Last week, the mainstream US media was inundated with stories about two Israeli police officers killed by three Palestinians near Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli police immediately killed the assailants, who were from the Arab-Israeli city of Um Al-Fahm. The violence took place last Friday at the entrance of the Haram Al-Sharif, which Israelis and their sympathizers refer to as the Temple Mount.
The pro-Israel media described the victims in great detail, while the attackers were denounced as “terrorists.” Many Israelis were shocked that the suspects were Israeli Arabs, rather than Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank.
Officials are considering whether to apply Israel’s racist policy of destroying the assailants’ homes to punish their families. Israel does that to the family homes of West Bank Palestinians accused of violence, but not to Israelis convicted of terrorism. No one with a moral conscience can condone any violence by either side. But the mainstream media provides far more coverage when the victims are Israeli than when they are Palestinian.
For example, on July 12 Israeli soldiers invaded Jenin in the West Bank and murdered two Palestinian youths. There was very little coverage of the killings. There was no Israeli inquisition into the facts. Despite the cold-blooded murder of civilians, no one in Israel’s government called for an investigation, retribution or consequences.
And no Israeli is urging that the homes of relatives of the killers be demolished in reprisal. None of the media in the US or Israel, which so easily describe Palestinians killed in clashes with Israelis as “terrorists,” described the Israeli killers as such.
The website IsraelPalestineTimeline.org uses data from Israeli civil rights organization B’Tselem, and lists every person killed on both sides. “This website includes every death we can find reported,” the authors write. “While Israeli deaths, fewer in number, are reported widely and in great detail… Palestinians are frequently killed in large numbers during military incursions, and reporting agencies don’t always have adequate access to ensure they haven’t missed anyone.”
In Israel, justice depends on your religion, not on international laws that govern everyone else.
According to the site, at least 43 Palestinians (13 of them children) and 10 Israelis have been killed by someone from the other side so far in 2017. The site had not yet added the names of the two Israeli police officers killed last Friday, but it noted that on the same morning, a 21-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli soldiers during a raid on the Dheisheh refugee camp just south of Bethlehem.
Driven by media bias that showcases the killing of Israelis and ignores the killing of Palestinians, US politicians were quick to defend heightened Israeli security measures and to demand justice. But there was no call for justice in the wake of the killings of the two youths from Jenin or the one killed outside Bethlehem.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin expressed anger at his country’s non-Jewish population for failing to speak louder in denouncing the attacks near Al-Aqsa Mosque. But his office was silent on the Israeli military killings in Jenin.
Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled against destroying the homes of Israeli Jews convicted of killing Palestinians, such as in the case of the three Israeli-Jewish terrorists convicted of kidnapping, beating then burning alive Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir in 2014.
No journalist in the US who cares about his career would dare make these points in their columns in American dailies. But many of these newspapers ran columns denouncing the murder of the Israelis. That is easy to do in the US, which has so little regard for life when the victims are Arab, or in Israel, where the facts prove overwhelmingly that far more Palestinians are murdered by Israelis than vice versa.
Only in Israel is there hypocrisy in murder, death and destruction. In Israel, justice depends on your religion, not on international laws that govern everyone else.
• Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian-American former journalist and political columnist. Email him at [email protected]