Harriet Sherwood audaciously suggests that Palestinians have abandoned terror


One of the many articles published in early November by the Guardian about the Swiss report on the death of Yasser Arafat concluding that the late Palestinian leader was likely poisoned – a theory contradicted by a subsequent  French report - was penned by Harriet Sherwood, and titled Arafat polonium find likely to be another hurdle for peace talks.  

Sherwood’s story strangely argued that the Swiss findings were “likely to worsen the already corrosive atmosphere of the faltering peace negotiations and fuel popular demands that the Palestinian leadership walk out”, and, we noticed after reviewing the article again, this even more curious conclusion about Palestinians.

Arafat was a man who divided the world: revered by Palestinians and their supporters, reviled by Israel and its allies. Nine years after his death, a portrait of him still hangs in most Palestinian homes. Nonetheless, the Palestinian people have inevitably moved on. Acts of violence, espoused by Arafat, are rare in the West Bank, and rocket fire from Gaza has dropped; instead, the Palestinian leadership has invested its hopes in diplomacy and negotiations.

The broad suggestion that Palestinians have largely abandoned Arafat’s ‘strategy’ of terrorism represents an almost staggering distortion based on empirical data on the quantity of terror attacks since his death.  (In 2005 alone, 2,990 Palestinian terror attacks were recorded.)  Further, though such attacks have decreased overall in comparison to the height of the 2nd Intifada, this reduction is largely attributed to the construction of Israel’s security fence and more effective counter-terror measures, not changing Palestinian attitudes towards terror.

Additionally, Sherwood’s claim that “acts of violence…are rare in the West Bank” is also simply not true.  As BBC Watch’s Hadar Sela recently reported, “statistics provided by the ISA [Israel Security Agency] for the months July to November 2013 shows that the number of terror attacks taking place in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and Jerusalem since the renewal of direct negotiations between Israel and the PLO on July 29th has more than doubled”. 

Terror incidents since July, 2013.

Sherwood’s additional claim that “rocket fire from Gaza has dropped” is also extremely misleading.  As the graph below on rocket attacks from Gaza demonstrates, rocket attacks from Gaza increased dramatically since Arafat’s death in 2004 (and Hamas’s control of the Strip in 2006).   While rocket attacks did decrease following the Gaza war (Cast Lead) in 2008-09, they increased again each year after the conflict until Israel launched an eight-day war in November 2012 (Pillar of Defense).

graphBeyond the statistical evidence contradicting Sherwood’s specific claims, it’s hard to understand how anyone covering the region as long as she has could possibly come to the conclusion that Palestinians have in any way abandoned terrorism.  In addition to the Palestinians’ glorification of terrorists, a comprehensive report on Arab public opinion by Pew Global in September demonstrated that “support for suicide bombing and other violence aimed at civilian targets is most widespread in the Palestinian territories“.  A staggering 62% of Palestinian Muslims, per this poll, believe that such attacks “are often or sometimes justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies”.

pal terrorism supportThough we’ve, on occasion, noted reports by Sherwood which suggest a modest amount of improvement in her coverage of the region, the amount of disinformation conveyed in those two sentences we cited (on Palestinian attitudes towards terror) again reminds us that her pro-Palestinian sympathies will trump a sincere commitment to accuracy almost every time.

12 comments on “Harriet Sherwood audaciously suggests that Palestinians have abandoned terror

  1. “Acts of violence, espoused by Arafat, are rare in the West Bank, and rocket fire from Gaza has dropped; instead, the Palestinian leadership has invested its hopes in diplomacy and negotiations.”
    Is she that stupid, just bought by oily money, ideologically blinded or personally motivated by sheer hate of Jews?? Or all together?

  2. Sherwood uses her position as a journalist to push her political agenda. Disgusting is an adjective that comes to mind.

  3. When you have Palestinian leaders teaching their people, If their are 10 Jews and you kill 6 of them, how many Jews are Left?
    When you have these same wicked leaders telling their people that Jews are the sons of Pigs and Apes.
    When you have Palestinian Mufti’s teaching in Mosques that all Jews must be exterminated, are we shocked when Palestinians celebrate butchering Jews.

    .After all, what peace-loving society doesn’t make heroes out of guys who snuck into a home, murdered an Israeli couple while they slept, beheaded a 3 month old Jewish baby and kept their ears as souvenirs?

  4. http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/10/18/arab-lawyers-union-honors-terrorist-who-killed-21-israelis-in-haifa/

    Arab Lawyers Union Honors Terrorist who Killed 21 Israelis in Haifa
    October 18, 2012

    The Palestine Committee of the Arab Lawyers Union recently bestowed its “highest honor” on female suicide bomber Hanadi Jaradat, who killed 21 Israelis in a 2003 attack on Maxim’s restaurant in Haifa, Palestinian Media Watch reported on its website here.

    Jaradat, who worked as a lawyer, also injured 51 Israelis in her bombing of Maxim’s. The lawyers union “created the ‘Martyr Hanadi Jaradat plaque of honor’” for her, according to an Oct 14 report in the Palestinian daily publicationAl-Ayyam.

    A delegation “conveyed to the family of Martyr Jaradat the good wishes of the head of the Union, Mr. Omar Al-Zayn… and also emphasized the pride of the Arab Lawyers Union for what their daughter had done in defense of Palestine and the nation.”

  5. Palestinian Arab support for terrorism is the highest in the world
    But the Guardian radicals don’t want you to know that.

    http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2013/09/once-again-palestinian-arab-support-for.html

    Wednesday, September 11, 2013
    Once again, Palestinian Arab support for terrorism is the highest in the world
    Pew Research just released their latest Global Attitudes report on how the Muslim world views extremist groups and terrorism.

    Once again, Palestinian Arab Muslims are found to support terrorism and have a higher regard for terrorist than any other group. By Far.

    Pal Arabs show more than twice the support compared to any other Sunni population surveyed!

    Here is how they compare to other groups over the past 11 years:

    Similarly, Palestinian Arab Muslims rank highest – by a significant margin – in their support for Al Qaeda:

    Palestinian Arab support for Hezbollah is also the highest, along with Lebanese Muslims. (If you factor in Christians, clearly the Palestinian Arab numbers would be even higher than Lebanese.)

    Even the Taliban get more support from Palestinian Arabs than any other Muslim group!

    These results have been consistent for years. But they make no dent in the brains of enlightened Westerners who really, truly believe that Palestinian Arabs are moderate, that they want peace, and that they do not support terror.

    Mere facts and figures cannot displace the enormous amount of emotional investment in the false religion of the “peace process” – which necessarily requires a belief in the fairy tale that the Palestinian Arab side loves peace.

    The truth cannot be discarded when it is inconvenient, but that has been exactly the attitude of the West regarding Palestinian Arabs for some forty years now.

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