Ignoring rocket fire, most foreign media focus on Israel’s airstrikes

The most anti-Israel coverage, unsurprisingly, is in the Iranian and Turkish media. Iran and Turkey both support Hamas.

Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli airstrike in a site of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in the west of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 11, 2021. (photo credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)
Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli airstrike in a site of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in the west of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 11, 2021.
(photo credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)
The coverage of the clashes in Jerusalem and the rocket fire that followed has focused disproportionately on Israel’s actions, either on the airstrikes that occurred or the threatened evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and clashes in al-Aqsa Mosque.
This may not be surprising, but it also has helped frame the current conflict as largely a product of Israel’s alleged aggression, as opposed to a cycle set in motion partly by Hamas.
The most anti-Israel coverage, unsurprisingly, is in the Iranian and Turkish media. Iran and Turkey both support Hamas.
Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, a state-run news agency, has about a dozen stories on Israel, and each is more anti-Israel than the last. One says Israel has killed 24 civilians, and another says Israel arrested Arabs who protested in Jerusalem and reports about “Israeli attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Ankara has stoked protests against Israeli diplomatic posts in Turkey, even though the regime has prevented other protests, such as the recent May Day ones.
Turkey uses the COVID-19 pandemic to shut down all critics, but then it encourages anti-Israel protests, the flames being fanned by pro-government media. Turkey has vowed to “defend” the Palestinians. Anadolu also says its journalists were attacked in Jerusalem.
Ankara has spoken to the Jordanian king and says Israeli forces are “storming al-Aqsa.” This is largely a fabricated story. The use of the expression “storming al-Aqsa” is used by anti-Israel voices who try to pretend that securing the Temple Mount against violent protesters is “storming.” In no other place in the world is securing a holy site “storming.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry claims that “many innocent civilians” have been killed in Gaza.
Iranian media have also emphasized the “brutal repression” of Palestinians in “al-Quds,” the Press TV term used for Jerusalem. Al-Quds is also the Arabic and Islamic term, but for major media to replace the word Jerusalem with “Quds” illustrates an agenda that is about more than just terminology.
“Palestinian resistance launched operation Al-Quds Sword as Israel kills 25 in Gaza raids,” is how Press TV says the events unfolded. This makes it seem like Hamas attacked Jerusalem with rockets in retaliation, when in fact the opposite happened.
For CNN, the story is headlined: “Israel launches airstrikes after rockets fired from Gaza in day of escalation.” NBC says: “Jerusalem tensions boil over with rocket fire and at least 20 killed in Gaza.” This neatly captures a more accurate picture of what has transpired.
There have been “pleas for calm as violence escalates,” says the BBC. The Guardian, however, sought to emphasize the “twenty-four dead in Gaza after Jerusalem violence spreads.”
In most of the reports, the Palestinian rocket fire – targeting Jerusalem and aiming some 200 rockets at communities around Gaza – is emphasized. The discussions of the rocket fire were often put further down in the articles or were made to seem like retaliation for something Israel had done.
“The rockets came on the anniversary of Israel’s capture of the Old City of Jerusalem and its eastern neighborhoods in the 1967 Six Day War,” NBC reported. “Explosions and air raid sirens were heard in Jerusalem after Hamas set a deadline for Israel to remove its security forces from flash points in Jerusalem and release Palestinians detained in the latest clashes.”
The Independent in the UK said: “At least 24 people – including nine children – have been killed amid a new wave of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza that continued throughout the night into Tuesday morning, the Palestinian health ministry has said. The youngest victim was 10 years old, Gaza health officials told The Independent. More than 700 Palestinians have been injured since the outbreak of violence in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, including around al-Aqsa Mosque compound.”
It isn’t clear from the report that Hamas had fired any rockets until the reader gets past the first several paragraphs. The report made it appear Israel just carried out this “wave” of airstrikes, killing children, and then Hamas fired rockets. The report did note the UK had condemned the attack on Israel, however.
In the US, Fox News said Gaza militants were killed as Israel “hits Hamas.” This seemed to be one of the rare headlines that put Hamas in the title, noting the actual perpetrator of incitement and attacks on Israel.
CBS wrote: “Israel hits Gaza after militants launch rocket attack.” That headline at least explained the timeline of how this recent conflict had unfolded.
Prior to most of the coverage of the airstrikes, a lot of the spotlight has been on Sheikh Jarrah.
On social media, many have posted a video without context showing Israelis cheering at the Western Wall on Jerusalem Day as a fire rages near al-Aqsa Mosque. The video is presented in such a way as to claim Israelis are cheering attacks on al-Aqsa, when in fact the context is very different.
Scant coverage seems to have focused on the rioting in many places in Israel and the West Bank or Hamas incitement as part of the cycle.
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