Peter Beaumont continues Guardian tradition of callously ignoring Israeli terror victims

It would be tempting in critiquing Peter Beaumont’s report on Marwan Barghouti to cite the adage with roots in the Midrash which roughly translates to ‘He Who is Compassionate to the Cruel
Will Ultimately Become Cruel to the Compassionate’, except that there’s no indication that the incoming Guardian Jerusalem correspondent would even acknowledge the malevolence possessed by the arch-terrorist.

Indeed, Beaumont’s report (Palestinians renew calls to free ‘leader-in-waiting’ Marwan Barghouti, March 26) employs all the requisite Guardian methods for covering a story about an imprisoned terrorist whose cause is championed by the Palestinians.

First, Beaumont highlights the ‘suffering’ of family members of the terrorist:

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Then, there’s the quote from a far-left, marginal former Israeli politician:

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There’s also an especially strange suggestion that some Israelis don’t consider him a convicted terrorist.

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And, there is obfuscation of the clear fact that Barghouti has stated repeatedly that he continues to support terrorism as a legitimate tactic to ‘free Palestine’

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However, the most disturbing element of Beaumont’s report – a dynamic present throughout much of the UK media’s coverage of such issues – is his failure to even note the details of Barghouti’s trail of terror, nor give voice to his Israeli victims.

Barghouti’s ‘fight for the liberation in Palestine’ included several terror attacks in which five Israelis were murdered.

The court which convicted Barghouti found him responsible for a June 2001 attack in Maale Adumim in which a Greek monk was murdered, a January 2002 terror attack in Givat Zeev, a March 2002 attack at Tel Aviv’s Seafood Market restaurant in which three people were murdered, and a car bomb attack in Jerusalem. (Details from the original indictment, which accused Barghouti of responsibility for 33 additional murders, can be viewed here.)

As CAMERA reported, Barghouti is also widely considered to have been one of the main leaders in the Palestinian campaign of violence during the 2nd Intifada and helped found and lead the Fatah-based militias (the Tanzim and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades) which carried out numerous deadly suicide attacks. 

Barghouti also reportedly was complicit in a suicide bombing at a crowd of shoppers on King George Street in Jerusalem on March 21, 2002 which claimed the lives of three and injured 86 others.  Yonatan Bauer, then age 7, was severely wounded in the attack when a screw from the suicide vest passed through his brain.  The picture below was taken within minutes of the attack:

Alan Joseph Bauer stands over his son Yonatan, minutes after they were both injured in suicide attack in Jerusalem on March 21, 2002.

Obfuscating terror; falsely imputing peaceful intentions; and prioritizing the suffering of a terrorist’s family over that of the Israeli victims?

It looks like Harriet Sherwood can be confident her replacement at the Guardian’s Jerusalem desk will be following in the proud tradition of pro-Palestinian “journalism” which represents the unique ideological niche of the London broadsheet.

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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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Roy Amlot in The Times: Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian children with relative impunity

A British lawyer named Roy Amlot wrote an op-ed for The Times, West Bank: justice in the military courts‘, Nov. 14, recounting his recent experiences visiting the West Bank “to observe the military courts in action…under the aegis of the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC).”

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BHRC claims it is dedicated to “promoting principles of justice and respect for fundamental human rights through the rule of law in different parts of the world”, by working within the legal and human rights sectors of various countries.

Amlot begins by explaining his visit to the region:

A small group of barristers recently visited the West Bank to observe the military courts in action — our second such visit under the aegis of the Bar Human Rights Committee.  Since our first visit a few years ago a number of changes have been made by the Israeli authorities, such as the introduction of a Juvenile Military Court, and the purpose of the visit was to see what impact these had made. Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank are tried for a wide range of offences, including motoring ones, in military courts run by the Israeli Army, and in which all officials from judges to prosecutors to translators are serving Army officers.

Some of his reflections seem painfully obvious, such as his observation that the atmosphere at military courts can be “intimidating”.

A whole range of sentences is available to the court. We visited the two courts of Ofer and Salem in the West Bank, where both adults and children were on trial, separately, but without any obvious sign when the court moved from one jurisdiction to the other. In both courts the atmosphere is intimidating.

In other passages, Amlot’s attempts to provide context strain credulity, such as when he employs the following absurd political analogy:

A large Berlin-like wall runs north to south along a route declared unlawful by the International Court of Justice for the fact that it cuts deep into Palestinian territory, dividing families and their communities from their lands.

First, less than 10% of the security fence – built in response to waves of deadly terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada – is actually a “wall”, with the vast majority composed of a chain-link fence.  Additionally, the sections which are concrete walls were designed with the decidedly humanitarian purpose of preventing Palestinian snipers from shooting at Israeli civilian vehicles.  More importantly, in case it needs reminding, the Berlin Wall was built by communist East Germany to keep their citizens from leaving, whilst the Israeli security fence was constructed to keep terrorists from entering.

However, the most egregious smear is found in the last paragraph of Amlot’s piece:

Where sentences are imposed [against Israeli soldiers], they are woefully lenient. Killing a Palestinian child may attract no more than a few months of community service. It is discrimination at its worst.

First, the dearth of anything resembling details in his broad claim makes it difficult to know what incidents he’s referencing.  Even assuming Israeli culpability in the unlisted cases, is he referring to soldiers convicted of murder, manslaughter, or negligence? Further, what is the time frame? Is he referring to recent cases, or ones which go back many years?

If his claim is based on cases which date back several years or so, the NGO B’tselem lists 12 Palestinian minors (under 18) killed in the West Bank (under any circumstances) during anti-terror operations since Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09, and reported the details in cases involving the deaths of three Palestinian minors which they believed suggested possible IDF culpability.  The circumstances surrounding these three – two aged 16 and one age 15 – vary (and all but one are still under investigation) but all took place during violent Palestinian riots or terror attacks.

Additionally, a more extensive report on Palestinian fatalities since 2000 by the NGO Yesh Din only lists only two examples (both occurring more than 10 years ago) in which Palestinian minors were killed and Israeli soldiers were found guilty.  In both cases the soldiers were convicted for negligence (not murder), and even in these situations the sentences handed down exceeded “a few months community service”.  

Beyond the specifics, however, the smear that Israeli soldiers murder Palestinian children with impunity is part of a larger lethal narrative advanced by anti-Israel activists and some Guardian “journalists” which we’ve addressed previously. Indeed, no matter how absurd the charges that the IDF targets innocent Palestinian kids, such morally reckless memes evoking the specter of unimaginable Jewish malevolence have become so ingrained in the Islamist and extreme-left imagination that the facts regarding such libels become almost irrelevant.  

However, as it is the job of professional journalists to distinguish between proven facts and unsupportable accusations, we eagerly await a clarification by Amlot (or Times editors) which includes details on the supposed ‘impunity’ granted to Israeli soldiers who allegedly have ‘killed Palestinian children’.

‘Mail & Guardian’ parrots description of Marwan Barghouti as a “political prisoner”

mail and guardianTaking the lead from pro-Palestinian and Palestinian Authority ‘news’ sites and some radical NGO’s, a few “mainstream” news publications have begun adopting the egregious misnomer “political prisoner” to refer to Palestinians convicted for their involvement in lethal terrorist attacks.

This euphemism of course distorts the clear meaning of a term widely  understood as referring narrowly to those imprisoned merely for their political beliefs.  In fact, earlier in the year CiF Watch was able to gain corrections at both the Guardian and The Independent after they initially referred to the pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners (who Israel agreed to release in order to resume peace talks) as “political prisoners.”

More recently, while monitoring press coverage of Israel’s latest announcement that they will release 26 additional pre-Oslo prisoners, we noted that a major South African newspaper used this distorted term in a story about Desmond Tutu’s support for a campaign calling for the release of convicted Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti.

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Marwan Barghouti.

Note the strap line in this Oct. 27 ‘Mail & Guardian’ report:

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The Mail & Guardian’s characterization of Barghouti as a “political prisoner” does nothing to inform readers that this merely represents Tutu’s rhetoric, nor does it mention the crimes Barghouti committed.  Here are the relevant passages in the Mail & Guardian report:

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on Sunday threw his support behind the campaign calling for the release of imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouthi and other Palestinian political prisoners.

“I am proud to associate myself with the global campaign for the freedom of Marwan Barghouthi and other Palestinian political prisoners,” Tutu said in a statement.

Barghouthi has been in an Israeli jail since 2002 where he is serving five life sentences for his role in the fight for liberation in Palestine.

The Mail & Guardian fails to report that Barghouti’s “fight for liberation in Palestine” involved three terror attacks in which five Israelis were murdered, as well as his membership in a terror organization. The court in fact determined that “Barghouti was responsible for providing the field units with money and arms” and that the attacks were sometimes “based on instructions” he received personally from Yasser Arafat.

Specifically, the court found Barghouti responsible for a June 2001 attack in Maale Adumim in which a Greek monk was murdered, a January 2002 terror attack in Givat Zeev, a March 2002 attack at Tel Aviv’s Seafood Market restaurant in which three people were murdered, and a car bomb attack in Jerusalem. (Details from the original indictment, which accused Barghouti of responsibility for 33 additional murders, can be viewed here.)

As CAMERA has reported, Barghouti is also widely considered one of the main leaders in the Palestinian campaign of violence during the Second Intifada and helped found and then lead the Fatah-based militias (the Tanzim and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades) which carried out numerous deadly suicide bombings. 

Desmond Tutu can of course say anything he’d like about Marwan Barghouti, but those who fancy themselves serious journalists have the professional responsibility to distinguish between claims that are factually based, and those which represent the agitprop of radical activists.

Whilst the Mail & Guardian may not be affiliated with the ‘London’ Guardian, their parroting of pro-Palestinian propaganda suggests at least a degree of ideological overlap.

What the Guardian won’t report: Israelis who ‘turn swords into plowshares’.

The Guardian’s fetishization of Palestinian culture is indicative of an ideologically biased narrative which continually colors their coverage of the region .  As we’ve demonstrated repeatedly, their reporters’ capacity to bury, ignore, or downplay overwhelming evidence of a culture which nurtures antisemitism, and celebrates terrorism (including suicide bombing) against Israeli civilians, has few limits.  Conversely, characterizations of Palestinian Arabs as non-violent, abound.

A perfect illustration of this dynamic is the following photo story on Oct. 3:

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It should be noted that the weekly protests in Bil’in mentioned in the strap line are actually quite violent, typically involving Palestinians throwing rocks and metal objects, as well as firebombs, at Israeli security forces. Over the past several years more than 200 Israeli security personnel have been injured by Palestinian rioters in Bil’in.

But, no matter. The Guardian had a story of Palestinian “non-violent” resistance to tell, and so photojournalist Atef Safadi let loose and published nine images of Palestinians using tear gas canisters – fired by Israeli troops to control the violence – as pots to plant flowers. Here’s one of the Guardian photos:

A palestinian woman waters the plants

Tear gas – one of the non-lethal riot control methods employed by Israel security personnel when confronted with rocks and incendiary devices – stands in stark contrast to the deadly projectiles preferred by Palestinians terror groups over the past decade. Indeed, Over 12,000 rockets have been fired at Israeli towns since 2001, endangering the lives of innocent civilians and traumatizing many more. 

However, In the Israeli town of Yated (a moshav in Hevel Shalom), a very short distance from Israel’s border with Gaza, metal sculptor, blacksmith and part-time teacher Yaron Bob found a way of truly turning rockets into roses, “swords into plowshares”. He turns Kassam rockets, fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, into hand-sculpted flowers.  Here’s Bob with a few of his creations:

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Each rose takes 3 to 4 hours to sculpt. According to Bob:

The stem is welded onto a metal base shaped as the map of Israel, with the rose “growing” from the very place where most of the rockets landed. A plaque mounted on the base indicates the month and year that particular rocket landed.

I find it fascinating to make a work of art from a piece of metal. It is powerfully meaningful when a missile that is used for killing is turned into a sign of beauty, growth and prosperity.

Of course, this is merely one example of Israeli resilience in the face of constant terror that the Guardian won’t report.

Guardian Jerusalem Syndrome: Giles Fraser fears Judaisation of Temple Mount

Jerusalem Syndrome: a group of mental phenomena involving the presence of either religiously themed obsessive ideas, delusions or other psychosis-like experiences that are triggered by a visit to the city of Jerusalem. 

The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday continued in its long campaign of incitement concerning the Temple Mount, condemning Jews who tour the holy site by suggesting that their visits represent a broader Israeli scheme to “Judaise” the site with the ultimate goal of rebuilding a Jewish Temple.

The PA-controlled media has specifically claimed that “hordes of settlers and Jewish extremists plan to storm and desecrate the Aksa Mosque” – part of a broader campaign of incitement by Islamist extremists in Jerusalem which has triggered several Palestinian riots at the Temple Mount over the past few months.

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Wafa, official Palestinian News Agency, Sept. 4, 2013

The threat of riots last month around Ramadan, for instance, prompted Israeli police to close off the Temple Mount to non-Muslim visitors.

Lending polemical support to such an often repeated lie that Israel – which allows freedom of worship for all faiths at holy sites in Jerusalem – represents a threat to the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism), is the Guardian’s Giles Fraser, whose latest piece at ‘Comment is Free’ is titled ‘An Israeli claim to Temple Mount Would Trigger Unimaginable Violence.’

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Fraser’s essay includes the following:

Jewish access to Temple Mount has been strictly forbidden (by religious, not secular, law) for centuries – though some of the more secular Israeli nationalists increasingly want access simply to insist upon their jurisdiction over that part of Jerusalem. It was Ariel Sharon’s deliberately provocative visit to the Temple Mount on 28 September 2000 that sparked the second intifada. 

First, as we’ve demonstrated on several occasions, Fraser’s claim that Ariel Sharon sparked the second intifada is a complete lie, as evidence abounds that the violence was coordinated at the highest levels of the Palestinian government. As we noted, for instance, Yasser’s widow, Suha, admitted that her husband explicitly told her, in early 2000, that he was going “to launch an intifada.”

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See video, here.

Moreover, contrary to Fraser’s suggestion in the passage, Jews already have access to the Temple Mount. Though Jews who visit are forbidden from praying there, the site has regular visiting hours, and is open to all faiths.  

Fraser continues:

The orthodox position has long been that the Temple can only be rebuilt and sacrifices resumed when the Jewish messiah returns. There have been a few dissenting voices to this consensus – most notably, Maimonides – but since the foundation of the state of Israel, the idea of Jews returning to Temple Mount prior to the arrival of the messiah has been the obsession of a tiny minority. And mostly, like Sharon, driven by secular political rather that theological concerns. But as Israel continues its shift to the right, these dangerous voices are now entering the political mainstream.

Whilst Fraser’s broad suggestion that Israel has been shifting to the right – a favorite narrative of the Guardian which was undermined by the results of the last election – is erroneous, his more central claim that support for rebuilding the Temple has reached the mainstream is absurd.  

Though some on the extreme right have supported the right of Jews to merely pray at the Temple Mount, the Jewish legal (halakhic) ban on visiting the site is supported by most orthodox Jewish leaders.  Additionally, the number of religious Jews who even visit the Temple Mount each year is tiny.  Further, only those on the extreme fringes of Israeli society seriously discuss rebuilding the Temple, a fact that Fraser himself alludes to in his subsequent passage:

It would be hard to overstate how dangerous an idea this is. The vast majority of orthodox rabbis have reiterated their opposition to it.

It would be dangerous if there was any chance that it was seriously being contemplated by Israeli political leaders, but that is clearly not the case. 

Finally, Fraser wouldn’t be a Guardian Left journalist if he didn’t include a gratuitous pejorative reference to “settlers”, so his essay includes this throw away line near the end:

But the settler mentality is now increasingly focusing on what is politically the most explosive site on the planet. If they succeed, a billion Muslims worldwide would go ballistic. 

It’s of course unclear what the ideological connection is between 350,000 Jews, both religious and secular, who live (for varying reasons) across the green line, and a tiny politically insignificant minority of Israelis who call for the Temple to be rebuilt.

Moreover, it’s remarkable how Fraser could write an essay about religious tensions at the Temple Mount without even mentioning the long history of ideological incitement by their political and religious leaders which continues to represent the root cause of such “tensions”.  Fraser, who has filed his last two reports while visiting the holy land, has joined the chorus of those on the far left who shamefully amplify the incitement, fear mongering and Jerusalem delusions of Palestinian extremists. 

The Guardian falsely characterizes First Intifada as a “largely unarmed rebellion”

Yesterday we called out the Guardian for repeating the blatantly false claim that Ariel Sharon started the Second Intifada.  Today we came across another Intifada related falsehood advanced by the paper – the suggestion that the First Intifada was “largely an unarmed rebellion”.

The claim, which has been echoed by other Guardian contributors as well, was made in a story they published today from the Guardian Archives – a report about the original Oslo Agreement between Israel and the PLO (written by Ian Black) which originally appeared in the paper on Sept. 10, 1993.

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Black’s story included the following passage:

Progress towards this historic moment was driven by the intifada, the largely unarmed rebellion that erupted in Gaza in December 1987. 

Of course, as anyone familiar with the uprising (from 1987 to around 1991) would know, characterizing it as an “unarmed rebellion” is extraordinarily misleading, as the intifada was violent from the start.  Whilst most people remember images of rock throwing Palestinian youths, in fact more than 3,600 Molotov cocktail attacks, 100 hand grenade attacks and 600 assaults with firearms were carried out during that time – violence directed at soldiers and civilians alike.

During this period, over 200 Israelis were killed by such terror attacks, and more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and 1,700 Israeli soldiers were injured.

Memorial for the 16 Israelis killed in first attempted suicide attack of 1st Intifada, in 1989. The attack occurred when the 405 bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was forced off the road by a Palestinian terrorist

And, much like the Second Intifada, Palestinian leaders played a lead role in orchestrating the violent insurrection.

Finally, Jews were not the only victims of the violence, as the number of Arabs summarily executed by Palestinian death squads exceeded the number killed in clashes with Israeli troops – incidents which included attacks with clubs, knives, axes, guns, and even acid.

Twenty years ago, the Guardian grossly misled readers about the nature of the First Intifada – a significant obfuscation thoroughly consistent with their broader pattern of running interference for the illiberal and violent nature of the Palestinian national movement.

The Guardian again promotes myth that Ariel Sharon started 2nd Intifada

One of the more common false narratives regarding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict advanced by the Guardian is that Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism) in 2001 “sparked” the 2nd Intifada – a lie repeated so often that casual observers could be forgiven for believing it.

Here’s a photo and caption from a 2006 Guardian story titled ‘Ariel Sharon: A life in pictures.

There’s also permanent content on the Guardian’s Israel page titled ‘The Arab-Israel Conflict‘, which consists of 22 photos illustrating the history of the conflict. Here’s the photo meant to illustrate the 2nd Intifada.

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Here’s the caption:

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Most recently, David Shariatmadari, deputy editor on the Guardian comment desk, wrote a review (Guardian, Sept. 7) of a book titled ‘What do you buy the children of the terrorist who tried to kill your wife?’, by David Harris Gershon, which began thusly:

Jerusalem is a city electric with tension. There are frequent sparks, as the circuits that cross the city make contact, separate currents suddenly, dangerously flowing into one another. At their least serious, they ignite a monkish fight in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. At their worst, they can set the region alight, as when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in 2000.

No matter how many times responsibility for the Palestinian violence which began in 2000 is assigned to Ariel Sharon, implicitly or explicitly, evidence abounds that the five-year war was orchestrated at the highest levels of Palestinian leadership.

A thorough report at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs by Jonathan Halevi included the following:

Extensive testimony at the time and in retrospect demonstrates the Palestinian Authority’s role in initiating and managing the Second Intifada as an extensive terror onslaught, designed to impose a unilateral, unconditional withdrawal upon Israel, and improve conditions in anticipation of the battle for realizing Palestinian demands for the return of the refugees.

The final decision to initiate the Second Intifada was made by Yasser Arafat immediately upon the conclusion of the second Camp David summit, which ended on July 25, 2000. Directives were disseminated to the national security forces, instructing them to prepare for the immediate option of initiating a violent campaign against Israel. 

Additional evidence that Ariel Sharon didn’t start the 2nd Intifada includes comments by Suha Arafat (and Palestinian leaders), in 2011, acknowledging that Yasser Arafat planned the terror onslaught, as well as the following interview with Suha in late 2012 on Dubai TV:

The Palestinian campaign of suicide bombings and other deadly assaults at Israeli cafes, bus stops, markets (and other crowded public areas where families and children typically gather) claimed over 1000 lives, and injured and maimed thousands more – an orgy of violence for which Palestinian terrorists and their leaders are solely to blame. 

The Guardian’s perverse moral logic about terror bleeds onto their culture page

In a piece published on Aug. 10th in the culture section of The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) Anthony Sattin reviews a ‘book’ titled ‘Walls: Travels Along the Barricadesby Marcello Di Cintio, which details “eight walls around the word”.  Sattin briefly comments on Di Cintio’s ‘insights’ into the factors at play in the erection of walls in the U.S., CyprusIndia, Africa, Ireland, Canada, and Israel.

Regarding the wall in Israel, here are the relevant passages from Sattin’s review:

In eight chapters, eight walls, Marcello Di Cintio visits some of the world’s most contended regions to witness glaring examples of exclusion. Some are well-known because they continue to make headlines – the illegal wall the Israelis have built to keep out Palestinians, for instance.

Some of these stories are more immediate than others, the power of the narrative being in direct relation to the level of injustice meted out on people on the wrong side of the wall. It’s not hard to empathise with Palestinians whose lives have quite literally been cut by the wall – for many of them, their land lies on one side and their village on the other. 

Occasionally Di Cintio gets it wrong, as when he describes Palestine as “less a place than it is an idea”. Millions of Palestinians would dispute that comment. More often he gets it right, as when he considers the ways people find to subvert walls, from climbing them to cutting through them, tunnelling under them, walking around them, decorating them – Banksy being the most famous of many artists who have decorated Israel’s West Bank wall

The Observer culture critic of course completely fails to “empathize” with Israelis, and is unable to acknowledge the most obvious fact about the inspiration for the security fence – the need to prevent the murder of innocent Israelis by Palestinian suicide bombers who had infiltrated Israel from the West Bank en masse during the 2nd Intifada.

(Here are the victims from just one attack, the Sbarro bombing in 2001.)  

Victims_of_Sbarro_Massacre

Image from the blog ‘This Ongoing War’, edited by Arnold and Frimet Roth

These attacks at cafes, pizza parlors and other crowded public places popular with families and children (which ultimately resulted in more than 1,000 killed) are obviously what prompted the construction of the security fence – a quite rational (and non-lethal) measure to defend its citizens which governments have the moral obligation to undertake.

Whilst I didn’t read the book Sattin reviewed, this passage written by Di Cintio (in an essay posted on his website) provides a good indication of his politics on the matter:

Those that have been following this blog know that I’ve seen these things first hand. I’ve come to realize that the [Israeli] Wall is not a ‘security’ barrier. The Wall appropriates Palestinian land for settlement expansion in the West Bank. The Wall disrupts the Palestinian economy by dividing farmers from their fields, or by destroying their orchards altogether. The Wall creates de facto and non-negotiated borders. Rather than create security, the Wall creates the anger and frustration that inspires violence.

Yes, Israel’s security wall inspires Palestinian violence!

In Di Cintio’s warped political reality the consequences of homicidal attacks becomes the cause – an Orwellian logical inversion which befits the moral inversion between Jewish victim and Palestinian perpetrator that continues to define the politics of the Guardian Left.  

CiF Watch prompts improved language to Indy description of Israel’s security fence

On July 4th, we posted about a mostly unproblematic and indeed quite interesting report in The Independent by Michael McCarthy about Jerusalem’s Bird Observatory which nonetheless included a short passage containing a misleading characterization of Israel’s security fence. Here are the passages, with the relevant sentence in bold:

For Jerusalem overwhelms you. In the Old City, sacred to all three Abrahamical religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims, history and tradition are overpowering, as are the assaults on the senses: the sunlight flashing on copper coffee pots, an Arab flute being played somewhere, the bewildering mix of languages, the smells of cumin and cardamom and coriander.

But the politics is the most overpowering phenomenon of all, and the anguish of two hostile peoples struggling for one land is never more than a glance away. It’s seen above all now in The Wall, the 25ft-high separation barrier the Israelis have built between their Jewish citizens and the Palestinians of the West Bank, and whether or not you agree with the argument for it – that the Arab suicide bombings of the Second Intifada became an intolerable burden on Israeli civil society – there is no doubt that it now appears, snaking over the hills, as something monstrous. 

As we noted in our post,  Israel’s security fence was of course built to serve as a protective barrier between Israeli citizens (of all religious backgrounds) and Palestinians of the West Bank who are not Israeli citizens.  The language in McCarthy’s report could easily be interpreted as meaning that only the state’s Jewish citizens were being protected, and that the barrier had a racial component.

After contacting Indy editors we received an extremely thoughtful reply, explaining that the passage did accurately reflect the fact that the terrorist campaign during the 2nd Intifada which prompted Israel to construct the security fence did have a religious component, insofar as terror groups were attacking Israel due to the fact that it is a ‘Jewish’ state.   While this is a credible argument, editors ultimately accepted our concerns, and revised the language accordingly, omitting the word “Jewish”, so that the sentence now reads:

“It’s seen above all now in The Wall, the 25ft-high separation barrier the Israelis have built between their citizens and the Palestinians of the West Bank…”

We commend Indy editors for responsibly responding to our complaint.

Buried by the Guardian: Disturbing data on Palestinian support for suicide bombing

Following a disturbingly high number of Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis in recent months, including the lethal stabbing assault of a 32-year-old Israeli man in the northern West Bank on Tuesday, Israeli defense officials have expressed concerns that the conflict could lead to a Third Intifada.

Whilst recent violence by Palestinians has involved rock throwing, knife attacks, shootings and the hurling of fire bombs, the fear that such a coordinated outbreak of Palestinian violence could include suicide bombings – which caused so much death and carnage during the Second Intifada – was amplified by a new Pew poll released on April 30.

The new ‘Pew Research Center Survey of Muslims around the Globe‘ finds that Muslim support for suicide bombing in the Palestinian territories is the highest among the the twenty countries surveyed – with 40% of Palestinians agreeing that ‘suicide attacks against civilians in defense of Islam are often/sometimes justified’.

Here’s the Pew graphic illustrating the data:

suicide bombing

Additional poll findings on Palestinian opinion includes the following:

  • Homosexuality: 89% of Palestinians think it’s immoral.
  • Women’s rights: 89% of Palestinians think women must always “obey” their husband.
  • Sharia Law: 89% favor the imposition of Sharia Law into their society.
  • Honor killings: 45% of Palestinians think it’s sometimes justifiable.

Whilst the Guardian’s Ewan MacAskill did briefly note, in passing, the findings on Palestinian support for suicide bombing, in a broader April 30 report which centered on the moderate views of American Muslims, the report was not tagged with the term ‘Palestinian territories‘ – nor did it appear on the Israel, Palestinian territories, or Gaza pages.

Moreover, whilst Harriet Sherwood did recently take a tepid step towards acknowledging the problem of Palestinian incitement, it seems unlikely that she will properly incorporate this disturbing new data into future reports on violence in the region.

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Glorifying Suicide Bombing: Official Fatah Facebook Page, Oct. 2012

As we’ve argued repeatedly on this blog, it is impossible to honestly debate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without an honest assessment of Palestinian values and social mores, which are, by any measure, on the extremist right end of the political spectrum and, it would seem, irreconcilable with the ideals of peace and coexistence.

“I am going to start an Intifada.”

The narrative regarding the deadly terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, which the MSM and the Guardian advanced, but which soon was proved to be completely erroneous, suggested that an obscure anti-Muslim film – which, it was claimed, was produced by an Israeli Jew – triggered a “spontaneous” protest outside the embassy, leading to an assault which left four people dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

It soon became apparent that the film – which was actually created by a Coptic Christian – had absolutely nothing to do with the attack.  

It is now known that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was a premeditated act of terrorism committed by al Qaeda-linked terrorists.

On September 28, 2000, an Israeli Jew was blamed for inciting what would become known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada – a brutal five-year campaign of Palestinian terrorism, directed largely against Jewish civilians, which claimed over 1,100 innocent lives and injured thousands more.

The Intifada was defined by the hideous tactic of suicide bombing, in which the Palestinian terrorists detonated explosive belts in crowded public places (in order to maximize the loss of life), sending thousands of pieces of shrapnel tearing into human limbs and organs. 

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On March 27, 2002, a Palestinian suicide bomber named Abdel-Basset Odeh murdered 30 people at a Seder meal at the Park Hotel in Netanya, including several Holocaust survivors

Most who truly understand the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict would have known already that Yasser Arafat started the Second Intifada, but the latest admission by Arafat’s widow, Suha, about the origins of the Intifada – which she similarly acknowledged last year – serves to completely discredit those who continue denying the obvious.

Suha Arafat in an interview in December on Dubai TV, said the following:

“Yasser Arafat had made a decision to launch the Intifada. Immediately after the failure of the Camp David [negotiations], I met him in Paris upon his return, in July 2001 [sic]. Camp David has failed, and he said to me: “You should remain in Paris.” I asked him why, and he said: “Because I am going to start an Intifada. They want me to betray the Palestinian cause. They want me to give up on our principles, and I will not do so. I do not want Zahwa’s friends in the future to say that Yasser Arafat abandoned the Palestinian cause and principles. I might be martyred, but I shall bequeath our historical heritage to Zahwa [Arafat’s daughter] and to the children of Palestine.”

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Click on image to go to video

Here’s permanent content on the Guardian’s Israel page, The Arab-Israel conflict:

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The photo story consists of 22 photos illustrating the history of the conflict.

Here’s the photo representing the Second Intifada. (Note the caption)

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Click to Enlarge

Here’s a photo and caption from a 2006 Guardian piece titledAriel Sharon: A life in pictures‘.

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Indeed, among the more common erroneous narratives advanced by the mainstream media (and, of coursethe Guardian) is that Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, “sparked” the Second Intifada and that the Intifada began organically – lies repeated so often that causal observers could be forgiven for believing them.

However, commentators of good faith can no longer make such a claim.

Arguing that an Israeli Jew sparked the Second Intifada, however, often serves a broader polemical objective: to deny Palestinian terrorists, and their leaders, moral responsibility for the five-year war of terror against Israeli civilians, and its injurious political consequences, in a manner consistent with an anti-Zionist narrative which rarely assigns such moral agency to the Palestinians under any circumstances.  

The claim that, in 2000, Jews incited Palestinians to kill Jews, like so much of what passes for conventional wisdom about the conflict, is a total lie.