The first sign the Daily Mail decided, despite conflicting claims and a dearth of evidence, to immediately pronounce Israel guilty of murdering a 12-year-old Palestinian boy is in the sensational headline:
Note that editors evidently felt they didn’t need to use ‘scare quotes’ or any language indicating that these are only Palestinian charges at this point that have not yet been proven and have indeed been denied by Israeli officials.
The opening passages continues in the same pattern of extremely tendentious reporting:
Huge crowds carried the body of a Palestinian boy killed by a rubber bullet during a clash with Israeli troops to his funeral today. Muhey al-Tabakhi, 12, got caught up in the violence in the occupied West Bank on the outskirts of Jerusalem in Al-Ram. He died in a Palestinian hospital of a wound inflicted by the bullet that struck his chest and caused heart failure.
Daily Mail then shows photos of mourners carrying the boy’s dead body, and an evocative photo of a 12-year-old relative of the dead child crying at the funeral.
Finally, further down in the article, we learn that charges that Israel killed the boy with live fire only represents claims by the PA Health Ministry:
‘Mohiyeh al-Tabakhi, 12, was killed by shots fired by occupation soldiers in the Al-Ram area near Jerusalem,’ the Palestinian health ministry said in a statement.
Then we get the Israeli response:
Israeli police said tear gas grenades and sound bombs had been used against demonstrators in the area.
‘After being pelted with Molotov cocktails, police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the protesters,’ police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
‘There was no live fire,’ she added.
In contrast to the Daily Mail, other publications who reported on the boy’s death were much more careful in qualifying Palestinian claims.
Reuters went with the much less problematic headline, ‘Palestinian boy killed during clash with Israeli troops in West Bank: Palestinians’, informing readers that these are only Palestinian claims at this point. The Guardian published a version of the Reuters report but used the less prejudicial headline: ‘Palestinian boy, 12, killed on outskirts of East Jerusalem. Associated Press (AP) published a photo of the aftermath of the incident, and noted in the caption only that Palestinians ‘claim’ the boy was killed by Israeli fire and that Israel denies the charges.
Even Al-Jazeera was clear in the text (if not in the headline) that it was the Palestinian health ministry alleging that Israeli police shot and killed the boy.
Though the Daily Mail generally is not nearly one of the worst UK media publications when it comes to accuracy in reporting about Israel, regarding such immediate rushes to judgment this is not a one-off.
In 2014, Daily Mail published an International Solidarity Movement propaganda video alleging (with little evidence) that an IDF sniper killed a Palestinian civilian in Gaza. In 2015, Daily Mail was among the publications which attempted to sell the laughable claim that Israel flooded Gaza by maliciously opening (non-existent!) dams.
We’ve contacted Daily Mail editors asking for a significant revision to their story on the death of the Palestinian boy, and ask that you do the same by emailing them here: email@example.com
- HURRAH for ‘blood-stained’ SHIRTS!: Daily Mail leads with ISM propaganda (UK Media Watch)
- AFP Lies, Dam Lies and Floods (CAMERA)