Guardian photo caption fail – Yasser Arafat International Airport edition

The following photo was included in the Feb. 6th edition of the Guardian’s Top 20 Photographs of the Week:

rafah photo

First, it would be difficult to find a photo more emblematic of the foreign media’s narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A context-free image of a Palestinian boy herding sheep amongst the ruins of a once thriving international transportation hub.

Additionally, the caption is quite misleading.  

Despite the suggestion implicit in the text, the airport was actually “bombed by Israel”…over 13 years ago!  A casual reader would be forgiven for believing that the bombing occurred quite recently. In fact, the original Reuters story (republished at Israeli outlets such as Ynet and Haaretz) which included the photo is clear that the airport was indeed bombed during the Second Intifada.

As far as the Guardian photo caption’s claim that “it is very rare if anyone travels”, the Reuters article (Travel agency in isolated Gaza recalls the ‘golden’ 1950s, Feb. 5) also informs readers that roughly “1,000 Gazans…cross into its territory every day, for work, medical treatment or other humanitarian reasons.” (Information about Gaza crossings released routinely by COGAT back up these figures.)

One Guardian photo, a mere 53 words, and yet so misleading. 

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