Last night, as Israelis were absorbing the shock of early media reports confirming that the dead bodies of Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gil-ad Shaar were found north of Hebron, a Guardian journalist named Jonathan Paige Tweeted the following response, which was subsequently re-tweeted by their Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont:
This writer’s reply to Paige and the subsequent counter-replies can be seen here:
Whilst Paige doesn’t cover the Middle East for the Guardian (and as far as we can tell hasn’t published anything about Israel in his capacity as a journalist), his highly insensitive Tweet in many ways symbolizes the disconnect between the UK media and ordinary Israelis.
Though Paige didn’t respond to the final tweet above asking him to clarify his remarks, we’re left with a couple of questions which we’ll pose to him directly.
Whilst we’ll take a leap of faith and assume that you indeed empathize with the families of the murdered boys, why did your Tweet (your one and only Tweet addressing the vicious terrorist murder) only address the potential for subsequent Palestinian suffering and fail to include even a word about the actual suffering of the teens and their grieving families?
But, just as important as your editorial judgement within the narrow confines of the social media is your belief that the IDF will carry out “reprisals” against innocent Palestinians civilians. Though there may of course be additional unintentional casualties if the soldiers carrying out the ongoing mission to find the murderers are attacked by terrorists or their supporters, the notion of Israeli ‘reprisals’ against civilians represents the propaganda found on extremist sites like Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss and in the cartoons of Carlos Latuff – agitprop which serious journalists, it seems, would strenuously avoid endorsing or even legitimizing.
Israel, like almost every democratic country faced with a similar dilemma, will aggressively pursue the Hamas terrorists who murdered Gil-Ad, Naftali and Eyal (and will attempt to weaken the terror infrastructure which renders such abductions possible), but certainly won’t intentionally attack innocent Palestinians, nor in any way exact retribution on its civilian population.
So, there’s one more question we have: Why – assuming you are liberal, well-educated and don’t typically fancy such lazy stereotypes – do you appear to embrace such a crude caricature of an Israeli Goliath ?
If, as you indicated in your last Tweet, we misunderstood your short message (or took it out of context), we look forward to a reply clarifying your thoughts on the murder of our boys.