Two recent articles in the New York Times conveyed as informative a picture of Palestinians and Israel as might be imagined. One, on August 4, profiled the “culture of conflict” nurtured by West Bank Palestinians, focusing on Arab teenagers’ delight in throwing large stones at Israel soldiers and Jewish residents of nearby communities, and younger boys’ games imitating their elders’ activities.
“Children have hobbies,” one teen, Muhammad, is quoted as explaining, “and my hobby is throwing stones.”
When a 17-year-old, arrested for his stone-throwing, was released in June after 16 months in prison, the article reports, “he was welcomed like a war hero with flags and fireworks, women in wedding finery lining the streets to cheer his motorcade.”
The second Times piece, the next day, described how, in its headline’s words, “Doctors in Israel Quietly Tend to Syria’s Wounded.”
Most Syrian patients “come here unconscious with head injuries,” said Dr. Masad Barhoum, the director general of one of the hospitals, the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya. “They wake up after a few days or whenever and hear a strange language and see strange people,” he continued. “If they can talk, the first question is, ‘Where am I?’ ”
“I am sure,” he added “there is an initial shock when they hear they are in Israel.”
A 13-year-old girl, who had required complex surgery, was interviewed “sitting up in bed in a pink Pooh Bear T-shirt.” Her aunt, who had managed to locate her and was happy with the treatment her niece had received, told the reporter that they hoped to return to Syria later this week.
“Asked what she will say when she goes back home, the aunt replied: ‘I won’t say that I was in Israel. It is forbidden to be here, and I am afraid of the reactions’.”
The two pieces, taken together, really say it all.