by Michael F. Brown
When 16-year-old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi stood up to Israeli occupation soldiers, she couldn’t have known just how much of her story mainstream US media would cut away and twist.
Salient facts, like how Ahed has spent her entire life under military occupation and Israel’s near-fatal violence against her cousin, were either ignored outright or downplayed. Others, such as the indisputable reality that Palestinian land is being stolen by Israel, were treated as if they were simply matters of opinion.
Some in the US press even presented Ahed as the aggressor, rather than the Israeli forces she challenged through mild physical contact.
Ahed’s use of slapping, kicking and angry rhetoric received more attention from David M. Halbfinger in The New York Times and especially from Dana Dovey in Newsweek than the much more harmful Israeli resort to violence, theft and seemingly permanent occupation.
The shocking photo of Muhammad Fadel Tamimi, Ahed’s 15-year-old cousin, and his misshapen head published in a 5 January Haaretz article by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac stands in stark contrast to the solitary sentence Halbfinger allotted Muhammad’s shooting in a 22 December article one week after the confrontation.
Halbfinger dispenses with Muhammad’s severe injury by stating in the 13th paragraph: “The latest incident, filmed in the family’s backyard, occurred within hours after a cousin of Ms. Tamimi’s was shot in the face with a rubber bullet, and it was streamed live on Facebook.”