Teen Settler

Dear HonestReporting Member,

On November 4, a Palestinian terrorist sprayed machine-gun fire at a bus in Jerusalem, killing two teenagers and wounding 40.

The Associated Press coverage was particularly poor. In one article, AP’s Nicole Winfield reports: “On Sunday, a Palestinian shooting attack on a bus in a disputed section of Jerusalem killed two teen-agers, one of them a U.S.-born settler.”

The American citizen, 16-year-old Shoshana Ben-Yishai, is described by AP as a “settler.” But she was murdered in Jerusalem. And anyway what difference does it make where she lived? Does her suburban Jerusalem home of Beitar — one kilometer over the Green Line — make the act of indiscriminately shooting up a busload of children any less heinous?

Labeling Israelis as anything less than “civilians” suggests that they are combatants, and helps legitimize Palestinian attacks against innocent civilians.

And what defines a settler, anyway? Page 64 of the official Palestinian 5th grade schoolbook shows a map of Palestine which includes the “settlements” of Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ashkelon, Safed, Beersheva, Eilat and everything in between.

To add insult to injury, another AP report refers to the heroic Israeli civilian who killed the terrorist as, you guessed it, “a West Bank settler.”

Another AP article is provocatively headlined, “Parents of Slain Teen Want Vengeance.” AP interviews the parents of the slain teen, Shoshana Ben-Yishai, but nowhere do they call for “vengeance.” In the two references in the article, Shoshana’s father speaks only about Israeli “defense.”

Who manufactured this slanderous headline?

Subsequent to reader complaints, the same article is now posted online with a new headline, “Parents Also Blame Israeli Left, U.S.” The inaccuracy is removed, though the negative slant remains.

To complain, write a letter using the points above, and send to:

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.


========== UPDATE: EYELESS IN GAZA ============

In response to Harper’s “Gaza Diary,” reporter Oriah Shavit of Israel’s Ha’aretz secured responses from author Chris Hedges and from the Israeli army spokesman. The IDF says:

“The editorial board of Harper’s never requested a response from the IDF Spokesman’s office. The IDF Spokesman stresses that the article is biased, replete with baseless charges. The author presents a one-sided account. The IDF Spokesmen categorically reject the charge that soldiers entice Palestinian children to the fence.

“The day described by Hedges was particularly violent near Gush Katif, the Spokesman said, with scores of Palestinians attacking soldiers with rocks and bottles and endangering their lives. The soldiers acted with restraint for hours, using anti-riot equipment. When the attacks continued, small caliber fire was directed at the riot leaders, and two of them were seen being hit in their legs.”

Hedges admitted to Ha’aretz that he did not bother to seek an IDF response. He says:

“The article was written as a diary in first-person in the present tense. It was done intentionally. If I were writing for The New York Times I would have requested a response, but I was writing a diary in the first-person. I didn’t interview any Palestinian Authority officials or any Israeli officials. The whole idea was to write without rhetoric. I know the territories well enough to know that if you don’t see it with your own eyes, it’s not true.”

It is the greatest irony that Hedges uses the words, “see it with your own eyes,” since Hedges worst accusations are based on incorrect assumptions. Hedges admits in the Harper’s article that he did not see the boys shot — they were “out of sight.” Hedges also says he didn’t hear the shots being fired, which he (incorrectly) assumed meant that Israeli soldiers were using silencers. Furthermore, Hedges offers no corroborating evidence — no photos, no videos, no outside verification.



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