Israel Killing “Activists” Not Terrorists

Headlines misrepresent IDF actions against terrorist murderers.

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On 24 December, Israeli father-of-seven Meir Chai, 45, was murdered in a terror attack in the West Bank. This act of murder received scant coverage in the international media (irrespective of the timing during the holiday season). The Israeli response, however, which saw three terrorists responsible for the fatal attack killed in an IDF raid, generated some disgraceful headlines.

The Associated Press, whose content was reproduced in many international media outlets, led with:

  • 3 Fatah Activists Killed in Israeli Raid

Why does the AP refer to “activists” and not terrorists? Even if the media is reluctant to call a terrorist by name, surely the use of the word “activist” is totally inaccurate, untruthful and simply downplays the nature of dangerous, armed and ideologically motivated murderers. There is a huge difference between “activism” and “terrorism”.

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Including the deaths of another three Palestinians, killed on the same day carrying out suspicious activity near the Gaza border fence, this New York Times headline was indicative of many media outlets’ coverage:

  • Israeli Military Kills 6 Palestinians

Both the AP and NY Times failed to provide the relevant context in their headlines. The IDF did not set out to kill Palestinians for no reason. This operation was a direct response to a terror attack and was aimed at those who were directly responsible for the murder of an Israeli citizen.

In similar vein, the Daily Telegraph led with:

  • Six Palestinians shot dead in bloody Gaza anniversary

The newspaper’s story referred to “three suspected militants“. Yet, only a few lines later, the article states that Palestinian sources said two were members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. At what point does a “suspected militant” become a confirmed one?

Also interesting to note was the failure to publish the announcement that a ballistics analysis showed that weapons found in the house of one of the terrorists were those used in the murder of Meir Chai. This information was released by the IDF some hours before the Daily Telegraph’s story was published yet was not included.

Regarding the other three Palestinians killed at the Gaza border fence, on December 28, the IDF detonated three explosive devices, discovered late Friday night, December 25, when four Palestinian suspects were identified crawling near the northern Gaza security fence in a suspected attempt to infiltrate Israel and carry out a terror attack. The explosives were found along with a rope ladder during searches that followed the incident, firmly supporting the suspicion that the infiltrators intended to cross into Israel and execute a terror attack.

The Observer, meanwhile, made a total mess of its coverage (see HonestReporting UK), including referring to the Israeli city of Modi’in as a “settlement”, despite its location within the Green Line.

Please send your considered comments to any media outlets that reproduced the AP’s headline – contact details for many media outlets can be found here.

Letters can also be sent to the New York Times – [email protected] – and the Daily Telegraph – [email protected] – remembering to include a contact address and telephone number.

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