At a time when headlines are dominated by the protests over the murder of an unarmed black man in the United States, the New York Times is ignoring a similar police killing in Israel. Palestine’s counterpart to George Floyd is Eyad Al-Halaq, the 32-year-old autistic man who Israeli police shot dead on May 30 inside occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City — 3 days ago. His killing is big news in Israel/Palestine, and worldwide. Some of the reports cite the slogan that echoes the nationwide upheaval in America: “Palestinian Lives Matter.”
But the New York Times has not published a single word about him.
The Times’s failure is inexplicable. The story is important; this site’s excellent, prompt post by Yumna Patel got enormous traffic. The Times’s rival, the Washington Post, put up a serviceable report the following day.
Times bureau chief David Halbfinger doesn’t even have the excuse that Israeli police killed Eyad Al-Halaq in a barely accessible location, inside besieged Gaza or a West Bank village. The young man, who his family said had “the mental age of a six-year-old child,” died in the Old City, not far from Halbfinger’s West Jerusalem home. Al-Halaq’s funeral, which attracted hundreds of people, took place in East Jerusalem.
Halbfinger’s refusal to say the name of Eyad Al-Halaq even extended to his Twitter feed; not a word. By contrast, Ruth Eglash, who reports for the Washington Post, has tweeted 8 times about the killing.
The Al-Halaq killing is not an isolated crime. This site’s report by Yumna Patel quoted the leading Palestinian Israeli political leader, Ayman Odeh, who pointed out that “they [the Israeli police] pulled the trigger but the occupation loaded the weapon.”
Israel said it will investigate the killing, but the respected Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, was skeptical, based on Israel’s record of whitewashed inquiries. B’Tselem — which is rarely quoted in the New York Times — said: “Those responsible for harming Palestinians go unpunished, and the victims receive no compensation for the harm they suffer. The few, isolated exceptions serve only to amplify the illusion that the law enforcement systems in place are functioning.”
Israeli censors blocked the names of the 2 police who are under investigation for the killing. In the U.S., Derek Chauvin, who murdered George Floyd, is a household name, but his Israeli counterparts remain anonymous.
David Halbfinger does have an accomplice in his failure to report anything about the killing of Eyad Al-Halaq. The National Public Radio correspondent in Israel, Daniel Estrin, has also stayed silent.