Front Page: The headlines in Norway’s national newspapers were huge: “Palestinian journalist in press vest shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza.” “Palestinian photographer killed by Israeli soldiers.” “Sharpshooter’s bullet hit his armpit. Palestinian photographer killed.”
The victim of the April 6 killing was identified as Yasser Murtaja, a “videojournalist” and “30-year-old father” who had co-founded Ain Media, a production company that works with the BBC, Al Jazeera, and other foreign media. In this instance, Murtaja was working for an NGO called Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
At the time he was shot, according to the NTB news agency report that ran in all three major Norwegian dailies, Murtaja was “over 100 meters from the Israeli border fence” and wearing a bulletproof vest “clearly marked PRESS.” The NTB story added that “according to Palestinian sources,” Murtaja “had no ties to Hamas or other militant groups.” (In the Norwegian media, “Palestinian sources” are treated as reliable in such matters.) On April 7, several hundred mourners attended Murtaja’s funeral.
Now, anyone who has seen Richard Landes’s 2005 documentary Pallywood, or who is familiar with the case of Muhammed al-Durrah, knows that any news story involving a supposed “Palestinian journalist” should be regarded with at least a soupçon of suspicion. For one thing, Palestinians who call themselves journalists have routinely faked videos of Israeli atrocities and sold them to gullible Western media. For another, Palestinian terrorists have used press badges to get close to the enemy. NGOs like the NRC are well aware of this conduct. Some overlook it. Others are in on it. (An official of another NGO, World Vision, is currently on trial for funneling millions of dollars to Hamas to fund terrorist activities.) MORE