What kind of mother takes her baby to a conflict zone where rocks and bullets are flying and tear gas chokes the air?
Why, a Palestinian mother like the one pictured weeping over her dead baby in lots of newspapers today. (Including, I note, the former conservative imprint the Daily Telegraph which has put it on the front page…)
“Palestinian officials said the baby died in an Israeli tear gas attack, a claim disputed by Israeli forces” says the Telegraph.
But if a picture is worth a thousand words then that caption is meaningless.
All most people are going to see is a pretty young mother, flanked by two older female relatives, desperately hugging the shrouded corpse of her baby.
What are we to make of this?
Well it’s theoretically possible, I suppose, that everything the Palestinian propaganda industry is telling us is true: that this young woman called “Mariam” just happened to be innocently wandering past with her eight-month-old Leila al-Ghandour when, lo!, the evil Israelis struck with their wanton tear gas and poor Leila died.
But if it is true, it would be a first. “Pallywood productions”, as Hamas’s propaganda arm is known, has a long track record of making stuff up – particularly when it involves Israelis supposedly doing bad things to kids.
What’s surprising is not that Hamas goes on trying to play this trick – but that the Western media goes on letting it get away with it.
In the case of Leila (or Layla as she is spelled elsewhere) there are serious doubts as to whether her death can really be attributable to Israeli action. A Gazan doctor has admitted – off the record: otherwise, of course, he’d be killed – that the baby died of a pre-existing medical condition. But where, outside Breitbart Jerusalem and the Times of Israel is the truth being reported?
But every bullet Israel fires, every life Israel takes, makes this situation worse. There are ways to disperse crowds which do not include live fire. But the IDF has made an active choice to fire live rounds and kill scores of people. You cannot tell me that Israel, a land of technological miracles which have to be seen to be truly believed, is incapable of coming up with a way of incapacitating protestors that does not include gunning dozens of them down. But no. In front of the entire world, Israel keeps shooting, and protestors, including those younger than my friend Gal was in 2002, keep dying. You may tell me that Hamas wants these deaths, wants to create martyrs, wants to fill the hearts of the people of Gaza with rage against Israel because the alternative is for people to look at their lives in Gaza and rage against Hamas. But if you tell me that, why are you not asking yourselves why Israel is so willingly giving Hamas exactly what it wishes?
There’s something horribly disingenuous about the way the author acknowledges the nature of the problem, “Hamas wants these deaths” (albeit from a distance: “You may tell me…”) – but then just flicks it away with a rhetorical flourish, as if it were of no relevance to the emotional truth of the author’s response which is apparently much, much more important.
Well I’m sorry but this is dangerous, manipulative nonsense.
I was about to say that no one, anywhere, wants babies to die. But then I remembered that in the case of Hamas (and similar terrorist organizations, such as those in Syria, all of which operate from the same playbook), they actually do want babies to die. Babies, the Palestinian citizenry generally, are grist to their propaganda mill, to be used as cannon fodder for the Cause when and where it suits. Sometimes they are bribed (with the lavish rewards accorded martyrs and families of martyrs), sometimes they are bullied, sometimes they are so brainwashed that they do it voluntarily.
There would be no incentive for sending all these innocents to the death, though, if the Western media weren’t so eager to report Hamas’s propaganda lies as fact.
It’s not Israel, ultimately, that has these “martyrs'” blood on its hands. It’s Hamas and their many useful idiots in the relentless pro-Palestinian Western media.