TO BE PUBLISHED MAKOR RISHON, MARCH 21, 2003
(TRANSLATION TO FOLLOW)
(Reuters pix mentioned below can be e-mailed to you upon request
ISRAEL RESOURCE NEWS AGENCY
BEIT AGRON INTERNATIONAL PRESS CENTER
Mis-captioned Reuters photo transforms accidental death into homicide.
Joe Smith, age 21, came with his college friend Rachel Corrie this past
Sunday, March 16th to Gaza to protest against terrorist home demolitions as
part of his activity with the International Solidarity Movement.
Both Joe and Rachel had studied at Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington.
Joe was witness to Rachel's tragic death late that afternoon, and
described what he saw to my colleague , recounting that "she was sitting on
a mound of earth in front of the bulldozer. The earth started to move under
her when the bulldozer digs in. You have a couple of options you can roll
aside-you have to be very quick to get out of the way. You can fall back,
but she leaned forward to try to climb up on top. She got pulled down, and
the bulldozer lost sight of her.Then, without lifting the blade, he
reversed and she was underneath the blade". Joe Smith did not sound
accusatory nor vindictive against the IDF bulldozer driver.
So why did the world have a different impression of what had happened?
Well, a picture is worth a thousand words.
The picture distributed by the Reuters News Agency showed Rachel Corrie
standing in front of the Bulldozer with a megaphone. That is the picture
that appeared on page three of the New York Times on March 17, 2003
The Reuters caption stated what the picture said that this picture was
taken before Rachel Corrie was crushed by this bulldozer, giving the reader
the distinct impression that Rachel Corrie had been standing with a
megaphone in clear sight of the bulldozer.
That would have made this act some kind of homicide.
The next photo distributed by Reuters showed Rachel lying in front of the
And then I began to notice something.
The lighting of the Gaza sky was different in both pictures of what were
supposed to be sequential shots.. The landscape in each picture was
I checked with Reuters to find out about the discrepancy of the picture
sequence.. The Reuters photo editor said, however, that , these were NOT
their pictures. They were sent by the International Solidarity Movement.
Indeed, these pictures did appear on the ISM web site at
www.palsolidarity,org. The Reuters photo editor assured me, however, that
the pix were clearly labeled as ISM pictures. A check with the Reuters web
site showed that they were labeled as Reuters pix.
A call back to Joe Smith about the sequence of the pix revealed another
unknown fact. Smith said that no one was on the spot with a camera before
Rachel Corrie was mauled by the bulldozer, and that the picture of Rachel
with the megaphone had been taken many hours earlier..
I placed a call to Tim Heritage, bureau chief of Reuters, and asked him
about Reuters policy in using pictures from political groups that might
manipulate the media..
I gave him a heads up about the fact that Reuters had
issued the photo of Rachel Corrie standing alongside the bulldozer with a
Heritage said that he would look into the matter and asked for a call back.
I called back an hour later. Heritage was not available. However, all of
the Rachel Corrie/bulldozer pix had been wiped off of the Reuters web site.
Yet the damage was done.
The indelible image of a mauled "peace activist standing with a megaphone"
will not leave people's minds for many years to come.