The world is watching: How the global press covered the Gaza hospital blast

While the Muslim world 'knows' Israel is responsible and Russia is cynically demanding proof it wasn't, press around the world have been reticent about accepting Hamas version about the hospital explosion, and Biden seems to believe us

Audio: Islamic Jihad operatives discuss deadly hospital misfire in recorded call

The morning after the massive explosion in the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, where according to Palestinian reports the death toll tops 500, the story is prominently featured as the top story in media outlets all over the world.
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While the images themselves are horrific, it seems that at least the more respectable publications are not buying Hamas’ version of the events, waiting for facts to be independently verified before taking a side. This is a correction following the hours after the blast, where almost everyone believed Hamas.
It was barely an hour after the explosion at the hospital when Israel Defense Forces officials speculated that it was a failed rocket launch that caused the horrendous death toll, not an aerial strike by the Israeli Air Force. The IDF has stressed they possess significant evidence to substantiate their claim, including a piece of a phone call conversation between two Hamas operatives.
IDF Spokesperson presenting Israeli version of the events
(Video: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)

The BBC, which normally has little sympathy for Israel, were heavily criticized due to its odd refusal to label Hamas operatives as terrorists, using the milder term militants. In order to describe the hospital bombing, the BBC used the word “blast” rather than “attack” or “bombing.” The headline of its coverage reported that official Hamas accounts point the finger at Israel, but equally made clear the IDF blamed the Palestinians for erroneously bombing their own hospital.
CNN also used the word “blast” and said Israeli and Palestinian officials are debating which position is true. Fox News, the conservative American network, has put Israel’s position front and center.
The New York Times wrote: “Palestinian officials blamed an Israeli airstrike, an assertion that was forcefully disputed by the Israel Defense Forces, which blamed an errant rocket fired by an armed Palestinian faction. By early Wednesday, neither side’s account could be independently verified. The cause of the blast, and the death toll, remained unclear.”
The British Guardian called the event “a deadly explosion,” coupled with images of Palestinian women crying.
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ניו יורק טיימס חרבות ברזל סיקור בעולם של פיצוץ ב בית חולים ב עזה
ניו יורק טיימס חרבות ברזל סיקור בעולם של פיצוץ ב בית חולים ב עזה
NYT Coverage
The Italian “La Repubblica” featured Israel’s position on the front page, labeling it “a bloodbath at a hospital - hundreds killed. Israel presents video showing it was a Palestinian-made rocket." French publication “Le Monde” displayed a headline saying: “Israel blames Islamic Jihad." Finally, in Spain, "El Pais" simply stated: “Hundreds killed in Gaza hospital bombing.”
Keep in mind, though, press headlines do not necessarily reflect public opinion, even if it does help shape it. That said, it does seem Israel’s efforts to set things straight have borne fruit. Not only is the world media not ignoring the Israeli account, it emphasizes it.
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חרבות ברזל גרדיאן סיקור בעולם של פיצוץ בית חולים ב עזה
חרבות ברזל גרדיאן סיקור בעולם של פיצוץ בית חולים ב עזה
British Guardian
Still, first impressions matter. Hamas’ position took hold in the Muslim world, sparking mass protests in Turkey, Lebanon, Ramallah and other places, with locals burning Israeli and American flags alike. Push messages from CNN, Sky News, AP and Reuters all published the position from the Gaza Ministry of Health, saying it was an “Israeli airstrike” that caused the blast.
On the Russian front, the same line continues. Russia incessantly criticizes Israel and says not one word of condemnation about the Hamas massacre on October 7. Regarding the blast, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said the hospital blast is “a shocking and inhumane crime,” and said Israel must provide satellite images proving she was not involved.
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חרבות ברזל פוקס ניוז סיקור בעולם של פיצוץ בית חולים ב עזה
חרבות ברזל פוקס ניוז סיקור בעולם של פיצוץ בית חולים ב עזה
Fox News coverage
Moving back to Western Europe, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who himself was forced to lie down on the ground at the airport just before leaving Israel when a siren sounded, expressed shock from images documenting the explosion, calling for a thorough investigation. President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: “Nothing can serve as an excuse for bombing a civilian hospital.”
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, called PA President Mahmoud Abbas, expressing his condolences about those killed in the tragic event.
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חרבות ברזל לה מונד סיקור בעולם של פיצוץ בית חולים ב עזה
חרבות ברזל לה מונד סיקור בעולם של פיצוץ בית חולים ב עזה
French Le Monde presents a terrible image
Shortly after landing in Tel Aviv for his flash visit, President Joe Biden said of the hospital blast: “Seems it was by other team, not you,” yet stressed that uncertainty regarding the issue persists with many people. Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom, James Cleverly, posted on X: “Last night, too many jumped to conclusions around the tragic loss of life at Al Ahli hospital. Getting this wrong would put even more lives at risk. Wait for the facts, report them clearly and accurately. Cool heads must prevail."
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