To understand the latest report by Peter Beaumont (the Guardian’s new Jerusalem correspondent), it’s necessary to comprehend the Guardian’s view of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, in which Israelis represent privileged Western colonialists, and are almost completely the guilty party, while Palestinians are the weak, the dispossessed and colonized – and are almost entirely the victims.
Since their journalistic ethos seems inspired by a desire to, as one Guardian journalist phrased it, ‘comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable’, even the most brutal Palestinian terror attacks will necessarily be framed in a manner which robs Israeli victims of their humanity, and obfuscates the malevolence of the Palestinian perpetrator.
To wit, a April 14 story by Beaumont on a deadly terrorist attack near Hebron, on the eve of Passover, in which a Jewish man (Baruch Mizrachi) was killed, and his wife (Hadas) and children injured by Palestinian sniper fire, is notable for the absence of the words “terrorist” or even “militant”, its subtle attempts to downplay the deadly assault and the suggestion that the motive for the attack is ‘unclear’.
The story, titled ‘Israeli man killed and family members hurt as car fired on in West Bank‘, begins thusly:
One Israeli was killed three others injured after their car was hit by gunfire as they travelled through the West Bank on the eve of the Jewish Passover holiday.
The dead man, aged 40, was understood to be the father of the family while his pregnant wife, aged 28, and two children – one of them a nine-year old – were injured.
At least one man armed with an automatic weapon and apparently wearing a helmet opened fire on several cars travelling on route 35 near the city of Hebron, according to witness reports.
Note the passive language in the title and the opening passage, in which the victim’s car was hit by “gunfire”. It isn’t until the third paragraph that “an armed man” makes an appearance. However, the identity or likely motive of “the armed man” is not explored.
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. The shooting was the second incident in the past two days on the West Bank.
This paragraph represents the first attempt to impute ‘settler’ status upon the victim. However, Beaumont gets it wrong. Modi’in does not extend into “Palestinian territory”. (The Maccabim section of the greater Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut municipality – encompassing a few zip codes – are in what’s known as No Man’s Land, which refers to land between Israel and the West Bank whose sovereignty was never fully clarified after the War of Independence in 1948.)
Beaumont continues, and fails to properly contextualize additional information which clearly indicates a terror attack had taken place.
A traveller in another of the cars relayed the incident to an Israeli news agency describing the man as armed with a Kalashnikov and wearing a helmet. “He opened fire but didn’t hit us. He kept firing at the cars behind us,” the man said.
Israel‘s Channel 10 quoted another witness describing the man as dressed in black.
Beaumont then adds information which could easily be read as possible motives – if not justifications – for the shooting, which is curious in that, up until this point, he hasn’t so much as hinted that the attack could be nationalist (or political) in nature.
The shooting comes amid increasing tensions following a stalemate in peace talks.
It also comes hard on the heels of permission by the Israeli army on Sunday for three settler families to move into a building in nearby Hebron, after a long legal battle and culminating on Sunday with the authorisation by Israel’s defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon, of the first new settlement in Hebron since the 1980s.
Then, in the penultimate paragraph, Beaumont descends to the absurd, feigning ignorance as to the likely motive:
However, with no immediate claim of responsibility the precise motives for the shooting remained unclear.
Finally, there this closing paragraph:
In the last 12 months five Israelis have been killed in attacks on the West Bank. According to figures collated by the Israeli NGO B’Tselem between January 2009 and the end of February this year 82 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces or civilians on the West Bank and 20 Israelis.
Note that, per Beaumont, Israelis have been killed by “attacks” perpetrated by faceless perpetrators, while Palestinians have been killed by “Israelis”.
Finally, in light of Beaumont’s callous, agenda-driven report, here’s a first-hand account of the shooting (per the Israeli media) which will humanize the victims:
“We left our house in Modi’in and headed to the Seder,” Hadas Mizrahi told Ynet. “We passed the Tarqumia checkpoint and a traffic circle, and then Baruch saw a terrorist. He told me, ‘they’re shooting, they’re shooting, they’re shooting. There’s a terrorist.’ Baruch put his foot down on the gas pedal.
“I felt a pain in my back. I told the kids, ‘take off your seatbelts and lie down on the floor’. I took the steering wheel, shifted into low gear and used the handbrake to reduce the speed. I used a rag to wipe up the blood; I saw that Baruch was dead. When the soldiers arrived, I told them to dress my wounds and put the children in a protected vehicle, so that they didn’t see their father lying dead.”
The initial investigation into the attack found that the terrorist fired dozens of rounds from a Kalashnikov at vehicles, hitting the car in which Baruch and Hadas Mizrahi and five of their children were travelling. The children, aged between 3 and 13, did not suffer any injuries, in no small part thanks to Hadas’ quick thinking.
I’ll be strong for the children, because that’s what Baruch would have wanted. We should also be thankful for the miracle that my children and I survived. We will stay strong and God willing, my children will grow and succeed, and that will be my victory against the terrorists,” said the mother, whose condition is defined as moderate. “I have two bullet wounds and a fractured rib.”
(This post was revised at 19:30 Israeli time to more accurately explain the boundaries of Modi’in.)