2013 World Press Pro-Hamas Propaganda Photo of the Year Exposed as Fraud


fake gaza photo

Gaza and the West Bank are a propaganda photographer’s paradise. It’s the Pallywood entertainment center where fauxtography thrives and anyone can make up their own Zionist War Machine photo by paying a few local lads to throw stones at a Jewish family or getting a bunch of the locals to parade some corpses around for the cameras.

Sadly Paul Hansen didn’t have the budget to get enough of the locals in the same place at the same time to get the “packed corpse mass” he was going for, so he had to do some compositing and then once he did that, he began playing around with the lighting to make his very own Photoshop Guernica.

On November 20, 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip, Swedish photojournalist Paul Hansen snapped a powerful image depicting the funeral of two Palestinian children. Three months later, it was chosen by World Press Photo as its picture of the year.

“The strength of the [picture],” noted World Press Photo jury member Mayu Mohanna on the winning image, “lies in the way it contrasts the anger and sorrow of the adults with the innocence of the children. It’s a picture I will not forget.”

But the prize-winning photo, entitled “Gaza Burial,” was a bit too perfect, it seems.

On February 15, the day the prize was announced, observers started questioning the veracity of the photo. A commenter on the British Journal of Photography website pointed out that the lighting led her to believe the image was photoshopped.

Expert analysis followed. Forensic image specialist Neal Krawetz published a comprehensive study of the photo, finding that it was “significantly altered.” Looking at the size of the image, Krawetz states that, at the very least, the image was cropped considerably.

He then examined the save history of the photo, and concluded that, based on three separate conversions of the photo, it is actually a composite of three images. “This is what you typically see when a picture is spliced,” he noted.

Hansen insisted that the photo captured the auspicious lighting in the alley, and that he did not alter the image. However, he failed to present the digital original of the photo, or RAW file, to the awards ceremony on May 1, saying that he simply forgot to bring it along.

Boston University historian Richard Landes, who writes about media coverage of the Middle East at The Second Draft, sees this incident as part of a larger pattern. “These manipulations and forgeries — what I call ‘Pallywood’ — take many forms. In its most extreme, staged scenes, Syrian babies presented as Palestinian victims of Israeli aggression, make it into the Western press. This incident is more akin to the photoshopped scene of Beirut in 2006 when the Reuters photographer added plumes of smoke.” Landes called these instances “a systematic manipulation of Western empathy.”

“This incident is inexcusable,” added Landes. “The Reuters journalist was fired on the spot.”

Considering that Hansen was peddling his fakes for the notoriously anti-Israel Swedish Dagens Nyheter newspaper, the chances of him being held accountable for it are slim.

  • Omar

    Hooray for Pallywood….. not!
    Hamas lives on creating lies and false propaganda against Israel and the West for a long time. It is about time that their lies and propaganda have been exposed for what they truly are. Now if we can expose the false notion of a "Palestinian" nationality by using history and facts, just like what Newt Gingrich did in that notable interview during the presidential campaign.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Propaganda is the hallmark of the Muslim Mafia (Hamas is Egypt's Brotherhood spawn) and its height of mendacity became well known during Pallywood's Al-Dura cinematic magic trick; first he dies, then he lives! Unarguably, Arafat, the Godfather of suicide terror, was behind the spark which gave fuel to the murderous intifada, and France's tv was more than a willing accomplice.
    But that was then…and this is now…and nothing has changed! And if people think this is just Israel's headache, think again. CAIR, Hamas's western propaganda arm is gunning for American submission, and few have a clue. Time to catch up to speed – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/05/13/the-outgrowth

    The west is in DEEP trouble!

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • Drakken

    Note to any soldier or contractor working in the the ME or N Africa, anyone of the press is fair game, remember to shoot, shovel and shut up, it will save your life and a lifetime of lawsuits and keep you out of jail.Always remember the press is not your friend and always your enemy. .

  • UCSPanther

    No surprise why Hamas and other Palestinian supporters cannot catch a break. They lie like a sidewalk and they aren't very good at it either…

  • Spikey1

    The photo is still listed as the photo of the year by world press: http://www.worldpressphoto.org/awards/2013
    Shoot them a mail and tell them how you feel: office@worldpressphoto.org

  • benjabo

    Anyone out there recall the fable of Mohammed Al Durah being killed by the IDF
    It never happened, trick photography by Pallywood

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Anyone out there recall the fable of Mohammed Al Durah being killed by the IDF
      It never happened, trick photography by Pallywood"

      It was staged. That's different from this one. OTOH, there are probably many propagandists who took the media and further altered it digitally and perhaps that's what you refer to. Anything goes with liars, obviously. Liars lie the way that the Sun can be relied upon to shine.

      Actually the al Durah case is probably the biggest media scandal of all time. It just hasn't been revealed as such yet. But it did help motivate support for jihad in Israel and around the world against the West and yet it was a cynical evil case of jihadis killing their own children in order to create more momentum for their genocidal intentions.

      I don't use the word "genocide" lightly the way leftists due. They want to purge the entire subcontinent of anyone not complying with sharia by liquidating them.

      • Drakken

        Well I for for one say a good defense is a great offense, so oblige the jihadist and give them what they so richly deserve, a healthy taste of martyrdom.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "Hansen insisted that the photo captured the auspicious lighting in the alley, and that he did not alter the image. However, he failed to present the digital original of the photo, or RAW file, to the awards ceremony on May 1, saying that he simply forgot to bring it along."

    Sure. Any photographers who can't get that straight clearly can't be trusted. Give me a break.

    • Drakken

      That is why I have a strict policy of no press allowed in my area of operations, period, no exceptions.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "That is why I have a strict policy of no press allowed in my area of operations, period, no exceptions."

        That's the only way to deal with any of them. Western journalists are too scared to publish the truth and those that aren't scared get their courage from the knowledge that they are serving the side of the barbarians.

  • sharpshooter

    This article is already out of date. The image has been verified by WFP as real: http://www.worldpressphoto.org/news/digital-photo…. Though I am sure the word conspiracy will still continue to ring on FPM.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "This article is already out of date. The image has been verified by WFP as real: http://www.worldpressphoto.org/news/digital-photo…. Though I am sure the word conspiracy will still continue to ring on FPM."

      Given the history of fraud from our enemies, does it make sense to ever submit such a photo without including the RAW image? No it does not. I'd like to see the RAW myself of this and ANY image that shows barbarians in a sympathetic light. And even then photojournalism can be used to deceive.

      We're right to be skeptical any time images are used to create empathy for a totalitarian cause.

  • copitsweet

    Hahahahahahahaha. This is the worst propaganda page for Israel I have ever seen. The judges have spoken. Its real. The children are dead. Israel killed them. So the who cares if it is a fake or not. The story is the kids killed by Israeli's. Certainly not the first to be killed by a rabid land hungry people whose Eretz Israel plan is for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Innocent Men, Women and worst of all Children. Would Israel kill its innocent children in Israel to stop a terrorist?

    • UCSPanther

      I love it when idiots like you fall hook, line and sinker for these shabby photoshops.

      Just like the schmucks who are absolutely convinced that the Protocols are true…

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "I love it when idiots like you fall hook, line and sinker for these shabby photoshops."

        The picture itself is propaganda. Whether or not a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture is no more honest than the words of a liar if the composer uses it to deceive.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "The story is the kids killed by Israeli's."

      Exactly our point: people like you lie so much. The "Palestinians" killed their own children every time they take aggressive action against the legitimate sovereign in Israel. Is that fundamental truth depicted? Of course not.

      It's all about getting you to weep over tragedy by reacting to what is in front of you immediately to distract you from the salient points about who is culpable. It's a nutshell game with human lives rather than a pea.

      Sucker. Dupe.

  • Noisy Tappet

    Own goal by the pro-Israel freaks, then. Unless Hansen was hired by Hamas most of these comments are out of order. And if the image is genuine, what's the problem? Is it true Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli, or has his 'persona' been photoshopped?

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "Unless Hansen was hired by Hamas most of these comments are out of order." "

      One word: fixer

      "And if the image is genuine, what's the problem?"

      Context.

      • Noisy Tappet

        What's that supposed to mean?

        • objectivefactsmatter

          "What's that supposed to mean?"

          So you don't know enough about the politics and circumstances to understand our objections?

          • Noisy Tappet

            Having been there myself (have you?) I don't see the relevance of your remark. Please explain.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            You: "Unless Hansen was hired by Hamas most of these comments are out of order." "

            Me: One word: fixer

            You: "What's that supposed to mean?"

            And then: "Having been there myself (have you?) I don't see the relevance of your remark. Please explain."

            So you've been there before and you don't know how the press finds their subjects? I guess your trip was useless. Virtually everything any Western (or non-Muslim) journalists sees is staged.

            The photo is staged. The photographer might be a completely naive tool, but the event was staged. I have video from a number of funerals where the supposed dead people were shaken awake by accident. We also know the al-Durah even was staged, which means his death was intentionally caused by the "Palestinians" in order to create deceptive propaganda.

            Any non-Jihadi who uncritically presents media content from these events is a dupe or a traitor.

            I admit that is not directly related to the question about post-editing but it does explain where my concerns lie. And it answers your question; "And if the image is genuine, what's the problem?"

            If you read all of my comments and you've actually been there doing anything to learn the facts about the jihad, you'd understand clearly already.

          • Noisy Tappet

            Good answer, and I understand all about staged photos (and video 'evidence'). Some will argue that it's justified to bring home the facts of a situation, and we get it from both sides. Nevertheless it's no use denying that the Israeli bombardment of Gazan civilians, whether during Cast Lead or on a routine day-to-day basis, produces horrific scenes like this one. My visit wasn't as a pressman, it was for other fact-finding purposes and I wasn't presented with any staged horror. The suffering under siege and blockade, for Christians and Muslims alike, was only too real.

            As for the Hansen photo, experts seem to think it's genuine (i.e. not overly manipulated), although we're left to wonder about the location. As for Hamas, the report doesn't show that they commissioned it or were involved in any way. Even if it's a work of fiction it packs a good anti-war punch applicable to Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever, which I applaud. Hope you do too. And that's why I don't have a big problem with it, given the info so far. Question is, do you file it under Photojournalism or War Art?

            Earlier you mentioned "our enemies". Who are they? How do they (presumably the Palestinians), largely weaponless and fighting for freedom and independence, so seriously threaten you in the US that you brand them enemies? Just curious……

          • objectivefactsmatter

            "Question is, do you file it under Photojournalism or War Art?"

            Clearly war art. Which means propaganda. As I understand it, the award is for photojournalism hence my objection.

            I also object to the fact that it tells a story that is not accurate, presenting the parents as victims. I don't think that's the case generally, so the story it tells is false. They are victims for sure, but victims of their own making.

            A better staged photo would be showing these funerals with Hamas rocket launchers somewhere in the scene. That would be more truthful.

            Photojournalism is supposed to be a fusion of emotion and objectivity to tell a true story with the emotional impact of the photo. The objectivity is difficult to find most of the time these days. Most photojournalists have a hard time finding the truth these days, chasing the "emotional impact" factor.

  • Noisy Tappet

    Civilian parents of a dead child killed under illegal Israeli bombardment are "victims of their own making"? And you'd fake such funerals by pasting Hamas rocket launchers into the background rather than Israeli F-15s overhead, maybe lobbing a clutch of white phosphorus bombs? What stuff are you on, pal? It sure transports you to another planet. I wonder how you'd have made out under Cast Lead's 3 weeks of death and destruction?