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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

CAMERA ALERT: NPR Blames Mother and Daughters for their own Murders

May 3, 2004 by Tamar Sternthal

In perhaps the most distorted coverage of the brutal murder of a pregnant Israeli mother and her four young daughters, NPR's Julie McCarthy blamed the victims for their own slaughter. In the atrocity in Gaza on May 2, the gunmen reportedly fired on the family's car from 20 yards away. When 34-year-old Tali, a social worker who was in her last trimester of pregnancy, lost control of the vehicle, the Palestinian terrorists approached the vehicle and executed Tali and her daughters — Hila, 11; Hadar, 9; Roni, 7 and Merav, 2 — one by one at close range. According to press reports, the younger children were still strapped into their car seats, the car was blood-soaked, and it took the ZAKA recovery crew a long time to extract all of the bullets and collect the body parts.

Julie McCarthy's egregious statement on "Morning Edition" today came at the end of a report about Ariel Sharon's referendum loss on his "disengagement" plan. McCarthy reported:
The settlers rallied support saying Israel was withdrawing under fire. But there was ample evidence yesterday to show that their continued presence in Gaza is provoking bloodshed. Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian gunmen after the men ambushed mother and her four small daughters outside the Gaza settlement of Gush Katif. The family was shot and killed on their way to the Israeli city of Ashkelon where they intended to campaign against Ariel Sharon and his plan to uproot them from Gaza. Julie McCarthy, NPR news, Jerusalem.

BLAMING THE VICTIM

McCarthy's editorializing that the Jewish community's "continued presence in Gaza is provoking bloodshed" is consistent with the Palestinian Authority view that the killing of settlers is a natural and legitimate outgrowth of the fact that Jews dare to inhabit territory that the Palestinians claim as their own. According to Ha'aretz, "A senior Palestinian source said he thought there was no chance the Palestinian Authority would express reservations, since every settler was considered an integral part of the occupation against which action must be taken" (Danny Rubinstein, 5/3/04).

Of course, though, there is no justification whatsoever within international law that justifies the killing of civilians simply because they live in territory which others claim as their own. Unfortunately, McCarthy's report suggests justification where there is none.

REVERSING CAUSE AND EFFECT

McCarthy further distorts the killing of the Hatuel family members by reversing the chronology of events. She states: "Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian gunmen after the men ambushed a mother and her four small daughters outside the Gaza settlement of Gush Katif." Why is the Israeli response mentioned before the Palestinian murder? The result is that the defensive Israeli action is amplified while the Palestinians' barbarous act is de-emphasized.

SOFT-PEDALLING THE MURDER

McCarthy's sanitized description of the Hatuels' murder employs equivalent language to describe Israel's shooting of murderers and the murderers' butchering of young children and their mother. Thus, "Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinian gunmen," "the men ambushed a mother and her four small daughters," and "the family was shot and killed." From these indistinguishable descriptions, listeners would have no clue as to the brutality of the execution of a mother and four children whose bodies were riddled by dozens of bullets shot at point blank range.



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