Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Palestinian outrage at Polisario "disinformation"

Spanish News Agency EFE Admits Publishing 4-year-old Gaza Photos from Pro-Polisario Source that Falsely Identified Victims as Coming from W. Sahara

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat on Saturday condemned Spanish news agency EFE's "unacceptable and unfounded" publication last week of 4-year-old photos of Palestinian infants injured in Gaza which were falsely identified as photos of victims of Monday's unrest in Laayoune, in Moroccan Sahara. The false photos (see example below)  were printed in the major Spanish newspapers El Pais and El Mundo prior to a pro-Polisario demonstration this past weekend in Madrid.

"I saw the EFE's pictures; they well and truly come from the Gaza Strip and not Laayoune," said Erekat, who denounced the photos as "disinformation" to mislead international public opinion and distort Morocco's record. He reaffirmed Palestinian support for Morocco's efforts to settle the Western Sahara conflict through dialogue and peaceful means, and condemned EFE's failure to respect journalistic ethics.

EFE admitted the error on Friday, saying it purchased the photos from activists at a pro-Polisario website. The photos showed the Gaza infants with their heads bandaged in a hospital. The caption in El Pais said: "Two injured Saharan children are treated at a hospital in Laayoune."

The Polisario Front and its supporters have made a number of unsubstantiated allegations over the past week to cover up serious violence committed by their backers in Laayoune.

Last Monday, Moroccan authorities attempted to peacefully disperse a protest in Laayoune that began legitimately but was taken over by pro-Polisario militants. 70 Moroccan police were injured and 10 police killed when they moved in with non-lethal gear, no weapons, and were attacked by militants with knives, bottled gas canisters, and Molotov cocktails.

This account was supported by independent eyewitnesses. After examining the protest site, the UN Secretary-General's representative Hany Abdel-Aziz, head of MINURSO, the UN presence in Western Sahara, told French daily Le Monde, "I saw no trace of bullet cartridges." Instead, he was "amazed by the number of butane gas bottles" which militants used to set fires.

Most of the demonstrators left the camps when authorities asked and escaped serious harm. Abdel-Aziz commented that the truth was far from the thousands of civilian casualties the Polisario claimed.


Tomas - Praha said...

Thank God for a sane perspective on this mess. The right wing Polisario have for years been suckering the "new age" left with their nonsense. Yes, the situation is messy, but why not do what the people in the camps want? Give them autonomy. Just get the Algerian backed Polisario dinosaurs out of the place.

Abdel said...

:) Yes, agree. But I can't wait for the Polisario lobby to respond!! They really are well meaning and, in their favor, I must say they do actually believe that Polisario line. Scary as that is, I hope that one day they will put their undoubted energy to good use and take on the issue of Tibet or Burma.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for publishing this story. It is good to see a ray of truth in this sad affair.

Benny said...

I don't know why you lot seem to think this is anything new. The Polisario have been suckering Western kids for years with this b*** S***. Thankfully, as they say, you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

Karl said...

Good article. Thanks very much for your perspective and perception.

Mr Spin Stopper said...

How unusual to come across a story on the polisario that does not support their spin doctoring of the truth. Bravo and well done.


You are wrong about the real name of the island. It's not really called "lila" and therefore means "night" in Arabic. There is an indigenous Amazigh name for it in the Rif. If only our government (and this blog) were less Arabcentric and began to view things in their right perspective, Spain would not dare claim this disputed island as Imazighen (Berbers)had been and owned the land centuries before the Spaniards and Arabs were born in the annals of history.