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How the New York Times Whitewashed a Gruesome Videotaped Israeli Execution

The New York Times article of the killing of a Palestinian gives unfair weight to the Israeli military.

Photo Credit: Screen capture / YouTube

It is really hard to ignore New York Times’ headline for the story on the disturbing video of the execution of the young Palestinian Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif, 21. Al-Sharif was executed along with Ramzi Kasrawi, 21, in Hebron on Thursday, March 24.

I know it’s the NYT after all, and pointing it out, like we did in hundreds of other cases, might not change anything, but still, one cannot and should not skip such outrageous journalistic practices.

The NYT chose this headline "Israel Soldier Detained in Shooting of Palestinian" to cover a crime that was filmed—and, had it not been recorded, one that would otherwise likely have gone unnoticed. The crime is composed of two disturbing scenes, both equally severe (and painful): In the first, an Israeli soldier executes a motionless and injured young Palestinian man in Hebron by a bullet in the head from point zero, and the other soldiers carry on as if nothing happened. And in the second, Israeli medics and soldiers ignore the injured Palestinian (before he was shot the second time) and leave him lying on the ground as if he were a piece of trash. 

The problem, though, is not only with the headline; it's also with the 900 word and 18 paragraph article, which gave the major weight to Israeli military propaganda.

This is logical, no? Because usually in journalism, if a criminal committed a crime, for example a murder or rape, the article would give the the major weight to the murderer of course, rather than to the victim.

The victim, in our case, is the least important thing in this article. We should be thankful they mentioned his name and age.

Out of the 18 paragraphs, 12 paragraphs (570 words) were allocated to the military and Israeli official statements (the first six and the last five are among them). Only one paragraph is allotted for a Palestinian spokesperson (56 words), and another three for an Israeli speaker for B’tselem (113 words).

After each claim that arises from the video (and mentioned modestly by the NYT), there is a bunch of Israeli official statements commenting on it.

Also, in other cases, the NYT predominantly displays the video that is the subject of the article on the page of the article. Here, the editor decided, it is enough to hyperlink it!

It makes it seem like the NYT’s office in Jerusalem is part of the military spokesperson office, who edits and approves all the reports that come out.

I wonder how many of us need to die, how many more Israeli crimes it will take for the U.S. media to realize that it is not an “isolated incident,” and I wonder when we will see an in-depth article on the NYT that follows up on the “isolated” cases in which the military claimed they detained a soldier, and tell us what happened with these cases.

I wonder when the NYT will dare to realize that it’s an Israeli military occupation, and Israeli soldiers are not victims.