A United Nations report has suggested that a Palestinian infant who died in the fighting in Gaza last November was killed by an errant Palestinian rocket, and not an Israeli airstrike as was widely reported at the time. The infant’s death quickly became a powerful symbol of the conflict.
The 11-month-old infant was the son of a BBC journalist in Gaza, Jihad al-Masharawi, and photographs of the distraught father carrying the body of his son, Omar, wrapped in a white shroud were printed in newspapers worldwide, including The Washington Post, and widely distributed on social media.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, based in Gaza, said the Masharawi home had been hit by a missile fired by an Israeli warplane. Human Rights Watch also said that the house had been hit by an Israeli strike, citing news reports and witnesses who spoke to the group. Paul Danahar, the BBC Middle East bureau chief, wrote on his Twitter account that an Israeli shell had come through the roof of the small Gaza home.
But a March 6 report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the eight-day conflict, which ended with a cease-fire, stated that three people in the home — Omar, a woman and an 18-year-old youth — were most likely the victims of “what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.”