The media often distorts the Palestinian struggle for self-determination against the occupation, and the recent Israeli bombardment of Gaza provides one such damaging example.

In one of the most serious escalations of violence seen in recent years, Israel has fired hundreds of missiles into the occupied Gaza over the weekend, leaving 19 people dead, including two pregnant women and a toddler. 

Hostilities began on Friday when Israel killed two Palestinians in the besieged territory. Hamas and Islamic Jihad, groups that are fighting against Israeli occupation, fired missiles in retaliation into Israeli territory, leaving four people dead. 

Israeli violence towards the people of Gaza typically manifests through regular territorial incursions, the targeted killing of protesters during weekly Friday marches, and preventing vital food and aid from entering the territory. 

The most recent burst of violence coincides with the start of the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. 

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has sparked outrage among activists, as has coverage of its behaviour by international media outlets.

The New York Times ran the headline ‘Gaza Militants Fire 250 Rockets, & Israel Responds with Airstrikes’, placing the blame for starting the flare-up on Palestinians, and missing critical context, which some users saw as misleading.

Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian woman in Congress, chided the New York Times over perpetuating the idea that Israel is the victim, and that Palestinians are the aggressors.

Other outlets were no better.

CNN also blamed the Palestinians for starting the flare-up and the outlet appeared to blame Palestinians for the death of Palestinian children. It took CNN another six paragraphs to reveal that Israeli airstrikes killed a pregnant Palestinian woman.

Interestingly, Palestinian deaths are primarily viewed as ‘retaliation’ by international media outlets, while Israeli deaths would never receive that kind coverage.

Screen grab of CNN headline and their reporting of Gaza.
Screen grab of CNN headline and their reporting of Gaza. (CNN)

Another online user took aim at The Guardian in London, which again framed the violence as the responsibility of the Palestinians.

Screen grab of The Guardian and their reporting of Gaza.
Screen grab of The Guardian and their reporting of Gaza. (The Guardian)

The Los Angeles Times was also criticised for underplaying Palestinian deaths and framing the issue as the Israeli victim versus a Palestinian aggressor.

And, as if it to drive the apparent point home:

Whereas Palestinian writer Ahmed Masoud, originally from Gaza, refused to be cowed by what he sees as attempts by the Western media to ‘shame’ Palestinians by accepting Israeli occupation and killing.

US reactions

US President Donald Trump, one of the most openly pro-Israeli presidents in American history, was quick to offer his support to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and unusually found himself on the same side as the media he regularly attacks for being biased.

Trump’s tweet blaming Palestinians for the situation is not out of the ordinary but part of a longstanding US policy to speak in favour of Israel and blame Palestinians for their situation. 

However, a new crop of Democratic Congress members has also brought a different standpoint to US politics, which is often uncritically tilted towards Israeli political and economic interests. 

Source: TRT World