Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Pallywood, B'Tselem style (CAMERA)

CAMERA has a great expose of the latest Pallywood incident:

Sunday's Hebrew article by Elior Levi and the corresponding English version ("Video: 11-year-old Palestinian stone-thrower arrested") are based on a video that B'Tselem apparently supplied to Levi.

One wonders if the intrepid Ynet journalists, including both Levi, his editors, and English translators, even bothered to view the pre-packaged B'Tselem video before passing it off as journalism. The article states:

In the video the officers can be seen putting the boy, Karim al-Tamimi, in a police vehicle after chasing him down. The boy's mother pleaded with the officers to allow her to accompany him to the Sha'ar Binyamin police station, but her request was denied. . . .

The boy's father, Salah al-Tamimit [sic] told Ynet, "They took him without a chaperone, and by the time we arrived at the police station he was already being interrogated."

Yet, a careful viewing of the clip (with Hebrew and Arabic dialogue) reveals that the exact opposite was the case; the policemen invited the mother to accompany her child. At 2:07 minutes into the video, one of the policemen says to the mother, "Come, come, get in." The cop then asks one of the people standing nearby, "Is that his mother?" When the bystander answers in the affirmative, the policeman repeats, "Get in with him" (the boy). The door is opened for her and she is about to get into the vehicle, as the policemen are saying "get into the car," but then (2:27) the mother is pulled away from the car by the Palestinian man wearing a black jacket. After the policemen closes the van's door, a woman wearing a pink shirt pushes the mother towards the vehicle, and then the mother bangs on the door, a heartrending scene directed to the end. Here's the clip:

What possible explanation is there for the discrepancy between the article and the video? Perhaps Elior Levi received the video together with a B'Tselem press release which falsely claimed that the mother was denied permission to board the van with her son. Levi then copied the press release, without carefully reviewing the video, nevermind undertaking any field work.

A careful review of the video shows that the boy had been hidden behind a sign, blocking him from viewers' site as he threw stones at the moving vehicles. In addition, despite the fact that he had a number of options, the boy knew exactly where to run -- in the direction of the camera. And thus we have the perfectly dramatic shot of a skinny and frightened child running away from the big and scary police.

CAMERA translated the Arabic which is heard in the video, and the translation provides additional evidence that Levi's report is entirely erroneous and that the B'Tselem photographer, Nariman al-Tamimi, staged the scene.

When Karim's mother is about to enter the police van after the police tell her to board, one of the Palestinians clearly says to her in Arabic, "Don't get in," and then the Palestinian man in a black jacket pulls her away from the vehicle. This sentence proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is the Palestinians themselves who prevented her from joining her son in the van, while the Israeli police repeatedly urged her to get in.

It is also noteworthy that in the beginning of the clip videographer Nariman al-Tamimi shouts to the boy, "hurry, hurry, hurry" as he runs in her direction, yet another indication that the entire scene was planned in advance.

It appears that B'Tselem has some explaining to do regarding its "citizen journalists," the recipients of B'Tselem cameras, who fabricate news as opposed to document it.