False Equivalence at the Associated Press

Following a day of violence in Israel, the Associated Press headlines: “3 Palestinians, 3 Israelis killed in violence over holy site.” It’s even-steven, right? More of that cycle of violence we keep hearing about, with equal fault on both sides.

Not exactly. This is how the AP describes the deaths of three Israelis:

After nightfall, a Palestinian sneaked into a home in the Israeli settlement of Halamish in the West Bank and stabbed to death three Israelis, the head of Israel’s rescue service said.

An Israeli news site said those killed were two men and a woman who were having dinner at the time. The army released footage showing a blood-covered kitchen floor.

Amazingly enough, the Israelis saved the murderer’s life:

Eli Bin, the head of Israel’s rescue service MDA, said an off-duty soldier next door heard screams, rushed to the home and shot the attacker through a window. Bin said the attacker was wounded and evacuated to hospital.

So three innocent Israelis were stabbed to death in a home intrusion as they ate their Shabbat dinner, while a fourth was wounded.

How about those dead Palestinians? Did an Israeli break into their home and slaughter them?

Just kidding. The AP says:

Earlier Friday, several thousand Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank clashed with Israeli troops, burning tires or throwing stones and firecrackers. Troops fired live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas. Three Palestinians were killed and several dozen hospitalized with live or rubber bullet injuries.

That is accurate as far as it goes. Israel National News gives a fuller account:

Riots were reported in the Salakh A-Din, Ras al Amud, A-Tor, Rockefeller areas and Arab villages close to Jerusalem.

Four police officers were injured by rocks and firecrackers hurled at them by rioters. Some of the rioting Palestinian Arabs threw Molotov cocktails and other objects at security forces. They were dispersed through the use of crowd-dispersal equipment.

In Wadi Joz, close to the Lion’s Gate to the Old City, protestors set trashcans on fire. Law enforcement forces used measures for crowd-dispersal, including water hoses, to scatter the rioters.

At the Salakh a-Din thoroughfare near the Damascus Gate to the Old City, Arabs attempted to break thorugh police barriers and hurled stones at security forces.
Rioting occurred at the police barrier in Hevron and the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem. Riots involving tens and sometimes hundreds were reported in Kafr Kadum in Samaria, Naalin and Sinjel north of Ramallah, at Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and at the villages of Beit Omar and Arab Tekoa in Gush Etzion. In Tekoa two Israeli vehicles were damaged by rocks and one passenger was treated for shock at the site.

Amid this pervasive lawlessness and violence, only three Palestinians were shot, as Israeli police and security forces exercised their usual restraint. These photos show the Palestinian riots in progress:

So this is the real scorecard:

Palestinian launches murderous attack: three Israelis killed.
Palestinians launch multiple violent attacks: three Palestinians killed.

What we have here are two consequences of the same cause, Palestinian violence. Both might be considered tragic, but one is certainly far more so than the other. To report the deaths as somehow equivalent is to mislead the reader.

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