New York Times headline makes Jerusalem terror attack sound like an accident

July 03, 2008

* BBC headline suggests Israeli may have carried out the attack
* Daily Telegraph paints sympathetic picture of “heart-broken” terrorist, ignoring his conviction for rape of what Telegraph wrongly calls his “Jewish girlfriend”
* Jane’s: satellite imagery confirms new Syrian troop presence in Lebanon



1. Making it sound like an accident, and deliberately so
2. BBC radio spreads its lies around the world
3. BBC Online headline: “Israel bulldozer driver shot dead”
4. What actually happened
5. The victims were women, and teachers
6. The attack did not occur in a vacuum
7. Jane’s: satellite imagery confirms Syrian troops in Lebanon
8. Palestinians and Egyptians clash at Rafah border
9. Fury as Olmert set to release child killer to Hizbullah
10. Hamas hints it will now raise stakes for kidnapped Israeli soldier

[Notes below by Tom Gross]


The online report yesterday in The New York Times concerning the terror attack in Jerusalem benignly began as follows:

The New York Times
July 2, 2008
Construction Vehicle Kills 3 in Israel Attack


Research shows that most people only read headlines, not the article, and The New York Times knows this. The headline has since been changed but was up on site for many hours.

The headline writers at the Times cannot have been in any doubt about what actually happened because Times correspondent Isabel Kershner made clear in the article that the Palestinian driver went “on a rampage in central Jerusalem Wednesday, ramming several cars and two buses before a police officer clambered onto the careening vehicle and shot him dead.” She continues “the Palestinian... may have planned to crash the construction vehicle into a crowded market nearby.”

I have known Isabel Kershner for over 20 years and she is one of the fairest New York Times foreign correspondents. The headline disguising the nature of yesterday’s terror attack was almost certainly written by staff in The Times’s office in New York, which has a long track record of playing down the nature of terrorism when directed against Israelis, and before that, of covering up the Holocaust.

* For more on The New York Times reporting on Israel, see here.
* For more on The New York Times lack of reporting on the Holocaust, see here.



A friend writes from New York:

I was listening to the BBC World Service this morning (broadcast on NPR), which broadcast the following headline: “Palestinian killed by Israeli in Jerusalem today ... after leaving trail of death and destruction.” Even NPR’s own headline (broadcast later after they has stopped the BBC’s broadcasts) was: “Palestinian causes death and destruction in Jerusalem today, before being shot by an Israeli off-duty officer.” i.e. The two organizations had the same information: one set forth in order of time and consequence (guy does bad things, then gets killed) and the other in order of bias and propaganda (Israelis kill guy, he did bad things).



And on the BBC website yesterday, the headline read “Israel bulldozer driver shot dead.” This is yet another, all too predictable attempt by the BBC to obscure the truth of the story, and to portray a Palestinian as victim even when he is in the midst of an attack.

The BBC headline was later changed to “Bulldozer rampage hits Jerusalem,” although this still makes it sound passive without naming the perpetrator or victims. The BBC has a long history of never mentioning whom the perpetrators or victims are in headlines relating to Palestinian terror attacks on Israeli civilians, but almost always does so in reports on other conflicts.

Yesterday’s terror attack took place opposite the local headquarters of many international media outlets, including BBC, CNN and Sky News. They could literally see it unfold from their windows, as BBC correspondent Tim Franks admitted, so the BBC has no excuses for distorting the facts of the story yesterday. The BBC is a publicly funded institution with a legal obligation in Britain to be balanced and objective.

Both the BBC and The New York Times have recently invested huge amounts of money and resources into expanding and developing their news websites, and it is of some concern that these thoroughly biased news sources are so trusted by many people throughout the world, including those working in various policy-making branches of governments.



Terrorists purposely targets civilians, and this terrorist was no different. He chose his victims carefully, starting his attack by motioning with his hand for a woman motorist to drive before him. Then he rammed her car with the bulldozer’s shovel.

He then used the bulldozer to plow into two public buses carrying passengers, including many women and children which he could clearly see through the buses’ large glass windows. One of the buses was completely overturned, the other crashed. He then crushed a number of cars with their drivers still in them, and targeted several pedestrians chasing them down and running them over. A half-dozen cars were flattened and others were overturned by his Caterpillar vehicle as panic spread throughout the center of Israel’s capital. Traffic was halted, and hundreds of people fled through the streets as medics treated the wounded.

One car was dragged several meters by the bulldozer. A baby was pulled out by a passerby before the vehicle was crushed, with the child’s mother still inside. She died.

By the time his rampage was over, three Israeli civilians were dead and over 66 were wounded. Broken glass and blood were left down a stretch of one of Israel’s busiest streets.

All the time the terrorist screamed “Allah Akhbar” (God is great in Arabic) as he did so.

The terrorist was shot dead by a security guard working for a nearby bank as he approached Jerusalem’s main working class food market, Mahane Yehuda.



By contrast with other media, The Times of London’s online headline yesterday was:

‘Bulldozer terrorist’ kills three in Jerusalem

The (London) Times notes: “All three people killed were women. Their bodies were covered in plastic sheets as they lay trapped in the debris of their vehicles. One of the women was reported to have saved her baby girl’s life by throwing her out of the window seconds before the bulldozer hit... [The attacker] yelled ‘Allah akhbar!’ and hit the gas.”

[UPDATE: Disappointingly, the (London) Times has now changed its headline online to remove the word “terrorist.” The new headline is: “Bulldozer driver Hossam Dwayyat shot at wheel after deadly rampage through Jerusalem.”]


The (London) Daily Telegraph, whose coverage of Israel has become much more negative since Conrad Black lost control of the paper, headlined its report “Jerusalem bulldozer terrorist’s ‘heart broken by Jewish girl’.” The Daily Telegraph went on to give a sympathetic account of the terrorist rather than of the victims, using the term “a radical Jewish group” but not using radical or any negative terms to describe the Palestinian terrorist, let alone mention that he cried “Allah akhbar” throughout the attack.

The Daily Telegraph’s human interest approach to the terrorist, suggesting he acted because a Jewish girl dumped him, neglected to mention that he actually had a conviction for rape of that Jewish girl, as widely reported in the Israeli press.

Today’s Washington Post also says of the terrorist: “And for a time, he dated one [a Jew], friends and relatives said.” The Post doesn’t mentioning his conviction for rape of this Jewish “girlfriend.”


Amazingly, The Guardian today uses the word “terror” in its headline on an inside page:

Israel terror: Three killed, 44 hurt as Palestinian runs amok with bulldozer in street

However, on its home page, The Guardian online has the misleading headline “Three killed in Israel bulldozer attack,” and in its article inside, The Guardian said only one of the victims was a woman, whereas in fact two were. Two were also teachers, which wasn’t noted by any of the papers.

The victims were Batsheva Unterman, 33, Elizabeth Goren-Friedman, 54, and Jean Raloy, 68. At least one of the babies injured in the attack remains in a critical condition.



Yesterday’s attack did not occur in a vacuum. Day in, day out, state-controlled media and radical imams indoctrinate the terrorists of the region to blindly hate non-Moslems in general and Jews in particular. They are told it is a holy act to kill them, guaranteeing a Moslem a place in heaven.

No American and European media I have read and watched today and yesterday, noted this. Nor did they mention that there is a long history of Palestinian terrorism increasing each time there is a “ceasefire” or Israel announces concessions (which others might describe as appeasement). Attacks on Israeli civilians following ceasefires date as far back as 1948, when Israeli civilians were massacred following the ceasefire agreements in the wake of the 1948 war.

Three terrorist groups claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack, including the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, which is financed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement. The other two were the Galilee Freedom Battalion, which is affiliated with Hizbullah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a fringe left-wing terror group.

Hamas released a statement welcoming the attack.

The attack was the worst in Jerusalem since a Palestinian gunman walked into a Jewish school and shot eight students dead in March. By coincidence the off-duty soldier who helped the security guard mount the bulldozer yesterday to disarm the terrorist, is the brother-in-law of the army officer who took out the terrorist in March’s attack.

(For more on that attack, please see: Fatah’s young guard: “Blessed martyrdom operation in occupied [West] Jerusalem”.)



The well-connected defense and intelligence journal, Jane’s, reports this week that satellite imagery from as recently as March 2008 reveals that Syrian troops are present on Lebanese soil in the remote and rugged hills north of the town of Rashaya al-Wadi, despite Damascus having supposedly ended its military occupation of Lebanon in April 2005.

Jane’s Country Risk writes that the “little-known presence of Syrian troops in Lebanon demonstrates that, despite the peace talks between the two sides confirmed in simultaneous announcements in Syria and Israel on 21 May 2008, mutual mistrust continues to characterize regional relationships. As a result, despite the recognition of peace talks, negotiations are likely to be fraught while military preparedness will remain high.”

Jane’s reports that the new Syrian military equipment on Lebanese soil “includes what appears to be towed and self-propelled artillery and a T-54/55 tank.”



Dozens of Palestinians battled Egyptian border police yesterday at Egypt’s border with the Hamas-held Gaza Strip, in an attempt to force their way into the Sinai Peninsula, witnesses said. Live television footage showed Egyptian forces responding with water cannon and sealing the gates to the crossing point. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians stormed the border crossing in January.

Israel has reopened crossings into Gaza to allow for a resumption of the full transfer of goods into the territory despite the sporadic rocket attacks on Israeli towns over the past few days. Hamas and Israel agreed to a truce three weeks ago, but rockets continue to be fired from Gaza at Israeli towns and kibbutzim.

In the latest attack, two Israeli civilians suffered shrapnel wounds and a number of others were treated for emotional shock, included several children.

Among other terror acts since the “ceasefire” went into place, three Israeli civilians were shot and wounded while hiking in the Judean hills.



There is great anger among many in Israel at the lack of any meaningful reaction by the Israeli government to the recent breaches of the ceasefire by Palestinian groups as well as the fact that the Israeli government has apparently agreed to swap live terrorists for the bodies of two soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, murdered by Hizbullah.

For example, in its editorial yesterday, Ma’ariv criticizes the government, “for thinking that it is permissible to exchange bodies for living murderers and to release a murderer in exchange for his victims... In the next kidnapping, when we again do not know if the abductee is alive or dead, the government will understand how foolish the current deal with Hizbullah is and how much it endangers all of us.”


There is particular fury that among the released terrorists will be Samir Kuntar, who murdered four Israeli citizens, and in a particularly cold-blooded act smashed the skull of a 4 year-old girl after murdering her father in front of her eyes. Her two-year-old sister also died, inadvertently suffocated by her mother who was hiding from Kuntar in a cupboard as she attempted to prevent her baby from crying. Kuntar’s anticipated release has already been widely welcomed in Gaza and Lebanon, and his brutality lauded on Palestinian Authority television, which is indirectly funded by the European Union.

In a World Service Radio report yesterday about the imminent swap, the BBC named all five Hizbullah terrorists (without using the word terrorist, of course) but did not mention even one word about their victims or their crimes.

Senior staff at both the Mossad and Shin Bet oppose the deal but have been overruled by the Israeli cabinet.

Hizbullah head Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said in a Beirut news conference yesterday that the prisoner swap with Israel would take place on or about July 15.

Kuntar has pledged that if released, he will join Hizbullah and continue his quest to bring about “the destruction of Israel.” He also added that he has no regrets about the murders of “Jews” and would like to kill more.



Citing the high price that Israel is paying in its planned prisoner swap with Hizbullah, Hamas says it will now harden its demands in negotiations over the release of Gilad Shalit, a 19-year-old Israeli whom it kidnapped inside Israel two years ago.

Following the announcement earlier this week that Israel would free Kuntar, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar told Palestinian radio that Hamas would work “to release people Israel accused of having blood on their hands like Samir Kuntar. We have to take advantage of this to release our prisoners.”

-- Tom Gross

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.