U.S. coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is usually skewed toward the Israelis’ perspective. It’s rare that we’re able to see the knife cut both ways.
That’s why recent national coverage of the beating of Tariq Abu Khdeir by Israeli policemen is significant. For the record, Abu Khdeir is an American citizen and a Tampa resident. He’s also 15 years old. The video of Khdeir is savage.
He’s kicked, punched and dragged across a street by Israeli policemen. At one point in the video, an officer seems to swing his leg at Khdeir’s head as his seemingly unconscious body is dragged away by the policemen.
There’s an element of intense hatred present; the recording is reminiscent of the Rodney King beating.
The American people and the rest of the world should be made fully aware of the other side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On July 3, three weeks after the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, Human Rights Watch warned of the Israeli military practicing collective punishment against Palestinians.
This included unlawful use of force, arbitrary arrests and illegal home demolitions. Since June 12, the day of the kidnappings, five Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and 450 have been detained, including “150 who remain in administrative detention without charge, trial, or the ability to challenge or even see the evidence against them,” according to Toronto’s The Globe and Mail.
You also have to take into account the historical displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians throughout past decades and the recent abduction and murder of the 17-year-old cousin of Khdeir, Muhammad Abu Khdeir.
This is not meant to absolve Palestine from its role in the conflict. Palestine is by no means innocent.
Nor is this meant to suggest that there shouldn’t be a Zionist state. People of Jewish faith have been persecuted for centuries, whether in Russia, Germany or throughout other parts of Europe.
However, the plight of Palestinians has not been given equal weight along with the plight of Israelis, at least not over here.
The recorded beating of Khdeir forces the media to provide a Palestinian perspective to the conflict, no matter how small.
The displayed images of the Tampa resident’s severely swollen lips and eyes have the power to provoke curiosity about the full scope of the conflict among viewers and readers, which can help to fully inform them about both sides. Equal coverage of both sides needs to become a norm for the media, not an anomaly. If the coverage of the conflict is skewed, our view of the conflict will be skewed.
Regardless of whether the parties involved are our enemies or our allies, we need to be properly informed as voting citizens.
The Israelis are not the only group being subjected to violence and inhumane treatment. It’s not the media’s job to resolve the conflict, but it is their responsibility to show that the knife cuts both ways.
Emerson Brito is a student intern at The Tampa Tribune Editorial Department. He can be reached at 813-259-8107.