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How headlines in Western media distort facts about Israeli genocide in Gaza

By Syed Zafar Mehdi

Since October 7, when the Israeli regime launched its no-holds-barred onslaught against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, Western states have gone out of their way to whitewash the ongoing genocide.

The mainstream Western media, which is an extension of Western states, has toed the same line.

Headlines in the leading newspapers and news channels in the West, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom, have deliberately sought to distort facts about the Israeli war on Gaza.

An attempt has been made to dehumanize Palestinians and belittle their tragedy while the Israeli regime and settlers living in the occupied Palestinian territories have been portrayed as victims and sufferers.

More than 29,300 Palestinians have been killed in the genocidal war on Gaza since October 7, including more than 13,000 children and an equal number of women. However, Western media outlets have sought to dehumanize them by reducing them to cold statistics.

We analyzed news headlines in the Western press in recent months regarding the Israeli war on Gaza and it became crystal clear that the reportage has been heavily biased and riddled with distortions.

  • ‘Gazans who sought shelter in Rafah are fleeing again’

A headline in the New York Times on February 15 showed how the Western media has resorted to spin-doctoring while reporting the events unfolding in Gaza. No mention of what the Israeli regime did in Rafah, southern Gaza, or why 1.4 million Palestinians are packing up and constantly moving.

Headline suggested: No place is safe in Gaza as Israel bombs and attacks anywhere Palestinians go

  • ‘The UN says more than 1 in 4 people in Gaza are starving because of war’

A headline in the Washington Post, originally from AP, on December 21 cited the United Nations as saying that more than one in four Gazans are starving because of war. It didn’t specifically mention whose war is it and who is using starvation as a weapon of this genocidal war against Palestinians.

Headline suggested: The UN says more than 1 in 4 people in Gaza are starving because Israel is using food as a weapon

  • ‘Five-year-old Palestinian girl found dead after being trapped in car with dead relatives’

A headline on CNN on February 10 was about the murder of 5-year-old Palestinian girl Hind Rajab. The report carefully and cunningly portrayed the murder as a death without mentioning how she went missing and was eventually found murdered in cold blood with other members of her family.

Headline suggested: Five-year-old Palestinian girl killed after being trapped in car with relatives also killed by Israel

  • ‘Israeli strikes hit Rafah after Biden warns Netanyahu to have ‘credible’ plan to protect civilians’

A headline in the AP news agency, reproduced by other mainstream media outlets, on February 12 said Israeli strikes targeted the city of Rafah in southern Gaza after President Joe Biden “warned” Benjamin Netanyahu to protect civilians. It didn’t refer to how the US government and its allies green-lighted it with financial aid and arms.

Headline suggested: Israeli strikes hit Rafah after Biden does nothing to protect civilians

  • ‘Israel’s war on Hamas homes in on Gaza hospitals’

A headline in Reuters on November 11, 2023, sought to push the narrative that the Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza targets the Hamas resistance group, not civilians. There was no mention of hospitals, universities, refugee camps and other civilian infrastructure destroyed by the regime.

Suggested headline: Israel’s war on Gaza hospitals, journalists, children and civilians continues

  • ‘Netanyahu directs Israeli military to draw up plan to evacuate more than one million people from Rafah as offensive looms’

A headline on CNN on February 9, in a manipulative way, tried to project the Israeli premier as a messiah who cares about the people in Rafah and wants them evacuated before launching the ground offensive. It ignored the fact that hundreds of Palestinians are being killed daily in the southern city.

Headline suggested: Netanyahu directs Israeli military to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from Gaza

  • ‘Arab nations condemn US vetoing ceasefire resolution’

A headline in the New York Times on December 10, 2023, after the US used its veto against the resolution that called for a humanitarian truce in Gaza, said Arab countries slammed the move. The fact is that the majority of countries condemned the American veto, which the US daily disregarded.

Headline suggested: Vast majority of world condemns US for vetoing ceasefire resolution

  • ‘Israel’s next aim is southern Gaza. US urges restraint’

Another headline in the New York Times on December 1, 2023, before the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas expired, stated that the US was urging restraint as Israel moved to attack southern Gaza. The headline sought to distance the Biden administration from the southern Gaza carnage while overlooking the fact that the Israeli regime was using US-supplied weapons there.

Suggested headline: Israel’s next aim is all of Gaza. US will do nothing to stop it

  • ‘Samer Abuqada: Al Jazeera cameraman killed in Gaza drone strike by Israel’

This BBC headline on December 16, 2023, reported the killing of another Palestinian journalist in Gaza (the toll is now 131), without mentioning the perpetrator. It has been a standard operating procedure of Western media outlets, including BBC, to absolve the Israeli regime of its crimes in the besieged territory, especially since October 7.

Suggested headline: Samer Abuqada: Al Jazeera cameraman killed in Gaza drone strike by Israel

  • ‘Deadly airstrike hits area of Gaza that many have fled to’

A headline in the New York Times on December 29, 2023, said the Israeli airstrike targeted an area of Gaza where many people had taken refuge. The fact is that the area was bombed after the Israeli regime forced Palestinians to move there – to assemble them in one place and bomb them.

Suggested headline: Deadly Israeli airstrike hits area of Gaza that Israel told Palestinians to move to

  • ‘Displaced Gazans wonder where to go as Israel vows to keep pushing south’

This New York Times headline on February 6 referred to the planned Israeli invasion of southern Gaza, saying displaced ‘Gazans’ are wondering where to take shelter. The fact is that the Israeli regime has vowed to bomb Palestinians wherever they go.

Suggested headline: Displaced Palestinians in Gaza wonder where to go as Israel vows to keep bombing anywhere they go

Speaking at an event in Tehran last week, Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan hailed the media’s role in defeating the Israeli narrative of the Gaza war, referring to the important role played by media.

Hamdan stressed that journalists play no lesser role than those fighting on the battlefield, which is why the Israeli regime has been deliberately targeting journalists in the besieged strip. 

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