One expects to see harrowing pictures of Palestinian civilians caught in the middle of the crossfire between Israeli forces and the Palestinian Authority terrorists chosen as illustrations for stories about the intifada. These instances certainly abound, especially since the Palestinian leaders cynically place their own people in harm's way to elicit sympathy in the world media. And the media, in any event, seem hell-bent to spin the story of Palestinian provocation and Israeli response in terms of the hardships visited on Palestinian civilians. Thus, although Israeli territory is far more open to journalists than Palestinian controlled areas, it is rare that pictures of Israeli civilians under fire ever accompany any of the stories. But last Thursday, The New York Times “picked a beaut” to illustrate a story about Jews under fire in Gilo.
The caption identified the scene depicted in the picture as follows: “Some residents of Gilo, a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, watched yesterday and others took cover behind barriers as Palestinians fired from nearby Beit Jala.”
Does the reality of people in deathly fear of their lives come through? Actually, one is reminded of the detached officials of John LeCarre's The Looking Glass War. Yet the Times seized upon one frozen frame scene to define the plight of the targets of Palestinian bullets merely as one of inconvenience, curiosity and juvenile adventure.