March 30, 2018


NY Times covers up Israel’s killing of nonviolent protesters along the Gaza border

by James North 


The NYTimes today continues its biased coverage of Israel/Palestine, with a shocking, one-sided report that tries to cover up how Israel has opened fire on the mass nonviolent Palestinian protest inside the Gaza border.

The dishonesty starts in the first sentence of the Times report, which contends that the protests “descended almost immediately into chaos and bloodshed,” with “at least five Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers.”

Note the cunning effort to use vagueness to hide the fact that Israel fired live ammunition (“descended. . . into bloodshed”), and “clashes” — insinuations that both sides are somehow responsible for the five deaths.

The bias continues in the second paragraph of the Times report, which asserts — without quotation marks —  that “thousands of Palestinians were rioting in six locations along the border.” By contrast, both the Guardian and the BBC in their reports put the word “rioting” in quotes, and attributed it clearly to the Israeli military, underscoring that it is a claim from one side, not a proven fact. Here’s the BBC version: “The Israeli military reported ‘rioting’ at six places and said it was ‘firing towards main instigators.'”

The dishonesty continues. The Times describes Hamas as “the Islamic militant group that dominates Gaza and is known for its armed resistance.” OK, somewhat tendentious, but where’s the description of Israel as “a government that has massively attacked Gaza three times since 2008, killing thousands, mainly civilians and many children?”

Next, the Times does mention Israel’s blockade of Gaza, “which Israel calls a security imperative.” But you won’t read the other side, which is that many others, Palestinians and some Israelis, counter that Israel maintains the blockade not mainly to protect itself, but to suffocate and discredit Hamas, which won elections in Gaza in 2006.

Then even more bias. The Times: “Girding for violence, Israel had almost doubled its forces along the border, deploying snipers, special units and drones. . .” But where’s the other, far more accurate side of the story: “Israel, facing a propaganda debacle as thousands of Gazans launched a mass peaceful protest, did everything it could to provoke violence to discredit the protest and intimidate Gazans once more.”

Buried in the Times article is just one hint about what is really happening, a quote from B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization. B’Tselem “warned in a statement that any shoot-to-kill policy against unarmed demonstrators would be unlawful. . .”

What is troubling and disgraceful in the Times report is that so far, there is no first-hand reporting from Gaza. A newspaper genuinely interested in the truth would send reporters to the border in Gaza and ask some of the thousands of Palestinian demonstrators what is actually happening to them —  instead of just parroting the Israeli military.