Mon. Apr 15th, 2024
alert-–-new-york-times-publishes-editors’-note-admitting-it-‘relied-too-heavily’-on-hamas-claims-that-israel-was-responsible-for-gaza-hospital-blastAlert – New York Times publishes editors’ note admitting it ‘relied too heavily’ on Hamas claims that Israel was responsible for Gaza hospital blast

The New York Times’ editorial board has admitted it relied too heavily on claims by Hamas that Israel had bombed a hospital in Gaza, killing hundreds, in its initial reporting. 

In a rare move, the newspaper published an editors’ note on Monday, days after it ran a headline at the top of their website that read: ‘Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say.’

The headline was placed above an image that showed a sobbing mother carrying a child in a wrecked building – which was not the Al-Ahli Hospital, where the explosion happened. 

After Israel denied being behind the October 17 blast, and more information began emerging, the Times changed its headline to: ‘Hundreds Dead in Blast at Gaza Hospital, Palestinians Say.’

‘The Times’s initial accounts attributed the claim of Israeli responsibility to Palestinian officials, and noted that the Israeli military said it was investigating the blast,’ the editors’ note read.

The New York Times has issued a note saying it ‘relied too heavily’ on Hamas’ claims when it first reported on last week’s blast at a Gaza hospital.  This aerial view shows people standing before destroyed buildings at the site of the Ahli Arab hospital in central Gaza on October 18

The outlet edited its headline several times after its original report, as seen above

‘The Times’s initial accounts attributed the claim of Israeli responsibility to Palestinian officials, and noted that the Israeli military said it was investigating the blast,’ the note read

‘However, the early versions of the coverage — and the prominence it received in a headline, news alert and social media channels — relied too heavily on claims by Hamas, and did not make clear that those claims could not immediately be verified. The report left readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was.’

The paper added: ‘Given the sensitive nature of the news during a widening conflict and the prominent promotion it received, Times editors should have taken more care with the initial presentation and been more explicit about what information could be verified.’

Who is to blame for the fiery explosion has set off intense debate and finger pointing between the Israeli government and Palestinian militants, further escalating tensions in their two week-long war.

The AP analyzed more than a dozen videos from the moments before, during and after the hospital explosion, as well as satellite imagery and photos. AP’s analysis shows that the rocket that broke up in the air was fired from within Palestinian territory, and that the hospital explosion was most likely caused when part of that rocket crashed to the ground. 

While the Biden administration and several news outlets such as CNN and the Associated Press have concluded the blast came from Hamas, the NYT is still reporting that the missile’s origin remains unclear.

The Times noted that Hamas officials turned down their request to visit the hospital site, with one senior official claiming ‘the missile dissolved like salt in water.’

The paper also said Israel turned down requests to provide logs of its military activity on the day of the blast. 

Meanwhile, US intelligence has found Israel was ‘probably not’ responsible for Tuesday’s explosion at the al-Ahli hospital.

Officials also estimate that there were likely between 100 to 300 people killed in the blast, which sparked a venomous blame game between Israel, Hamas and their allies.

Bodies of Palestinians killed by an explosion at the Ahli Arab hospital are gathered in the front yard of the al-Shifa hospital on Tuesday

Israel also released a radar map of Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket attacks, as well as a video of the moment a rocket purportedly streaking towards Israel from Gaza appears to suffer a problem and suddenly changes course before flaming out

‘Israel Probably Did Not Bomb Gaza Strip Hospital: We judge that Israel was not responsible for an explosion that killed hundreds of civilians yesterday [17 October] at the Al Ahli Hospital in the Gaza Strip,’ the assessment obtained by CNN states.

‘Our assessment is based on available reporting, including intelligence, missile activity, and open-source video and images of the incident’, it added.

The intelligence community ‘observed only light structural damage at the hospital,’ with no observable damage to the main hospital building and no impact craters, according to the assessment.

‘We see only light damage to the roofs of two structures near the main hospital building, but both structures remained intact,’ the assessment states.

The US intelligence community released its initial assessment on Wednesday that Israel was not responsible after President Joe Biden stated publicly while in Israel that the strike appeared to have been ‘the result of an errant rocket fired by a terrorist group in Gaza.’

It came as a European intelligence agency told AFP: ‘There wasn’t 200 or even 500 deaths, more likely between 10 and 50.’ 

Israel’s Defence Forces shared a slew of evidence it claims proved that a misfiring rocket fired by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) – an independent jihadist group – was behind the blast.

The proof provided by the IDF included an audio clip of alleged Hamas terrorists confirming the rocket came from PIJ, a video of what appears to be the rocket in question misfiring over Gaza, and bird’s eye images of the blast site that did not have characteristics consistent with an Israeli aerial strike, according to an IDF spokesman.

Meanwhile, Israel’s foes – Hamas, PIJ, Hezbollah and Iran – insist the IDF was behind the devastation and vowed to take revenge. Anger sparked across the Muslim world, with protesters pouring onto the streets in cities from Tripoli to Tehran in demonstration against Israel.

Jordan’s foreign minister said: ‘No one is buying (Israel’s) narrative in this part of the world… the only way people would entertain a different narrative is if there was an independent international inquiry with impeccable evidence that it was not Israel.’

However, several experts and analysts weighing in on the issue largely appear to agree with Israel’s assessment that a misfiring rocket fired from Gaza caused the tragedy, but many warned it was too early to say with certainty.

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