Indy falsely claims Israeli troops “were ordered to use live fire” on 40,000 demonstrators (Updated)

This is but one extraordinarily misleading sentence within the cacophony of sensational, biased and misleading headlines, photos and articles published in the British media since late March.  Yet, it aptly demonstrates how language is often chosen by reporters not with painstaking attention to the veracity of the information being conveyed but in order to serve the broader narrative of Israeli villainy and Palestinian victimhood.

Since March 31st, Hamas-led violent riots have been staged on the Gaza border.  The terror group’s leaders have been clear that the intent of what’s termed the Great Return March – reportedly funded by Iran – was to have masses of Palestinians infiltrate the Israeli border to exact ‘revenge’ on Israelis and implement the so-called “right of return” for millions of Gazans.  The political aims, also acknowledged by Hamas leaders, was to sacrifice Palestinian lives in order to bloody Israel’s image.

Naturally, Israel resolved to defend its border, as any sovereign nation would do, and protect its civilians from the potentially calamitous impact of a proscribed terrorist group breaching the border.  Their strategy employed non-lethal means, such as warnings, rubber bullets and tear gas, and, as a last resort, live-fire.  The admission by Hamas leaders that most of those killed in recent clashes were Hamas members suggests that the IDF’s use of live-fire was judicious, and certainly consistent with the rules of engagement that the armies of most democratic countries would use when confronted with a similar threat by an armed terror group.

However, the media, beginning with the first protests, decided on its own narrative, one completely at odds with the facts:  Israeli troops open-firing on non-violent Palestinians “protesters”.  So, stories almost exclusively focused on the body count and images of Palestinian suffering, whilst erasing from the equation the violent nature of the riots and the context of Hamas’s cynical decision to win the media war by sacrificing Palestinian lives. 

The ‘IDF soldiers gunning down placard waving protesters’ narrative – reducing the Israeli army to a caricature of malevolence – was aptly illustrated in the following paragraph of an article by Bethan McKernan in the Independent focusing on Palestinian efforts to get the ICC to investigate Israel for war crimes.

There was no such order to open fire on 40,000 protesters.  Most Palestinians that day who stayed a safe distance form the border and didn’t use violence were not harmed at all.  And, even in the case of those who rioted on the border using violent means, live fire (usually aimed at lower limbs to reduce the number of fatalities) was used only when approved by a commander in the field who was assessing the threat in each individual case.

Of course, this is but one extraordinarily misleading sentence within the cacophony of sensational, biased and misleading headlines, photos and articles published in the British media since late March.  Yet, it aptly demonstrates how language – in what are putatively ‘straight news’ stories – is often chosen by reporters not with painstaking attention to the veracity of the information being conveyed to news consumers, but in order to serve the broader narrative demanded within their echo-chamber of Israeli villainy and Palestinian victimhood. 

We’ve complained to Indy editors over the erroneous claim.\

UPDATE:

We took our complaint to Indy editors, who agreed to add two words to the sentence which, though still far less than perfect, do represent an improvement. 

Here’s the new wording:

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