In a conflict as volatile as that between Israel and the Palestinians, pictures of the dead, injured and grieving are inevitable. During the three month study period, a number of Israeli military operations took place in response to terrorist actions from Gaza. All of the images reviewed below concern members of Palestinian terror organizations killed by the IDF.
Despite this, the wire services habitually portray these terrorists as ordinary Palestinians who fell victim to IDF brutality, a theme that the terrorist organizations are only too happy to encourage.
In contrast, Israel does not allow press photographers to take pictures of dead or wounded soldiers or civilians at the scene of an event or in hospitals or morgues unless the photographers happen to be at the scene before the arrival of the emergency services. Even then, editors exercise a level of responsibility over what to publish. Images of Israeli suffering are therefore far less prominent. In the case below, notice how the images from Reuters and AP present a picture of mass grief:
Palestinians carry the body of militant Bassam Badwan during his funeral in Gaza City June 29, 2010. An Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip on Monday killed at least one Palestinian militant, Badwan, and wounded two other people, medical workers said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said a military aircraft had “targeted a Palestinian who fired a rocket-propelled grenade at soldiers” that struck inside Israel. (Reuters)
Palestinian mourners carry the body of Bassam Badwan, a militant from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), out of his family house during his funeral in Gaza City, Tuesday, June 29, 2010. Badwan was killed Monday in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. (AP/Khalil Hamra)
Take a look, however, at this image from Getty taken with a wider angle and a different caption:
Press photographers crowd around Palestinian mourners carrying the body of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) militant Bassam Badwun duirng his funeral in Gaza City on June 29, 2010 after being shot dead by Israeli forces. (Getty)
Notice how many of the outstretched hands belong to photographers and how the use of cropping and angles is used by Reuters and AP to increase the dramatic perception of the funeral.