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When It’s in Israelis' Interest Not to Believe the Palestinians

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Within a week three important reports were published in Haaretz with very similar headlines – two about soldiers and one about prison guards: “Israeli soldiers photographed helping build illegal West Bank outpost”; “Israeli soldiers filmed beating, kneeling on neck of Palestinian during arrest in West Bank”; and “Israeli officers were filmed beating Palestinian inmates. No one arrested, case closed.”

We journalists know that headlines have to summarize the events being reported. Thus, according to these three items, the news is the filming and not the event itself: an illegal act perpetrated by army troops or prison guards. We may assume that those who wrote the headlines know that there’s nothing unusual about Israeli soldiers and prison wardens exceeding the limits of their official license to assault Palestinians, or about soldiers helping settlers in an illegal activity. They know that the bodies and the lands of Palestinians fall prey, constantly, to Israeli agencies of order and control. This is the routine, which cannot be reported all the time. But I guess that is not the reason for the similar wording.

The correct explanation, in my opinion, is different: Israel’s Jewish public doesn’t believe and doesn’t want to believe reports by Palestinians who report and testify about Israeli violence. To overcome this lack of belief, we journalists are quick to........

© Haaretz

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