Australia’s ABC staff raise concerns over alleged Israeli bias in Gaza reporting

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LONDON: The New York Times has issued a partial refutation of its own investigation, acknowledging that a new video “undercuts” claims of sexual assault by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attack.

In an article on Monday, the Times conceded that “new video has surfaced that undercuts the account of an Israeli military paramedic who said two teenagers killed in the Hamas-led terrorist attack on Oct. 7 were sexually assaulted.”

The newspaper reported that footage captured by an Israeli soldier, viewed by community members in February and by the Times this month, “shows the bodies of three female victims, fully clothed and with no apparent signs of sexual violence, at a home where many residents had believed the assaults occurred.”

Residents of Kibbutz Be’eri, who viewed the footage, indicated that no other home there had two teenage girls killed, leading them to conclude from the video that the girls had not been sexually assaulted, according to the Times.

In an investigative report titled “Screams Without Words: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7,” published on Dec. 28 last year, the newspaper claimed that Palestinian militants engaged in a pattern of gender-based violence against Israeli women during the attack.

Authors Jeffrey Gettleman, Anat Schwartz, and Adam Sella cited corroborating evidence based on the account of an Israeli military paramedic.

The story was previously challenged by the news website Mondoweiss in December, ahead of publication, and directly contested by The Intercept in an investigation earlier in March, which debunked two of the three claims of sexual assault reported by the newspaper.

Citing Be’eri spokesperson Michal Paikin, The Intercept said that the two teenagers identified by the Times as victims of sexual assault “were just shot.”

The Times also faced scrutiny after the publication of the story, with family members of the victims accusing its reporters of manipulation “to score a journalistic achievement.”

The newspaper reported that they had contacted the medic, who “declined to confirm whether he still supported the account.”

However, the article said that a Times reporter who viewed the video “confirmed the identities of the victims,” also noting the absence of a public record detailing how every victim of the Oct. 7 attack was killed.

A UN report released earlier in March, criticized for relying largely on Israeli government sources, said there are “reasonable grounds” and “circumstantial evidence (that) may be indicative of some forms of sexual violence.”

However, the report concluded that “at least two allegations of sexual violence widely reported in the media,” which supposedly took place in Kibbutz Be’eri, “were unfounded.”

Ali Abunimah, executive director of the Electronic Intifada, wrote in an article: “By now, almost every element of ‘Screams Without Words’ has fallen apart — along with the rest of Israel’s mass rape propaganda.

“And yet The New York Times continues to stand by an article that should — by any minimal standard of ethical journalism — be retracted entirely.”