Guardian: Mahmoud Abbas gives up claims on “historic Palestinian city” of Haifa

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is clearly a moderate.

How do I know?

Well, per Harriet Sherwood’s latest Guardian report (Aug. 23), for starters, he recently said the following about the concessions he’s willing to make in order to advance the peace process:

In remarks possibly aimed at reassuring Israelis who believe a peace deal with the Palestinians will be followed by further claims, Abbas said: “You have a commitment from the Palestinian people, and also from the leadership, that if we are offered a just agreement, we will sign a peace deal that will put an end to the conflict and to future demands from the Palestinian side.”

Referring to historic Palestinian cities in what is now Israel, he added: “People say that after signing a peace agreement we will still demand Haifa, Acre and Safed. That is not true.”

For those attempting to figure out how cities which are within Israel’s 1949 boundaries can be characterized by Sherwood as “historically Palestinian”, you have to understand that Palestinian propaganda frequently refers to their people’s longing to “reclaim” such cities, part of a broader narrative which rejects Israel’s right to exist within any borders.

As Palestinian Media Watch documents, official PA TV constantly presents to Palestinians viewers a world without Israel in which all of Israel is defined as “Palestine.” In regular news programs, Israeli places and cities like Ashkelon, Haifa, Acre, Tiberias, Jaffa, Ramle, Lod, Safed, Mt Carmel, and the Sea of Galilee are described as “Palestinian,” “ours” or as part of “my country Palestine.”

The following documentary has been shown many times on Palestinian TV:

By referring to even those cities which have always been Israeli as “historically Palestinian”, Sherwood is not only parroting Palestinian anti-Zionist propaganda, but in effect imputing ‘moderation’ to Abbas for the mere act of relinquishing territorial claims for which there is absolutely no moral or legal basis. 

Guardian omits tiny detail regarding Khaled Meshaal’s dream to “liberate Palestine”

Harriet Sherwood’s Dec. 7 report, ‘Gaza Welcomes exiled Hamas leader‘, about Khaled Meshaal’s first trip to Gaza, began with these three paragraphs:

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal kissed the ground and wept as he arrived in Gaza on Friday on a historic first visit to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Islamist organisation and what it claims was a victory in the recent war with Israel.

“I have been dreaming of this historic moment my entire life, to come to Gaza,” said the exiled leader, who last stood on Palestinian soil as a teenager. He paid tribute to the “blood of [Gaza’s] heroes”.

He told reporters it was another rebirth following a failed attempt by Israel to assassinate him in 1997. He prayed that his next rebirth would come “the day we liberate Palestine“.

Sherwood somehow neglected to explain to her readers what cities in “Palestine” Meshaal wished to liberate – information widely reported throughout the media:

He told reporters:

“Today Gaza, tomorrow Ramallah and then Jerusalem, Haifa and Jaffa

The Palestine he wants to liberate includes every square inch of land between the river and the sea.

The opening words of Hamas’s founding covenant make its goal clear:

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

The covenant is also clear about their methods:

“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.

So, there should be nothing surprising about the fact that the Hamas leader expressed his desire to annihilate Israel, unless of course you’re one of those who rely on the Guardian as a serious news source about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. 

Postcard from Israel: Jaffa and the Ottoman Train Station

 A guest post by AKUS

After spending a morning at Shuk HaCarmel, it was time to head to the mother of all shuks in Israel – the flea market in Jaffa. As usual, it was a beautiful day, with Jaffa beckoning in the distance over Tel Aviv’s golden beaches.


Old Jaffa still has not been completely taken over by various development efforts and retains a typically Mediterranean flavor:



The flea market has something for everyone, and a great deal that seems to have been collected at random and often whose purpose or use can only be guessed at:



Tucked away in the tiny store of a Persian Jew, I spotted the magnificent tray shown below. After some serious haggling, much talk about how hard times are and how bad business is to gain my sympathy, we shook hands on a deal for half the initial asking price, and it now occupies pride of place at home:



Exhausted by our shopping and the constant negotiations, it was time to repair to the restaurant owned by the well-known Abulafia family, tucked into one of the old buildings near Jaffa’s clock tower, for a wonderful lunch of fish caught that morning before heading back to the hotel for a siesta:



In the evening, what better place for a meal than the restored Ottoman Railway Station near Jaffa:


There are a variety of restaurants at this location – this one was being used for a bridal party: 



After a meal, there is a bar serving drinks out doors in the cooling evening air:



We ended the evening looking for souvenirs in the gift shop, ending another active day in one of the best cities in the world to visit – Tel Aviv-Jaffa.



Guardian story downplays firebombed synagogue, blames “settlers” for vandalized Arab graves w/o evidence

Say, you’re a reporter or editor and you have 2 events in which to contextualize into a headline and story.

1.  Muslim and Christian graves are desecrated by unknown assailants.

2. A Jewish synagogue is firebombed.

Would you highlight the former vandalism or the latter explosive device hurled at a Jewish place of worship, or at least give them equal coverage?

Well, if you’re an editor for the Guardian, there really is no doubt about which you prioritize.

In today’s Guardian.

In fact the Guardian/AP report contains a mere 32 words about the firebombing of a synagogue in a 424 word story which was ostensibly focused on both the firebombing and vandalized graves.

And, not only does the grave vandalizing take precedence over the firebombed synagogue, the subheading concludes, based on (as you’ll see later) no actual evidence, that the desecration of graves was the work of “militant Jewish settlers”.

Conversely, the Guardian doesn’t explore who precisely would have thrown the explosive.

The article begins:

“Dozens of gravestones have been desecrated at Muslim and Christian cemeteries and a firebomb thrown at a synagogue in Jaffa, Israel, on Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

At least five tombs were smashed and around 20 others sprayed with Hebrew graffiti, including ‘Death to Arabs’ and ‘Price Tag’ – a slogan used by militant Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and their supporters.

So, while the subheading of the piece indicts “militant Jewish settlers”, the subsequent text simply notes the similarity between the slogans painted on graves in Jaffa with such writing used in previous acts of vandalism by settlers in the West Bank.

The subheading is even more curious given that they quote Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld saying, “there was no initial indication the suspects were settlers or settler supporters, and that there was also a possibility that they might be football hooligans.” [emphasis mine]

Also, according to the Jerusalem Post:

Police added that “Death to Russians – G.A. 02” was spray-painted in the cemetery, and that this graffiti was “linked to a soccer group.”

Other graffiti included X’s and the letters ACAB, as well as at least one depiction of a male sexual organ.

Police are not convinced that the graffiti was spray-painted by far-Right elements.

Police suspect that those responsible for the Jaffa graffiti are also responsible for the Bat Yam events [in which soccer fans are suspected], Israel Radio reported

Further, Ynet quoted Ahmed Ashharawi, a member of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa City Council, stating his belief that the perpetrators are just hooligans looking to stir up trouble.

Also, as the attacks are reported to have taken place at 4PM on Friday, the eve of Yom Kippur, any religious Jew would have been eating the final meal before the fast.  (For those observing Yom Kippur in Israel, the final meal was to be finished at 4:38, 20 minutes before candle lighting on Oct. 7).

The closest Israeli settlements are around 25 km east of Jaffa.  So, we are to believe that religious settlers violated the prohibition against driving on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar in order to vandalize Arab graves in Jaffa?

Even the state controlled PA media isn’t claiming that the graves were defaced by “settlers” but, rather, by Jewish extremists, showing the Guardian’s herculean efforts to out-Palestinian the Palestinians.

But, of course, when you’re a media institution ideologically conditioned to see a region under siege, not by Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian terrorism and antisemitic incitement, but, rather, from Israeli civilians living on the “wrong” side of the Green Line, any story can be crafted in a way consistent with “settler” villainy.  

Jaffa Tales, Real and Imagined

In vintage Guardian style, Harriet Sherwood presented us with a potted history of Jaffa on July 18th which is about as authentic as some of the ‘antiques’ in that town’s famous flea market. Whilst cursorily acknowledging that “here every stone and blade of grass comes with a bitter and contested history,” she then predictably goes on to highlight only one side of this disputed history, thereby promoting her own highly politicized narrative.

Having chosen as her guide “local historian and political activist Sami Abu Shehadeh”, Sherwood neglects to inform her readers that Abu Shehadeh is hardly some tweedy local history buff, but a seasoned political activist with a specific agenda for whom history is but an integral part of an ideological arsenal deployed in the service of dismantling the Jewish State.  As secretary of the political party Balad in Jaffa, Abu Shehadeh is one of the chief organizers of demonstrations against the establishment of “settlements”, as he terms them, in this neighborhood in Israel’s largest city.

Balad opposes Israel as a Jewish state and advocates its replacement with a bi-national state which would include over four million official Palestinian “refugees” taking advantage of the ‘right of return’.

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