Western media criticised for ignoring Palestinian child deaths

Social media users condemn headlines that ignored the civilians killed in Israeli attack on Gaza.

Relatives of Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Jihad Ghannam, killed by an Israeli airstrike at his home, mourn at Alnajjar hospital in Rafah refugee camp
Relatives of PIJ member Jihad al-Ghannam, killed by an Israeli air attack on his home, mourn at Al-Najjar Hospital in the Rafah refugee camp [Said Khatib/AFP]

Western media coverage of the killing of 15 people, including four children, in an Israeli attack on Gaza that ostensibly targeted three members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement has been roundly condemned on social media.

The attack was in the headlines worldwide on Tuesday, but the tone of the stories varied widely, causing an uproar on social media on how several media outlets chose to word their coverage.

Social media users pointed to headlines that omitted the children killed and focused on the three dead PIJ members, who were identified as Jihad al-Ghannam, Khalil al-Bahtini and Tariq Izz el-Deen.

Israeli forces targeted residential apartments in different parts of Gaza, killing a number of civilians who were family members or neighbours of the PIJ commanders, according to Al Jazeera’s Youmna El Sayed, who reported from Gaza.

The New York Times was criticised especially for implying that “both sides” had equal reason to fear escalations after the attack when the power imbalance between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel’s well-armed security forces is so large.

One user said the “both sides” narrative ignores “innocent Palestine dead AGAIN”.

UK-based media company Mzemo criticised the newspaper’s failure to put the killing of civilians in the headline.

Canadian NGO Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East said Canadian media descriptions of the civilians killed as “10 others'” was not acceptable as it compared headlines from leading news organisations such as The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star.

Another user pointed to the Guardian’s headline, again highlighting its failure to mention the children killed.

The BBC’s headline was also criticised by another user as “misleading”.

The Israeli army said the air attacks, code-named Operation Shield and Arrow, targeted men responsible for recent rockets fired towards Israel.

Source: Al Jazeera