Two paragraphs in an Aug. 8 op-ed, about the war between Israel and the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), by the Indy’s Middle East correspondent Bel Trew is a good illustration of the media’s double standards in covering Israel and the Palestinians.
Before citing the paragraphs in question, the headline (“Children are dying in Gaza – an internationally-supported peace deal is overdue”) and opening sentence, “Gaza is being bombed and Palestinian children are being killed again”, are instructive, as they reinforce one the more popular and vicious lies popularised by the media: That Israel intentionally kills Palestinian children.
However, in this war, the facts are extremely inconvenient for those journalists who fancy this lethal narrative – particularly evidence that quite a few of the children in question were killed as the result of errant Palestinian rockets.
First, according to the IDF, about 20 per cent of PIJ rockets misfired, causing 15 civilian deaths, including eight children. Further, an investigation by Associated Press determined that that the IDF’s figures are likely accurate, adding that “close to one-third of the Palestinians who died in the latest outbreak of violence…may have been killed by errant rockets fired by the Palestinian side”, including most of the children who died.
The most well-reported incident of a Palestinian rocket misfiring, which resulted in the death of four children, occurred on Saturday in the Jabaliyah camp in northern Gaza, and is illustrated by the following chart – and in this video:
Now for the two paragraphs in the op-ed by Trew:
…the health ministry in Gaza says Israeli airstrikes have killed 31 people, including six children and four women, one of them elderly. A further 275 people have been wounded.
Israel has rejected that it is responsible for all the deaths of children in Gaza, claiming errant rocket fire was to blame in some circumstances, including one incident in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, in which six Palestinians were killed Saturday. The Independent was not able to verify that.
Note what Trew did here. Claims by the health ministry run by Hamas – the antisemitic extremist group committed to Israel’s annihilation – that Israeli attacks killed “31 people, including six children and four women” are cited without wording questioning the veracity of the terror group’s numbers.
Israel’s denial, on the other hand, is qualified by cautioning readers that the media outlet “was not able to verify that”. So, the accused Jewish state is presumed guilty, unless they, or others, can prove their innocence – making the odds of acquittal on par with that of suspects in Soviet show trials.
Hamas’s claims, in contrast, are presumed reliable, unless proven false.
Further, how, if they don’t accept the IDF’s evidence, and AP’s corroboration, could the Independent definitively prove that misfired Palestinian rockets killed the children in Jabaliyah, short of their reporters somehow witnessing both the rocket fire and the resulting explosion? The answer is that they can’t.
All they and other media outlets covering the conflict can do is, as Associate Press did, follow the evidence. As such, here’s what AP wrote about the incident in question:
Islamic Jihad had announced a rocket attack on the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, just north of Jebaliya, at around the same time as the explosion [that killed the four children].
Video footage of the aftermath circulated online, showing what appeared to be a rocket casing sticking out of the ground on a narrow, busy street. When the AP visited the site on Monday, the casing was gone and the hole had been filled in with dirt. Palestinians are usually keen to display evidence of Israeli airstrikes to international media.
Can we prove (i.e., “verify”) that journalists covering the region on behalf of British media outlets such as the Indy and Guardian are profoundly biased against Israel? No. But, as with PIJ rockets killing children in Gaza, the evidence speaks for itself.