By Barry Rubin
It is understandably hard for people to believe the amount of violence that is staged and stories that are manipulated coming from the Middle East. Here is a bit of video from the eastern part of Jerusalem.
See what happens: Kids are throwing stones at passing cars with Israeli license plates, some of them run into the road and throw stones. A car is also deliberately parked across the road, partly blocking it. The Israeli driver slams on his brakes but one of them is hit by the car and flies up and over it.
Note the following:
1. The Palestinian and other media release a story saying the driver deliberately hit him. Here’s a report in al-Jazira with a photo designed to lie about what happened. This claim is clearly not true. If the driver had been speeding and wanted to do injury he could easily have hit three or four of the kids. Indeed, I’ve been told that Arabic-language news media is reporting that the driver killed two children (only one was slightly injured). The response to this could be terrorist attacks to get revenge. This is a common pattern.
2. There are a lot of reporters there filming (you can see them on the left and bottom edges). So this was set up for media coverage, as is so much violence in the West Bank particularly. Indeed, there are at least seven photographers visible and there are as many journalists, if not more, than there were rock-throwers.
3. At the end there is a very strange scene. The boy does not appear to have been injured seriously. (I was once hit by a car exactly in this manner and walked away. If you are thrown into the air you will just get some bruises, as long as you don’t fall under the car.) But there is an ambulance which has just been standing there waiting for something like this to happen, a sign it is being staged.
4. Yet the boy is holding onto the ambulance door, trying to avoid being put into the ambulance. Why? It may be too much of a stretch to say he fears being made into a martyr by his comrades, or maybe he just wants to stay with his friends but he looks pretty desperate not to get in. If I’ve overreached on this point I apologize.
5. The Israeli driver’s back window has been smashed in by a stone. The driver of course isn’t going to stop because he fears for his life and also might be hit by more stones at any moment. He reported the incident to the police and didn’t try to hide that it had happened.
6. Some of the driver’s friends suggest that he may have been personally targeted for an ambush because he has been an activist on Jerusalem-related issues. They say his car is well-known and he often travels that road. This might be true since there is no evidence of rock-throwing at any cars before he arrived.
Here’s a technical analysis of the incident.
If you see stories in your local newspapers or on television saying that an Israeli settler deliberately ran down and killed two Palestinian boys you now know the real story. But most of the readers or viewers won’t know any better.
Multiply this story by hundreds of such cases, far too many to correct; add the fact that such clear proof of falsification is often lacking; and blend in the sympathy of many reporters with misreporting events. (Even after Israel released footage showing the soldiers landing on the deck of the Mavi Marmara were attacked and beaten, the New York Times implied that this didn’t prove anything).
Now you get a picture of the situation regarding media coverage of Israel.