Sunday, May 04, 2008

Israeli Newspapers suffer from an inner ear complaint which effects balance

One of the innate problems of reading articles in Israeli papers is that often the reported account leaves more questions than is reported. It makes me wonder if the 5-W’s of journalism are still taught in Israeli schools. A good case in point is this one from Ynet News on a clash between a Palestinian and Israeli village in the disputed territories:
Residents of Asira al-Kabaliya, a village near Nablus, claimed on Saturday that hundreds of settlers from the nearby Jewish settlement of Itzhar attacked them and damaged much of the village property. They also said that two of the residents were injured, and had to be evacuated to a Nablus hospital.

The IDF denied the Palestinian residents' allegations, claiming that they were the ones who sparked the conflict when they climbed towards the settlement, burning the settlers' fields.

IDF sources claimed that the situation deteriorated to stone-throwing from both sides, as the Palestinians walked from their village up the hill on which Itzhar is located while burning the settlers' property.

Similar conflicts have been known to take place in the area, due to vehement arguments over ownership of land. IDF forces arrived at the scene with the objective of separating the two sides. The army denied the claim that settlers entered the Palestinian village. None of those involved in the incident have filed a complaint, and no one was arrested.

According to the Palestinian residents, the settlers damaged a few houses, set fire to some vehicles, burned dozens of acres of agricultural fields and beat a number of Palestinian youths. One of the residents told Ynet that "the soldiers spread out on the roofs of the houses and pointed their rifles at anyone daring to object, while settlers fired, broke, and beat." He claimed that the Palestinians had done nothing to provoke the attack.
I just happen to have a little knowledge of the Israeli village and from most accounts I have read, it is a Jewish religious community. So if I am to believe Palestinian accounts, I need to believe religiously observant Jews not only left their home and shul on a Saturday morning and presumably walked more than 2000 steps. But that isn’t all I need to believe, I also need to believe the Jews involved carried weapons and not only destroyed property but set fires as well - all the time under the watchful eyes of the IDF troops who were positioned on the roof tops of Palestinian homes. Okie dokie.

The problem I have is not that a clash occurred but the manner in which the event unfolded. A people who refuse to flick on a light switch or turn on a stove until the Sabbath ends are not about to go wrecklessly torching property and fields for no apparent reason. A people who are forbidden to carry things in their hands or pockets outside of an eruv are really not likely to spend their Sabbath outside of their circle. But I am also to believe these religiously observant Jews attacked the Palestinian settlement for no apparent reason on the Sabbath and said attack was sufficiently rebuffed by the Palestinians that the Jewish fields located outside the Arab settlement were the areas set a blaze.

Now according to the IDF account, when IDF soldiers arrived, both sides were engaging in stone throwing but not at the Arab settlement as one would presume from Palestinian accounts but at the Jewish village. It was not Palestinian homes or fields which had been put ablaze but Jewish fields. Of course, the Palestinians involved claim the IDF was actively colluding in a cover-up of the behaviour of religious Jews and participating at the riot by acting as look-outs and snipers. So why aren’t more Arabs hurt or dead? I am to believe the IDF can’t train recruits to shoot anymore?

You know what else is missing from this account besides truth? A single statement from anyone from the Jewish village of Izthar. Read the whole article and there is not a single solitary word from anyone from that Jewish village. Presumably, Ynet News did not see attempt to contact anyone from the village of Izthar and ask a few simple questions.

Of course, I could be wrong about Ynet News, and one of their reporters might have attempted to get the Jews of Izthar to go on record with a comment and been rebuffed. Although, it has been my experience as a newspaper reader when a reporter does that there is always a line or two referencing the attempt…something like ‘no comment was forthcoming’ or ‘repeated calls were not returned by press time’. It is commonly done to achieve a condition called ‘balance’ in the news.

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