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Israel stands by debunked story of Palestinian child’s death

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Khalood Badawi (Photo: Luis Jaume)

A Palestinian working for the United Nations, Khulood Badawi, is at the center of a raging controversy over her March 12 tweet about a three-year-old Palestinian girl who died as a result of an Israeli attack in 2006.  

During Israel’s latest air strike in Gaza, Badawi, an employee of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, tweeted a graphic image of the dead girl, Raja Abu Shaban, and wrote: “Palestine is bleeding. Another child killed by #Israel. Another father carrying his child to a grave in #Gaza.” 

After the photograph circulated, hasbara-ites started an online petition calling for the UN to “immediately terminate” Badawi, claiming, “Badawi has proven unreliable as a source of information by using her Twitter account to spread false and harmful information about Israel.”  That same day, March 15,  the Israeli ambassador to the UN, and the IDF also called for the UN to fire Badawi, saying that she inaccurately attributed the death to Israel.

Screen shot 2012 03 27 at 4 16 41 PM
Screen shot of Israel’s UN Twitter account tweeting for Khulood Badawi’s dismissal from the UN.

However, on Monday Ma’an News Agency reported Israeli missiles were indeed responsible for the young girl’s death.

Despite the new information, Israeli officials are still calling for the UN to dismiss Badawi, maintaining Israel had no involvement in her death. 

Ma’an now states: “medical records, interviews with relatives of the girl, and news reports from that day suggest otherwise.”

Last weekend Ma’an interviewed the family and human rights groups regarding the photograph:

‘Israeli rockets fell near the house, causing the playground slide to fall on top of her,’ Raja’s father Salam Abu Shaban said Sunday, pointing out the strike occurred less than 200 meters away. Her mother agreed.

The cause of death registered in a hospital medical report, seen by Ma’an, from that day in 2006 concludes that Raja died ‘due to falling from a high area during the Israeli strike on Gaza.’

It notes: ‘The Gaza prosecutor registered her as a martyr,’ a term commonly used to describe Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

Human rights organizations also say Raja died after the impact of the explosions. Israeli and Palestinian groups maintain her fall was the result of the army activity targeting militants in a nearby field.

In a register of Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli forces, the rights group B’Tselem reports that Raja ‘fell off a swing and bumped her head when a missile fired by the IDF hit an orchard 100 meters from the house.’

Recent investigations have re-confirmed this account, B’Tselem official Sarit Michaeli said Sunday.

Research by the Gaza-based rights group Al Mezan, in the days after Raja’s death, also found the impact of the strike caused her to fall, the rights group confirmed Saturday.

‘While the (Israeli army) did not target the girl directly, they launched an attack with three missiles on a densely populated area, which caused the death of the girl, the injury of three civilians and the damage of several houses in the area,’ Al Mezan noted in a statement.

The photograph that was circulated is a graphic image of three-year-old Raja Abu Shaban who died after falling from a swing, indirectly from Israeli missiles in 2006. In a correction that same year, Reuters reported with the picture:

The head of the Palestinian ambulance service, Muawiyah Hassanein, said the girl fell from a swing at her home near the scene of the attack that killed two gunmen. He believed the girl had fallen because of the sound of the blast.


Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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6 Responses

  1. Cliff
    Cliff on March 29, 2012, 4:34 pm

    The Zionist tweet calls this woman an ‘extremist’.

    These words have no meaning anymore coming from Israel and it’s supporters.

  2. Chu
    Chu on March 29, 2012, 5:20 pm

    Anyone know if the hasbara-ites are still using the windows megaphone software? The one that alerted any user in the lower right of the computer screens about online voting polls, etc.

  3. justicewillprevail
    justicewillprevail on March 29, 2012, 7:05 pm

    Israel has no regard for the truth. Preservation of the national myth and the propagandising of it takes precedence over everything. A Palestinian killed or injured is nothing to Israel except a useful warning to others – in the meantime smearing anybody who acquaints the world with the truth of Israel’s savagery is the way to maintain its pretence at civility. I don’t see how anybody can take Israeli statements seriously, other than demonstrations of their contempt of others and the delusional idea of their own credibility. Self-deception is corrosive and unhealthy as the necessity of weaving ever larger webs of lies increases.

  4. piotr
    piotr on March 29, 2012, 9:00 pm

    Anti-Semitic UN agencies at work (luckily, we stopped funding of those atrocities):

    Multinational cosmetics firm L’Oreal and UNESCO have named a Weizmann Institute biologist working in the field of probiotics, commonly referred to as beneficial bacteria, “Europe’s top young researcher.” For her work in researching probiotics to treat disease, Dr. Naama Geva-Zatorsky will receive a two-year $40,000 postdoctoral scholarship.

    Actually, a thought: should we start boycotting L’Oreal for cooperating with UNESCO, a treif UN agency?

  5. Talkback
    Talkback on March 30, 2012, 8:28 am

    Maan writes:
    “Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor called Badawi’s tweet a “false description that demonizes Israel through a furious fabrication of facts,” in a Facebook post slamming the UN.”

    If this was only “demonizing” what is Israel when IT IS in fact directly responsible for the death of a Palestinian child? Sitra Achra?

  6. asherpat
    asherpat on April 1, 2012, 12:38 am

    Even if the little girl died as a result of an Israeli attack, isnt it a little bit late (and this is for a “media co-ordinator”) to tweet about “Another child” and “Another father” as if it happened yesterday and not in 2006?

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