Muhammmad Mahmoud Mubarak, 21, died at the hands of Israeli soldiers yesterday in the West Bank. The New York Times tells you that much. It also tells you that the details of the story are in dispute and that observers contradict the army’s account.
But there is much the brief by Isabel Kershner leaves out, and the print edition includes even less than the already abbreviated online account. Times readers in both formats, however, are denied crucial details provided elsewhere, even by mainstream media such as the BBC, Los Angeles Times, Agence France-Presse and other news outlets.
Neither Times story says, for instance, that soldiers refused to let medics get to the dying man for an hour, that they shot stun grenades at people trying to approach the body, and that when an ambulance was finally allowed through, they prevented it from leaving for another hour still.
The army, predictably, called Mubarak a “terrorist” and said he was killed after he opened fire on vehicles and an army post. They later showed a photo of the alleged weapon. No one (oddly enough) was injured by his shooting spree, the army said.
Witnesses said Mubarak was working on a USAID-funded road project and carrying nothing more than a stop sign when he was shot. Here is an account from the LA Times: “A Palestinian witness, Yasser Khalil of Ramallah, said Mubarak was standing in the middle of a road north of Ramallah, wearing an orange construction vest and directing traffic, when soldiers ordered him to remove the vest and then shot him.”
Ma’an News Agency, citing a Palestinian official in the military liaison department, said that Mubarak was shot dead by a soldier in a military watchtower. It also noted that several co-workers and an executive of the company the victim was working for were among the witnesses. Palestinian officials backed up their account.
Mubarak was the son of the elected leader of Jalazun refugee camp, not far from where he was working. At the time he was killed, he was helping refurbish a road through the village of Ein Siniya near Ramallah.
His father, Mahmoud, said his son had done nothing wrong. “This is murder in cold blood,” he told reporters at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah after his son’s body had been transported there.
The Times would rather not dwell on the grieving father or other details of this tragedy. By the time the article appears in print, the headline has even dropped mention of who shot Mubarak; it becomes simply “Palestinian Killed in West Bank.” It is no longer a story, just a note, one paragraph at the end of World Briefing on page 7.