The ongoing injustices of Israel against the Palestinian people have unveiled a stark bias in reporting and narratives pushed by politicians and media outlets.
As echoed on social media, news outlets and political figures have spoken out on the conflict, but have started off with the opposite end of the story – starting with Palestinian reactions and violence.
There’s no doubt there is violence from Palestinians, which must be condemned, but as Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa pointed out in a Friday Sermon in 2014:
“Compared to Israel, the Palestinians have no power or strength. If it is said that Hamas is also perpetrating cruelty, then the Muslim countries should also stop them. However, if you are to compare the two sides, it is as if one side is using sticks to commit cruelty, whilst the other side is utilising an army and missiles to perpetrate its cruelty.” (Friday Sermon, 25 July 2014)
Speaking of the Israeli attempts to establish settlements in Sheikh Jarrah and to force Palestinians out of their homes – that sparked the recent violence – Saleh Higazi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International said:
“The latest violence brings into sharp focus Israel’s sustained campaign to expand illegal Israeli settlements and step-up forced evictions of Palestinian residents – such as those in Sheikh Jarrah – to make way for Israeli settlers. These forced evictions are part of a continuing pattern in Sheikh Jarrah, they flagrantly violate international law and would amount to war crimes.” (www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/israel-must-not-be-allowed-continue-its-rampage-against-palestinians)
As a result, Palestinians protested in cities including Jerusalem, but were met with the untamed force of the Israeli army, which stormed into the al-Aqsa mosque – one of the holiest for Muslims – firing rubber-coated steel bullets and throwing stun grenades at worshippers. This aggression took place in the holy month of Ramadan and during the possible days of Lailatul Qadr. The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon rightly tweeted:
“Attacking a place of worship at any time is reprehensible, but attacking a mosque during Ramadan is utterly indefensible. It is also a violation of international law. Israel should heed calls to halt the violence immediately.”
In contrast to this background, reporting in the Western media has focused on the rockets fired by Hamas that came later and the “defensive” response by Israel in return.
Most of the public reading these headlines will have no clue of the background and events leading up to Hamas firing rockets – which should be condemned – and will be sucked into the narrative that the Palestinians have been the aggressors.
Often, these headlines will be edited and changed due to public backlash. Even accepting that “Palestinians” are being killed in airstrikes has been difficult for news outlets.
The New York Times, in a leading headline, said, “Gaza Militants Fire Rockets at Jerusalem; Israel Responds With Airstrikes”.
In a now-deleted headline, the New York Post falsely reported, “Airstrikes from Hamas militants kill 20 in Israel, including nine kids.” The deaths actually took place in Gaza, including the innocent children, due to Israeli rockets.
DW News tweeted, “Palestinian health officials in the Gaza strip say 20 people, including nine children, have been killed in fighting with Israel”. The truth is the children were not fighting at all but were killed from bombs dropped by Israel on the Gaza strip.
In a shocking tweet headline, The New York Times reported, “Gaza militants fired rockets and the Israeli police fought with Palestinian protestors in Jerusalem, in a sudden crescendo of violence that put Israel on edge.” This deeply misleading headline completely turned the order of events and put all blame on the Palestinians for the recent violence.
Even interviews appear to be orchestrated to start with Palestinian reactions.
During a BBC Newsnight interview regarding the Hamas situation, Husam Zomlot, Head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK, responded to Emily Maitlis by saying:
“[…] The UK Foreign Secretary is quick to condemn Hamas and never to condemn the Israeli atrocities on a daily basis […] Always the story begins when Palestinian reaction happens as if it started with Hamas – look at your question, your question is about Hamas, rockets, rockets.”
He further said:
“It starts with the Palestinian reaction, with the symptom of the illness. It never visits the illness. The illness is that this state, Israel, the occupying state has been applying draconian measures against our people in every sense […]”
Ned Prince, the spokesman for the United States Department of State did not clearly condemn the death of Palestinian civilians, including children and their right to self-defense, when pushed by reporters.
British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab also focused on the “rockets fired at Jerusalem” in his comment given on Twitter:
There have been news outlets that have reported fairly and have even given a voice to the Palestinians who are being forced out of their homes in Sheikh Jarrah; for example, CNN interviewing a Palestinian writer, Mohammed El-Kurd, whose house may get taken from him in Sheikh Jarrah. Such journalism needs to become the norm
The agendas and biases are clear for all to see and are part of the never-ending injustices our world suffers from. Western governments and media outlets are pushing their bias in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and it only increases resentment.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa has said:
“However, what in reality is happening today? If anyone commits a wrong or an injustice, then the victim seeks to exact revenge in a way which is completely out of proportion and far greater than the original injustice committed. This is exactly what we are witnessing these days in the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine.
“The major powers have openly expressed their outrage and concern at the situations in Syria, Libya or Egypt; even though it can be argued that they were, in essence, internal matters. Yet they do not seem to be concerned about, or that concerned about, the Palestinian people. This perceived double standard is causing grievances and malice to increase in the hearts of the people from Muslim countries against the major powers of the world.
“[…] Let it be clear that I am not speaking in support or favour of any particular individual country. What I wish to say is that all forms of cruelty, wherever they exist, must be eradicated and stopped, regardless of whether they are perpetrated by the people of Palestine, the people of Israel or the people of any other country. The cruelties must be stopped because if they are allowed to spread, then the flames of hatred will surely engulf the entire world […]” (European Parliament Address, 4 December 2012)