The double standard of the world’s newsrooms’ is a reality rather than an accusation, according to the vast majority of Palestinian society. Over the past decades, the Palestinian population has experienced a bias from international media agencies that favours Israel.
The Israeli occupation of Palestinian land clearly violates the Palestinian community’s right to exist, develop, and live life with dignity, freedom, and peace like all other nations. But mainstream reporting continues to describe Palestinians as terrorists, Jihadists, and barbarians while painting the Israelis as victims who are targeted, persecuted, and discriminated against as a minority in the Middle East.
The Russian war on Ukraine illustrates the stark media bias and double standards. Russia is committing daily violations against Ukraine, which are reported as breaking news with full details and excellent coverage. Israel, on the other hand, has been committing daily violations against Palestinian lives since 1948, including demolitions, confiscations, and assassinations. Still, the media always justifies Israel’s right to defend itself against the Palestinian struggle and frequently accuses the Palestinians who assert their rights as acts of terrorism.
The killing of Shireen Abu Aqleh, a Palestinian correspondent for Al Jazeera, is another vivid example of the constant threat against Palestinians’ lives and also against the freedom of journalism. Her death while broadcasting a live massacre committed by Israel in Jenin sends a message that Israel can attack Palestinians—including international media correspondents—without reason or accountability. If Shireen was a Ukrainian citizen and killed by Russians, her murder would have been broadly denounced in the international media and famous world newsrooms.
In the Palestinian territories and in al Khalil/Hebron in particular, the freedom of the press and journalism is constantly violated and restricted by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). The IOF controls media coverage, prevents access to journalists, and orders correspondents to delete data, which in most cases results in Israeli soldiers carrying out physical assaults, detention, or temporary arrest of media personnel. In contrast, Israeli settlers, particularly in al Khalil/Hebron, have full rights to film and document Palestinian movements on public roads and have the right to prevent any Palestinian citizen or international tourists or activists from visiting the city. CPT in al Khalil/Hebron has experienced hundred of violations by the IOF and settlers while documenting incidents. The IOF has stopped many CPT volunteers at checkpoints, preventing them from operating and conducting regular CPT activities in the field, and has also detained CPT members for several hours.
Beyond the chokehold of international media agencies, social media has played an essential role in transmitting the reality of Israel’s constant violations against Palestinians. Free and wide-reaching social platforms have enabled Palestinians to share relevant concerns and daily violations they face by the Israeli soldiers like movement restrictions on public roads, checkpoint abuse, demolition orders, use of force, settlement expansions, and hundreds of arbitrary clashes. Of course, Israeli propaganda has also taken to social media to show the benevolence of the IOF through short videos offering Palestinians travel and medical permits, first aid treatment during accidents, water distribution at checkpoints for children and elders, and hundreds of other services. These videos have circulated in multiple languages and addressed a broad audience, especially in the neighbouring countries, which has successfully whitewashed the occupation and improved the reputation of Israel in the international communities.
The Palestinian population has endured decades of brutal violence and experienced years of systematic ethnic cleansing against their people, history, and future with limited media coverage of their history and poor representation of their struggle for freedom. We invite the international community to learn the truth and to fairly report on the Palestinians’ right to exist.