Hewing to a long-established history of downplaying Palestinian incitement, The New York Times article on today’s brutal massacre of worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue casts incitement to violence by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as nothing more than a complaint lodged by Israeli right-wing political figures.
In “Four Killed in Jerusalem Synagogue Complex,” Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren write:
Mr. Abbas condemned “the killing of civilians from any sides” and “the whole cycle of violence,” according to Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency. It was his first official condemnation of violence during the recent spate of deadly attacks in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the West Bank.
It is the first time that Abbas condemned the violence during the recent spate of deadly attacks. But a key fact neglected by The Times writers is that until now, Abbas condoned and encouraged the recent deadly attacks.
For instance, omitted is the fact that Abbas had sent a condolence letter to the family of Muataz Hijazi, the Palestinian who attempted to murder Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick. The Palestinian president wrote in the letter:
With anger and condemnation we received the message about the heinous crime committed by the murderous, terrorist gangs in the Israeli occupation army against Muataz Ibrahim Hijazi, who rose to heaven as a casualty in the fight for the Palestinian people’s rights and for the holy sites
Similarly, last month, Abbas called for “all means” to be used to “protect” the Al-Aqsa Mosque. As was widely reported, but not by The New York Times, Abbas had said:
It is not enough to say the settlers came, but they must be barred from entering the compound by any means. This is our Aqsa . . . and they have no right to enter it and desecrate it.
Palestinian Media Watch has compiled clips of Abbas’ calls for violence:
Also ignored by the times are recent calls for “Days of Rage” by Fatah, Abbas’ political party. As reported in Times of Israel:
Fatah calls to its fighters and to the masses of the Palestinian people to aid the Al-Aqsa Mosque and occupied Jerusalem,” Fatah said in an announcement that was translated into English by Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch. . . .
WAFA also reported that the Fatah Mobilization and Organization Commission had “called to set tomorrow as a day of rage throughout the homeland and in countries which are home to refugees, to express the Palestinian people’s opposition to any attack on the holy places and foremost among them the Al-Aqsa Mosque. . . . And to consider desecration of Al-Aqsa as a declaration of a religious war against the Palestinian people and the Arab Islamic nations.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry this morning referred to Fatah’s calls for “Days of Rage,” but The Times omitted that portion of his condemnation. The Associated Press reported that Mr. Kerry today admonished:
“To have this kind of act, which is a pure result of incitement, of calls for ‘days of rage,’ of just irresponsibility, is unacceptable,” Kerry said. “The Palestinian leadership must condemn this and they must begin to take serious steps to restrain any kind of incitement … and exhibit the kind of leadership that is necessary to put this region on a different path. This simply has no place in human behavior and we need to hear from leaders who are going to lead their people to a different place.”
The Times selectively quotes Kerry’s remark, leaving out his pointed admonishment of calls for “days of rage” on the part of Palestinian leaders. The article obscures:
Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in London on Tuesday, denounced the attack as a “pure act of terror” and called on Palestinian leaders to condemn it.
“I call on the Palestinian leadership at every single level to condemn this in the most powerful terms,” Mr. Kerry said before meeting with his British counterpart. . . .
r. Kerry called Mr. Abbas from London to express support for his statement condemning the attacks and to urge him to do everything possible to de-escalate tension.
Rather than noting Fatah’s calls for Days of Rage, or Kerry’s condemnation of these calls, or Abbas’ letter of condolence to the family of a terrorist, The Times casts incitement on the part of Abbas and the Palestinian leadership as a right-wing Israeli claim. The reporters state:
Right-wing Israeli politicians blamed Mr. Abbas of the Palestinian Authority for the attack. They say that Mr. Abbas has been fomenting violence by accusing Israel of trying to change the status quo at the holy site, at which non-Muslims are allowed to visit only during certain hours and are not to pray openly. . . .
The hands that held the axes are of the terrorists but the voice is the voice of Abu Mazen,” declared Yuval Steinitz, the minister of strategic affairs, using an alternate name for Mr. Abbas. “Whoever calls on Muslims to defend the mosque in Al Aqsa using all the means against Jews bears direct responsibility for the horrific pogrom at the synagogue in Har Nof and all the attacks and deadly riots in Jerusalem.”
In a statement, Naftali Bennet, the economy minister and head of the Jewish Home party, called Mr. Abbas “one of the greatest terrorists the Palestinian people sprouted” and said he “bears direct responsibility for Jewish blood spilled in tallit and tefillin.” (Emphases added.)
By relating to ongoing Palestinian incitement as a claim on the part of right-wing Israelis, instead of providing straight reports of instances of incitem
ent of Abbas, The New York Times continues to cover up calls for violence.