Report: AP Exploited Children to Stage Anti-Israel Photos in Gaza War Coverage

AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas
AP Photo/Mohammed Ballas
Washington, D.C.

The Associated Press used Palestinian children as props in staged photos meant to portray Israel negatively in its investigation into the Israel-Hamas war last summer and did not reveal to its readers that the photos were contrived, Richard Behar and Gary Weiss of the Observer write in their rebuttal of the investigation’s results.

Behar and Weiss also reveal that the AP referred to a Hamas jihadi commander who was killed in the war as a “Hamas policeman.” They then exploited his six-year-old child in a staged lead photograph showing the boy standing on top of the rubble of what used to be his father’s home.

“The word ‘policeman’ conjures up images of a law enforcement officer, a civil servant, keeping the peace. But as the AP knew, or should have known, Hamas ‘policemen’ frequently double as Hamas fighters for the terrorist group’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades,” The Observer reporters explain regarding the categorization of the boy’s father. In truth, the boy’s father “was a Hamas fighter” and a “local commander in the Al-Zeitoun Battalions of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades,” the military wing of Hamas, the report adds.

The Observer report reveals that every single AP photograph used in the investigation was completely contrived, but the AP made no mention of that.

Furthermore, the AP relied upon a Gaza-based “human rights” group called the Al Mezan Center and B’Tselem, a radical left wing Israeli group, to find its statistics about the war. The Observer report described Al Mezan as a group more closely resembling a “hate-Israel blog than a dispassionate, unbiased ‘human rights group.’” B’Tselem has been described as a far-left group that accuses Israel of being an “apartheid” state. The organization has also solicited funds from groups that endorse the anti-Semitic BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel.

Breitbart News was on the ground in Israel during the Israel-Hamas 50-day war last summer, which IDF forces codenamed Operation Protective Edge. On multiple occasions, Hamas was found using women and children as human shields. The jihadi group was also caught storing missiles in children’s schools on three separate instances. Hamas initiated the war, and the jihadi group was also responsible for accelerating civilian casualties in Gaza, largely due to its tactical approach that showed a complete disregard for human life.