view the now-famous tape of Huda Ghalia as she runs along the beach and finds the body of her father. The most gruesome images, it turns out, were censored for television.

The camera starts rolling during the trip. A narrow road, then a left turn onto a dirt road. On the horizon, the sea and then growing awareness of the horrific sights. When Abu Arabid, 36, from Beit Hanun, gets out of the jeep the camera shows an ambulance and people standing around.

The picture zooms in on a pile of bodies, uncovered and blasted apart. The people urge on Abu Arabid with calls of, "Shoot it, shoot it." The injured are loaded onto stretchers, including a girl without an arm. A Palestinian man carried the remains of the body of a young girl and runs toward the ambulance. An earsplitting siren wails in the background.

Abu Arabid's camera shoots the removal of the dead and wounded, near where the three bodies had lain earlier. He focuses on a young girl with black hair wearing sweatpants: Huda, who does not yet know that her picture will adorn every street corner. She is staring around. It seems as if she hasn’t taken in what happened. She takes a few steps and then starts running while calling for her father. The camera follows her as she runs screaming Yaba Yaba (daddy, daddy)

She throws herself on the ground and the camera shows the body of her father. She cries out for him and hits herself. The camera pans to a pot filled with food and then returns to Huda. A young man tell her [that] her father is okay although he knows the man is already dead. Huda, in wet clothing, sand stuck to her pants, pleads with the paramedics: "Take him to the hospital, he's alive."

A few seconds pass and the camera focuses of a youth, Huda’s brother, Ayham. He is screaming and crying. The medics approach him to treat him but they soon realise that he is not injured. Another young person comes by and collects a torn arm and takes it into the ambulance. The father’s body is placed on the stretcher.

Abu Arabid photographs the body parts being collected into bags, the blood stains are covered with sand. The siren stop. The camera pans on inanimate objects: a sand rake, a plastic [beach toys strewn on the sand] whale, a beach rug stained with blood, a baby’s chair and human hair. The camera turns itself to the see to an Israeli Navy ship off the coast. More passers by are gathering and by now all the injured have been taken to hospital.

"As a father myself I cannot remain indifferent to the pictures, the pain of the children," Abu Arabid says. "I looked at the tape afterward and broke into tears, how can one not?"

The German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung cast doubt on the authenticity of the picture and made its own determinations without checking the facts: Why were bodies covered with sheets?, it asked - although they were not. Why were Huda's clothes dry? - although they were actually wet. Mohammed Salman, Abu Arabid's boss, is considering a suit against the German paper.

"If a foreign photographer had taken the pictures, no one would have had doubts. Because we are Palestinian journalists they immediately claimed we staged it," Salman said, adding, "How can one stage such horror?"



[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

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