On August 17th, at least a dozen Jewish teenagers attempted to lynch three Palestinian youths in Zion Square, Jerusalem. This was seen by a number of Jewish Israelis as a startling escalation of violence within Israel proper (that is, outside the West Bank or Gaza). However, what is equally as disturbing is the almost complete silence in Western media on the event.
The three Palestinians were attacked by a number of Jews yelling racial slurs and other inflammatory comments such as "Death to the Arabs" and "A Jew is a soul and an Arab is a son of a b****." At least one Palestinian was beat unconscious, and the Jewish teens continued to kick him until two paramedics intervened attempting to resuscitate him.
A report surfaced on Wednesday, August 22nd that the local police station was allegedly called 40 minutes before the Palestinian youth passed out from the attack, but when the officer arrived on the scene, he did nothing and allowed the attack to commence. Phone records corroborate that two people did indeed call the police station, however the police did not comment on the officer's apparent lack of action.
Current police reports and the ongoing investigation indicate that there was no incitement on the side of the Palestinians. However, one of the suspects was quoted as saying, "He cursed my mother; I don't care if he dies. There were 40 or 50 kids there, and they were all beating him. I was in the square, I was involved. If I catch him I'll beat him. He's an Arab."
A brother of another suspect claimed one of the Palestinians made "passes at Jewish girls" and continued saying "Why should an Arab make passes at my sister? They shouldn't be here, it's our area. For what other reason would they come here if not to make passes at Jewish girls?"
Despite this, police say there is no evidence of the Palestinians provoking the attacks.
Three days after the lynching, the New York Times published a piece on the attack, and also mentioned another concurrent attack in which a firebomb was thrown at a taxi with five Palestinian passengers inside. The taxi was hit near a West Bank settlement presumably by Jewish settlers, although there have been no arrests. The five passengers are still in the hospital.
The following day, the New Yorker ran a short blog post with details of the attack.
However, the general lack of media coverage in the West on such an obviously racially-charged attack is worrisome. In the past, these types of attacks, frequently labeled "price tags," have been isolated to the West Bank, perpetrated by radical Jewish settlers, and been similarly ignored. However, apparently the spread of the racial violence to Jerusalem has not been enough to warrant significant coverage.
If we are to have an honest discourse in the U.S. about the increasingly intractable Israeli-Palestinian issue, we must hold our media to a higher standard of impartiality in its coverage of the conflict.