On Dec. 11th we asked a simple question after an autopsy (by Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian forensic doctors) of Ziad Abu Ein – the terrorist cum Palestinian minister who died in the West Bank on Dec. 10th following a confrontation with Israeli soldiers – concluded that he died from a stress-induced heart attack.
The question was raised in the context of a Guardian report by Peter Beaumont on the day Abu Ein died which almost entirely focused on Palestinian claims that he died as the result of either a punch, kick or gun butt to the head, or by the impact of a tear gas canister administered by an Israeli soldier.
Sure enough, Peter Beaumont’s Dec. 12th follow-up story on Abu Ein failed to clearly report on the autopsy results.
As we noted yesterday, the Guardian published a report (and video) on the death of Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein, who died shortly after a brief confrontation with IDF soldiers during a protest north of Ramallah, which all but ignored substantiveevidencecorroborating Israeli claims that Abu Ein likely died of a heart attack, not as the result of trauma.
What is known at the moment is that a Palestinian minister, Ziad Abu Ein, died today shortly after a confrontation with IDF soldiers during a protest north of Ramallah. Abu Ein – imprisoned in Israel for his role in a terrorist bombing that killed two Israeli teens, but later released during a prisoner swap – collapsed and was evacuated for medical care, but died before reaching the hospital.
What’s not known is the cause of death, and there is increasing evidence (which we’ll show later in the post) that Abu Ein, who suffered from health problems including diabetes and high blood pressure, may have died of a heart attack.
However, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont naturally all but avoided evidence pointing to the strong possibility that Abu Ein died of natural causes, and instead primarily cited only those sources claiming he died as the result of trauma inflicted by an Israeli soldier.
However, despite the caption’s claim, it’s far from certain that 15 Palestinian civilians (including the girl pictured in the AFP photo) were in fact killed – at a UN school in the Gaza city of Beit Hanoun – by an Israeli tank shell on the day in question.
During the summer war in Gaza, we posted about Nafeez Ahmed, who published a truly bizarre, conspiratorial-minded post (at the Guardian’s Environmental blog!) claiming that Israel’s war was largely motivated by the desire to steal Palestinian natural gas.
As we noted at the time, Ahmed’s theory on the “root cause” of the current conflict – which we fisked here - was not at all surprising given his history of such fanciful “truth” telling regarding the evidently “secret”, untold histories of the 9/11 attacks and the 7/7 London bombings.
Up until now, the mostegregious distortion, within the UK media’s coverage of the proposed ‘Jewish nation-state’ legislation, was represented by Times of London headlines suggesting that the law, if passed, would render Arab-Israelis “second-class citizens”.
Through communication with Times of London editors, they agreed to add quotes around the term “second-class citizens” to reflect the fact that that charge merely represents the hyperbole of a few political figures in expressing their opposition to the law. (See this good backgrounder on the proposed bill, which would not erode the individual rights of non-Jews in Israel, yet alone result in ‘transfer’.)
However, the British newspaper The Telegraph has published an even more inflammatory and misleading article on the possible ramifications of the proposed law (Meet the Arab-Israelis living in fear of expulsion, Dec. 1). The article, written by their Middle East correspondent Robert Tait, amplifies the ludicrous charge by some Arab extremists that the legislation would result in the forced expulsion of Arab-Israelis.
As we noted in a post earlier today, Times of London editors chose a headline for an article by Gregg Carlstrom today which leveled a charge not supported by the text, and which mischaracterizes a proposedbill designed to enshrine Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people”.
Times of London, Nov. 24
We noted that under two versions of a bill Netanyahu’s cabinet voted to approve on Sunday, the law – which would need to be approved by the full Knesset – would establish “national rights” for the Jewish people (such as the right of Jews to immigrate to Israel), while “equal individual rights for all citizens” would be protected.
Though the headline was possibly inspired by a stray comment by Yair Lapid, Netanyahu’s minister of finance, who used language echoing the “second class citizen” charge, an accurate headline can not pass off as fact an accusation which is only claimed by some – at least without quotes or some other qualifier.
Recently, we checked the Times of London again, to see if – after our complaint to the paper – they modified the misleading headline.
However, upon glancing at the the home page we noticed that the story is actually now featured on the home page.
In addition to the bizarre suggestion by Ben Lynfield at The Independent that recent violence in Jerusalem can be attributed to Israeli restrictions on Muslim “access to al-Aqsa Mosque”, his Nov. 6th report included the following historical error concerning the history of Muslim prayer at the Temple Mount Compound.
Lynfield omits theCrusader period (1099 to 1187) in which Christian prayer was of course permitted. (In the 13th century, there were several years of additional Crusader control, before Muslim rule was re-established in 1244.)
After contacting Indy editors, they revised the passage to note the period when Christians ruled the holy city.
Despite what Times of London claims in an Oct. 28th story by Gregg Carlstrom, there is no ‘apartheid-style’ proposal by Israeli officials to ‘ban Palestinians from riding Israeli buses’.
According to Haaretz (and other media sites which covered the story), the new security edict being proposed by the Defense Ministry would require Palestinian laborers who enter Israel through the Eyal checkpoint (mostly those heading to work in Tel Aviv or central Israeli towns) to head home at night through the same IDF checkpoints from which they entered. Previously, on the return trip back into the West Bank, Palestinian workers were free to choose alternative routes which would allow them to get closer to their homes and with less delay – including those bus lines passing straight through checkpoints and stopping at settlements.
Reportedly, the new proposed rules would only apply to the Eyal checkpoint and not initialy apply to those entering at other crossings.
Also, note this official statement from the Israeli Defense Department, which Carlstrom didn’t include in his report:
A security official told Haaretz that the criticism was out of context. “There is no ban on taking buses with Israelis,” the official said. “The only thing that will happen is that laborers who are citizens of the Palestinian Authority will need to return through the same crossing they left so there will be supervision of entry and departure like in any sovereign country that protects itself and takes care to admit foreign residents into its territory in orderly fashion, through arranged crossings.”
Indeed, Carlstrom – unlike other sites which covered the story, including Haaretz – didn’t included even one statement from an Israeli official contradicting his characterization of the proposed new rule, or explaining its rationale.
It would be quite fair to say that the new policy, if implemented, would have the effect of making it extremely less likely that Palestinians in the West Bank entering Israel via Eyal will use Israeli bus lines to return from work in Israel. However, to state, as the Times of London article did, that Palestinians will be “banned” from Israeli bus lines is false. No such rule has been proposed.
Indeed, whilst commentators can reasonably take issue with the new proposed rules, and the injurious impact it may have on Palestinian laborers, based on what’s been reported thus far there is no reason to believe that even one Palestinian will be denied service on Israeli bus lines – the necessary condition to claim that there’s a “ban”.
Even by the standards of the Guardian Left, George Monbiot represents an extreme example of those commentators who go beyond mere hostility to Israeland the United States, but, more broadly, seem to wake up in the morning convinced that reactionary jihadists are actually victims of the democratic (“imperialist”) West.
Though his Oct. 21st op-ed in the Guardian is about the ‘duhumanising rhetoric’ used by political leaders to demonize and exploit vulnerable minority groups, he naturally avoids citing the most egregiously racist and violent Islamist extremist movements, instead citing – as examples of those who use dehumanising rhetoric to render people expendable – Israel, the UK and the United States.
Former AP correspondent Matti Friedman, in hisessay at Tablet on media coverage of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, explained that reporters “working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel”, whose “every action and flaw is analyzed, criticized and aggressively reported”, while, alternately, “Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate”.
The Guardian coverage of Israel and the greater region perfectly reflects this principle.