Propaganda war: trusting what we see?

Israel has tried to take the initiative in the propaganda war over Gaza but, in one important instance, its version has been seriously challenged.

The incident raises the question of how to interpret video taken from the air.

Israel released video of an air attack on 28 December, which appeared to show rockets being loaded onto a truck. The truck and those close to it were then destroyed by a missile.

It turned out, however, that a 55-year-old Gaza resident named Ahmed Sanur, or Samur, claimed that the truck was his and that he and members of his family and his workers were moving oxygen cylinders from his workshop.

This workshop had been damaged when a building next door was bombed by the Israelis and he was afraid of looters, he said.

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem put Mr Sanur's account on its website, together with a photograph of burned out oxygen cylinders.

Mr Sanur said that eight people, one of them his son, had been killed. He subsequently told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz: "These were not Hamas, they were our children... They were not Grad missiles.".

The Israeli response was that the "materiel" was being taken from a site that had stored weapons. The video remains on You Tube.

But the incident shows how an apparently definitive piece of video can turn into something much more doubtful.

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