Reuters Under Fire For ‘Puff Piece’ On Alleged Palestinian Terrorist

(Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Font Size:

Reuters is facing backlash for a headline which positively depicted a young Palestinian who is accused of opening fire on a group of Israelis before one shot and severely wounded him.

Thirteen-year-old Mahmoud Aleiwat is accused of shooting at a group of Israelis passing by in the Silwan district of Jerusalem on Jan. 28, before one of them reportedly shot back, putting Aleiwat in the hospital. Reuters characterized Aleiwat as a star student who dreamed someday of being a chef.

“In the middle of last week, 13-year-old Palestinian Mahmoud Aleiwat was pressing his teachers for the school report he needed so he could go to a Jerusalem college to train as a chef,” the opening paragraph of the story, headlined “Palestinian teenager dreamt of being a chef before attack, teachers say,” reads. (RELATED: After Mass Shooting, Israel Moves To Expand Civilian Access To Guns)

“People who knew Aleiwat are puzzled about what could have prompted him to carry out such an act,” the article continues. “They described a popular teenager with a strong personality, a passion for football and an ambition to be a chef.”

Israeli police did not directly identify Aleiwat as a suspect, only saying that a 13-year-old “lone wolf” carried out an attack. A lawyer for the teen said he was the one being accused. His family, according to Reuters, denies his involvement.

“Today @Reuters dedicated an entire article not to the victims—who aren’t even identified—but to the attacker (!), noting his ‘passion for football’ and his ‘dream of being a chef.’ WTAF,” pro-Israel advocate Avi Mayer tweeted.

“It’s weird how they can’t ever write about the dreams and hopes of victims,” Middle East security analyst Seth Frantzman replied.

Honest Reporting, which works to expose alleged anti-Israel media bias, called the article a “puff piece,” while writer Howard Lovy excoriated “journalist” Henriette Chacar for writing the piece.

As of Monday afternoon, the article remains available and unedited on Reuters’ website.