On July 25th we posted about the UK media’s rush to judgement after 15 Palestinian civilians were reportedly killed at a UNWRA school in the Gaza city of Beit Hanoun last Thursday. The Guardian, Independent, The Times, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, and Daily Mirror were among the publications which immediately blamed Israel hours after the incident, despite the dearth of evidence at the time.
However, as we noted in our most recent post last night (July 27), an Israeli army inquiry into the fighting at the UN facility in Beit Hanoun found that IDF mortars did NOT play a role in the killing of 16 people in the school courtyard. The army admitted that an errant IDF-fired shell did hit the UN-run school’s yard, but at a time when there were evidently no people in the area – as the video further in this post shows.
More details were provided by IDF spokesman Peter Lerner, who told reporters yesterday that the IDF had returned fired at Hamas targets (which were stationed near the school) on the day in question, and that one of the errant tank mortars landed in the school courtyard, “injuring no one“. Lerner said it was “extremely unlikely” that anyone had been killed by the mortar round that fell in the empty yard. Lerner also noted that it was quite “out of the ordinary” that Palestinian health officials in Gaza did not share the nature of the wounds of the casualties, which may have shed light on the causes of death.
Here’s the IDF video we posted yesterday, which shows the errant tank shell landing in what appears to be a vacant school yard:
Now, let’s look back at the UK news organizations which immediately blamed Israel for the attack on the UN school.
The Guardian, July 25 (One of the lead stories)
The Guardian, July 25 (Additional story on the attack)
The Guardian, July 24 (Their initial video report on the attack)
The Independent, July 24 (One of the lead stories)
The Times, July 24 (An updated article by Catherine Philp of the one seen above included a headline charging Israel with committing a “massacre”)
Telegraph, July 24
Telegraph, July 24
Daily Mail, July 24
Daily Mirror, July 24
Not one of these UK news sites, at the time of this post, have revised their original articles or published a new story which includes the IDF’s new video evidence.
Since the new information at the very least calls into question the accuracy of the initial reports, editors should take note of the clause in the Editor’s Code of Practice which demands the following:
A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and – where appropriate – an apology published.