Pro-Israel social media users blasted a Reuters photo caption describing an image captured Tuesday showing Palestinian men after one of them caught fire while mishandling a Molotov cocktail.
An Agence France-Presse stringer also captured the dramatic moment, which AFP captioned in part: "The clothes of a Palestinian student from Hebron University burn after he set himself on fire while throwing a Molotov cocktail towards Israeli soldiers and border police during clashes after the protesters blocked the main north entrance of the West Bank town of Hebron with stones and tyres."
The clothes of a Palestinian student from Hebron University burn after he set himself on fire while throwing a Molotov cocktail towards Israeli soldiers and border police during clashes after the protesters blocked the main north entrance of the West Bank town of Hebron with stones and tyres on October 13, 2015. The rising tide of unrest, which has seen a series of stabbing attacks and violent protests, has raised fears that a full-scale third Palestinian uprising, or intifada, could erupt. (Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images)
Here's how Reuters handled the photo description:
Image source: Reuters.com
Palestinian protesters put out a fire burning on a compatriot, caused by a molotov cocktail which he was trying to hurl at Israeli troops during clashes in the West Bank city of Hebron, October 13, 2015. Seven Israelis and 27 Palestinians, including nine alleged attackers and eight children, have died in almost two weeks of street attacks and security crackdowns. The violence has been stirred in part by Muslim anger over increasing Jewish visits to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, Islam's holiest site outside the Arabian Peninsula. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma
Some condemned using the word “protesters” to describe those engaged in violent activity against Israeli soldiers.
Others mocked the Palestinian for his “work accident” which set his head and keffiyeh headscarf on fire.
The news agency also added an extra layer of skepticism on whether Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces in recent days were really engaged in stabbing attacks, writing: “Seven Israelis and 27 Palestinians, including nine alleged attackers and eight children, have died in almost two weeks of street attacks and security crackdowns.”
The Reuters caption blamed the violence in part on what it described as “increasing Jewish visits to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, Islam's holiest site outside the Arabian Peninsula.”
Reuters omitted any mention of the Temple Mount – on which the Al-Aqsa mosque sits – and did not point out that the location happens to be the holiest site in Judaism. The site is the third-holiest site to Muslims, but by not mentioning holy spots No. 1 and 2 as Mecca and Medina, it was able to call Al-Aqsa “Islam’s holiest” outside Saudi Arabia.
Contrary to the Reuters caption, Jews are not interested in visiting the Al-Aqsa mosque, but wish to visit their faith’s holiest site, where both Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple once stood.
The director of the prominent pro-Israel media watchdog CAMERA called the caption "a new low."
"Not content to refer to the Temple Mount, or Noble Sanctuary, as Islam's third-holiest site, Reuters takes tendentious reporting about the contested plaza to a new low by calling the site 'Islam's holiest site outside the Arabian Peninsula' and by ignoring the fact that the very same site is Judaism's most sacred, anywhere in the world. It is for that reason that Jews visit it," Tamar Sternthal, the director of CAMERA's Israel office told TheBlaze.
"By omitting the site's foremost holy status in Judaism, Reuters feeds off the completely unfounded Islamic Movement and Hamas slander that Jews are vile infiltrators seeking to invade an Islamic site. Such irresponsible journalism has the potential to fuel more violence, leading to more terror attacks throughout Israel," she added.
Denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem is a cornerstone of the Palestinian narrative which asserts that Israelis are interlopers in the Holy Land.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last month accused Jews of desecrating the Jerusalem holy site with their “filthy feet.”
“They have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet. We won’t allow them to do so, and we will do whatever we can to defend Jerusalem,” the Palestinian leader said.
Three Israelis were killed Tuesday in two simultaneous Palestinian terror attacks in Jerusalem. Others were injured in a Tel Aviv suburb following days of multiple stabbing attacks that has left Israelis on edge and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government scrambling to increase security.