Opinion

Osama Dueij’s death is news, his Hamas affiliation less so

Dueij, 32, who was shot in the leg during a violent riot at the Israel-Gaza border, was a fighter in the Al Qassam Brigade, the terror group’s armed wing.

Osama Dueij. Source: Shehab News Agency via Twitter.
Osama Dueij. Source: Shehab News Agency via Twitter.
Tamar Sternthal
Tamar Sternthal
Tamar Sternthal is director of the Israel office of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

The death on Wednesday of Palestinian Osama Dueij, who was wounded last Saturday during violent clashes at the Israel-Gaza border, made headlines. His status as a fighter in the Al Qassam Brigade, Hamas’s military wing, not so much.

Take, for example, Agence France Presse’s article on Wednesday, titled “Palestinian wounded in Gaza clashes dies ahead of new protest.”

The article reports:

“A Palestinian has died from injuries sustained during weekend clashes with Israeli forces on the Gaza border, the territory’s health ministry said, ahead of fresh protests called for Wednesday.

“Following Saturday’s unrest — which wounded dozens and left an Israeli police officer in critical condition—32-year-old Palestinian Osama Khaled Deaih died after being shot by Israeli forces, the ministry said.

“The Israeli army said it responded with live fire and other measures to Palestinian ‘rioters’ who were hurling explosives over the border fence and attempting to scale it.

“The Israeli army said it responded with live fire and other measures to Palestinian ‘rioters’ who were hurling explosives over the border fence and attempting to scale it.”

AFP’s story contains no mention of Dueij’s (English spelling varies) role in the terror organization.

In addition, the even more inadequate photo captions of Dueij’s funeral likewise omit the key point that he was a terrorist belonging to Hamas’s Al Qassam Brigade. They state: “Osama Deeij, who died of a wound he sustained during an anti-Israel protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence last week … . ”

On Wednesday morning, Hamas issued a mourning announcement for Dueij, in which he is pictured in full battle gear. In the photos of the funeral, Dueij is wrapped in a flag associated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Associated Press story dedicated to Dueij’s death, published on Wednesday morning, also initially omitted Dueij’s Hamas affiliation (“Palestinian shot by Israel in Gaza border clashes dies”). It began:

“A Palestinian man died Wednesday from a bullet wound suffered during clashes with Israeli forces last week along Gaza‘s border fence over the weekend, Palestinian health officials said.

“Osama Dueij, 32, was shot in the leg on Saturday during a violent demonstration on the border. The Israeli military said demonstrators approached one area of the fence in northern Gaza and tried to climb over while throwing explosives at troops. In response, it said that troops fired tear gas and live rounds toward the protesters.”

To their credit, however, editors later added the following information to the top of the story, as the second paragraph:

“The Hamas militant group identified the man, Osama Dueij, 32, as a member of its armed wing and mourned him as a ‘heroic martyr.’ ”

Also, a subsequent story by the news agency acknowledges Dueij’s Al Qassam affiliation: “Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group identified him as a member of its armed wing.”
Nevertheless, as of this writing, AP photo captions about Dueij’s funeral still fail to note that he was a member of Hamas’s military wing.
Reuters captions, including one accompanying an image selected as an editor’s top pick, are likewise woefully inadequate. They refer to “Palestinian Osama Deeij, who died of a wound he sustained during an anti-Israel protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence on Saturday.” Not only do they neglect to acknowledge the essential point that Dueij was a member of Hamas’s military wing, but they also mischaracterize the violent clashes as “anti-Israel protest,” as if participants were doing nothing more nefarious than waving signs and shouting slogans.
Haaretz’s English-language website today published an article relying on AP’s initial incomplete report on Dueij’s death, failing to note his role in the Al Qassam Brigade. The byline was AP and Haaretz. Following communication with Haaretz, editors commendably added this important information, providing more detail than AP’s updated story:
“The Hamas militant group identified the man, Osama Dueji, 32, as a member of its armed wing and mourned him as a ‘heroic martyr.’ Masked Hamas militants joined a funeral procession for Dueji in Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp. A photo of him dressed in military fatigues, a green Hamas headband and holding a rifle was released.”
Tamar Sternthal is director of the Israel office of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

This article was first published by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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