Death of a Baby

Dear HonestReporting Member,

On Monday, May 7, a 4-month-old Palestinian baby was killed, when Palestinians fired mortars at Israeli civilians, and Israeli troops responded with gunfire.

Pro-Palestinian groups are circulating a photo of the dead baby, and encouraging the media to create the impression that Israeli troops are murdering children.

We are asking all HonestReporting members to check the coverage in your local paper, and then to write a letter to the editor. Your letter can include some of the following points:

  1. Palestinian warriors are purposely firing from residential areas, in order to provoke Israel into responding in a way that will generate civilian causalities, and hence world sympathy for the Palestinian position.

    This is not to say that the Palestinians are willfully killing their own children; but neither are they interested in preventing it. As Arafat adviser Bassam Abu Sharif told Time magazine: “If [Arafat] knows he will achieve a political point that will get him closer to independence and if that will cost him 10,000 killed, he wouldn’t mind.”,9171,99867-2,00.html

    This cynical use of innocent women and children as fodder in the Palestinian PR war is in violation of every international agreement, and in violation of basic human decency.

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  2. The media has been quick to compare the baby’s death with the case of Palestinian snipers who shot Shalhevet Pass in Hebron 6 weeks ago. While both deaths are terrible tragedies, the comparison is fundamentally flawed. The Palestinian baby was an inadvertent casualty of a war zone, while Shalhevet was deliberately placed in a sniper’s scope and targeted for murder.

    The media is spinning it like this, from the Los Angeles Times: “Iman is apparently the youngest fatality in the conflict. A 10-month-old Jewish girl was shot dead by a Palestinian gunman in the West Bank city of Hebron in March.” Or this headline from the Washington Post website: “Israel Strike Kills Baby.”

    By drawing the comparison without qualification, the media both whitewashes the cold-blooded Palestinian act of infanticide, and creates the fraudulent perception that Israelis are engaged in some campaign to target Palestinian children.

    Immediately following the baby’s death, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Israeli President Moshe Katzav immediately issued condolences. When Israelis are killed, has a Palestinian leader ever expressed such sympathy?

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  3. News agencies are using this incident to dreg up the accusation of “excessive force.” The UK Independent says: “As the pope visits one of the bitterly contested parts of the Holy Land, [a] four-month-old girl is the latest victim of the bloodshed blitz.”

While the world decries Palestinian deaths, no one stops to ask how many would be dead if Israeli forces were actually doing what they are accused of — shooting civilians indiscriminately. If that were the case, many tens of thousands of Palestinians would be dead.

When the British tried to control the last Palestinian intifada, the Arab revolt of 1936-1939, entire villages were burned and more than 3,000 Palestinians were killed.

During “Black September” when Palestinians rioted in Jordan in the 1970s, King Hussein massacred 2,500 Palestinians in 10 days. Likewise, Syrian President Assad slaughtered 20,000 of his own people during civil unrest in Hama, then paved over the dead — a toll that the Israel intifada would need 100 years to match.

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We are asking all HonestReporting members to write a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.