49 words: A “toy gun”, a Palestinian teen and a classic Guardian obfuscation

Harriet Sherwood’s Dec. 13 report, Hamas rallies in Fatah-dominated West Bank suggests growing Palestinian unity, included this passing reference to an incident in Hebron last week.

In Hebron, clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers erupted at the funeral of a teenager who was shot dead at a checkpoint on Wednesday. The Israel defence forces said a female soldier had killed Muhammad Ziad Awad Salaymah, whose 17th birthday it was, after he waved a toy gun. [emphasis added]

First, the Arab assailant did much more than “wave” a toy gun at the IDF.  He reportedly pointed a quite realistic looking weapon (at night) at an IDF Border Patrol Officer, pressing it to his throat and further attacked IDF officers, throwing punches and grappling with one officer.

Here’s an IDF security video of the incident. 

By the way, here’s the toy gun.


As Captain Barak Raz, of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, noted:

“Ask yourselves how you would react if this was pressed against your partner.”

Moreover, Sherwood’s passage about the incident, like so much reporting about Israel at the Guardian, is revealing in what information is included, the specific words used to characterize events and – just as importantly – what is left out:

  • Sherwood didn’t deem it important to note the gun (later discovered to be fake) in the context of the suspect’s unprovoked assault on the Israeli officer.
  • Sherwood didn’t deem it important to note that the gun likely looked quite real at the time (especially considering it was in the evening).
  • Sherwood deceptively characterized the suspect as having merely “waved” a “toy gun” at the Israeli officer, designed, presumably to downplay the presumed danger to the Israeli officer who had what appeared to be a real weapon reportedly pressed to his throat.
  • Sherwood evidently deemed it important in the context of the story to note that the Arab suspect was celebrating his 17th birthday.

Sherwood’s passage about the incident in Hebron only had 49 words, but so much deception.

82 replies »

  1. Toy gun is like apartheid wall, a lie clad in MSM clothing. I prefer ‘replica’ as being closer (much) to the truth

  2. Good point, Margie. I know that in police parlance they generally would describe what happened as “an assault with a simulated weapon”. In the US at least, that’s a very serious crime due to the obvious fact that the victim or responding officer could reasonably think his or her life is in danger.

    • Adam the law in England and Wales is also clear;

      Section 16a Firearms Act 1968

      Date Updated: January 2012

      Title: Firearms

      Offence: Possession of firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

      It is an offence for a person to have in his possession any firearm or imitation firearm with intent– means thereof to cause, or enable another person by means thereof to cause, any person to believe that unlawful violence will be used against him or another person.

      Legislation: section 16A Firearms Act 1968

      Mode of Trial: Indictable only

      Statutory Limitations & Maximum Penalty:
      Specified offence under CJA 2003
      10 years imprisonment
      From 6 April 2007, VCRA 2006 s30(2)(b)(iii) imposes a minimum term in accordance with s51A FA 1968 if the weapon used is prohibited under 5(1)(a), (ab), (aba), (ac), (ad), (ae), (af) or (c) or section 5(1A)(a) of the FA 68

    • Was the Guardian the only newspaper to speak of a “toy gun”?

      Not really… the Israeli press also talked of a “toy gun”, they even used that word in their titles… something which Mr Levick strangely forgot to mention:

      YNet News: Border Guard officer kills Palestinian waving toy gun

      Jerusalem Post: Hebron teen pulls toy gun, killed by Border policewoman

      Haaretz: Hebron boy with toy gun killed by IDF

      • “By the way, here’s the toy gun.”

        Dear Mr Levick, could you please explain to your readers how you made sure that the photo you were given by Tsahal’s PR is genuine?

        A correct, ethical, journalistic sentence would read: “By the way, here’s the photo of the toy gun which was provided by a spokesperson for Tsahal”.

        • Dear Mr Levick, could you please clarify for your readers whether you are a journalist and whether you hold a press card?

          • “the Arab assailant”

            Is this is how Mr Levick speak of a sixteen-year-old child equipped with a toy gun?

            This tells a lot.

          • Dear Mr Nat, could you please clarify what difference Mr Levick’s lack of a press card makes to anything?

            Dear Mr Nat, could you please clarify how a soldier is supposed to know whether an “arab assailant” is 16, 17 (Harriet says it was his birthday, so why do you say he was 16?) or over 18, and whether the gun he is holding to your partner’s throat is real or not? Do you wait – ask to see his birth certificate, ask him to hand over the gun so you can inspect it to see if it’s real? What universe do you live in?

          • Waas he an Arab or are you denying this right from the dead boy?
            Talk about racism and theaft!
            As for Assailant, the boy clearly charged at the Magavnik using his hands to grip his throat.
            I think that classified to say he was not up to go buy cakes and sweets like the Palestinian version states!

            Oh, but no!
            He went to the market to buy cakes and a “toy” gun to celebrate his birthday.
            On his ay back he was so happy he tried to smudge the cake in a funny clownish fashion on the Magav policeman but was met with live fire.
            The moral of the story is that the silly Jews, have no sense of humour!

            Isn’t it right Nut?
            Or the IDF manipulates everything in your opinion…

            Reminds me of something David Letterman once said:
            “America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked.”

            On second thought add Lebanon to this sentence…

          • //Is this is how Mr Levick speak of a sixteen-year-old child equipped with a toy gun?

            This tells a lot.//

            In Nat’s protected environment 16 year olds run around with toy guns shouting “Pyow, pyow”. Makes you think.

          • Itsick [sic] The IDF news manipulation is so incompetent that you’d have to be brain-dead to believe it. How come you believe it?

          • Pretzel. I thought ‘Mad Mel of the Mail’ was the only loony with a press pass. Looks like there’s two!

          • “As for Assailant, the boy clearly charged at the Magavnik using his hands to grip his throat.”

            Something is amiss here… the soldier claimed that the child held a gun to her colleague’s head but the video shows that he used his hand to grip her colleague’s throat?

            Itsik, are you trying to tell us that this soldier may have lied?

          • Alex,

            A minute ago you pointed out to the press release of the IDF as proof yet a few minutes later you call it incompetent. Says it all.
            Once again in the same thread you use negative words. This time you use the word “brain dead” in a thread about a dead 17 year old Palestinian boy.
            Are you taking death lightly?
            Seems like you are obsessed by it.
            Maybe you truely have a Hamas future after all!
            Congrats, and may you won’t keep those virgins waiting for long…

            As for your mockery of my name, it is somewhat strange that you are named after a strong Tsar who was actualy open minded enough to see the errors of the blood libel, yet here you are spreading it around in your own way by supporting those who continue to spread it.


            But perhaps you are named after his successors which turned to be the same old antisemites.
            Or maybe you are just named after a great conqueror?
            Funny how you moan about the capturing of small territories…

          • Nat: “…the soldier claimed that the child held a gun to her colleague’s head but the video shows that he used his hand to grip her colleague’s throat?”

            She said no such thing.
            The following is from her statement:

            The soldier who shot the teen recounted the event: “I saw the Palestinian pull a gun out of his back pocket and hold it up to the other soldier. I knew I only had a few seconds so I cocked my weapon and looked for the right angle – so not to hurt the soldier.”
            According to the soldier, she was a few yards away, at the checkpoint post, during the incident. “He (the soldier) asked a Palestinian teenager for his ID. I stepped out to fill out a checkpoint report and I saw the Palestinian attack the soldier and take out a gun.”
            She said she fired three shots. “I knew that if I did anything wrong the other soldier could get killed. I know this was the mission – that I had to do it for my friend.”
            According to the young soldier, fear made way to focus. “I think it was the adrenalin. The other soldier said that he owes me his life. But there’s no heroism here. This is what we’re trained to do.”
            Border Guard Commander Amos Yakov said that the officer who shot the teen “Acted with professional resolve to end the event and I commend her for it. This is exactly who we expect our troops to act – this is what we train them for.” The event took place near a curve in the road known as “Turn 160,” which links the area with Kiryat Arba.
            Turn 160 has been the scene of several terror attacks in the past, including an attack on dozens of Israeli worshipers some 10 years ago.

            Now you may like to thread the word “Head” into her statement but it is well out of line!
            You owe her an apology.
            In Hebrew she spoke about going out to fill the report when the young men launched at her colleague. she was afraid she will hit her colleague but when she noticed the young Arab is pulling a gun from his back pocket she had seconds to act.

            As is clearly the case in many instances like this around the world this is what police officers are trained to do.
            Whether they should be there in the first place is nothing to do with you spreading out lies about the event.

            As you can see that area had terror attacks in the past.
            She repeated several times that she is no her but following protocol.
            The least you can do is pretend you care about the people who have been placed in an impossible situation to try and keep the peace until a political solution can be found.
            Is anything else a miss?

          • Nat, get real. It’s not a neon plastic squirt gun. It looks real. It was being held not by a small child, but an adolescent nearing adulthood. Playing like this is something that any well-intentioned person could have avoided is ludicrous.

        • Nat, is Mr Levick a gournalist?
          Which paper is he wroking for?
          Care to reveal his tax contributions?

          • Itzik, look at the number of posts from Nat in quick succession. He cannot contain himself, much less delay writing and construct a post which includes all his “thoughts.”

            This is classic in the, how shall I say, “challenged”

        • Imagine, a 17 year waving an age-apropriate toy like that, and trying to throttle a policeman. Who could mistake it for anything but clean fun?
          I see what you mean, “Nat.”

      • Hey Nat, I dare you to go to Newtown and defend the teen who shot the children… You will be punished Texas style…

  3. Nat
    Forget your PSC propaganda training manual for one moment . How would you have reacted in similar circumstances ? Start by answering honestly as difficult as that is for you .

    • Forgot the link:

      You can see clearly the soldier beating up the palestinian. Toy gun? Self defence? Yeah, right!

      The only thing I can’t figure out is why the IDF would release a video that contradicts their story unless they are totally stupid. Oh yes, of course! They are!

      • I see no contradiction here.
        One thing is clear. The boy was up to no good, he charged at an officer and was in a posession of a fake fire arm.
        Who sent him there Alex, and why?
        As for why the IDF release the film, because unlike Hizbullah it shows what really happened.
        Why would Hizbullah block the enterances to a village yesterday where one of their munition “ware houses” (more like a house) exploded if not to try and prevent from the truth to surface?

          • It is hard to see much because at times they move to the darker areas and around the building corner.
            The woman said it happened fairly quick hence her rapid reponse.

            Seems just around 00:47 the boy moves his hands to his back but the cctv is dark and grainy.
            You seems like you take the words of 2 Israeli border police to be lies.
            Now where would they get the gun from?
            The entire IDF must be liars.

            In light of past events involving this it is not unheard of for Palestinians to try and attack troops to cause provocations.
            I think you would have got that after the Mavi Marmara incident.


            It seems to me Nat that you have been seeing too many Holywood films where they pull the gun and stand posing for donkey’s years.
            This is not what happen in real life.

        • And Istik..

          The video was edited to cut out the IDF soldier shooting at the boy while he was running away. You are a total victim of IDF manipulation. Even the NYT isn’t sweeping this under the carpet. For your interest here is the unedited version:

          These are the last attempts to legitimize an illegitimate regime. Israel, once founded on noble principles, has descended into a rogue state whose middle eastern neighbours now have the moral high ground.

          [*****Attention webmaster*****] Please put a British English dictionary into your spell check. i refuse to write “neighbors” and other such monstrosities.

      • Alex are you old enough to remember this?

        I believe that the reporter was being kind when he/she said that these kids were deliberately put in danger in order to “test the defences” of the Israeli border. No, more likely is that their handlers were hoping to make propaganda capital from their deaths if the guards opened fire on them.

        Now, that plainly did not work, so the parsimonious explanation for this incident is that the cuddly Palestinians are upping the ante.

        And suckers like you are falling mindlessly for it.

        (see also

    • Hey Alex, why don’t you go to Newtown and say you don’t believe the killer had a gun? Huh? How are your running skills?

  4. This was the border police unit who reacted as they should have feeling they were in an immidiate danger.
    US citizens (which are not at war near their home soil) have been killed for far less by their own police forces – as were British citizens.
    The last British citizen to have been shot caused the riots last year if I reacall correctly.

    It is a classic case of “suicide by cop”.
    He was sent to provoce hoping to become a “Shaeed” and sadly he succeeded.
    Many questions should be posed to those who sent him starting with his immidiate family.
    But Fatah is too weak to pursue this and Hamas is happy with the boy’s actions.

      • That’s a possibility no?
        Were you there?
        Can you see clearly through the grainy CCTV image which was taken from quite high up?
        Hang on, so, Nat tells us not to believe it isn’t manipulated but you say believe it…
        Make up your minds.

        • ANYTHING’s a possibility if it’s not logically inconsistent like a spherical cube. You could be a hamas leader posing as a zionist. That’s a possibility no? but just about as unlikely.

          • “In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog”

            I post rational arguments. You are only “inflamed” because you cannot post any reasonable counter-argument and most times resort to childish statements, uncomfortable in the knowledge that they reflect the weakness of your position and the paucity of your argument.

          • Alex:
            “…post rational arguments. You are only “inflamed” because you cannot post any reasonable counter-argument and most times resort to childish statements,…”

            Said the man who uses terms like brain dead, and make a mockery of other user’s names.
            I’m not inflamed buddy.
            I’m not the one who usese terms like “shooting yourself in the foot” on a piece about the shooting of a boy.

            You need help.
            And a ladder to climb down from the tree.
            A troll tree as it happens to be.

    • Realistic toy guns have been banned for sale in many places in the US, precisely because they lead to accidental police shootings. In this case, I am at a complete loss to think of a reason for this boy’s actions, except that he was expected to die, and become a PR figure.

      The reactions of the usual suspects on this thread suggests that that mission was successful.

  5. Many of the Palestinians produce many children with the only goal to instrumentalise them as martyrs and let them be shot by provoking deady situations. They are expendable for their parents and even help the income of their parents through the compensations granted by Islamic states and terror organisations.
    It looks like coincidence that without much time delay the character assasinators in the west go to work, mourn their Islamic martyrs and spread hate against Israel and Jews.
    Same procedure as every year.

    • Fritz. It’s only by making the palestinians non-human that your conscience can allow you to talk like this.


      • Yes, it is very hard to figure how their conscience work, I understand that you are afraid to follow this path, and instead prefering to denounce the messenger who dared into this dark world of martyrdom to gain some informations about this specific human side.

      • Alex, someone sent that kid to threaten an armed soldier with what appeared to be a weapon.

        A human being can do that–no other animal has the evil in it–but not a very good human being.

  6. Nat / Alex bickering with these racist idiots is kinda well…….The only reason to be here is to have fun watching them thrash around on the floor frothing at the mouth. Nothing rests on it. It is just more fun than the magic roundabout

    • Well, it´s lotsa fun to trash anti-Semitic morons such as yourself and your sidekicks. I just thought you’d like to know.

    • Self-aggrandizing seudo-intellectuals such as richardarmchair (“Nat”, Ajax, Haveham Meitner, etc.) owe the term racism an apology for robbing that word of all its meaning. They negligently throw it around in ways that are actually quite disgusting to anyone who truly cares for the meaning of words. Their need to come here and spew their bilge has deeply erotic roots.

    • A typical cliché propagated by the Nazis. Not surprising that now it is spread by the new Anti-Semites, lefties who hide their racism by claiming all others racist. A sort of totalitarian view, ready to exterminate all who disagree.

    • Richardarmbach,
      You are having fun posting on a story about Muhammad’s death.
      You are a sick f*ck.
      Then you say something idiotic about Epileptic people being similar to mentaly ill people, and now you talk about “…have fun watching them thrash around on the floor frothing at the mouth…”
      Geez you are one sick individual.
      But I guess you’re description of fun is a 3 year old choice.
      Something that is “just more fun than the magic roundabout”.
      Not a lot more fun but just more fun.
      Sums it up.
      Oh, and calling me a racist, well, this is interesting but not at all unexpected.