A dangerous big lie about the current violent crisis in Israel and the
Palestinian areas is the endlessly repeated media mantra that clashes
erupted without reference to who actually started the shooting,
stoning, and fire-bombing and who can stop it.
Only one party launched and perpetuates the bloodletting: the Palestinians.
The blurring of this truth and the credulous amplifying of Palestinian claims
of blamelessness is tacit protection of Palestinian aggression and
encouragement of more.
No snapshot of the media's reluctance to present these essentials candidly
is more telling than an August 12 CNN special titled Conflict
in the Middle East. Coming days after this month's suicide bombing in
Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria that blew apart Israeli women and babies, killing
15 and maiming scores more, the half-hour program minimized Palestinian
culpability. After brief reference to the terrorist atrocity, CNN focused on
the grief of the mother and father of the suicide bomber and a litany of
grievances against Israel. Islamic Jihad spokesman Sheikh Abdullah Shami
denounced Israel and its occupation, with not a challenging
question from CNN's Mike Hanna or a hint offered about the virulent hatred and
violence fomented by the organization.
CNN did not ask how the occupation can be the motive for
suicide bombers when more than 95 percent of Palestinians live under
Palestinian Authority rule. Nor did Hanna note that one year ago Israel offered
to cede virtually all the West Bank and Gaza and Yasser Arafat rejected
the concessions without so much as a counter-offer.
Amazingly, in the segment devoted to suicide bombers there is not a word
about the Palestinian Authority's saturation indoctrination of its populace to
join the ranks of such killers. Rather, their emergence is treated as a
spontaneous response to discontent. No mention is made of the years of official
Palestinian television programming urging children to admire and emulate the
martyrs who drench the ground with their own blood, and
to join others who have already gone to paradise. Nor did
Palestinian psychiatrist Eyad Sarraj, interviewed at length about the psychic
traumas of the Palestinians, make reference to the emotional effects of such
indoctrination. An unasked question for the mental health doctor was whether
children might experience terrible stress being urged by influential parts of
their society to end their own lives.
But Saraj's diagnosis of the cause of bombers' actions was
despair, and Hanna promptly added that poverty
similarly brought new suicide recruits.
In addition, this despair and poverty is implicitly
blamed on Israel, with not the slightest hint offered of Arafat's
responsibility in his peoples' misery. His misappropriating funds and otherwise
contributing to Palestinian economic distress are ignored entirely.
The CNN special did include sympathetic interviews with Israeli residents
of a Gaza settlement, but the choice of these particular Israelis is notable
after a bombing in Jerusalem preceded by an earlier devastating attack
in Tel Aviv. Many survivors of these attacks inside Israel, and family members
of those lost, could have been interviewed.
The preference for featuring settlers reflects again CNN's promoting
Palestinian perspectives. One of the greatest sticking points in reaching
a permanent peace agreement Israeli settlements in Palestinian
territory, is how the program host introduced the segment. Yet Israelis
widely disagree; they consider one of the greatest sticking points
to be continuing Arab rejection of Israeli legitimacy. Focusing on settlers is
deceptive and omits the core issues as Israel sees them.
Moreover, again, CNN ignores the fact that Israel offered a year ago to
relinquish most of the settlements in the context of a peace agreement
and Arafat rejected the offer.
Proof that journalists can ask serious questions about the violent assault
on Israel was an August 16 report on Fox News about the tensions between the
Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo and the Arab town of Beit Jala. Noting that the
mostly Christian town has been used as a firing base by Muslim Palestinians,
the Fox News correspondent said, They choose their locations carefully,
hiding between these buildings, using civilian homes for cover, so they're
safe, but the people of Beit Jala aren't. The reporter added, Some
say Arafat allows the gunmen to shoot from Beit Jala because he wants to win
the Vatican's support in sending monitors to protect Christians being shelled
Then she asked an Arab resident: Do these Israelis ever shoot
first? He answered, I don't think so. The reporter continued,
So, if there were no Palestinian gunmen shooting from here, you probably
would have quiet, wouldn't you? The answer: Sure. The
reporter continued, Are you saying that Yasser Arafat could stop the
gunmen if he wanted to? The answer: I think so. He can do
Perhaps CNN, with its layoffs and declining market share should heed the
admirable journalism of its ascendant competitor and consider chucking its
biased reporting in favor of accurate and complete accounts of what's actually
Appeared in the Jerusalem Post on this date.