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Media Analyses





These Are Your Journalists, Haaretz


"These are your soldiers," Haaretz's Gideon Levy fulminates in a vitriolic attack against Israeli soldiers at large, but the abuse in question involves just a single person, and it is not known whether that individual is even a soldier.
 
In his report today ("Die, Suffer, You Kahba" [whore]), the veteran Haaretz writer reports on a "horrific incident took place in the occupied territories last Thursday." On the video of the event which "turns one's stomach," he writes:
On that day, a group of soldiers stood around a dying Palestinian girl who was writhing in pain, lying bleeding on the road. The soldiers competed with each other to see who could curse her using more vile language. These are your soldiers, Israel, this is their language, these are their values and standards.
Levy continues with his serious charges against the soldiers:
No one even thought of offering her medical aid, no one thought of silencing the outburst of detestable obscenities flying around the girl who was bleeding to death.
Levy describes a Palestinian girl who slowly advances in the direction of a checkpoint, and then suddenly flees, as soldiers in pursuit fire at her. "Maybe someone called on her to stop but this cannot be heard on tape," recounts Levy. "No knife or stabbing can be seen." He does not mention that the girl wounded a soldier in the stabbing attack. Nor does he note that in a separate video of the incident (below) it is not clear whether the girl is running away or chasing another soldier.
 
 
But that's not all. The primary problem with the article is its main assertion about the soldiers' alleged behavior after they neutralized the assailant:
The girl lies on the road; the armed soldiers surround her as if in some pagan rite, barking their stream of invective. … This was not the act of one individual. They were many. This wasn’t even an unusual event. These are your soldiers, Israel. …  If the soldiers at that checkpoint are not prosecuted and punished, one thing will be made clear: Barbarism is the true moral code prevailing in the IDF.
Levy details the curses the soldiers allegedly hurl at the teen:
“I hope you die, daughter of a whore”, “f—k you,” “die, suffer, you kahba (whore in Moroccan).” They wouldn’t behave like that around a dying dog. In the midst of this abuse one can hear someone asking “where is the knife?”, “don’t touch her”, “you’re awesome” and, over a phone, “where are you, at home?”
But a review of the video in question reveals a very different reality than the one portrayed by Levy:
 
Speaker 1: Call the military ambulance [immediately at the start of the film]
Speaker 2: I called. He's coming.
Speaker 3 [apparently the photographer, identity unknown]: That's what we heard, shooting.
Speaker 4: I hope you die . . . daughter of a whore [coming closer], die, f--k you . . . Where are you, at home?
Unclear whether its speaker 3 or 4: Where is the knife?
Speaker 3 [apparently the photographer]: Don't touch her. You're awesome.
Speaker 4: Die, daughter of a whore, die, die, suffer, whore.
At least seven soldiers appear in the film. Twice soldiers are heard calling for medical help; a soldier calls for a military ambulance at the very beginning of the film, and again 40 seconds into the clip ("Call the military ambulance!" followed immediately by, "The military ambulance is on the way). There is a single, solitary speaker who crudely curses the wounded attacker, and its impossible to ascertain from the clip whether that speaker is a soldier as he is off camera. At most, one might conclude that the photographer who shouts "you're awesome," is also cursing.
 
From the repetitive epitaphs of a single person, Levy concludes, in plural, "these are your soldiers, Israel," barbarians who celebrate around a groaning Palestinian girl.
 
Not only does he pin the curses of one onto many ("there were many"), he also invents: "No one even thought of offering her medical aid."
 
Levy responds to Presspectiva, CAMERA Hebrew site
Presspectiva: Gidon Levy, we watched the video, and we heard one unknown person,  cursing, and the soldiers, in contrast, who ordered medical care for the terrorist. How did do derive from that the very egregious charge against "your soldiers, Israel"?
Gideon Levy: You got that impression, I got a different impression. Neither of us was there. I have no interest in arguing. [Annoyed.] If this video did not shock you, I have nothing in common with you and no busy speaking with you.
 

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