Guardian contributor claims all Palestinians jailed for terror crimes are ‘political prisoners’!

The following is a first person account (posted previously at this blog) by an Israeli paramedic who, in 2011, arrived on the scene at the Israeli community of Itamar shortly after five members of the Fogel family, including three children, were savagely murdered:

The first thing I saw when we entered the first room was 4-year-old [Elad] on the carpet with three stab wounds in his left chest, and, as I thought at the time he was still alive, left another medic to attend to him.

I then entered the second room and found the 11-year-old[Yoav] who had been butchered, his throat was sliced so deep that his head was nearly detached from the body.

Then we entered the third room where we found the mother [Ruth] dead, lying on floor in pool of blood with multiple stab wounds.  On a bed in same room, lying dead with single stab wound in the neck, was the father [Udi].  The three-month old baby [Hadas] was underneath the father.  The baby was killed with one stab wound to the skull.

I then returned to the first room, where I thought Elad was still alive, and soon realized that he, too, was dead.

The carpet was soaked in blood.

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Fogel family

The two Palestinians who pled guilty to the gruesome murder, Amjad Awad and his cousin Hakim Awad (who were affiliated with the PFLP terror group),expressed no remorse for their crimes at the hearing where they were sentenced to life in prison.

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Amjad Awad and Hakim Awad

Amjad and Awad are among  the roughly 4,200 or so ‘security prisoners’ – those convicted of crimes, usually violent in nature, motivated by nationalistic reasons – in Israeli jails. Among these security prisoners are Palestinians who committed terrorist attacks where Israelis were killed or maimed; Palestinians who were on their way to suicide missions and were apprehended before the attack; attack planners; and those responsible for preparing the explosives, etc.

However, there is, evidently, another word some use when characterizing the Itamar murderers and others with Israeli blood on their hands: Political Prisoners.

This term was employed recently by ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Martin Linton.  Linton, you may recall, is a former British MP (and chair of Labour Friends of Palestine) who warned in 2010 that “there are long tentacles of Israel in [the UK] who are funding election campaigns and putting money into the British political system for their own ends.”

Linton’s ‘CiF’ op-ed (‘Release Marwan Barghouti. He can be Palestine’s Nelson Mandela‘, March 28), which contained praise for the terrorist mastermind so fawning it could be mistaken for a parody, included this passage:

An international campaign has been launched to free Barghouti and the 4,227 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. It is supported by every party in the Palestinian parliament, with Fatah and Hamas united for once, and by the overwhelming majority of Palestinians.

This is of course an egregious distortion of the widely accepted definition of the term “political prisoner“, which normally refers to ‘a person imprisoned for their political beliefs or actions’, and mirrors the language used by the most radical pro-Palestinian voices.

Finally, it should be noted that back in May we prompted a correction at the Guardian over a similarly false claim, in a report by Harriet Sherwood referring to the 123 ‘Pre-Oslo Palestinian Prisoners‘ – all of whom were convicted of murder, attempted murder or being an accomplice to murder – as “political prisoners“. 

Though Sherwood’s article was a straight news story, and Linton’s an op-ed, the Press Complaints Commission has been clear that newspaper editors are required to ensure that even op-eds avoid claims which are false or misleading. 

Linton didn’t merely advance an offensive opinion, he stated as fact something that is categorically untrue.  

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Guardian report characterizes Palestinian terror movement as merely a ‘Leftist’ group

A Feb. 28 Guardian/AFP report titled ‘Palestinian killed in Israeli army raid on his home is buried‘ begins thus:

A Palestinian killed during an Israeli army raid on his home in the West Bank town of Birzeit has been buried.

Motazz Washaha was found dead after the raid on Thursday morning. The army said he was “suspected of terror activity”.

Actually, Washaha reportedly had helped plan and carry out numerous terror attacks across the West Bank.

The Guardian report continues:

About 4,000 mourners attended the funeral on Friday at Birzeit, north of Ramallah. Many called on Palestinian factions to unite and avenge Washaha’s killing. He was identified by neighbours as a member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [PFLP] – the movement’s flags were raised at his funeral.

So, Guardian readers are informed that PFLP is merely a “Leftist” organization!

Of course PFLP is a Marxist-Leninist Palestinian terrorist group which rejects Israel’s right to exist within any borders. PFLP is known for having pioneered techniques of international flight hijackingswas responsible for multiple deadly terror attacks in Israel and is officially listed as a terrorist group by the United States and European Union.

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Graphic from PFLP website

Some of its more high profile attacks include:

  • The hijacking of an El Al plane (July 23, 1968); 16 prisoners were released.
  • Hijacking of 3 planes belonging to Western countries (September 6, 1970): Three commercial airliners were hijacked and blown up after the passengers were evacuated. An attempt to hijack an Israeli (El Al) airliner was foiled. Three days later another Western plane was hijacked as well.
  • The assassination of Rehavam Ze’evi (October 17, 2001).
  • suicide bombing attack at the West Bank village of Karnei Shomrom (February 16, 2002); 3 Israeli civilians murdered, 25 wounded.
  • A suicide bombing attack at a bus station at the Geha junction in Tel Aviv (December 25, 2003); 3 Israelis murdered.

As CAMERA noted in a post earlier, you’d almost think, based on the article, that PFLP was “Leftist as in the Israeli Meretz-types who advocate for an immediate Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.”

On PFLP’s website, violence against Israeli civilians is justified by virtue of the fact that they are a “liberation movement” and – evoking agitprop used historically by Marxists to justify violence and other extremist measures – a “progressive national movement against the forces of aggression and imperialism“.  

Whilst it’s of course not at all surprising that the group would present themselves as a left-wing or progressive force, professional journalists have the duty, at the minimum, not to serve as a mouthpiece for such crude propaganda.

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Why won’t Harriet Sherwood tell readers about the suspected terror affiliation of Shawan Jabarin?

As anyone familiar with the rigorous research and detailed reports by NGO Monitor would already know, many self-declared ‘humanitarian NGOs’ in Israel and the Palestinian territories are able to exploit the label ‘universal human rights values’ to promote radical (and decidedly illiberal) agendas.  This edifice is at least partially maintained by pro-Palestinian journalists who often cite reports by such NGOs without informing readers about their extremist ideologies.

Naturally, Harriet Sherwood’s Oct. 4 story titled ‘ICC urged to investigate ‘commission of crimes’ in Palestinian territories, provides readers with no information on the background of Al-Haq, the Palestinian NGO which forms basis of her Guardian report.

The story centers on “two Palestinian human rights groups [which] are calling on the international criminal court to launch an investigation into the commission of crimes under international law in the occupied territories.”  

Sherwood explains further:

Al-Haq and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights [PCHR] have presented a legal opinion to the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, at The Hague, arguing that the court can take action without Palestine formally signing up to the body. The two rights groups are calling for the court to begin an investigation based on “the mass of evidence and documentation attesting to the widespread commission of crimes in Palestine, and the environment of total impunity for the perpetrators”.

To learn more about the story we contacted Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor’s legal advisor, who told us, via email, that previous ICC prosecutors have already rejected similar arguments presented by Al-Haq (an NGO whose funders have included the Ford FoundationChristian Aid, and the governments of HollandSpainIreland, and Norway), and that it was unclear what they are hoping to accomplish.

Regarding Al-Haq, which has a history of characterizing terrorist activities as legitimate “resistance”, Herzberg offered the following comment: 

Al Haq should be careful what they wish for. ICC jurisdiction over the situation in the West Bank would apply to Palestinians as well as Israelis. Given that Al Haq’s director Shawan Jabarin has been alleged by the Israeli Supreme Court to be a senior activist in the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] terrorist organization, he himself could be a potential target for investigation by the court.

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Shawan Jabarin

PFLP is a Marxist-Leninist Palestinian terrorist group which rejects Israel’s right to exist within any borders, and was responsible for a number of hijackings and deadly terror attacks, including the assassination of Israel’s tourism minister in 2001.  PFLP is officially listed as a terrorist group by the United States and European Union - a designation which evidently inspired the following graphic at PFLP’s English site, which happens to mirror Al-Haq’s narrative of “resistance”:

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PFLP graphic

At the very least, it seems reasonable to expect reporters – at least those who take their duty as professional journalists seriously – to inform their readers when a putative “human rights” organization they are covering defends political violence, and is led by suspected terrorist.  

CiF asks Palestinian supporter of ‘armed resistance’ her views on the peace process

bakerAn August 1 essay at ‘Comment is Free’, titled ‘The Middle East peace talks are back to disappoint‘, by Gaza based blogger (and Electronic Intifada contributorRana Baker didn’t include anything particularly surprising – at least by ‘CiF’ standards.  

In her column, Baker, an activist from Gaza, demonizes Israelis as ‘colonisers’ who administer an “apartheid-like system in impoverished Bantustans”, dismisses the newly relaunched peace talks as an act of surrender and exercise in futility, and mocks as “irrelevant”, weak and spineless Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Baker’s views on the peace process are evidently considered especially worthy by the Guardian brass, as, in addition to her CiF commentary, Harriet Sherwood also featured the “Gaza blogger” – in a Aug. 3 story in The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) – as one of the five “Voices from Palestine”, ‘Do Israelis and Palestinians think time is right for peace?’. In the space allotted to Baker – in a column which includes the views of five Israelis and five Palestinians – she again blasts the negotiations as useless, and actually praises Hamas’ refusal to engage in talks with the Jewish state.

So, other than face to face negotiations, what strategy does Rana Baker prefer?

Well, there are at least two indications that the Guardian’s ‘voice from Gaza’ clearly prefers violence to diplomacy – the first of which is the following post published at Electronic Intifada on Jan. 19, 2012:

3rd

Here are some excerpts from Baker’s post:

Negotiations have more than once proved to be useless. In fact, they proved to be damaging to the very essence of the Palestinian popular struggle i.e. the Right of Return.

People everywhere are born to be free. Enslavement is not only illegal because it causes human miseries, but because it essentially opposes the sound human nature that views fellow human beings as brothers and sisters not as slaves or second-class citizens. Unfortunately, Israel is singling itself out of this category.

Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, more Palestinian land has been expropriated and the Nakba never ceased. The Palestinian leadership, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, proved to be politically disabled; a broken record at best. Israel’s Apartheid is breaking new grounds passing new racist laws every day. World leaders are becoming more biased than they have ever been turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people on a daily basis. Isn’t it the time for a popular Palestinian revolution in the form of a third intifada?

Finally, in case there’s any doubt as to what kind of “Palestinian revolution” she’s proposing, there’s an update on her Facebook account which seems to reveal the orientation of her political sympathies.  The following graphic and text, and her accompanying English translation, was posted to her 1,474 friends on Nov. 8, 2012:

resist

The image (possibly depicting Leila Khaled, the former PFLP terror operative noted for being the first woman to hijack an airplane) of course suggests that the reason why Baker isn’t ‘hopeful’ about the peace process is pretty clear: violent resistance is the only legitimate path to the ‘liberation’ of Palestine.

Perhaps Guardian editors may wish to inform readers of Baker’s ideological proclivity towards violence the next time they legitimize her views on the pages of The Observer and ‘Comment is Free’.

Observer contributor fails to mention terrorist career of Palestinian ‘novelist’ Ghassan Kanafani

A report in the culture section of The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) by Omar al-Qattan, a Palestinian-British film-maker (‘The best 10 Arab films‘, July 7) included a brief synopsis of a 1973 feature film by Tewfik Saleh titled ‘The Dupes.”

Al-Qattan writes, thusly:

Set in Iraq, shot in Syria, based on a famous Palestinian novel by Ghassan Kanafani (assassinated by the Israelis in 1972) and directed by an Egyptian, this harrowing film is about a group of Palestinian workmen in the early 50s trying to cross the border illegally from Iraq into Kuwait, to join the oil boom. They get a lift inside a water tank and are stuck there when the driver is held up by customs officials. The action takes place inside the tank in the searing desert heat as the men dream of the homes and loved ones they left behind. A classic of the Palestinian experience.

Of course, the Observer contributor failed to inform readers that Ghassan Kanafani wasn’t a mere novelist, but also a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a Marxist-Leninist Palestinian terror group responsible for a number of hijackings and deadly terror attacks, including the murder of Israel’s tourism minister in 2001.  

Here’s a photo of a PFLP march, at the Dheishe “refugee camp(a Palestinian city near Bethlehem)with a banner of Kanafani, which took place on July 8, 2012, the 40th anniversary of his death.

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In addition to editing the magazine of the PFLP, Kanafani was a member of the group’s Political Bureau and played a key role in developing and shaping its political positions.  Additionally, as CAMERA noted, Kanafani was reportedly the right hand man to PFLP’s leader George Habash, and even helped plan – along with members of the Japanese Red Army – the Lod Airport Massacre in May 1972 in which 26 people were killed.

We can likely assume that if the Observer culture contributor knew that the Mossad allegedly assassinated Kanafani, he also was at least minimally aware of his terror affiliations.

In a manner similar to Harriet Sherwood’s characterizations of Islamic Jihad terrorists Khader Adnan and Mahmoud Sarsak respectively as a “baker” and “football player”, Al-Qattan’s focus on Kanafani’s literary prowess serves to evoke sympathy for the man – a Palestinian who, during his life, demonstrated a clear disregard for the humanity of Israelis.

Update on latest round of Gaza terror: Over 60 rockets fired; 7 Israelis injured

Report collated from the Israeli media and the blog ‘This Ongoing War edited by Arnold and Frimet Roth

Israelis run for cover after rocket sirens are triggered in Ashkelon

  • On Saturday night, Nov. 10, terrorist forces in Gaza fired an anti-tank missile that hit an IDF jeep patrolling 200 meters inside the Israeli border with Gaza near the Karni border crossing. Four soldiers were injured, and two are in serious condition (one with shrapnel wounds to the head).

A wounded Israeli soldier is evacuated by ambulance in southern Israel on Saturday. | Photo credit: AP

  • On Saturday night, Tzeva Adom (Code Red) warnings were blaring in the cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Netivot, Sderot, Gedera, Yavne, Kiryat Malachi and Beit Gamliel, as well as in the Sha’ar Hanegev, Eshkol, Lachish and Sdot Negev regions.  
  • In addition to the injuries to IDF soldiers, three civilians have been injured by rocket shrapnel.
  • ‘Credit’ was claimed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for the initial round of rockets, but the IDF believes Islamic Jihad is behind most of the attacks. 
  • The so-called Al-Mujahideen brigades (which likely means the Mujahideen Shura Council of Jerusalem, a terrorist group that claims to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda) is claiming responsibility for 2 of the rockets fired into Israel.
  • The Popular Resistance Committee said it had fired four rockets at Israeli communities close to the Gaza border and at Sderot and Netivot.
  • Hamas, which controls Gaza, published an announcement saying all Israeli military targets (meaning civilian targets) are “legitimate” objects of attack.
  • Islamic Jihad announced on Saturday that it “…will not give the Zionist enemy calm for free… The Resistance cannot sit idly by. Our message to the foe is that it will be bombardment for bombardment, blood for blood…”.
  • Israeli Channel 2 reported on Saturday that “recent cross-border fire from Gaza had included highly accurate Katyusha rockets, capable of doing far more damage than previous rocket fire”.

  • Overnight, the IDF carried out well-targeted air assaults on several Gazan targets involved in yesterday’s attacks against Israeli civilians: a Palestinian weapons manufacturing facility, two weapons storage facilities, and two rocket-launching sites in northern Gaza.  
Thus far, there are no reports on the latest round of Palestinian terror on the Israel, Palestinian territories, or Gaza pages of the Guardian.
(Update: A few minutes ago, at 14:45 Israeli time, the Guardian published an AP report on the latest terror from Gaza)

Anatomy of a story from Gaza.

It is not a new tactic. When Palestinian terrorists in Gaza decide to up their usual daily quota of rocket fire at civilian communities in the south of Israel, a story suddenly breaks about a child in Gaza killed by Israel. So it was in March 2012 when Harriet Sherwood and many others blindly attributed the death of a boy named Nayif Qarmout to Israeli actions.

And so it is too in the latest round of escalated missile fire from Gaza which is still going on. On Tuesday, June 19th, a story emerged about a toddler named Hadeel Haddad from the Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza, supposedly killed in an Israeli airstrike. 

The IDF quickly confirmed that it had not been operating in the area at the time and Ma’an news agency stated (at least on its English language site) that the little girl’s death was related to Palestinian terrorists firing a rocket from the region of her family’s home. Some 10 to 15% of all rockets fired fall short and land in Gaza itself.

However, the false version of the story was published widely (and is still available on the web) in Palestinian press and other media outlets – among them Scoop (Kia Ora’s Julie Webb-Pullman reporting), The Shia Post, the official PA Wafa news agency, the Palestine Press news agency,  the Palestine Times,  Palestine Today and the Iranian Ahul Bayt news agency. 

So where did the story originate? Most of the media outlets claim that their source was Adham Abu Selmeyya (aka Adham Abu Musa Salamia) – spokesman for the Emergency and Ambulance Services in Gaza. Selmeyya, however, has a history of exploiting his official position to spread untrue stories.  In fact, as Elder of Ziyon points out, he was also the person who spread the false story about Nayif Qarmout. 

Another aspect to the story is that of the photograph of the dead child – obviously taken at a mortuary. The website ‘Occupied Palestine’, which ran the story using that photograph, credited it to Twitter user @PFLP67 and indeed the photograph appears on his timeline, addressed to the ‘Occupy Palestine’ Twitter account. The same picture was also used by several of the media outlets promoting the false story. 

Note: @PFLP67′s Twitter account now seems to be experiencing technical difficulties or to have been blocked, so that is the reason the  disturbing image is being published here.

Whilst it is not known whether or not @PFLP67  (whose twitter profile states, predictably, that “the way to Palestine passes via the barrel of a gun”) took the picture himself, what we obviously do have here is a member of a terrorist organization who either has access to the morgue in Gaza himself, or has an associate there, promoting a picture which does not tell the story as he claims it to be. What @PFLP67′s connections are (if any) to Adham Abu Selmeyya and the Gaza emergency and ambulance services remains, of course, a mystery. 

Besides the story being published by media outlets and news agencies, it also spread via Twitter and Facebook.

Some of those Tweeting the story appear to have got their original information from the timeline of the BBC’s correspondent in Gaza, Jon Donnison. 

However, despite the fact that Donnison – who would also appear  to have got the story from Adham Abu Selmeyya – has obviously yet to learn that ‘medical sources in Gaza’ can also be ‘propaganda sources in Gaza’ (and sometimes worse), he did correct himself within the hour. 

Unfortunately, by that time the damage was already done, with the false information – now sporting the trusted BBC’s stamp of approval – retweeted and passed on and his correction largely ignored. 

And what of the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood? Well, her somewhat belated report on the current barrage of rocket attacks on southern Israel, published well over 24 hours after the attacks commenced, appears to indicate that this time around she managed to avoid falling into the trap set by Adham Abu Selmeyya the ‘medical source’ propagandist.

“A two-year-old Palestinian girl was killed in an explosion in Gaza on Tuesday evening, and her brother was injured. The Israeli military denied it had launched an air strike in the area. According to the Palestinian news agency, Ma’an, witnesses said the child died when militants launched a rocket nearby.”

Once bitten twice shy? Let’s hope that the BBC learns the same lesson soon, because spreading unsubstantiated stories and rumours is a very dangerous practice in the Middle East and journalists – like medical staff – should be bound by the commitment to do no harm. 

‘Airflotilla 2′ & “normal, average Europeans”

Earlier in the week the organisers of the ‘Airflotilla 2′ (‘Welcome to Palestine’) campaign held a press conference in Bethlehem. Among the speakers the organisers chose to address journalists was the mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarseh who urged Israel to allow the flytilla activists in.

“These people are coming to talk about peace, they are not coming to wage war against Israel,” he said. “They are coming to visit the Palestinian people who are under occupation and to talk to them and to help them because these people are isolated.”

 “We are asking our neighbors the Israeli government to make it easy for these people to enter the Palestinian National Authority, so that we can have this message of peace starting from this holy city of Bethlehem.”

He called on Europe and the United States to support the protest. People who speak out about Israel’s policies are called “anti-Semitic,” he said, but urged the US and Europe not to fear this label.

Whilst he can certainly talk the talk, Mayor Batarseh’s ‘message of peace’ should be seen in light of the fact that he recently took part in the ‘Christ at the Checkpoint conference held in his town, during which he told the audience that the Palestinians were being crucified by Israeli security measures, Bethlehem was a giant prison and that Jesus Christ, embodied by the Palestinian people, was imprisoned in the city by the security barrier.

Batarseh is known to be allied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a terrorist organization proscribed by Canada, the EU and the US. In January this year Batarseh attended a memorial service for PFLP founder George Habash held in Beit Sahour.  Terror attacks perpetrated by the PFLP include:

  • On July 22, 1968, the PFLP hijacked its first plane, an El Al flight from Rome to Tel Aviv.
  • In September 1970, the PFLP hijacked three passenger planes and took them to airfields in Jordan, where the PLO was then based; after the planes were emptied, the hijackers blew them up. In response, King Hussein of Jordan decided that Palestinian radicals had gone too far and drove the PLO out of his kingdom.
  • In 1972, PFLP and Japanese Red Army gunmen murdered two dozen passengers at Israel’s international airport in Lod.
  • In 1976, breaking a PLO agreement to end terrorism outside Israeli-held territory, PFLP members joined with West German radical leftists from the Baader-Meinhof Gang to hijack an Air France flight bound for Tel Aviv and landed the plane in Entebbe, Uganda. In a now-famous raid, Israeli commandos freed the hostages. [Despite the overall success of the raid, three hostages were killed in the firefight and one was killed by Ugandan Army officers in a nearby hospital.]

Also speaking at the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ press conference was project organizer Mazin Qumsiyeh who said of the campaign’s participants:

“These are not hooligans. The people who are coming are normal, average Europeans who want to learn and visit people under occupation,”

Hooliganism is defined as ‘rowdy, violent or destructive behaviour’ or alternatively; ‘willful, wanton and malicious destruction of the property of others’. Some might say that the attempts of Mazin Qumsiyeh and his Palestine Justice Network to eliminate the Israeli state amount to little less.

Certainly, Mazin Qumsiyeh and Mustafa Barghouti –  an endorser of the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ – do not qualify as being best placed to define hooliganism in light of their equally suspect definition of the recent March 30th ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ events  (which they also co-organised) as ‘non-violent resistance’ and Barghouti’s active participation in the Qalandiya riots.

Neither, of course, is Qumsiyeh’s definition of the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ participants as “normal, average Europeans” at all accurate. Average Europeans do not – unlike the members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign or London BDS  (both of which are involved in ‘Welcome to Palestine’)  – align themselves with the oppressive human-rights abusing, terror financing and supporting  Iranian regime by promoting and participating in ‘Al Quds Day marches.

Normal Europeans do not march under the flags of terrorist organisations such as Hizbollah and Hamas who indiscriminately murder civilians. Average Europeans do not disrupt cultural events and call for boycotts of a democratic country as a means of bringing about its dismantling. And ordinary Europeans certainly do not try to deliberately get themselves deported from other countries by knowingly engineering provocations.

As for Qumsiyeh’s claim that the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ participants wanting to “learn” about the conflict – that of course is highly dubious. Seasoned activists such as these are precisely what they are because of the fact that they have no desire to have their well-entrenched opinions challenged by facts and knowledge.

But let’s say they did. A viewing of this video made by Mustafa Barghouti shows exactly what participants in the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ will be ‘learning’ on their trip – should they actually arrive.

Political Activism as Journalism: Harriet Sherwood promotes agenda of radical anti-Israel NGO

On Saturday February 16th 2002, at around 7:45 p.m., an 18 year-old terrorist – wearing an explosive vest containing 25 pounds of nails for added damage – walked into a pizza parlour in the crowded shopping mall in Karnei Shomron and detonated his device.

Two teenagers were killed instantly, some thirty people (many of them children) were injured – six of them seriously – and one died of her wounds 11 days later. Rachel Thaler was 16 years old, Keren Shatsky and Nehemia Amar were both 15 when they were murdered.

One member at that time of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – the organisation which later claimed responsibility for that terror attack – is named Shahwan Jabarin. 

Strangely, (at least according to Western standards) for someone involved with an organisation with such obvious disregard for the lives of either terror victims or the brainwashed teenagers sent to perpetrate terror attacks, he is today active in the field of ‘human rights’ NGOs as director of ‘Al Haq’ and a board member of ‘Human Rights Watch’. He also sits on the board of an organisation named Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCI-Pal).

In June 2007 the Israeli Supreme Court noted that:

“[Jabarin] is apparently active as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in part of his hours of activity he is the director of a human rights organisation, and in another part he is an activist in a terrorist organisation which does not shy away from acts of murder and attempted murder, which have nothing to do with rights, and, on the contrary, deny the most basic right of all, the most fundamental of fundamental rights, without which there are no other rights – the right to life.”

In 1985 Jabarin was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment after having been found guilty of recruiting members for the PFLP (designated as a terror organization by the US, EU and Canada) and arranging PFLP training abroad. In 1994 he was arrested and placed in administrative detention for six months due to the fact that he “had not discontinued his terrorist involvement and maintains his position in the leadership of the PFLP”. In 2003 his PFLP links caused him to be denied entry into Jordan.

The director and founder of DCI-Pal is Rifat Odeh Kassis – another seasoned anti-Israel campaigner who is active in a number of organisations (some of which he founded), including OPGAI, The World Council of Churches, EAPPI, the Alternative Tourism Group, and the Alternative Information Centre (also known for links to the PFLP).  Kassis is the co-author of the notorious Kairos Document, which promotes BDS and suggests that Jewish sovereignty is an affront to God’s plan for humanity.

Last year Kassis took public objection to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s expression of anxiety regarding the future of Christians in the Middle East and used the anti-Semitic canard of dual loyalty to attack the Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal.

Far from confining itself to the objectives of its mission statement (“Promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), as well as other international, regional and local standards”), DCI-Pal is active in various Boycotts, Divestment and Sanction campaigns and in lobbying foreign governments and organisations.  It promotes the ‘right of return of Palestinian refugees and lobbied for the UNHRC to endorse the Goldstone Report.

DCI-Pal also supports the Muslim Brotherhood-organised ‘Freedom flotillas’ and promotes the myth of “a large-scale humanitarian crisis” in Gaza, and continues to promote the libel of the ‘Jenin massacre’ on its website.

Snapshot of DCI-Pal website, taken Jan. 24, 2012 (Click to Enlarge)

After Operation Cast Lead, DCI-Pal posted a list of the names of children it claimed had been killed during the war. Other organisations such as B’Tselem and PCHR later identified some of those named as combatants.

Clearly, DCI-Pal is yet another on the long list of organisations which employ the fig-leaf of human rights to advance radical anti-Israel agendas.

It is also the organization that raised the unproven allegations which  Harriet Sherwood has chosen – yet again – to repeat  unquestioningly in no less than two articles and one video report in the space of 24 hours on the subject of Palestinian youths detained by Israel .

Sherwood’s complete failure to make any attempt to verify the claims she parrots in order to make them more than just hearsay will hardly come as much of a surprise to those familiar with her track record. Her symbiotic relationship with an NGO which has a (former?) member of a proscribed terrorist group on its board and an often debatable relationship with the truth should, however, raise eyebrows.

Sherwood gets easy and plentiful material for her ‘special report’ and DCI-Pal gets free publicity for its political campaign – but at what price to the reputation of her profession and its ethics?  

It is precisely the failure to confirm or even question the accusations made by DCI-Pal – even in light of the response she received in advance of publication from the Israel Security Agency (ISA) – which indicates that Harriet Sherwood was not interested in providing her readers with facts, but in supplying a steady stream of emotive pieces consistent with their (and her) stereotypes.  Of course by the by, she is also campaigning on behalf of a cause she apparently either considers worthy of political activism or is too ignorant of the elements at work in the region to identify.

It is long past time for Harriet Sherwood – and her editors – to return urgently to her own words from 2006:

“The first thing we need to be absolutely sure of is the purpose of our news reporting from the region. Our correspondents are there to give our readers accurate information about Israel-Palestine. We are not there to bat for one side or the other, but to report on the situation on the ground as we find it.”

Guardian’s Seumas Milne: Trainee @ PFLP terror camp in Beirut? (Updated)

Harry’s Place today asked the question, “Did The Guardian’s Seumas Milne spend his gap year training at a PFLP camp in Beirut?

Here’s an excerpt from their post.

According to a number of prominent journalists, he did indeed, and used to brag about it at cocktail parties. “He wasn’t there to report,” one journo who knew Milne back in the bad old days of Soviet stooging and third worldist terrorism, told me recently, adding that Milne was “so Stalinist, we used to say he had snow on his boots.”

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, founded by George Habash in 1967, was a Leninist terrorist organisation which, in Habash’s words, “held the ‘Guevara view’ of the ‘revolutionary human being’. A new breed of man had to emerge, among the Arabs as everywhere else. This meant applying everything in human power to the realization of a cause.” In the first decades of its existence, the PFLP were responsible for airline hijackings, the bombing of a Jerusalem supermarket, bus bombings in Europe, airport shootings, and a synagogue bombing in Paris.

All of this would have struck young Milne as revolutionarily vogue.

While a definitive answer to the question of whether Milne spent his gap year at a PFLP training camp may be difficult to obtain, there is no question that Milne certainly shares some common ideological terrain with the Marxist-Leninist Palestinian terror group.

As we’ve noted, Milne worked for “Straight Left”, the pro-Stalin Marxist newspaper, prior to joining the Guardian.  Further, Milne’s communist sympathies don’t seem to have waned over time, as he demonstrated by lamenting the fall of the Soviet Union in a 2001 CiF essay. 

Milne also regularly accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing, is explicit in his support of so-called “Palestinian resistance”, and downplays the antisemitic nature of Hamas.

He also seems quite sympathetic to Islamist terrorist “resistance” movements around the world.

See our dossier on Milne, here.

I’d also recommend Tweeting Milne, to see if he’ll definitively deny any past association with the PFLP.

“Hello,

I am contacting you from the Guardian’s legal department in relation to the article that you published on 13 December entitled: ‘Did The Guardian’s Seumas Milne spend his gap year training at a PFLP camp in Beirut?

The allegation that Seumas attended a terrorist training camp is entirely false and defamatory. We would request that you remove this article from your website and run a correction as a matter of urgency.”

It’s interesting that the Guardian didn’t deny that Milne was associated with the PFLP, only that he never “attended a terrorist training camp.”

Stay tuned.