NYT Omits Facts Of West Bank Shooting, Suggesting Palestinians Murdered Israelis

Earlier this week, there was a tragic shooting at a checkpoint in Nablus, in the West Bank section of the Palestinian Occupied Territories. A group of religious Israelis, en route to Joseph’s Tomb, attempted to enter the city of Nablus unauthorized.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the Israelis tried to break through a checkpoint, and that the governor of Nablus said that Israeli settlers began to pelt Palestinian police officers with stones when they wouldn’t let the group into the city. The Palestinians responded with live fire, and an Israeli was tragically killed and four other Israelis were wounded:

During the incident Sunday, Livnat, a Jerusalem resident, was killed and four other Israelis were wounded when a group of Hasidim tried to break through a Palestinian police checkpoint in Nablus. The worshippers entered the city, contrary to orders by the Israel Defense Forces, to pray at Joseph’s Tomb.

According to the Nablus governor, settlers arrived at the scene and threw stones at the Palestinian police. He said the policemen fired in the air to disperse the Israelis and that one of the vehicles carrying Hasidim tried to break through a checkpoint, not heeding calls to stop after the officers had fired in the air.

Yet as Mondoweiss notes, the shooting was portrayed a little differently in the New York Times (NYT). Under the headline “Palestinian Police Kill Israeli Visiting West Bank Holy Site,” the Times wrote only that the shooting may have been “the result of a lack of coordination between the worshipers and the Israeli Army,” glossing over the fact that the Israelis had tried to break through the checkpoint. The Times also included numerous quotes by Israeli officials calling the shooting a “murder“:

The shooting occurred outside Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus after three carloads of religious Israeli Jews visited the site to pray, without coordinating their plans through the Israeli Army. Twice-monthly trips to the tomb have been organized with army escorts for the past four years without incident. … The Palestinian governor of Nablus, Jibril al-Bakri, told Israel Radio that the shooting was a result of lack of coordination between the worshipers and the Israeli Army. […]

A statement from Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who is responsible for Israeli security in the West Bank, also used the term “murder,” adding, “No failure of coordination can justify an event of this kind and firing on innocent people.”

Mondoweiss points out that there is actually a major conflict of interest in the NYT reporting. The article’s author, Ethan Bronner — who is also the paper’s Jerusalem bureau chief — actually has a son in the Israeli Defense Forces. Additionally, Bronner actually lives in the upper story of a building that was seized from Palestinians during their exodus. This is a major conflict of interest that may explain why the article was slanted in the way that it was.