Guardian report leaves false impression that Israeli terror victim was a ‘settler’

An article in the Guardian written by their Jerusalem correspondent, Peter Beaumont, reported on a Friday terror attack near Dolev, northwest of Jerusalem, in which an Israeli man was killed and another injured (Israeli man killed and another injured after car shot at in West Bank, June 19th).

The victim, 25-year-old Danny Gonen, was shot repeatedly at point-blank range by a young Palestinian man who flagged down his car – under the pretext of needing assistance – as he drove on a small road after visiting the Ein Buvin spring.  Gonen’s friend in the vehicle was also shot and moderately wounded.

The report stands out for two reasons.

First, Beaumont fails to name the Israeli victim, despite the fact that his name was known – and was being reported elsewhere – at the time the Guardian report was published.

Danny Gonen

Also, since Beaumont doesn’t mention that the victim was from the Israeli city of Lod (within pre-1949 boundaries), a sentence in his report may likely be construed by most Guardian readers as indicating he was from a settlement.

Here’s the entire report, so you can see the full context:

One Israeli man has been killed and another wounded when their car was shot at in the occupied West Bank near the settlement of Dolev.

They were found slumped by their car on a dirt road on Friday not far from the settlement. Pictures in local media show the car had been hit several times.

IDF military spokesman Peter Lerner said the two men, both aged 25, had been flagged down on the dirt road by a Palestinian man apparently seeking assistance.

“A Palestinian approached a vehicle that was in the area and asked them to stop … and shot the two from close range.”

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the area near the scene of the attack was cordoned off. “Forces are currently searching the area for suspects. This is being treated at as a terror attack,” Rosenfeld said.

“One of the wounded arrived with no vital signs and the medical team pronounced him dead. The other man is lightly wounded and is receiving treatment,” a spokeswoman for the Sheba medical centre said.

Shootings of settlers in the West Bank have tapered off in recent years as Palestinian attackers have resorted to throwing rocks and petrol bombs at passing Israeli cars. There has been a spate of attacks in which cars have been rammed into civilians waiting for public transport in Jerusalem in the past year and a number of people have been killed.

Tensions flared in Jerusalem last year, both before and after the Gaza war, but the city has been relatively calm in recent months.

The attack occurred on the first Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but prayers at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque, which police said were attended by about 80,000 worshippers, passed without incident.

The sentence “Shootings of settlers in the West Bank have tapered off in recent years…” in conjunction with the lede sentence, explaining that the victim was shot “at in the occupied West Bank near the settlement of Dolev“, without noting that Gonen was from Lod, suggests that he was in fact a settler.

As social-media activist Avi Mayer suggested on Twitter, shortly after news broke of the terror attack in Dolev, Israelis who live on the ‘wrong side’ of 1949 armistice lines are often not treated with the same amount of compassion by foreign journalists as those who live on the “right side” of the boundary.

Though Beaumont didn’t explicitly claim that Gonen lived in a settlement, the totality of the text in the report certainly seems to leave that (false) impression.

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