(AP Photo/Abed Khaled)
al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City

The al-Ahli Hospital explosion is a tragic incident with two facets: the first, caused by Islamic Jihad’s recklessness in firing a rocket toward Israel, and the second, involving the international media’s hasty blame on Israel without due inquiry.

By Rachel O’Donoghue, Honest Reporting

Almost immediately after Gaza City’s al-Ahli Hospital was struck and as the scale of the devastation became apparent, the headlines began coming thick and fast.

“Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say,” blared the New York Times’s initial summary before it was updated to the following no less problematic headline:

Without waiting for a single fact to be established — other than a hospital had been hit — the NYT jumped at the opportunity to lay the blame at Israel’s door, including by parroting the claim in its headline that 500 people had died without even bothering to mention that Hamas controls the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Even more disturbingly, the so-called “newspaper of record” appeared to manipulate readers by furnishing its initial piece with an image that showed a completely destroyed building in the Gaza Strip that has nothing to do with the hospital that was struck:

Sadly but predictably, the NYT was not alone.

The BBC, a taxpayer-funded organization that claims “achieving due accuracy is more important than speed” when publishing news, updated its live coverage to uncritically reprint the unverified claims of “Palestinian officials” that hundreds were killed in an “Israeli strike on a Gaza hospital.”

The Wall Street Journal and CNN also abandoned all journalistic integrity as they led their coverage with images of the destruction alongside the allegation that an “Israeli strike” was responsible, while the Washington Post referenced a “strike” on the medical facility:

Meanwhile, two of the biggest wire agencies in the world — the Associated Press and Reuters — were content to rely solely on Hamas’ version of events and blamed the hospital hit on Israel. Even more disturbingly, Reuters even concealed the fact Hamas was its source by cryptically attributing the information to a “civil defense official.”

Live rolling news coverage — particularly by major organizations like the BBC and CBS News — also saw numerous instances of anchors and reporters forgetting their duty to report verified facts to instead run with Hamas’ verdict.

In one particularly galling example, BBC correspondent Jon Donnison announced on air that he found it “hard to see what else this could be really given the size of the explosion other than an Israel airstrike or several airstrikes because when we’ve seen rockets fired out of Gaza, we never see explosions of that scale.”

As the unverified stories implicating Israel in a war crime continued rolling in, the consequences of such careless and agenda-driven reporting became clear: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas canceled a scheduled summit with US President Joe Biden alongside Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sissi.

Perhaps anticipating these political ramifications, the IDF swiftly went on the offensive, announcing that preliminary evidence indicated the explosion was the result of a misfired rocket from within the Gaza Strip.

Just 12 hours after the blast, Israel’s military had provided a wealth of evidence that exonerated itself, including several pieces of video evidence showing the rocket was fired by Hamas ally Islamic Jihad and, most damningly, a recording of a phone conversation between two Hamas operatives in which they admit they are likely responsible for the blast.

In spite of the IDF’s evidence and nearly 24 hours after the event, there has been little improvement in the coverage.

Rather than updating headlines and copy to reflect the fact that the evidence shows an Islamic Jihad rocket was responsible, news outlets were instead deliberately vague about what had caused the explosion.

London’s Evening Standard (republished by Yahoo News) reported that protests had erupted “across Middle East after blast at Gaza hospital ‘kills 500’,” in a piece that failed to mention Israel’s investigation of the blast or even quote the official Israeli response. The same piece extensively quoted anti-Israel parties and terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah’s call for “a day of unprecedented anger” and Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s warning that “Muslims and resistance forces will become impatient, and no one can stop them.”

Lastly, several outlets quite literally became mouthpieces for Palestinian terror groups by steadfastly refusing to acknowledge Israel’s evidence and insisting the IDF was responsible. They include The Hill, which regurgitated anti-Israel Democrat congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s criticism of President Joe Biden and ABC News Australia‘s claim that Israel had “attacked” a hospital in Gaza.

The al-Ahli Hospital explosion is a tragedy of two parts.

The first tragedy occurred when Islamic Jihad showed no regard for innocent Palestinian civilians by firing a rocket at Israel knowing full well that it might backfire with catastrophic consequences.

The second tragedy occurred when the international media showed no regard for the truth by blaming Israel first. They didn’t even bother asking questions later.