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How Western media changed narratives, distorted facts on Gaza Hospital bombing

By Press TV Staff Writer 

Amid the cacophony of the Israeli regime’s unrelenting aerial bombardment on the besieged Gaza Strip and massacre of Palestinian civilians, Western media is busy with its disinformation campaign to whitewash the regime’s war crimes.

Following the devastating attack on the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza’s old city on Tuesday night, the initial reportage in the Western media blamed the Israeli military for the strike – and rightly so.

Social media influencers, including Hananya Naftali, who is close to the regime in Tel Aviv, also unwittingly admitted that the air raid was carried out by the Israeli warplanes.

However, as the death toll jumped beyond the initial figure of 500, drawing massive outrage and condemnation worldwide, the narrative changed and the regime was no more to be blamed.

In fact, Israeli regime apologists who initially attributed the strike to the Israeli military, claiming that the hospital was a base of the Hamas resistance group, took a U-turn in no time.

Naftali, whose close association with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu is well known, tweeted that Israeli Air Force had “struck a Hamas terrorist base inside a hospital in Gaza”.

The post on X, formerly Twitter, immediately disappeared but the screenshot was shared widely.

Later at night, he tendered an apology for sharing “a Reuters report” that “falsely stated Israel struck the hospital”, adding that the Israeli army “does not bomb hospitals.”

Western media outlets, which initially said the hospital, packed with patients and displaced people, was struck by an “Israeli warplane”, quickly retracted and said the hospital was “bombed.”

Major media outlets, including the New York Times, CNN and the Wall Street Journal, took the official Israeli narrative that the bombing was caused by a “rocket misfire”, giving clean chit to the regime.

Israel’s evacuation warnings

On October 12, the Israeli military ordered the evacuation of 22 hospitals in northern Gaza, including the Anglican-run al-Ahli Arab Hospital, where hundreds of patients were receiving treatment.

The statement was slammed by the World Health Organization (WHO), which warned that the evacuation orders would further aggravate the already catastrophic situation in the territory.

“The World Health Organization strongly condemns Israel's repeated orders for the evacuation of 22 hospitals treating more than 2000 inpatients in northern Gaza,” said the world health body.

“The forced evacuation of patients and health workers will further worsen the current humanitarian and public health catastrophe.”

Later that day, the al-Ahli Arab was hit by an Israeli rocket fire, injuring at least four. The rocket attack was confirmed in a statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Anglican church.

“The Al-Ahli Hospital was hit by Israeli rocket fire last night, with four staff injured in the blast. Other hospitals have also been hit,” read the statement, noting the “grave danger” facing hospitals and patients.

“I appeal for the evacuation order on hospitals in northern Gaza to be reversed - and for health facilities, health workers, patients and civilians to be protected.”

The news story was carried by many media outlets. The preceding events and statements clearly point to Israel’s role in the devastating strike that took place on October 17th, according to experts.

Waleed Siam, Palestinian ambassador to Japan, was quoted as saying by Spectator that the Israeli military had issued a warning to Gaza's Al-Ahli Baptist hospital “an hour before the blast.”

He later issued a clarification to emphasize that the regime intended to target the hospital, where many internally displaced people had taken shelter amid the indiscriminate aerial blitz.

Gaza Hospital lies

To manufacture consent in favor of the Israeli regime, Western media outlets have been busy in recent days with distortions and obfuscations, contributing to the Israeli regime’s disinformation campaign.

After the Netanyahu regime officials and close aides scandalously changed the narrative on the Gaza hospital bombing, blaming Hamas and then Islamic Jihad, CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and others also swiftly changed their headlines.  

CNN, reporting on the hospital bombing in the initial hours, wrote that “Israel hits hospital and school in Gaza as blockade puts healthcare system in state of collapse.”

The headline later omitted the name of Israel as the one responsible for the carnage. “Hundreds likely dead in Gaza hospital blast, as Israeli blockade cripples the medical response.”

The spin was designed to shift the focus from the massacre to the siege of the coastal strip, and it was a conscious effort on the part of the news channel to absolve the Israeli regime of culpability.

Wall Street Journal, in its original report on the same day, wrote that “Israeli airstrike on Gaza Hospital kills more than 500, Palestinian officials say.”

Four hours later, the headline changed to “Strike on Gaza Hospital kills more than 500, Palestinian officials say,” adding that US President Joe Biden was “deeply saddened by the explosion.”

The reportage of the New York Times was particularly striking. The newspaper in its original report carried the headline: Israeli strike kills hundreds in hospital, Palestinians say.”

Hours later, the headline changed to this: “At least 500 dead in strike on Gaza Hospital, Palestinians say”, which eventually changed to “At least 500 dead in blast at Gaza Hospital, Palestinians say.”

From holding Israel responsible for the bombing to giving the regime a clean chit, within a span of a few hours, the spin doctors were at play at all these media outlets loyal to Washington and Tel Aviv.

Dissecting the modus operandi of these big Western media conglomerates, it becomes clear that they have been looking at the events unfolding in the besieged Gaza Strip through a Zionist prism.

Zionist lies and obfuscations

After the Palestinian resistance group Hamas launched ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Storm’ on October 7 in response to the recurrent desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque and the rising ride of violence against Palestinians, headlines such as “the murderous rampage carried out by Hamas” (the Guardian), “the bloodthirsty attack by Hamas (The Economist) were used to influence the popular narrative.

To support pro-Israel bias, mainstream Western media led by the CNN news network began pushing a coordinated disinformation campaign, particularly against the Hamas resistance group.

One of the false claims that spread at a dizzying pace was about “40 babies beheaded by Hamas resistance fighters”, which an Israeli journalist started and was picked up by many media outlets.

CNN said Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson Tal Heinrich confirmed the report of beheaded babies and quoted another Israeli military official as saying that he had “never seen anything like this.”

President Biden also jumped on the bandwagon and amplified the false claims of “Israeli children being beheaded”, which his office later retracted without an apology.

In Tel Aviv on Tuesday, Biden again peddled the unverified claim of the Israeli regime officials as well as Western media outlets about the Gaza Hospital bombing, saying “the other side” was behind it.

In the past week, Western politicians and media agencies have only peddled lies about the Hamas operation while turning a blind eye to the Israeli regime’s indiscriminate bombing of densely-populated areas in Gaza and murder of Palestinian civilians, including children.

The crimes of the Zionist regime have been whitewashed with statements such as “Israel has the right to defend itself", while the freedom struggle of Palestinians has been described as "terrorism".

British journalist Harry Fear recently accused the Western media of bias in its reportage of the developments in Gaza, saying the “overarching storytelling is based on the Israeli narrative.”

“The framing of the conflict in this latest round of fighting usually completely silences the context of 16 years of strangulation and siege, an ongoing war on Gaza, a complete denial of Palestinians, human rights, civil rights, political economic rights, really that dignity as humans at all, largely based on an ideology of racial supremacy and domination,” Fear said.

Communication experts regard this information war as “Cognitive Warfare” which aims to change attitudes and behaviors by influencing individuals and group cognitions to gain an advantage.

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