November/December 2000
An Israeli tank advances near Beit Jala

Eyewitness report from Jerusalem

NY Time photo (AP)

A photograph in Saturday's New York Times (above) summed up the conventional view of the recent riots in Israel: It showed a shouting Israeli policeman, holding a truncheon, standing over a bloodied youth. The caption read: "An Israeli policeman and a Palestinian on the Temple Mount."

Photos never lie, but captions do. As the Times acknowledged in a tiny correction yesterday, the bloodied youth was not Palestinian, and he was not on the Temple Mount. He was a Jewish exchange student Tuvia Grossmanfrom the United States who had been pulled out of a taxi by a lynch mob in an Arab neighbourhood, beaten and stabbed. The policeman had shown up just in time to save his life.

The following is used by permission from a friend of CFICEJ about their experiences in Jerusalem. Identities have been removed.
Jerusalem, October/November 2000

Hi Xxxxx, thanks for the note. Yes, I have already read the story that Tuvia wrote about what really happened to him in Jerusalem which was so incredibly different from what the media reported. I am so pleased that he is recuperating and trying to clear the air about what really happened. It was truly one of the miracles that we are witnessing here on a daily basis. Strange that no one is covering that side of the story.

I was in Jerusalem on Sunday and spoke with Christian women from the US who are living and teaching the Christian children in Beit Jala. The stories that we were told of how and why the Tanzim ( interesting aside - Arafat's Fatah terrorist organization is really called the Fatah Tanzim and this is part of that group) come in and take over the houses of good Christian people so that they can fire on the homes of people who live in Jerusalem and who have gotten along with the people of Beit Jala for so very long is a horror story. The Arabs are using these people as a shield and no one in the world seems to care what they are doing. The Arabs actually hope that Israel will destroy and kill people in the village so that the Arabs can go to the world media and say look what Israel is doing to Christians. Have you heard that side of the story on the news?

On the way home to Tsfat (about a 3 1/2 hour bus ride north) we couldn't use the bypass road that we had to build as once the Arabs took the lands around Jericho it was no longer safe to go through Jericho as we had been doing for so many years. A bypass road was built which added at least half an hour to the trip. Well, last night we couldn't use that road either so our bus had to use the bypass road of the bypass road which in reality is the army road. Why? The Arabs were firing on Jewish villages that are not anywhere near any disputed territory. In retalation the IDF blew up the top floors of the Jericho casino. It seems that as usual the army targeted for destruction the very place that the firing was coming form. I cheered when I heard. Why? Arabs are not allowed to go and gamble at the casino. Only Jews and tourists. Time it was closed. Disgusting. As we rounded the area and looked back we saw a blaze of light which I can only imagine must have been from the firing.

In Jerusalem I also heard stories from journalists who are covering the 'action.' They go to the Arab offices in the 'hot areas' like Hebron and Bethlehem etc. where they are told what time to come to film the riots. A woman met these journalists at the door and showed them the blackboard that gave them the hours that the kids would show up and the 'action' would begin. She said (and it was written on the blackboard) that the 'action' would start at 10. The army would take about half an hour to show up cause they aren't always right where the stones are being thrown. That meant that the media should show up not much before 10:30 and they also had their places for filming and interviewing assigned. One fellow who watched all this happening said that a TV reporter was actually seen having his makeup and hair done just in time to begin reporting. A most surrealist scene he said if ever there was one, all of the action being planned for picture taking as if they were there to film a movie.

It also seems that the following are known privately but not made too public. Journalists who do provide accurate reports find that these reports are often changed by 'the powers that be.' Others who know that lies are being told don't argue because they need their salaries to support their families. So accuracy in media reporting still boils down to selling advertising.

So that's what is new over here right now.
Take care and all the best.

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