Wash. Post, NY Times decry Israeli treatment of Palestinian terrorists
In their Sunday, Feb. 19 editions, the Washington Post and the New York Times go all out in criticizing Israel for cutting legal corners in handling Palestinian terrorists apprehended on the West Bank, including rock-throwing minors.
Both articles exude deep sympathy for such criminal defendants -- a level of solicitude sadly lacking in the papers' coverage or non-coverage of Israelis exposed to far worse Palestinian brutality, or in the abusive treatment, including torture, of Hamas detainees in West Bank jails under Mahmoud Abbas's control, and Fatah detainees in Hamas jails in Gaza.
The Washington Post story, splashed across six columns, focuses on a hunger strike by Khader Adnan, an Islamic Jihad terrorist leader, who's protesting his detention without trial and drawing attention and support from self-described human-rights groups and the European Union. ("Palestinian on hunger strike poses a challenge for Israel - Prisoner protesting detention without trial said to be close to death" by Joel Greenberg, page A18).
For starters, Greenberg immediately softens his image -- describing him only as a "prominent activist in the militant Islamic Jihad group." Greenberg singularly fails to inform readers that Islamic Jihad is, if anything, an even bloodier terrorist group than Hamas, sworn to destroy Israel by violent means.
Instead, Greenberg's agenda instead is, first and foremost, to summon concern for the health of Adnan, who has been on a hunger strike since Dec. 18 and is under treatment in an Israeli hospital. The article gives only secondary consideration to the reasons for Israel's refusal to bring Adnan to trial -- valuable Israeli intelligence about terrorist cells would have to be disclosed, further weakening Israel in keeping Palestinian terrorism at bay.
It's a dilemma similar to that confronted by President Obama and his predecessor in deciding to keep dangerous terrorists under indefinite detention at Guantanamo. Greenberg, however, is less interested in the threat of Islamic terrorism than in bashing Israel for essentially engaging in self-defense.
Also instructive is a sharp contrast between Greenberg's great solicitude for the legal rights and personal health of a Palestinian terrorist on the one hand, and the Post's lack of such deep concerns for the legal rights and personal health of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held incommunicado by Hamas in Gaza for five years. During that time, the Post mainly depicted Shalit's captivity as a test of strength between Israel and Hamas, paying scant attention to his deteriorating physical and psychological health during and after his lengthy captivity.
As for the New York Times piece, it is if anything more gushing in support of young rock-throwing Palestinian terrorists -- again with scant interest in the fate of their Israeli victims ("Palestinian's Trial Shines Light on Military Justice -- As a grass-roots leader enters the court system, having been incriminated by a teenager, questions are being raised about the legal world that Palestinians are facing" by Isabel Kershner, page 6)
Kershner's article, spread across all six columns on the front of the international news section, focuses on a Palestinian teenager in the West Bank, Islam Dar Ayyouh, apprehended for throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers and pressed under interrogation to reveal others in his village guilty of the same offense.
Kershner's entire objective is to summon full sympathy for the teenager -- and none for his Israeli targets. "A year ago, Islam Dar Ayyouh was a sociable ninth grader and a good student" but once he was arrested "from that moment, Islam's childhood was over ...The young man was interrogated and pressed on his relatives, neighbors and friends." Well, you get the message.
Never mind that the interrogations, including several cautions about his legal rights, led to the arrest of an adult ring leader about to be tried for organizing rock-throwing protests and other incitement to violence. What interests Kershner is poor, young Islam having been turned into a snitch about other rock-throwing villagers -- with his cause now embraced by the usual "human rights" groups.
Nowhere in her article does Kershner bother to point to a rising number of Israelis injured and killed by rock-throwing youths. For example, a few days ago, two Israelis were nearly lynched by such youthful mobs while driving to Mount Scopus in Jerusalem. They made a wrong turn and ended up stuck in traffic between two Arab cars. Arab youths, sensing an ideal prey, began throwing rocks at the car. A large stone was slammed into the windshield, striking the driver, Yehuda Attias. With his head bloodied, Attias hit the gas, barely escaping with his life. He has been hospitalized several times because of his severe head injuries. He had to be treated for vomiting and chills. With deep cuts, his head is full of stitches.
None of this interests Kershner and the New York Times. Their focus is principally on caring for the interests and legal rights of violence-prone Palestinians. Yet, rock attacks can be and have been deadly, as they're intended to be. The aim is for the driver to lose control and crash the car. This is exactly how two residents of Kiryat Arba near Hebron -- Asher Palmer and his baby son, Yonathan -- lost their lives last September.
But don't expect a huge half-page spread about their fate in the New York Times. That's just not part of the Times' agenda.