Possibly the worst reporting on the terrorist murder of Baruch Mizrahi, who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist while driving to a family Passover Seder, appeared in The Times of London under the headline: “Israeli policeman is shot dead amid fury over settlers’ return.”
The story begins:
An Israeli policeman was shot dead near Hebron on the eve of the Passover festival as Jewish settlers celebrated their return to a disputed house in a Palestinian area of the West Bank city.
Three families moved into the building on Sunday evening, protected by Israeli soldiers, hours after Moshe Yaalon, the Israeli defence minister, granted permission for their return — six years after their initial eviction.
The first apparent retaliation for the return of the settlers came on Monday night when a man opened fire on a car outside Hebron.
A number of observations:
1. While Baruch Mizrahi may have been a policeman, he was off-duty and traveling with his family when the attack occurred. He was not driving a marked police vehicle. There was no way for the Palestinian terrorist to know that he was firing on an Israeli policeman.
Is this emphasis on Mizrahi’s profession and the portrayal of him as something other than a civilian, Times journalist Catherine Philp’s thinly veiled attempt to suggest that he may have been a “legitimate” target for a Palestinian gunman?
2. Since when have Palestinian terrorists needed an excuse to attack Israelis? A direct linkage between a disputed house in Hebron and the terrorist attack is tenuous and speculative at best. Worse, it implies an air of legitimacy for the attack. Despite the headline, the attack itself is relegated to a single paragraph out of the fourteen in the article.
For Catherine Philp, the indiscriminate murder of an Israeli in a terror attack is far outweighed by the return of an Israeli family to a house in Hebron and the settlement issue.
The Guardian, at least, devoted more column inches to the terrorist attack itself. The report, however, included the following error:
The family in the car that was hit was understood to be en route from their home in Modi’in - an Israeli town split across occupied Palestinian and Israeli territory – to visit the mother’s family for the traditional meal that commences the Passover religious festival.
Modi’in, a major Israeli city is not, in fact, “split across occupied Palestinian and Israeli territory.” The city is considered to be within the Green Line and even the Palestinians have not raised any claims concerning the location of the small satellite town of Maccabim within the “no-man’s land” that existed until 1967.
Once again, the home of the victim is inserted into an article as a means of legitimizing or understanding Palestinian violence. After all, for the media, it’s far easier to excuse terrorism when Israeli “settlers” are the target.