French Reporter: Arafat Donating Blood for 9/11 Was Staged Photo Op

January 27th, 2008 7:42 PM

Remember that touching picture of Yassar Arafat donating his blood to the 9/11 victims that was conveniently published after CNN ran footage of Palestinians cheering and handing out candy to celebrate the destruction in New York? Now France 2 journalist Charles Enderlin says that photo was staged; Arafat never gave blood.

The photos were taken by an AP photographer with a history of biased journalism and given captions that read like “a press release covering talking points.” Power Line's Scott Johnson reported Enderlin's revelation in a January 24 Weekly Standard article (bold mine throughout):

As Joel Pollak recounted online at the site Guide to the Perplexed [ed. link here], Enderlin told his Harvard audience "that Yasser Arafat had faked his blood donation to the victims of the September 11th attacks. Enderlin said the event had been staged for the media to counteract the embarrassing television images of Palestinians celebrating in the streets after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks."

The story of Arafat's blood donation was reported around the world in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, usually accompanied by photographs depicting Arafat in the apparent act of giving blood at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Enderlin elaborated on his contention that the scene depicted in the photographs was staged. According to Pollak's account of Enderlin's remarks, "Arafat didn't like needles, and so the doctor put a needle near his arm and agitated a bag of blood. The reporters took the requisite photographs."

Interestingly, although Enderlin was not involved in Arafat's hoax, he is no stranger to fabricated Palestinian propaganda. Because Johnson questioned whether Enderlin should be taken at his word, he looked more closely at the photos and decided they corroborate Enderlin's description.

Two photographs of a reclining Arafat are credited to the AP's Adel Hana. Both photos ran with a caption that reads like a press release: "Arafat, along with hundreds of Palestinians, participated in a blood drive for the victims of the deadly airline hijackings in the United States, which he condemned as a 'horrible attack.' " We all know how much Arafat disliked horrible attacks by Arab terrorists.

In neither photo is a needle in evidence. In the first AP photo, Arafat is prostrate. His blood has not yet been drawn and no blood is in evidence. Rather, Arafat stares warily at the tourniquet placed around his bare arm. The donation is about to be made. A nurse with a head scarf is about to search for the chairman's vein, Arafat looking on at his arm.

In the other AP photo, Arafat has apparently given his blood. The nurse with the head scarf is nowhere to be seen. In her place, a kneeling male medical official with his back to the camera jointly holds a nearly bursting bag of blood together with a uniformed security officer. With Enderlin's gloss, the photo takes on a comic aspect. Heavy lifting is required; it takes two hands to hold all the blood donated by the chairman to the beloved American people!

Johnson also gave some examples of the kind of biased journalism favoring Palestinians that typifies reporting from that area.

Something Johnson didn't mention was one of the reasons why Arafat would not want to give blood. It was rumored that the PLO leader was HIV positive and gay. Arafat's reticence to donate may have more to do with his blood than his supposed fear of needles.

If true, this photo is just a part of a larger pattern of staged events, fauxtography and biased reporting that flows out of the Palestinian Territories. The irony here is that even though Enderlin says this photo-op was staged, he still stands behind one of the most significant Palestinian media hoaxes ever, the France 2 video that supposedly showed the Israelis shooting and killing 12-year-old Mohammad al-Dura. The image of a father using his   body to shield his son from Israeli bullets was sold around the world as truth and directly inspired many terrorists and helped gin up support for the Second Intifada.

At least this revelation, if true, gives some insight this collaboration between the media and the Palestinians designed to manipulate public opinion against the Israelis and in favor of the Palestinians.

Lynn contributes to NewsBusters and can be emailed with tips or complaints at tvisgoodforyou2 “at yahoo”dot” com.