BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  World: Middle East
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Friday, 28 June, 2002, 22:46 GMT 23:46 UK
Analysis: Mid-East war of images
Man showing bloodied hands after lynching of two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah
Mob rule: The lynching of two Israelis in Ramallah
test hello test
By Magdi Abdelhadi
BBC Arab Affairs editor

Ever since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000, the Palestinians and Israelis have both sought to use photography and television pictures to mobilise world opinion against each other.

The message was simple: I am the victim and therefore you should stand by me.

Muhammad al-Durrah, 12, moments before he was shot dead
Muhammad al-Durrah and his father were caught in crossfire
Throughout the conflict, each side has relied on the media documentation of the fighting to parade its own suffering, as it were, in order to justify the means it uses to kill the other - Israeli Apache helicopters on one side and Palestinian suicide bombers on the other.

The war of images started with the video footage of the Israeli army shooting a young Palestinian boy while his father was trying to protect him with his body.

The images caused a furore around the world.

Not long after that, we saw the pictures of the bloodstained hands of a Palestinian mob who lynched two Israeli soldiers. Here, too, the message was simple: look how savage and brutal the other side is.


The war of images has not stopped over the past year and a half.

Toddler dressed as suicide bomber
The toddler joins other stark images from the brutal conflict
Not a month has gone by without world media outlets carrying images of Palestinian lives destroyed by the Israeli army, or pictures of the carnage caused by Palestinian suicide bombers destroying the lives of many Israeli civilians.

Now the Israeli army has taken this war of images a step further by releasing the picture of a Palestinian toddler with mock explosives strapped to his body.

The argument is that they are not only up against individual suicide bombers but a whole culture that glorifies suicide bombings.

But many Palestinians regard them as the weapons of the poor in an unequal struggle against the Israeli army.

See also:

28 Jun 02 | Middle East
'Baby bomber photo' shocks Israel
28 Jun 02 | Middle East
Israel tightens grip in Hebron
24 Apr 02 | Middle East
Hamas bans children's 'sacrifices'
18 Jul 01 | Middle East
School trains suicide bombers
27 Apr 02 | Middle East
Gaza's angry children
12 Oct 00 | Middle East
In pictures: Mid-East erupts
13 Oct 00 | Middle East
Lynch mob's brutal attack
02 Oct 00 | Middle East
Boy becomes Palestinian martyr
02 Oct 00 | Middle East
Images that shook the world
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories