A presentation on Palestinian Authority television claimed this week to portray images of Arabs slaughtered by Jewish paramilitary groups in 1948. However, not only did the program contain several blatant lies, but the photos were falsified. One of the carefully edited photos claimed to be depicting Arabs burnt in ovens by Jewish soldiers actually showed Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a nongovernmental media watchdog group that documents cases of incitement in Palestinian media, reported the story on Wednesday. The TV show, which was broadcasted just a few days before Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, described the annual program commemorating the killing of Palestinians in the village of Deir Yassin in 1948.
The program displayed one photo, which appeared to have shown hundreds of Palestinians killed by the Jewish soldiers. The photo was in fact of Jews who had been killed in at Nordhausen, a sub-camp of Buchenwald in Germany. This was not an unintentional error. In order to make the photo appear to be what they claimed, the images of dead Jews in striped prison uniforms had to have been erased.
Also, the American soldiers who had just liberated the camp and were standing off to the side were cropped out of the picture as were the concentration camp buildings.
The TV programmers added a caption to the reworked image, labelling it, “When they killed and mutilated the bodies of 250 women, children and elderly residents.”
The program included another image that was also carefully cropped. The image was claimed to have been of another group of Palestinians killed by the Jewish militias. However, it was actually a photo of Palestinians who had been killed in the Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon by Christian Phalangists in 1982.
Perhaps the most egregious falsehood was the caption that appeared under the photo: “And they [the Jews] burned the women and children in the village’s oven.”
Deir Yassin is the focus of much controversy, but until this television program presented this doctored photo, no one has ever made such a preposterous claim.
Deir Yassin, an Arab village of approximately 600 people, was attacked on the night of April 9, 1948 by elements of the Irgun and Lehi, two Israeli paramilitary groups operating independently of the Haganah, the forerunner to the present day IDF. The attack was part of an effort to break through the Jordanian blockade of Jerusalem that preceded the end of the British Mandate in Palestine. The number of casualties varies widely as do the accounts of atrocities attributed to the Jewish paramilitary groups.