First, the NYT. Ethan Bronner, whom the Mondoweiss crowd has long since written off as hopelessly pro-Israel, puts all of what he sees as the essential elements in his first short paragraph, then gives two conflicting interpretations in the next two paragraphs, and then gives details about the events.
The Israeli military killed six Palestinians on Saturday, three in the West Bank whom it accused of killing a Jewish settler and three in Gaza who it said were crawling along the border wall planning an attack. It was the deadliest day in the conflict in nearly a year.
Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, called it “a sad day for Palestinians and their National Authority” and condemned the West Bank operation as an “assassination” and “an attempt to target the state of security and stability that the Palestinian Authority has been able to achieve.”
Maj. Peter Lerner, spokesman for Israel’s Central Command, which controls the West Bank, said that its forces had spent the past two days looking for the killers of the settler, Rabbi Meir Hai, a 45-year-old teacher and father of seven, who was shot dead on Thursday as he drove near his home in the settlement of Shavei Shomron.
The BBC's headline tells of Six Palestinians killed in West Bank, Gaza attacks. Who attacked? The headline doesn't say, and the short item wanders around the hill doing its best not to be clear about anything:
Israeli troops have killed six Palestinians - three in the Gaza Strip and three in the West Bank.
The Israeli military said three Palestinians suspected of trying to infiltrate from Gaza were killed in an air strike near the Erez crossing.
It is the largest number of deaths in a day since the Gaza conflict a year ago.
Separately, Israeli forces said they had killed three men - who were suspected of killing a Jewish settler - in the West Bank city of Nablus.
Palestinian sources in Nablus say two of those killed were militants from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the militant faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party.
The faction was one of two groups which said they had killed the settler, a father of seven, two days ago - the first fatal shooting of an Israeli by militants in the occupied West Bank for eight months.
The item was later folded into a longer item in which the theme was how angry the Palestinians are at the Israelis. Palestinian leaders condemn Israeli raid in West Bank:
"This [Israeli] operation represents a dangerous escalation," Mr Fayyad said. He said the raid in Nablus "can only be seen in the context of targeting the security and stability that the Palestinian Authority has been able to bring about".
That would be Salam Fayad, the most moderate leader the Palestinians have ever had, not some firebrand Hamasnik - not that you'd ever know it from the BBC.
So far as I saw, the BBC never manages to mention the dead Israeli without reminding that he was a settler. As regular readers of this blog will recognize, human rights are a slippery thing, to be applied differently according to ethnicity and identity. A dead Palestinian may or may not have murdered a Jew, but the dead Jew most certainly was a settler, with the unspoken implication that his human rights are thereby diminished.
Then again, why complain about the BBC when we've got our very own B'telem? None of their people were on the scene, but they're already calling for the IDF to investigate itself on the accusation that its troops wrongfully executed innocent Palestinians:
An investigation into an overnight Israel Defense Forces operation in the West Bank city of Nablus early Saturday suggests that Israeli soldiers may have executed two of the three Palestinian militants who were killed, the left wing rights group B'Tselem said Saturday.
In the operation, the IDF killed three Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades operatives, whom officials said were responsible for a shooting attack on Thursday which killed 40-year-old father of seven Meir Hai of the settlement of Shavei Shomron. The troops surrounded the homes of the three and called for them to exit, and killed them when they refused to surrender.
Haaretz gives B'tselem space, but also quotes an IDF officer:
Meanwhile Saturday, a senior IDF officer rejected claims that the militants had been executed, telling Channel 10 news that "the soldiers called on the terrorist to surrender and turn himself in. He refused and hid in his room and sent his wife out toward us. In cases where there is a threat to our troops and a wanted militant refuses to surrender, IDF forces are permitted to open fire in order to neutralize the threat. I am pleased that none of our fighters were hurt, but the risk factor was very high in this operation."
Another senior IDF official told Israel Radio that the three militants had not fired at Israeli troops and that two of them were unarmed, but that the Israeli soldiers knew that the terror squad that carried out Thursday's attack, to which the three belonged, were highly skilled and had access to firearms and therefore posed a threat. He stressed that the operation was carried out in accordance with IDF regulations, and that the soldiers first fired protest dispersal ammunition, then fired at the walls, and only later fired at the militants.
Earlier, Friday's edition of Haaretz had some discussions that are totally absent in the non-Israeli media: what is the significance of Thursday's attacks? It turns out there were two roadblocks in the immediate vicinity of the site of the attack that were both recently removed. Depending upon your political views, this removal was either crucial, and encouraged the attackers, or totally irrelevant and had no connection to anything. None of the folks voicing opinions can know if they're right, of course, but the question is worth posing, which is why the foreign media doesn't. This little nugget, however, seems very important to me:
Over the past year, the number of terror attacks in the West Bank has dramatically decreased thanks mainly to the Shin Bet security service and IDF. However, IDF officials say attempts to carry out terror attacks continue, especially those perpetrated by local individuals working alone.
Anyone watching knows that matters on the West Bank have been getting dramatically better this year, yet cells of local Palestinians are trying incessantly to attack Israelis; we don't hear much about them because they're being thwarted. Kind of important, isn't it?
Finally, in Hebrew only, Ron Ben-Yishai, tries to figure out what's significant and what not. The dismantling of those two roadblocks: Ben-Yishai admits it didn't help, but expects the attackers could have attacked anyway by shooting from the roadside. At least one of the three attackers signed the agreement with the PA and Israeli authorities whereby he renounced terror and was let off Israel's list of target. Yes, but so did 400 others Palestinian terrorists, and most have indeed honored their signature. The IDF acted on its own yesterday, without coordinating with the PA's police forces except to notify them at the last moment so they should still uninvolved: yes, says Ben-Yishai, that wasn't really nice, but then maybe it's better that they obviously weren't involved so that the Palestinian populace not think their own police is cooperating in killing terrorists.
And so on.The difference between the reports in Haaretz and Y-net, on the one hand, and the non-Israeli media on the other, is that the Israelis are trying to understand the complexity of the situation. Not surprising, given that it's their fate. The outsiders offer a superficial story, more or less biased, but in any case offering only bits of the story. The dramatic bit, yes, but not the bits that explain what's going on.