In November, an Israeli-led assassination effort targeted senior Islamic Jihad leader Bahaa Abu el-Atta and his wife, reporting that it killed them both as they were sleeping in their home in Gaza. Armed factions of Islamic Jihad retaliated by launching homemade rockets and mortars toward southern Israel. The ensuing two days of combat also killed thirty-four Palestinians, sixteen of whom were civilians and five of whom were children. No Israelis were killed.
Mainstream media outlets, such as NBC, focused on the disruption of Israeli lives, describing how 200 rockets launched from Gaza into Israeli towns “stunned” citizens. A French outlet described an Israel-Gaza “escalation” in violence, as rockets “rained down” and brought Israeli communities “to a standstill.” Both sources deemphasized the loss of Palestinian lives.
“We had thirty-four Palestinians killed,” Diana Buttu, Palestinian political analyst and lawyer, tells The Progressive. “All of this was distorted [in media coverage] and focused on the response to Israel’s assassination policy; not the assassination policy itself.”