According to the UN Human Rights Council, the eleven-month-old child of Jihad Misharawi was killed by a Hamas rocket, not Israel during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense. Western media outlets claimed Israel was responsible for the tragic death of the BBC bureau chief’s infant son. According to the UN Human Rights Council report, “ On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel. In addition, the UN received reports related to an incident in which two civilians, including a child, were killed, and five persons, including three children, were injured, as a result of what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short and hit a house in Al-Quds Street, near Khilla Gas Station, Jabalya, on 16 November.” Thus, not only was Misharawi’s son killed by a Hamas rocket, but other Palestinians also died due to Hamas rockets.

The UN Human Rights Council continued, “For its part, Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades underlined the limited military arsenal of Palestinian armed groups as a reason for failing to precisely attack military targets. Yet the military capacity of the conflicting parties is irrelevant to the duty, under international humanitarian law, of these parties to take all f easible measures to avoid loss among civilians and damage to civilian property.” Indeed, according to photos released by the IDF, a rocket launching site was located very close to the home where Jihad Misharawi lived. And the UN Human Rights Council has declared, “Launching attacks from populated areas constitutes a violation of customary rules of international humanitarian law, i.e. the obligation to take all precautions to protect civilians.”

To the contrary of the facts found on the ground by investigators working for the UN Human Rights Council, the BBC had reported at the time, “An Israeli round hit Misharawi’s four-room home in Gaza Wednesday, killing his son, according to BBC Middle East bureau chief Paul Danahar, who arrived in Gaza earlier that Thursday, Misharawi’s sister-in-law was also killed, and his brother wounded. Misharawi told Danahar that, when the round landed, there was no fighting in his residential neighborhood.” Jihad Misharawi had also blamed his sons’ death on Israel. Not many really questioned his word on this.

Whether or not the BBC and others will revise the story now since the UN has conducted an investigation and found that the reality was the contrary of what many international media outlets reported at the time, according to BBC Watch’s Hadar Sela, “It is impossible to undo the extensive damage done by the BBC with this story. No apology or correction can now erase it from the internet or from the memories of the countless people who read it or heard it.”

Evidently, this was not the first time that Israel’s good name was defamed by Palestinian propagandists based on false evidence. According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, “Palestinian exploitation of casualties is nothing new. In the past, many incidents have been proved to be fabricated or conducted by the Palestinians themselves. This tactic, commonly referred to as “Pallywood,” is vital for the Palestinians to wage the increasingly crucial media war against Israel in an effort to win the hearts and minds of the international community. While there were civilian casualties, the UN report notes the Hamas rocket fire was coming from residential areas. And it settles the debate over who was responsible for the toddler’s death, showing the BBC and other outlets incorrectly jumped to blame Israel.”

By Rachel Avraham