Peter Beaumont vs Peter Beaumont: Guardian journo contradicts himself on prisoner release

In ‘Middle East peace talks edge towards collapse despite Kerry’s frantic efforts, Guardian, April 2, the newspaper’s incoming Jerusalem correspondent writes the following about the collapsing ‘peace process’.

Eight months ago, Netanyahu signed a US-sponsored agreement to release 104 long-term Palestinian prisoners in a quid pro quo that would block the Palestinian application to membership of a raft of UN bodies in exchange for talks. But despite the agreement, Netanyahu has refused to release the fourth group of prisoners unless the Palestinian Authority recognises Israel as a Jewish state.

This is flat-out untrue.

The Jewish state recognition demand is a separate issue, was voiced prior to the current crisis about the release of the final batch of pre-Oslo prisoners and has never been cited as a factor why Israel is reluctant to release the remaining 26 Palestinians.

As reported by media sites across the political spectrum, Israeli negotiators have only demanded that – for the prisoner release to go ahead – Palestinians must at least agree to extend talks past the April 29 deadline, and have asked why they should release these prisoners when (immediately following their release) Palestinians will likely decide to end the talks.

Interestingly, three days prior to his April 2 story, Peter Beaumont himself acknowledged that the fear of Palestinians walking away from talks was the reason for Israel’s hesitation over the final prisoner release.

In his report on March 31, he wrote the following:

The Israeli government has said it is unwilling to go ahead with the latest prisoner release until it has a commitment from Abbas to extend this phase of the negotiations. On Sunday the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said the talks were “verging on a crisis”.

Just to make it easier, here are snapshots of the competing Peter Beaumont passages.

Beaumont, March 31:

1

Beaumont, April 2:

2

Which one is it, Peter?

 

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Another Guardian journalist falsely claims that Palestinians have abandoned terror

Last month, we posted about a remarkably misleading claim by Harriet Sherwood in an article about recent investigations into the death of Yasser Arafat: 

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.

We noted that her broad suggestion that Palestinians have largely abandoned Arafat’s ‘strategy’ of terrorism represented an egregious distortion based on empirical data detailing the quantity of terror attacks since his death.  Further, we argued, though such attacks have decreased overall in comparison to the height of the 2nd Intifada, this reduction can largely attributed to the construction of Israel’s security fence and more effective counter-terror measures – not an evolution in Palestinian attitudes towards terror.

In response to Sherwood’s specific claim that “acts of violence…are rare in the West Bank“, we cited a report by BBC Watch’s Hadar Sela which noted the following: 

“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.

Now, five weeks after Sherwood’s report, Guardian columnist Michael Cohen has made a similarly false claim about Palestinian terror. His Jan. 19th op-ed about current peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians included the following:

But with the head of Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas as supportive of a two-state solution as any Palestinian leader ever; with Hamas in a historically weak position and with Palestinians having largely turned their back on violence as a political tool the Palestinian leadership have stuck along with Kerry’s diplomacy even they are almost certain to get something less than a good deal.

In addition to statistics provided above which clearly contradict claims by Sherwood and Cohen that Palestinians have abandoned terror, report on Arab public opinion by Pew Global in September demonstrated that “support for suicide bombing and other violence aimed at civilian targets [is] widespread in the Palestinian territories“.  A full 62% of Palestinian Muslims believe that such attacks “are often or sometimes justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies”.

pal terrorism supportSuch obfuscations by Guardian journalists about the prevalence of Palestinian terrorism (and the overwhelming popular support for such political violence) are extremely injurious to their readers.  

Without taking into account the impact of such terror – particularly Israeli fears that, even in the event a final status agreement is reached, they’ll continue to be terrorized by sniper fire, bombings and rocket attacks – it’s impossible to honestly assess the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and consider the real factors impeding a just resolution. 

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Proof of official Palestinian incitement and antisemitism the Guardian won’t report

Israeli security officials recently presented the annualPalestinian Incitement Indexwhich includes findings from recent months in which peace talks have been taking place. The findings demonstrate that incitement against Israel (and Jews as such) is continuing in the state controlled Palestinian media, and that during the period of negotiations, not only did incitement not lessen, but in certain areas even increased.

The data suggests that incitement encompasses several main messages:

  • Israel has no right to exist, and Jews have no link to the holy Land;
  • The Jews are sub-human creatures and must be dealt with accordingly;
  • In principle, all forms of struggle, including terrorism, are legitimate in order to realize the final goal.

Though the documentation on Palestinian incitement was made available to foreign journalists – and subsequently covered even by the New York Times - the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood, never shy about framing every Israeli announcement on housing tenders across the green line as an obstacle to peace – has not, as of yet, reported on the disturbing findings.

Here’s the sideshow that was released by the government:

(Note: The video clips seen in some slides can be viewed by clicking on the image.)

There’s room at the Inn: More evidence Catherine Philp misled on Bethlehem

In our post on Dec. 25, we commented on a tendentious and highly misleading story published by Catherine Philp at The Times (Settlements choke peace in little town of Bethlehem) which argued that Israeli settlement policy was choking religious and economic life in the “fabled biblical town” and causing Christians to flee.  

Specifically, we demonstrated that Philp made two significant errors:

  • She falsely claimed that Israeli settlements “encircle” Bethlehem.
  • She falsely claimed that Bethlehem is more densely populated than Gaza (a claim later corrected following our communication with Times editors).

Additionally, Philps’ piece was extremely misleading, as it completely ignored the primary reason for the Christian exodus from the town – the threat of violence and intimidation from Islamist extremists, mirroring the root cause of the flight of Christians from the Middle East more broadly. But, there was another implicit narrative advanced by Philps - and other journalists who have engaged in the annual Bethlehem-centered Israel bashing tradition: that tourism (and economic life in general) has been negatively affected by Israeli settlements and the security fence.

Interestingly, a report in the Jan. 3rd Jerusalem Post (print edition) by Omri Gaster, citing stats compiled by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (JIIS) – based on numbers from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) – further contradict Philps’ story.  According to the report, Bethlehem has become a tourist destination which in some ways “rival[s] the city of Jerusalem”.

(Note about the graph below: Though the PCBS includes both Hebron and Bethlehem in Palestine’s “Southern District”, the overwhelming majority of the tourist trade is concentrated in Bethlehem. So, the data illustrated below refers primarily to overnight hotel stays in Bethlehem.)

graph

As the author notes, in 2009 there were 287,000 hotel stays recorded in Bethlehem, while in 2012 the figure reached 550,000 – a 92 percent increase over the course of only four years.  According to the JIIS, the primary factor behind this increase was a greater number of European tourists staying overnight in the city.

Musicians perform on stage in Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity, the site revered as the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem, Dec. 1, 2013.

Musicians perform on stage in Manger Square, outside the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Dec. 1, 2013.

Moreover, such increasing hotel stays reflect broader economic trends, such as the fact that the overall number of visitors to Bethlehem has been increasing steadily over the years - a number which now approaches 2 million visitors annually.  

Over the last two years, we’ve fisked stories about Bethlehem published at the Guardian – by Harriet Sherwood and Phoebe Greenwood - advancing misleading narratives about the alleged Israeli economic strangulation of the Christian holy city similar to Philps’ story in the Times, and again we come to the same conclusion:  There seems to be little if any actual empirical data to indicate that the presence of settlements (or the security fence) is having an injurious economic impact on Bethlehem.

Related articles

Analysis the Guardian won’t provide: Why Israel opposes UN forces in the Jordan Valley

As U.S. brokered peace negotiations continue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, we thought it would be helpful to provide some context regarding reports by Harriet Sherwood that, in any final agreement, Israel wants permission to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley. The JCPA created a site dedicated to explaining why Israel feels it cannot withdraw from the area and rely on protection from the UN or other international forces. 

Additionally, here’s a short video, produced by the JCPA, which effectively illustrates Israeli concerns. 

The Guardian and a tale of two hooded ‘Palestinian prisoners’

A CiF Watch post on June 7 focused on a report by the Guardian about questions raised by some board members at the annual meeting of G4S – a British multinational security services company – regarding their business operations in Israel.

The Guardian story by Jennifer Rankin featured the following photo from an anti-G4S protest, organized by Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), outside the meeting.

hooded

The hooded prisoner represented in this display of political street theater was meant to draw attention to what anti-Zionist groups allege is the mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails. Indeed, PSC, parroting the narrative of the Palestinian Authority, characterizes the prisoners in question as “political prisoners”, a term, as CAMERA has demonstrated, which is a euphemism for all Palestinians in Israeli custody, even those convicted of lethal terror attacks against Israeli civilians.

Moreover, the sincerity of the “pro-Palestinian” sentiment of activist groups, and the Guardian editors who continually grant their cause a forum, seems quite questionable given their silence thus far in response to the disturbing sight of the following real hooded Palestinian – one of several photos released by the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza recently.

execution

The imagery above does not represent leftist theatrical agitprop, but a genuine photo of one of two Palestinians just before they were hanged to death on Saturday on charges of ‘collaborating’ with Israel – two of at least 16 Palestinians who have been executed in Gaza for spying since Hamas seized the territory in 2007.

There is no mention of the execution on the site of PSC.  Additionally, the Guardian’s correspondent in the region, Harriet Sherwood, though finding time recently to publish 3 stories about a Palestinian from Gaza who was a contestant on an Arab reality show, has thus far not covered the story.  Moreover, this lapse in journalistic scrutiny of an extremely pressing issue relating to the human rights of Palestinians in Palestinian custody is not a one-off for Sherwood.  She has also failed to cover the death of a Palestinian named Ayman Samara while in a Jericho jail, as well the broader disturbing story, reported elsewhere, involving the abuse and torture of Palestinian prisoners in PA run prisons.

In reading the Guardian’s coverage of the region, it’s impossible not to conclude that their reporters’ activist journalism on behalf of the human rights of Palestinians is necessarily subservient to the broader ideological aim of vilifying Israelis. 

What the Guardian won’t report: Disabled and abandoned Palestinian child cared for by Israel

A Palestinian boy named Mohammed Al-Farra, now 3 1/2, was born in  Khan Younis, Gaza with a genetic disease which led to amputations of his feet and hands, and left him with a compromised immune system and other debilitating conditions. 

Though the boy naturally became completely dependent on others, his parents abandoned him and the Palestinian government refused to pay for his medical care.  So, he now lives at Safra Children’s Hospital, in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan, where doctors began treating him when he was just an infant.

Mideast-Israel-Palest_Horo2-e1367568298722

Mohammed spends his days undergoing treatment, getting around in a tiny wheelchair and learning how to use prosthetic limbs – and is cared for by his 55-year-old grandfather, Hamouda.  The Israeli doctors have reportedly grown quite attached to the boy, and fundraise to cover the cost of his care, and which also allows him and his grandfather to live in the pediatric ward.

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Hamouda Al-Farra puts his grandson Mohammed in a wheelchair in the Tel Hashomer Hospital

A recent report on the young disabled Palestinian boy in AP noted the following, which, though quite moving, wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has spent any time in Israeli hospitals.

On a recent day at the children’s hospital, patients and medics chatted in Hebrew and Arabic. Women in Muslim headscarves strolled in a corridor. An Orthodox Jewish woman affectionately patted Mohammed on his head. She nodded kindly at al-Farra.

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Hamouda Al-Farra holds his grandson Mohammed as they speak with Israeli doctor Raz Somech

In 2012, Israeli authorities approved 91.5 percent of applications from Gaza to receive medical care in Israel, a year in which a total of 219,469 Palestinian patients from the West Bank and Gaza received treatment in Israeli hospitals - a number which includes over 20,000 children.

Jews marauding in a vacuum: Harriet Sherwood’s artful dodge

A guest post by Gidon Ben-Zvi, who blogs at Jerusalem State of Mind

The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood recently alerted loyal readers to the growing phenomenon of violence perpetrated by Jewish settlers throughout the West Bank (Jewish settler attacks on Palestinians listed as ‘terrorist incidents’ by US, August 20th). In fact, per Sherwood, assaults against Palestinians have become so rampant that “…violence by Jewish settlers has been cited for the first time in a US state department list of terrorist incidents“. 

However, as the blog Mostly Kosher revealed, contrary to Sherwood’s claim, this isn’t “the first time”. In fact, State Department reports from 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2010 similarly characterized specific acts of settler violence as “terrorism”.

Moreover, while these ‘price tag’ attacks have indeed grown in recent years, the overwhelming majority of Israelis deplore them.  Additionally, a quick comparison between how the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority have respectively responded to these waves of violence reveals an Israeli resolve to address the issue rubbing up against predictable Palestinian cynicism aimed at exploiting it for political gain.

While the PA is quick to condemn price tag attacks on West Bank mosques, it actively glorifies acts of terror perpetrated by Palestinians against Israelis. The Palestinian Authority – a supposed island of moderation in a sea of Islamist-lead governments – simultaneously gives its assent to murder and entices future terrorists with assurances of glory and honor

Sherwood goes beyond just whitewashing official PA compliance in such heinous acts: she doesn’t mention the Palestinian Authority once in her piece.  And this is no mere oversight. By portraying the Palestinians as innocent and helpless, the taint and stink of institutionalized corruption and officially sanctioned terror is kept from contaminating the fairy tale that has been created of jackbooted Jewish thugs running roughshod over the perpetually persecuted Arabs.

Were that it were so. It makes for such delicious drama, doesn’t it? The truth is that while the PA lacks many powers associated with a proper state—such as complete control of its territory—it is responsible for providing such varied government services as education, criminal justice and health care for approximately three million Palestinians.

The US government has long categorized Hamas, Islamic Jihad  and the secular al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades as terrorist groups. All these groups and others have at one time or other operated from the Palestinian-ruled territories governed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

And the Palestinian Authority is not content to leave the dastardly deed of killing Israeli Jews to others. The PA does not just glorify or outsource terrorism, it actively funds it by paying monthly salaries to thousands of prisoners in Israeli prisons, including terrorists with blood on their hands. The source for these salaries is the Palestinian Authority’s general budget.

Sadly, the PA’s decades-long campaign to honor terrorists, presenting them as heroes and role models, has borne fruit.  According to a new poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey (PSR), nearly half of all Palestinians (47.5 percent) support terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians inside the 1949 armistice lines.

In contrast, eighty-eight percent of the Jewish public has expressed opposition to price tag acts against Palestinians.

And while the Palestinian Authority has fanned the flames of racist incitement among its people, the Israeli government has loudly condemned any and all attacks on Palestinians. From Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Yesha settlers council head Danny Dayan, the response from Jerusalem has been uncompromising and clear: such acts “… of lawlessness and intolerance…” are committed by “criminals” and the government will “…act swiftly to bring the culprits to justice.”

Yet, Sherwood must have run up against a hard deadline since she neglected to include any of this historical and political context in her report.  For while Jewish criminal elements must be held to account and brought to justice, their behavior has not occurred in a vacuum. To focus only on settler misbehavior is to ignore the context in which attacks on Jews in the West Bank is a regular occurrence, including Arab attacks on synagogues and other Jewish holy places.

Sherwood, while seemingly enthralled with the Palestinian narrative, evidently holds the Palestinian people and their government in such low regard that Arab violence is perceived as par for the course while Jews behaving badly illicits cries of condemnation that spill over into a questioning of Israel’s moral legitimacy.

While Sherwood’s talents and value as a reporter of news are questionable, she has a bright future as a romance novelist or fantasy writer. Perhaps she can call her first official work of fiction: “Arabian Knights Versus the Jewish Horde”.

Human rights NGOs condemn Israel for arresting Jews who ate on Tisha B’Av fast day!*

(Editor’s note: I had to make a few ‘minor’ revisions to my original story.)

Israeli Palestinian Authority police arrested six Jews Muslims in Jerusalem Nablus and Jericho for publicly eating on the fast of Tisha B’Av Ramadan.

One Jew Muslim was sentenced to one month in prison by Israeli courts the PA.

Breaking religious fasts are prohibited in Israel many Arab and Muslim countries, with legal penalties varying from fines to short prison terms. According to Israeli law article 274 of the Palestinian penal code, citizens who violate Tisha B’Av Ramadan by eating in public risk up to one month in prison or a fine of the equivalent of $21.

In addition, Israeli religious authorities Chairman of the PA Supreme Court for Shari’ah Law said Israeli PA law should prohibit even non-Jews non-Muslims and those who cannot fast for health reasons from eating in public during the month. Israel’s Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger Sheikh Yusuf Ida’is explained: “Our streets are Jewish Islamic,” and formal legislation should be enacted to “severely punish” anyone who eats publicly during Tisha B’Av or Yom Kippur Ramadan. 

Rabbi Metzger Sheikh Yusuf Ida’is told Israeli Palestinian TV that Tisha B’Av Ramadan offenders should be jailed as a warning to others.

“I call upon others to be considerate of Jews’ Muslims’ feelings,” Metzger Ida’is added, asking non-Jewish non-Muslim Israelis Palestinians to refrain from eating in public on the holiday as well.

The Guardian devoted considerable coverage to ignored the Israeli Palestinians’ egregious violation of religious freedom.

Several human rights NGOs announced that they will issue a special report turn a blind eye to such anti-democratic and illiberal laws in Israel the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestine Quiz – bonus question.

A guest post by Geary.

Remember the wacky Palestine Quiz and the fun we all had getting everything wrong?

 Now here’s a bonus question:

Which country stuck its neck out and tried to borrow to borrow $100 million from the IMF to give to the Palestinian Authority to prevent its potential collapse?

a)     Turkey

b)     Saudi Arabia

c)     United States

d)     Venezuela

e)     None of the above

Answer: e) None of the above.

It was, in fact, Israel. For the sake of peace and security no-one on earth has done more to build the foundations of a Palestinian state than its neighbour, Israel. The thanks it has received both from the Arab world and the laughingly named International Solidarity Movement is as miserable as Israel has been generous.


Palestine: It will cost you

Here was the cover from The Economist, in April 2012.

The UK magazine, in editorializing against Scottish independence, argued:

“The future, however, looks much dicier [for an independent Scotland]. This is a stormy economic world, and an independent Scotland would be a small, vulnerable barque. It would depend on oil for some 18% of its GDP, making it subject to shifts in global commodity prices. Though high oil and gas prices have pushed up tax revenues, if they drop production as well as receipts would plummet. The richest reserves have already been exploited, leaving inaccessible oil that becomes uneconomic when prices fall. North Sea production has been falling by about 6% a year for the past decade. Eventually the oil will run out entirely.”

“A small country is more vulnerable to other shocks. In 2008 the British government had to bail out Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and HBOS, Scotland’s two biggest banks.”

“…if they vote for independence they should do so in the knowledge that their country could end up as one of Europe’s vulnerable, marginal economies.”

Now, close your eyes, and imagine if the Economist had employed similar logic with another group’s national aspirations.

While Scotland had a Gross Domestic Product in 2011 of $186 billion, the West Bank’s was $12.79 billion.

More facts to consider which may make you wonder why the push for Palestinian statehood has taken on something of a religion among the activist class:

  • The PA receives an enormous amount of aid each year from Western states, largess unlikely to end, or even decrease, in the event of statehood.The UK provided £78.8 million. Other countries which provided the PA with enormous amounts of aid are as follows (all calculated in U.S. dollars: U.S.: $667 million, EU: $600  million, UNRWA: $476 million, Arab countries combined: $110 million, Norway: $108 million Spain: $101 million, Germany: $89 million.
  • While the Palestinian economy remains in a state of “severe fiscal crisis”, wages for Palestinian Authority staff eat up a remarkable 20 per cent of their total GDP, according to a World Bank report recently released.
  • Despite this continuing budget crisis of their own making, Palestinian Media Watch recently reported on the salaries paid by the PA to terrorists and their families – which, in total, is the equivalent of over $51 million per year.

In short, there is every reason to believe that the new state of Palestine would be an economic basket case, at the very least, and dependent for years to come on foreign largess.

However, the Economist was only expressing skepticism towards Scottish independence due to such economic factors, not, as in the case of Palestine, fears of a newly sovereign state which could launch deadly terrorist attacks, continue fomenting a culture of antisemitic incitement - a nation which indoctrinates their citizens with the belief that they can never, ever, live at peace with a Jewish state.

“Palestinianism” has never been, for all but a small number of its proponents, a sober reflection of the social, economic, political, and military costs and benefits of creating the 23rd Arab state (next to the world’s only majority Jewish state). 

No, such advocates typically can’t be bothered with such quotidian concerns, messy realities and real world consequences.

The chic Palestinian political badge they wear so proudly will not be parted with so easily.

What Harriet Sherwood won’t report: Journalist arrested by PA for criticizing Abbas on Facebook (Updated)

H/T Jeremy

It’s impossible to read the following story, as reported by Sky News, without recalling the Guardian’s advocacy on behalf of Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist Khader Adnan, whose administrative detention by Israeli authorities made him a cause celeb among the anti-Israel ‘journavist’ community.

The Guardian published five separate sympathetic pieces about Adnan (including a risible CiF essay by his wife who characterized the spokesperson for a group responsible for terror attacks which murdered hundreds of Israelis as “selfless”) who they comically referred to as a Palestinian “baker”.

Likely never to grace the pages of the Guardian, nor interest their Israel correspondent Harriet Sherwood, is the story of two Palestinian journalists arrested by the PA for criticizing Palestinian leadership.

Per Sky News:

Tarek Khamis, who works for a West Bank news agency, was detained by Palestinian security forces in Ramallah after he used the social networking site to condemn the arrest of another local journalist and blogger.

Esmat Abdel Khalik is being held in solitary confinement after she accused Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of being a “traitor” on her Facebook page.

A spokesman for the Palestinian Authority said Ms Abdel Khalik was being held for “extending her tongue” against the elected Palestinian leadership.

In a sign of a deliberate crackdown against local reporters, a third Palestinian journalist was arrested last week after writing an article alleging corruption in the Palestinian diplomatic mission in France.

Youssef al Sahyeb has been charged with slander and defamation after a complaint lodged by the Palestinian foreign minister Riad Malki. The reporter was released on $7000 (£4,400) bail after protests by fellow journalists in the West Bank.

The Arabic Network for Human Rightshas accused the Palestinian Authority of “assaulting the freedom of expression in the Palestinian territories”.

“Journalists are entitled to express their opinions without fear of being imprisoned and harassed,” the organisation said in a statement.

The Palestinian Authority has denied claims that it has set up a special unit to monitor blogs and social network postings.

Press freedom is meant to be protected under Palestinian law but the legislation allows for journalists to be prosecuted for activities which threaten “Palestinian unity or values”.

If you go to the Palestinian Territories page of the Guardian there’s no report on this flagrant assault on freedom of the press in PA.

Do I even have to ask what kind of coverage the Guardian would provide if Israel arrested Ha’aretz (or +972) journalists for criticizing Prime Minister Netanyahu?

Of course, such a scenario is inconceivable, as journalists here routinely engage in the most scurrilous critiques of Israeli leaders with complete impunity.  

Moreover, those on the left who passionately advocate for the creation of a Palestinian state strangely never seem bothered by such stories – political phenomena in the PA which demonstrates their decidedly illiberal political culture.

Can any true progressive sincerely argue at this point that the new nation of “Palestine” will be even marginally democratic, pluralistic, or tolerant?

UPDATE, April 4. Per Challah Hu Akbar

On Thursday, Abdel Khalik’s detention was extended for 15 days and she was put into solitary confinement. Ma’an News Agency now reports that, according to a member of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, Khaleq was transferred, on Tuesday, to a hospital after her health deteriorated.

Time to Put the Middle East Quartet Out to Pasture

The following was written by Hadar Sela & published at The Propagandist

 

The past twelve months have seen unpredicted political and social upheaval throughout the Middle East and North Africa and currently just about the only certainty is that there is still much more to come.

 With the cards still very much in the air and last January’s confident assertions on the part of the various Middle East experts – who informed us that the two countries in which revolution would definitely not be taking place were Syria and Libya – still ringing in our ears almost as loudly as Hillary Clinton’s bizarre assurance that Bashar Assad was ‘a reformer’, only fools would try to predict how the MENA region might look in five years’ time.

What is clear, however, is that the general trend appears to be towards a rise in power on the part of religiously motivated political elements and a deepening of the Sunni-Shia sectarian rift which has long existed in the region, alongside real cause for worry about the futures of other minorities.

In this volatile climate and with the fate of existing peace treaties between Israel and some of its Arab neighbours far from guaranteed, the Middle East Quartet (comprised of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States) is to meet next week in Jerusalem for another session of  flogging the dead horse known as ‘the peace process’.

Amazingly, with the Palestinian Authority having trawled up every possible excuse for not renewing negotiations over the past three years, having opted to pursue the unilateral option at the United Nations, and with Hamas-Fatah reconciliation as much of a pipe-dream as ever, the Quartet is still promoting the anachronistic notion that a peace agreement can be reached by the end of 2012.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

Low Returns on 40-Year Investment in Palestinians

This essay was written by Hadar Sela and published in The Propagandist.

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the commencement of European Union contributions to the Palestinians. The EU has beeUNRWA’s largest donor since 1971 and over the last decade has provided that organisation with almost one billion Euros. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords in 1993 it has, in addition, been a major donor to that administration.

The numbers are truly staggering; the EU has pledged to provide 28.4 percent of the total humanitarian aid budget for 2011 – US $60,013,647 – making it the top contributor. That figure does not include donations from individual EU member countries or separate donations to shore up the PA budget.  In 2010, EU contributions to the PA budget as set out in the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan amounted to 199.90 million Euros. Funds donated by member states of the EU amounted to an additional 62.70 million Euros.

When combined  with the additional donations from the World Bank, the United States, Japan and the notably less significant , the total amounts of money donated (US $3.96 billion in 2009-2010) mean that the Palestinians are still the highest per capita recipients of aid in the world, even 18 years after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.  

As Europe sinks ever deeper into financial turmoil itself, taxpayers in EU countries must be asking themselves if the tax money paid both directly to their own governments and indirectly to the EU could not be better employed in reviving their own economies and supporting unemployed and poverty-stricken residents of the EU. They may also be wondering if their 40 years of investment in UNRWA and 18 years of investment in the Palestinian Authority have actually brought any benefit to the Palestinian people. After all, throwing money at an investment which yields no returns is not financially savvy.

Not only has EU and other investment in UNRWA not solved the problem of Palestinian refugees, it has actually perpetuated it by forcibly keeping second, third and even fourth generations in permanent statelessness.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

What the Guardian won’t report: PA honors terrorist responsible for 2002 Passover Massacre

PA minister Issa Karake handing the family of terrorist Abbas Al-Sayid an honorary plaque from the PA. (March 28)

The Palestinian Authority has just honored Abbas Al-Sayid, the terrorist responsible for planning the ‘Passover Massacre’ which claimed the lives of 30 innocent Israeli citizens (including some Holocaust survivors) and injured 140 attending a Passover meal at Netanya’s Park Hotel on March 27, 2002.

On March 28, Issa Karake, the Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs, visited the family of the Hamas suicide-bomb mastermind (who’s serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison), awarding them with an official, festive plaque, in celebration of the anniversary of the massacre.

On that fateful day in 2002, a terrorist walked into the dining room of the hotel, in the center of the city, and detonated an explosive device. The terrorist was identified as Abdel-Basset Odeh, a member of the Hamas Iz a Din al-Kassam Brigades, from the West Bank city of Tulkarem, which is just 10 kilometers east of Netanya. He was on the list of wanted terrorists Israel had requested be arrested.

Here are the victims of the attack. You can click on their name to learn more.


S.Abramovitch

D.Anichovitch

A.Beckerman

S.Ben-Aroya

A.Britvich

F.Britvich

Andre Fried

Idit Fried

M.Gutenzgan

A.Hamami

P.Hermele

M.Lehmann

Dvora Karim

M.Karim

E.Korman

Y.Korman

L.Levkovitch

S.Levy-Hoff.

Furuk Na’imi

E.Nakash

Irit Rashel

C.Rogan

C.Rosenberger

Y.Talmi

Sivan Vider

Z.Vider

Ernest Weiss

Eva Weiss

G.Yakobovitch

A.Yakobovitch

 

Palestinian Media Watch has consistently documented that honoring terrorists is an integral part of PA policy.