A Palestinian Authority (PA) document, prepared to support a recent World Health Organization (WHO) resolution condemning Israeli violations of Palestinian health rights, was found to contain multiple false photographs, meant to “prove” Israeli atrocities. US-based watchdog group Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) posted the faked evidence on its Snapshots blog, identifying each photo’s source.
The resolution, prepared by the Arab Group and Palestine, criticizes Israel for “Health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan”. It passed last Wednesday, enjoying the support of France, Germany, the UK and various other EU states. The US and Canada both voiced strong objections.
Prior to the WHO decision, the PA Health Ministry submitted a report on the state of health in Palestinian territories. The 59-page document contains several illustrative photographs, many of which CAMERA identified as either misleading or altered, highlighting, as Snapshots blogger Gidon Shaviv pointed out, “the submission’s total lack of credibility.”
One image, allegedly “taken during the Israeli war on Gaza, 2014”, is actually a poorly-photoshopped copy of an illustrative image which appeared in a blog imagining what would happen if Israel took military action against a nuclear Iran. The photo made the rounds in 2014, and was exposed as a hoax at the time by the Israellycool blog. According to CAMERA, “Editors of the ‘Gaza’ version erased the mountains and the building which simply don’t exist in Gaza.”
Five additional images, while genuine, do not depict what they purport to show. One, captioned “Settlers attack a Palestinian child while being observed by Israeli occupation forces”, in fact does not depict any Palestinians whatsoever. It is a Getty Images photo of Israeli settlers being forcibly removed from their homes in Judea and Samaria.
Another photo, ostensibly showing the destruction of Gaza in 2014, was actually taken in Lebanon (right), while a second demonstrating the same thing was really taken two years earlier (left).
Two other photos claim to show children killed by Israelis during the current wave of violence. One is of unknown origin, but first appeared in 2009. The second shows a grown woman, not a child, who was left seriously injured, not dead, after attacking an Israeli policeman. The woman, Yasmin Tamimi, was then treated in an Israeli hospital. She is not listed by Palestinian rights group B’Tselem among those killed.
In addition to false photographic evidence, the resolution puts forth a number of other egregious accusations, claiming that Israel is damaging prisoners’ health by “Holding prisoners in polluted areas, such as in the vicinity of the Dimona reactor or near areas in which waste from that reactor has been buried” (page 29).
It also ventured into the realm of pure fantasy and conjecture, using prejudicial language to make a ridiculous accusation: “In April 2013 the Russian newspaper Pravda accused Israel of injecting a number of Palestinian prisoners who were approaching their release date with cancer-causing viruses. Despite Israel’s rejection of the accusations made by the newspaper, the question remains: is it true that Israel is injecting prisoners with viruses?” (page 29)
The report also suggested that the Israeli practice of freezing terrorists’ bodies and only returning them to the Palestinians if they are buried immediately “makes it impossible to ascertain whether the deceased individual’s organs have been stolen” (page 49).