Compare these two headlines for a minute. Did you learn English grammar? If so, draw on the clause analysis that you might have come across once upon a time. I never did, so forgive me if I’ve got it wrong, but in headline number one, I’d say: “2 Arabs arrested ” is the focus of the sentence, while “the Palmers” are subordinate and “double murder” is the nitty gritty. In other words the story is about an arrest.
In number two, “Israel” is now the subject, “Palestinian suspects” are the object, and “settler deaths” are a mysterious coincidental contemporaneous occurrence. The story has turned into a slightly different one, which has a vaguely critical inference regarding Israel.
Okay, I’m not a language expert, but although they say roughly the same thing, each headline imparts a very different message. I hope you’ll see that the second headline is the BBC’s.
“Israel arrests”, is a somewhat aggressive opening gambit, phrased in the active form. “Palestinian suspects” sheds doubt on their guilt, while “in settler” a dehumanising and intentionally denigrating term for the victims, and “deaths” – passive, downplaying the act of murder.
Headline number one is a straightforward presentation of the facts.
2 Arabs arrested for the double murder of the Palmers is what happened. Elder of Ziyon includes the names of the victims, tells us where and when things happened and puts in enough detail to inform the reader. He tells us the facts and only indulges in one emotive but apposite comment at the end:
“Indeed, no Palestinian Arab official has condemned the murders.”
On the other hand, I’m afraid the BBC continues their agenda-fuelled theme throughout. The act which caused the victims’ deaths is described in a passive form “the car crashed”. They omitted to mention that the stone was hurled from a moving car, or that the police are looking into more possible stone-throwing offences by the same two. Early in the BBC’s report they bring in another story; so predictable, yet so unnecessary. You knew it, it’s the one about the mosque. An arson attack on a building is obviously regarded by the BBC as comparable to the murder of Asher and Yonatan Palmer.
Strongly emphasised is: “the words “revenge”, “price tag” and “Palmer”[….]written in Hebrew on the mosque walls”, and where the report is light on the details of the Palmers’ murders, it provides the whys and wherefores of the Mosque attack, and brings in other “price tag” attacks for good measure. Also included, something that has become a permanent attachment to anything connected with Israel, “The settlements are illegal under international law,” So that’s why they must always refer to the victims as settlers, rather than human beings. And, it’s factually unreliable too. “though Israel disputes this.” They would!
“Their presence is a major obstacle to peace talks as the Palestinians insist Israel freeze settlement building before renewing negotiations.”
This dodgy factoid has also crept in for no discernible reason, other than that it has become de rigueur. But hang on. What are they on about? They might as well come right out and admit that the Palestinians’ rejectionism is a major obstacle to peace, the only obstacle in fact, talks or no talks.
If the Palestinians insisted that the world’s a balloon before renewing negotiations, it wouldn’t make one jot of difference.
Negotiations no longer apply. There’s been a unilateral bid for statehood, remember, something which, should it succeed, would override the mythical, let’s-pretend negotiations. The Oslo Discords, the peace process, the talks, the table, the preconditions – all overridden and tossed into the dustbin of a peace process that the Palestinians never wanted in the first place, no matter how much the BBC and the international community disputes this.