The NY Times currently has a story up on the front page of its website with the following headline:
4 Divers Killed Near Gaza by Israeli Navy
Judging from the headline, I would guess that since the Israeli Navy has not had its fill of violence after it killed nine humanitarian activists from the Freedom Flotilla, they decided to murder four Gazan citizens whose only crime was to go diving in an area that Israel had claimed to be part of their blockade. Such evil Israelis.
However, if you go into the actual article, you will read the following:
At least four Palestinians suspected by Israel of planning an attack via the sea were killed near the Gaza coast early on Monday. The Israeli military said that an Israeli naval force spotted what it called a “squad of terrorists wearing diving suits” and fired on them, killing some of the suspects.
Well, that changes things a little bit. It seems that the Israeli Navy spotted a "squad of terrorists wearing diving suits" in the water and fired on them. Though the selective use of quotation marks here shows how much trust the NY Times will put in the IDF.
How was this event reported in other news sources:
- Jerusalem Post: IDF Foils Attack Close to Gaza
- Haaretz: Israel Navy Fires on Armed Palestinians off of Gaza Coast
- CNN: Israel Kills 4 Palestinians off Gaza in foiled terror attack
- Al Reuters: Israeli patrol kills four militants in diving gear
The CNN article adds in another pertinent detail:
Al Aqsa -- the armed wing of Fatah, Hamas' rival -- confirmed the men belonged to their organization and were on a suicide mission.
And just for reference, here is the official statement by the IDF Spokesperson blog:
Terrorist Attack Thwarted by Israel Navy, 7 June 2010 - Earlier this morning, an Israel Navy force in the area of Nuseirath identified a squad of terrorists wearing diving suits on their way to execute a terror attack. The force fired and hit the terrorists. No casualties were reported amongst IDF forces.
Ok. So the IDF found a group of armed men in diving suits off of the Gaza coast, in a place where they really should not be. They killed some of the suspects. No details are available yet on exactly how this transpired. However, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (which is recognized by Israel and the US as a terrorist organization, and yet is part of the same Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas with whom the US is so insistent that Israel give away land to and make peace with) have confirmed that these men belonged to their organization and were on a suicide mission (a different article from The Sun quotes Al Aqsa as having said that the men were part of their organization and were training at sea - I don't think that this makes much of a difference, as we know exactly what they were training for).
So now that that has been established, why the completely misleading headline from the NY Times, which lacks any context whatsoever that would tell more about the identity of the Palestinians other than that they were divers.
Lest we think that the NY Times is the only organization that writes such blatantly anti-Israel headlines (in my opinion, the deliberate exclusion of context from the headline, and the use of language that implies that Israel has murdered innocent people out for a swim, is as anti-Israel as it gets), here are some more of the same:
- Associated Press: Four Palestinian Divers Killed by Israeli Naval Fire
- The Sun: Israel Navy Kills 4 Gaza divers
- The Boston Globe: Israeli navy kills Palestinian divers off Gaza
- FOXNews: Israeli Navy Fires at Palestinian Divers off Gaza, 5 Killed
- The Daily Telegraph: Israel navy shoots, kills four Palestinian divers off Gaza
None of these headlines are telling lies, yet all of them are presenting a skewed version of the truth. The reader who only sees the headline and does not click through will receive a completely different message from what is written in the actual stories.
I have copied all of the headlines as they appear at the time that this article is first published. I expect that some of these headlines will change over time, and it is quite likely that as more details are released that the general tone of some or all of these headlines will shift to include more descriptions of the divers like "armed", "militant" or "terrorist". However, that will not change the fact that these different news organizations act in an irresponsible (at best) or blatantly and intentionally anti-Israel (at worst) manner when they choose to introduce and headline their content in this way.