Harriet Sherwood, Palestinian terrorism and the lessons the Guardian Left will never learn

The B’Tselem video used by Harriet Sherwood to illustrate her latest story, ‘How the West Bank barrier has starved business and community‘, Nov. 5, about the economic downtown in Bir Nabala, a Palestinian town roughly 8 km from Jerusalem, includes text with a telling time gap.

Clips show scenes of an evidently vibrant community in the 1990s, followed by this text:

A few seconds later, we see this:

Not once during the rest of the video, purporting to illustrate the economic downturn during this period, does the video (or Sherwood’s report) mention what extremely relevant event occurred between the 1990s and 2006.

What I’m referring to, naturally, is the Palestinian ‘Al-Aksa’ Intifada from 2000 to 2005, which necessitated the construction of Israel’s security fence.

In fact, in Sherwood’s 615 word report here is the only passage even suggesting why precisely Israelis saw the need to erect such a security barrier.

“Israel says the route of the barrier is determined by security needs, and that its construction is the reason for the decline in attacks by Palestinian militants inside Israel.”

More typical of her report, however, are passages such as these:

“Inside the derelict wedding hall, bird droppings have stained the golden cloths that are still draped over dozens of tables. Outside, the road which used to carry heavy traffic from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is now known as the street of ghosts. At its abrupt end, rubbish blows up against the 8-metre-high concrete wall that has killed the village of Bir Nabala.

The vast West Bank separation barrier, which Israel began constructing 10 years ago, reached Bir Nabala in 2006, a year after Sabah opened a second wedding hall, upstairs in the same building. Business was good: the two halls hosted an average of seven weddings a week over that year, with most bookings coming from families in nearby East Jerusalem.

And it wasn’t just Sabah. Almost all the businesses in the thriving village between Jerusalem and Ramallah closed. Palestinians from East Jerusalem who had bought or rented houses and apartments fled back to the city rather than endure a long roundabout journey, via the massive Qalandiya checkpoint, to jobs which previously had been 10 minutes drive away. Abandoned, shuttered and looted apartment blocks and businesses are now the defining feature of Bir Nabala.

According to a new report, The Long Term Impact of the Separation Barrier, by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, the isolation of Bir Nabala “has caused a mass exodus from the village, abandonment of residential neighbourhoods and economic stasis”.

In general, says the report, the barrier has led to “numerous infringements of the human rights of Palestinians, over and above the direct damage done by its construction – including property rights, the right to free movement, the right to a reasonable standard of living and collective right to self-determination.”

While Harriet Sherwood, and B’Tselem, continually wax eloquently on the “rights” of Palestinians to “self-determination”, “free-movement” and “a reasonable standard of living”, absent from such platitudes are similarly sympathetic pronouncements on behalf of the rights of Israelis whose lives have been irrevocably affected by Palestinian violence.

It’s telling that Sherwood doesn’t even refer to the fence as a “security barrier” but, rather, as a “separation barrier”, no doubt in service of a broader narrative of Israeli segregation and ‘apartheid’.

It’s simply not debatable that the decision to build the fence, in order to prevent Palestinian terrorists from infiltrating into Israeli population centers, was inspired by a terror war which claimed over 1000 lives (and severely injured thousands more) from 2000 to 2005.

Further, as Mitchel Bard wrote on the efficacy of the security fence:

“Even the Palestinian terrorists have admitted the fence is a deterrent. On November 11, 2006, Islamic Jihad leader Abdallah Ramadan Shalah said on Al-Manar TV the terrorist organizations had every intention of continuing suicide bombing attacks, but that their timing and the possibility of implementing them from the West Bank depended on other factors. “For example,” he said, “there is the separation fence, which is an obstacle to the resistance, and if it were not there the situation would be entirely different.”

The value of the fence in saving lives is evident from the data: In 2002, the year before construction started, 457 Israelis were murdered; in 2009, 8 Israelis were killed.”

However, even more important than the utility of the fence is the broader lesson about the Palestinian war against Israeli civilians which prompted its construction.

Israeli reaction to Arafat’s terror war reflected a simple moral stance: the Jewish state would not be blackmailed by violence or the threat of violence. And, while most Israelis were committed to the idea of Oslo’s two-state paradigm (as most are still, in principle, today), citizens of Israel will not ‘negotiate’ with a gun to their heads.

The injurious impact, to Palestinian communities, of building a wall is unfortunate. However, the responsibility for such problems lay squarely with those who plan, execute (or morally justify) the hideous practice of intentionally igniting explosives which send thousands of pieces of shrapnel piercing through the bodies of Israeli men, women and children – thus denying them of their fundamental right to live.

Israel’s security fence is merely a consequence of Palestinian violence and their dangerous culture of incitement – a mind-numbingly simple causation which continually eludes the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent and her far-left fellow travelers.

(Here’s a list of Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis between 1993 and 2012.)

44 replies »

  1. Israel’s security fence is merely a consequence of Palestinian violence and their dangerous culture of incitement.

    What would CiFW’s response be if someone talked of an Israeli “culture of incitement”?
    (four-letter words aside)

    • pretzelberg, could you post a few clips from any Israeli TV channel that shows children reciting poems, to the praise of the adults in the TV studio, of a similar bloodcurdling nature (but against Arabs) as can be readily seen on MEMRI or Palestinian Media Watch (a few examples of which are included in the post immediately prior to this one)?

      If you can do so, then your comment might be worth discussing. Until then, it’s equivalent to saying, “All you people who don’t believe in alien abductions, what would you say if I introduced you to someone who’s come to Earth from Alpha Centuri?”

    • Why was Israel’s Wall not built along the Green Line, the internationally recognized line of demarcation between Israel and the Palestinian territory, but partly inside the Palestinian territory?

      • If Israel’s Wall is about security, how come Israel lets settlers live in the West Bank side of the Wall?

        • Nat the old day where Jews in the ME could be kicked out stripped of their assets and made to leave with one suitcase per family are over.
          Are you sad about this?
          I thought you’d be happy, after all you seem to be fighting for the rights of people who legaly own property to maintain it.
          Or am I mistaken, and you believe this is the case for one set of people?

      • “the internationally recognized line of demarcation between Israel and the Palestinian territory”

        And when did the 1949 armistice lines, which the Arab states EXPLICITLY REFUSED to recognize as borders, become “the internationally recognized line of demarcation between Israel and the Palestinian territory”?

        • cba, If Israel’s Wall is about security, how come Israel lets settlers live in the West Bank side of the Wall?

          • Yes, there are constant attacks on those Israelis which don`t attract world attention, nearly every day.

          • Fritz, f Israel’s Wall is about security, how come Israel lets settlers live in the West Bank side of the Wall?

            Please answer the question.

  2. Incredible the way Ms. Sherwood and her “friends” can completely ignore the cause while lamenting only the effect. The security fence is the simple result of the lethal Jew hatred spewed by these brainwashed morons.

      • Jordan used that territory in war against Israel, and Israel won, and is keeping some of the territory, that’s why.

        • If Israel’s Wall is about security, how come Israel lets settlers live in the West Bank side of the Wall?

          • Fritz, I do not understand. If Israel’s Wall is about security, why does the army let settlers live in the West Bank side of the Wall where it’s not safe?

          • To be more precise.
            The chickenlady has to wait – she has serious competitors like Johan Hari, Chris McGreal, Orla Guerin and similar Jew hater propagandists masquerading as journalists. (Not to mention George Galloway, Ken Livingstone and Yvonne Ridley who can be considered British journalists taking into account their “work” at PressTV)/ It doesn’t mean that she is better only that she’s not alone.

          • @ peterthehungarian

            Johan Hari, Chris McGreal and Orla Guerin are “Jew hater propagandists”?

            I pity you if you genuinely believe that.

          • Nat, not everything revolves around money or occupation. Some people still Isead as far greater and are not morally corrupt.
            I am not certain you understand that.

  3. Harriet Sherwood surely knows that the fence was built to protect Israelis from terrorist attacks which claimed many lives.

    Her failure to acknowledge this is deliberate of course, and intended to convey the impression of the Israelis as aggressors. She is a malicious bigoted woman.

      • Some of the Israelian Arabs consider themselves as Palestinians but prefere to live on the Israelian side of the fence, instead of sharing the fate and life of their brethren.
        A bit opportunistic, just like you, isn`t it?

        • Fritz, please answer the question: if the Wall was built for security purposes, why do settlers live on the West Bank side of the Wall?

          • Nat I’m confused.
            You contradict yourself every time.
            On one hand you say the barrier / wall (it’s mainly a fence so not sure why you chose to call it by the smaller part of it) is built beyond the 1949 lines (aka west bank), while on the other you say the west bank side of the fence.
            The barrier is entirely in the west bank so which side is the west bank side?
            South, North, West, East?

            Most Israelis live outside the 1949 lines, while most who live in the WB live on the Israeli side of the barrier.
            The wall only covers the settlement blocks with the larger population.
            The ones the barrier / wall could not protect have other meas of protection.

            These are the facts – which you already know.
            Whether one agrees with this or not is another matter.

            The bigger question is why Abbas, who wants Hebron, does not offer the Jews who reside there full citizenship.
            The answer is very simple.
            He knows full well he couldn’t possibly protect them.

            I don’t hear you moan about that.

            Why is it Nat?
            Do tell. Today!

          • Itsik, Hebron settlers are free to apply for Palestinian citizenship and live there legally.

            They never did.


            I assume that they do not want to lose Israel’s social allowances.

          • Itsik, Israel’s Wall in the West Bank was not built along the ‘Green Line’ between Israel and the West Bank, but partly inside the West bank., This is why its route was declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004.

            You have not answered the question: why are settlers living on the ‘West Bank’ side of the Wall, where it’s supposed to be unsafe?

  4. That banquet hall AVERAGED seven weddings a week i.e., one a day? The only reason that it’s not the Guiness Book of World Records is probably because the Guiness people would come to verify that “fact.”

    • 1. It says TWO banquet halls.
      2. Depending on what exactly is meant, one facility might have more than one room available. I know some places that have three different rooms (of various sizes).
      3. That’s the LEAST of the problems with Sherwood’s reporting.