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Middle East Issues





Injured Toddler, Soldiers Lost in Ha'aretz Translation


An injured Israeli toddler and six Israeli soldiers are the latest victims of "Ha'aretz, Lost in Translation," in which Ha'aretz's English translators repeatedly delete instances of Arab violence which were recounted in the original Hebrew copy. While the Hebrew print edition's March 31 coverage of Saturday's "Land Day" clashes featured the injured toddler and soldiers in the headline and first paragraphs, the English print edition did not mention the Israeli injured at all. Likewise, the English edition neatly omits any reference to Palestinian stone-throwing, though the Hebrew original details several such incidents.

The relatively brief page-five Hebrew article by Jack Khoury, Gili Cohen and Chaim Levinson follows:

The headline reads (CAMERA's translation): "Land Day: A toddler and six soldiers were lightly injured by rocks." The first two paragraphs read:

A four-and-a-half-year-old toddler and six IDF soldiers were lightly injured yesterday when Palestinians threw rocks at them in several separate incident yesterday in the West Bank. In Qalandiya, security forces clashed with around 150 Palestinians, who threw rocks at them. The soldiers responded with crowd dispersal methods and did not report any injuries there. The incidents took place in the context of Land Day, which took place yesterday.

In an incident in the village of Jayyus in the Shomron two soldiers were lightly injured by stones, and troops that were in the area responded with gas and stun grenades. In another incident, near the Efrat North Junction, a four-year-old toddler was very lightly injured -- also from stone-throwing. Four soldiers were lightly injured when an IDF jeep overturned in Hirbat Aliya, close to Bethlehem. Two of the soldiers were evacuated to a hospital to receive medical attention. According to a preliminary investigation, the soldiers tried to pursue Palestinians who threw stones at them in the area and were surrounded by dozens of Palestinians. Apparently, the jeep overturned when it went up on a rock barrier that Palestinians placed on the road.
 
In a demonstration that took place in the afternoon in the Rafah area in the southern Gaza Strip dozens of Palestinians threw stones. IDF forces fired towards them in an attempt to distance them. One Palestinian was lightly injured as a result.

The caption for the accompanying AP photograph in the Hebrew print edition is: "Palestinians throw stones at soldiers next to the Qalandiya checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, yesterday."

The differences between the two editions are striking. Although the article is longer in English (11 paragraphs as opposed to five), and although the English editors prioritized the "Land Day" story (they placed it on page one, instead of page five), there is not a single mention of the Israeli injured. Nor does the longer English print article mention the numerous cases in which Palestinian threw stones at Israeli soldiers and civilians Saturday. Here is yesterday's English front-page, with the "Land Day" story the leading item:

The English article, by Jacky Khoury, focuses on a protesters' attack on an Al Jazeera reporter, objecting to the network's alleged anti-Assad coverage. A similar, but not identical, version of the English print article can be found online here. The English print article begins:

About 10,000 people participated in the annual Land Day rally in Sakhnin yesterday, while only around 1,000 turned up for the main event in the south of the country, a march in the vicinity of the unrecognized Bedouin village al-Sayed. Organizers of the latter event said they were disappointed with the low turnout, particularly in light of the fact that this year's them was opposition to the Prawer plan, under which Negev Bedouin from unrecognized villages would be relocated to recognized communities.

The organizers attributed the low turnout in part to the scheduling of concurrent events in both the north and the south as well as to the deep sense of shock in the Negev Bedouin community after three brothers drowned while swimming in an Ashkelon beach a few days ago.

The English edition dedicates several more paragraphs to the attack on the Al Jazeera reporter, and then moves on to the demonstrators goals and charges against Israel. Ignoring Jack Khoury's detailed Hebrew coverage on stone-throwing, the English edition mentions only the Sakhnin protesters' peaceful activities: flag-waving and chanting. The English print edition states:

Participating in the Sakhnin rally were dozens of activists from human rights and civil rights groups, including a delegation from the unrecognized Bedouin villages al-Arakib north of Be'er Sheva. As usual, participants waved Palestinian flags; a few activists, mainly from the Sons of the Village movement, waved Syrian flags. Demonstrators chanted slogans against the occupation and Israel's expropriation of Palestinian land. There were calls for the unification of the Palestinians factions, in particular Fatah and Hamas, as well as for the international and Arab communities to take immediate action to stop Israel's settlement policy, which jeopardizes any potential peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The longer English article did not find space to mention the Palestinian stone-throwing in Qalandiya, Jayyus, near the Efrat junction, and in the Rafah area. (A separate article in the English edition on-line does mention cover the Palestinian stone-throwing, and the Israeli injured.)
 
Likewise, while the Hebrew edition included a photograph of Palestinians throwing rocks, the English edition's page-one photo featured "A Palestinian protester throwing back a tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers during clashes in Bethlehem on Friday." English editors have every right to exercise their editorial judgment by choosing this photo or that one, or by not including mention of casualties in the headline or first paragraphs (the injuries, fortunately, were light). But what justification is there for completely omitting all reference to Palestinian violence and injured Israelis, civilian and military, alike? By ignoring any reference to Palestinian violence, readers would reasonably conclude that Israeli forces fired tear gas in response flag-waving and chanting only. The following Xinhua photograph, shot at exactly the same location as the photograph in the English edition of the Palestinians throwing back canisters (as evidenced by the tower, tree and boulders), shows Palestinian throwing rocks:
 
Palestinian protesters hurl stones toward Israeli soldiers during clashes in the West Bank village of Al-Khader near Bethlehem on March 29, 2013. Photo by Emad Drimly/Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom)
 
(And, it should be noted, these scenes are not from Bethlehem, but from nearby Al-Khader.)
 
What journalistic practice justifies running a photograph of Palestinians "throwing back a tear gas canister fired by Israeli soldiers" while at the same time entirely ignoring the fact that the tear gas canister was fired in response to the rocks that the Palestinians hurled at the soldiers? What journalistic ethic is served by not informing readers that at the very same demonstration in which Israeli soldiers threw tear gas canisters at Palestinians, Palestinians threw stones at Israeli soldiers?
 
Below is a YouTube video of the IDF jeep overturning in Hirbat Aliya, an incident in which four soldiers were injured and which yesterday's English edition withheld from readers:
 
 
For the Hebrew version of this article, please visit Presspectiva.

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