The Washington Post’s front page this morning:
In the photo, a Palestinian stringer for BBC cradles his son, who was reportedly killed during Operation Pillar of Defense. The corresponding story briefly mentions the Hamas rocket attacks, but focuses mainly on Israel’s “intense air offensive” that could “paralyze the Gaza Strip” and result in “all-out conflict.”
Innocent casualties of war are a tragedy, and this is especially true when they are children.
But what the Washington Post doesn’t emphasize in its corresponding story is that the Israeli military launched this operation specifically because its citizens in the south, including children, live under constant threat from Hamas rocket fire — hundreds can rain down in a single day. These attacks regularly result in injuries and deaths, and recently forced more than a million Israelis into bomb shelters. While these stories may get a blurb on page three or four, they are rarely given front page coverage.
There are terrible casualties on both sides; three Israeli civilians were killed this morning by Hamas missile attacks. The difference is that Hamas aims for civilians, and Israel does not. And the Washington Post’s front page seems almost intended to give readers the impression that the Israeli military randomly decided to go into Gaza this week because it felt like killing children.
At the Spectator, David Blackburn writes:
The Post’s front page reinforces the fact that Israel has a public relations problem when it retaliates in Gaza; a fact that friends of Israel ought to accept.
My colleague Douglas Murray is right to assert that the western media often applies a double standard when reporting Israeli and Palestinian casualties: the suffering of Israeli citizens is not given the coverage it deserves. This bias skews the tragic human story of Israel and Palestine to benefit Hamas, an organisation whose bloodcurdling charter makes clear that it has no interest in a peaceful solution to the problem. Other terrorist groups based in the Gaza Strip also benefit, which provides further complication.
There is a deep-seated media double-standard here. And while it can sometimes be subtle, it certainly shapes the coverage of the conflict.