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Media Analyses





Al-Jazeera America (AJAM) Watch for April – June 2015


• June 6, 2015 – 7:21 a.m. (Eastern) during Al-Jazeera America news hour.
Repeats: 9:17, 11:10 a.m., 2:36, 5:30 p.m.

Hostess: Jane Dutton from Al-Jazeera English headquarters in Doha, Qatar.

Correspondent: Imtiaz Tyab, Al-Jazeera English correspondent covering Palestinian territories and Israel.

Hostess: "Most investigations into Israeli settlers accused of violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank result in no convictions. That's according to an Israeli human rights group. Yesh Din says 85 percent of all cases are cleared because police fail to investigate crimes. Imtiaz Tyab reports."

Correspondent: "Fouad Shahada says he lives in near constant agony. Just over a year ago he was attacked by a group of men, who he says are Israeli citizens who live in an illegal settlement not far from his home in Falada (ph) in the occupied West Bank. Shahada shows me the x-rays taken after he received extensive surgery for the 14 fractures to his leg and two to his arm."

Shahada (translated): "I was harvesting olives when around 20 [indiscernible] settlers started throwing stones at us. I tried to run away. But I fell and six of them beat me with a metal rod. An Israeli soldier saw everything but did nothing. Since then no one has been arrested or charged for assaulting me."

Note: This incident cannot be verified.

Correspondent: "According to human rights groups, about 85 percent of police investigations are closed because Israeli investigators fail to find the suspects or enough evidence to lay charges. Of cases that are investigated, only 7 percent ever lead to an indictment, and only around a third of those ever lead to a full or partial conviction."

Correspondent: "Ziv Stahl is with Yesh Din, the organization behind the research. She says the reason crimes against Palestinians by Israeli citizens who live in illegal settlements routinely go unpunished is because some senior security officials appear to condone it."

Stahl (translated): "It starts from above. There's simply no will by some commanders to see the perpetrators as outlaws to be punished. There are also those that believe that the motivation behind these offense serves the country by expanding Israel's control over territory."

NOTE: Al-Jazeera infers that Stahl's statement includes the alleged Shahada case. But this seems not to be true. Furthermore, yesh-din.org, the Website of Stahl's organization, has nothing to say about the alleged Shahada case.

Correspondent: "Settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank is well documented. According to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in 2014 there were 399 assaults. Al-Jazeera requested an interview with Israeli police officials to comment on the findings of Yesh Din's latest report, but they declined. Fouad Shahada says he's not surprised police officials are unwilling to talk about the fact that settlers are rarely punished for attacking Palestinians, or the frequency of which the violence occurs. Because, after a year of near constant pain, he says he's certain his attackers will never be brought to justice. Imtiaz Tyab, Al-Jazeera, Falada (ph) in the occupied West Bank."

NOTE: The incessant, propagandized, mantra-like use of the term "occupied" (Al-Jazeera essentially never says "West Bank" without prefacing it with "occupied"), along with the bogus narrative of a supposed country of "Palestine" and the disputed claims of illegality of Israeli "settlements" have been debunked elsewhere in Al-Jazeera America Watch.

• June 3, 2015 – 6:30 a.m. (Eastern) during Al-Jazeera America news hour.
Repeats: 7:25, 7:44, 8:38, 11:39 a.m.

Al-Jazeera (apparently deceptively) misquotes President Obama, claiming he used the word "illegal" with reference to Israeli "settlement construction." See NOTE below.

Hostess: Dareen Abughaida from Al-Jazeera English headquarters in Doha, Qatar.

Correspondent: Patty Culhane, Al-Jazeera English White House correspondent (previously with MSNBC).

Hostess: "U.S. President Obama has criticized Benjamin Netanyahu on Israeli TV. Obama said his position on Palestinian statehood endangers Israel's credibility. Patty Culhane has more from Washington."

Correspondent: "Entirely blunt criticism from President Barack Obama, speaking to an Israeli reporter, talking about the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He said he is predisposed to think of security first, that perhaps he sees peace as naive and that he tends to see the worst of possibilities as opposed to the best possibilities in his Arab partners. But his toughest talk came when he was asked about what the Prime Minister said in the run up to the election, that if he was re-elected, there would be no two-state solution."

President Obama: "Subsequently his statements had suggested that there is the possibility of a Palestinian state, but it has so many caveats, so many conditions that it is not realistic to think that those conditions would be met any time in the near future. And so the danger here is that Israel as a whole losses credibility. Already, the international community does not believe that Israel is serious about a two-state solution. The statement the Prime Minister made compounded that belief that there's not a commitment there."

Note: Based mainly on a single election-eve rally speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu to followers, many have concluded that Netanyahu has been negotiating in bad faith and was never serious about a two-state solution. No consideration is given by such critics that Israeli elections are the only democratic elections in the Middle East and – like the corresponding situation in American elections – clarifications are often provided by the candidates. The Prime Minister issued a clarification in this case.

Correspondent: "So what is next? Well, the U.S. President once again reiterated that he is re-evaluating the U.S. position at the U.N. Security Council, where it usually protects Israel from any sort of resolution that would either recognize the Palestinian people or set a framework for the negotiations. He said he didn't think now was the time to come up with another framework agreement, but that he wants to see some sort of confidence-building measures in the region. He didn't say exactly what those were, but he did point out that he thinks that illegal settlement construction and also the inability of people in the West Bank to move freely. He said, ‘those are problems.'"

NOTE: An online search reveals that correspondent Culhane erroneously (or deceptively) attributed the phrase "illegal settlement construction" to President Obama. Instead, it seems that the phrase is used obsessively by the PLO's top negotiator Saeb Erekat and various other anti-Israel propagandists. The U.S. government, while generally objecting to Israeli construction work within West Bank Jewish communities (settlements), does not take a position on the legality or illegality of such activity. In the Israeli TV interview, the President used the phrase "settlement construction" once and it was not preceded by the word "illegal."

• May 29, 2015 – 4:03 a.m. (Eastern).

Hostess: (Name unknown) from Al- Jazeera English headquarters in Doha, Qatar.

Correspondent: Laurence Lee, London correspondent for Al-Jazeera English normally covering economic, social and political affairs across the UK and Ireland.

Report in progress about the FIFA (the body governing international soccer) corruption controversy – starting here is an Al-Jazeera seemingly mandatory anti-Israel propaganda segment.

Hostess: “Okay, let's talk about something else happening there at the 65th congress of FIFA happening outside, Laurence. There are protests going on. But the protests are not about Sepp Blatter and all of the corruption allegations. Tell us what is happening.”

Correspondent: “Yes. There is a very large, and you can probably see some live shots of it, vocal, anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian contingent here yesterday and today trying to make their voices heard. Eventually they want Israel to be expelled from FIFA on the ground that they say Israel is guilty of systematic sporting apartheid against Palestinians. An absolute litany of complaints and allegations from the closures obviously and the difficulties the Palestinians have trying to access the most basic sporting facilities, to young Palestinians trying to play football. They say being shot by the IDF [Israel Defense Forces].

Equally, they say members of the Palestinian national team have either been arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned or otherwise prevented from pursuing the game. So, they say there is a level of apartheid being exerted by Israel against Palestinian sport. They have wanted this to be an absolute focus of the congress and they've wanted to demand that FIFA expel Israel. Of course, it's now been entirely overshadowed by the corruption allegations and a few people say that's a massive pro-Israel conspiracy on behalf of the United States to try to shift the focus onto corruption to try to protect Israel. Whether that's a conspiracy theory or not, it's been certainly more difficult for the pro-Palestinian faction here to get their voices heard.”

Hostess: “Alright, Laurence Lee live from Zurich. Thank you so much.”

NOTE: In airing Palestinian allegations aimed at expelling Israel from FIFA, Al-Jazeera unsurprisingly fails to mention Israel's legitimate security problems posed by some Palestinian players who have been members of or supported terrorist groups, and attacked Israelis. This is not the first time the Palestinians have mixed politics and international sports aiming to harm Israel. Recall the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists. An aspect common to both the 1972 event and the current FIFA event is Palestinian terrorist leadership. The chairman of the Palestinian Football (soccer) Association, leading the Palestinian charge at the FIFA meeting is Jibril Rajoub who has been involved in terrorist activities.

May 28, 2015 – 8:32 a.m. (Eastern) brief during news hour.

Hostess: Stephanie Sy from New York studios of Al-Jazeera America (formerly ABC News' Asia correspondent based in Beijing, China).

Speaker: Saleh Hijazi, Amnesty International's campaigner (researcher) on Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Hostess: “Amnesty International said Hamas is responsible for serious human rights abuses against Palestinian civilians during last summer's war in the Gaza Strip. In a new report, the organization said Hamas carried out executions without a trial, tortured or assaulted political opponents and it did it with impunity. The investigators said most victims were accused of collaborating with Israel. So far, no one with Hamas has been charged with carrying out any abuses. Hamas said the report is biased and relies on questionable sources. Saleh Hijazi is a researcher with Amnesty International and joins us from London this morning. Thanks for being with us. I understand that you actually conducted some of the interviews for this report. What was one of the worst stories you heard?”

Hijazi: “Well, all of them are really bad. What we have here is what is documented, that there were at least 23 cases of extra judicial or summary executions, 16 of these people were in the custody of Hamas even before the war started. Two of them were sentenced to prison terms. One of the cases, one I've followed since 2012 is (indiscernible). He was first accused of providing information to the Palestinian Authority and that charge was turned into collaborating with Israel. He was sentenced to 15 years. On the 22 of August, he was in the (indiscernible) prison, one of the main prisons in Gaza City, when he was removed from there in the morning and shot outside. He was an older man, and suffered from some mental health problems, already convicted and sentenced, and here he was killed in this really ugly arbitrary manager.”

Hostess: “So, he was killed. It seems like what you are saying in the report that is Hamas did that during the crisis and the war with Israel to set an example of sorts. Now, Hamas's interior ministry has said that this report was unprofessional, Amnesty was not allowed into Gaza to actually conduct the investigation, so how would you defend the methodology?”

Hijazi: “Well, we carried it out with the assistance of a field researcher in Gaza on the ground. We've conducted multiple rounds of interviews with families, witnesses, we've also consulted with lawyers, journalists, human rights organizations and we've also collected collaborative evidence, such as death certificates, which showed the reason of death as well as pictures provided by family of bodies in the morgue and other such evidence, which we were able to verify consulting with experts on. It is an extensive research that was done since basically the war was taking place, and just published today. We've written twice to the Palestinian Authority, both the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, reconciliation government, as well the Hamas authorities in Gaza. We've done it in September, 2014 and again in May, 2015.”

Hostess: “They did not respond. They are responding now though. I want to know what this means on the grand scheme of things because your group, Amnesty International, has now accused both Israelis and Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups of war crimes. But this report Hamas' actions against its own people. What impact do you hope this report will actually have on the people of Gaza?”

Hijazi: “Well, first of all, I've been In touch with the people in Gaza since before the launch of the report and yesterday, when we launched it today again. They were very happy to have their cases of their loved ones and family members out there. They felt, you know, just a bit of the justice that they were hoping for, but there's still a long way to go. They are worried, they are scared, even our field researcher – I was on the phone with him this morning – about the authorities asking about him, so there is a lot of worry. The report is a documentation of these cases and this in itself is very important. But, as I said, the road toward justice is long, and we're calling now on the Hamas authorities and all Palestinian authorities to establish an independent investigative committee to look into these allegation and cooperate with international mechanisms, including the commission of inquiry set up by the U.N Human Rights Council last July.”

Host: “Okay.”

Hijazi: “We're also calling on Israel to allow human rights investigators such as ourselves to enter. The main reason -- the reason we are not in Gaza carrying out ground research is because Israel is not allowing us to do so.”

Note: This claim cannot be verified.

Host: “Saleh Hijazi from Amnesty International, thank you for joining us.”
 
NOTE: This is a rare type of report aired on Al-Jazeera America television network involving an Amnesty International (AI) charge that Hamas (ruler of the Gaza Strip) is guilty of crimes (particularly murder) against its own people. Such a report on the network is rare since Hamas is a financial dependent of the owner/operator (Qatar) of the Al-Jazeera networks. But commonplace is the network's airing of criticism of Israel. In this case, it is alleged that Israel is impeding AI's investigation into the Hamas crimes.
 
May 28, 2015 – 6:18 p.m. (Eastern) brief during news hour.
The Al-Jazeera America report negatively portraying Israel cannot be verified.

Hostess: (Name unknown) from Al-Jazeera English headquarters in Doha, Qatar.

Speaker: Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister of the Palestinian West Bank territories.

Hostess: "The Palestinian Prime Minister has issued a warning to Israel on their plans to relocate a Bedouin [Arab] community. The 110 families from the Abu Nowar community live in the occupied West Bank. Israel wants to move some of them to east Jerusalem where they have promised proper water and electricity supplies. The U.N. has joined with Prime Minister Hamdallah in condemning the move."

Hamdallah (translated): "We will go to all the international organizations to stop Israel from their attempts to relocate these people. They are refugees from 1948 and Israel wants to make them refugees again. That is unacceptable to Palestinians, the leadership and all the international organizations and we demand more pressure to be put on the Israeli government to stop this plan."

NOTE: An online search and other inquiries have failed to produce any reputable account of this story. Furthermore, Al-Jazeera America has failed (so far) to respond to a CAMERA request (June 13) for the source of the story.
 
May 27, 2015 – 11:55 a.m. (Eastern) brief during news hour.

Hostess: Richelle Carey, formerly of CNN HLN.

Correspondent: Imtiaz Tyab, Al-Jazeera English correspondent covering Palestinian territories and Israel.

The usual Al-Jazeera one-sided propagandizing against Israel.

Speaker: Malika Booker – described by the British Council (culture organization) as a British writer, poet, artist, teacher.

Hostess: “Writers from across the world are taking part in the annual Palestine literature festival. The week long event is taking place in several cities across the Palestinian territories. Organizers say the aim is to teach writers about people's daily struggling under Israeli occupation. Imtiaz Tyab reports.”

Correspondent: “It was standing room only at the opening of the Palestine literature festival. The event was held in the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. It was the first of several taking place in cities across historic Palestine. Throughout the week, people will visit ancient sites and meet Palestinian writers and activists. They will also travel to cities like Hebron, which has been divided by an Israeli settlement, considered illegal under international law, and to Haifa, a seaside city in Israel to see how Palestinians live under the Israeli state.”

Note: The incessant, propagandized, mantra-like use of the term “occupied” in this context, the bogus narrative of a supposed country of “Palestine” and the disputed claims of illegality of Israeli “settlements” have been debunked elsewhere in Al-Jazeera America Watch.

Unidentified woman: “The people who come here, are people who are influential in the fields of culture and literature. So they actually have the experience of having a culture festival in Palestine, then they become part of the pressure of public international opinion.”

Correspondent: “Before this event in occupied east Jerusalem, writers were taken on a tour of the old city and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam's holiest sites at the Western Wall, an important place of worship for Jews and where signs of Israel's occupation seem to be everywhere. Writers from all over the world will also see first hand how Palestinians live under Israeli occupation from military checkpoints to illegal settlements and segregated motorways.

Note: Typically propagandistic, Al-Jazeera, while declaring “…Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam's holiest sites …” fails to mention that this site – is Judaism's holiest site -- the Temple Mount, location of Israel's ancient holiest temples. But correspondent Tyab deceptively finesses this reality by adding, “…Western Wall, an important place of worship for Jews …” The network adds the usual polemics of “occupation” and so-on debunked elsewhere in Al-Jazeera America Watch.

Correspondent: “Malika Booker is a writer and poet from London. This is her first visit to Israel and the West Bank. She tells me seeing Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands is unlike anything she had imagined.”

Booker: “I just feel really sad, and I feel helpless, you know, and – and also – I don't think I'll be the same again from this visit.”

Correspondent: “In past years events were also held across the Gaza strip enabling writers from Arab countries and the Palestinian diaspora to enter the blockaded territory but Israel, which controls entry along its borders, had refused to grant the festival or its participants access. So, writers there decided to organize their own workshops and meetings like this one. They say nothing will stop them from sharing their stories. Al-Jazeera's Imtiaz Tyab in occupied east Jerusalem.”

May 26, 2015 – 2:50 p.m. (Eastern) brief during news hour.

Al-Jazeera shows a surprising interest in classical music. Could it be due to the anti-Israel angle?

Hostess: Lauren Taylor from Al-Jazeera English headquarters in Doha, Qatar.

Correspondent: Charlie Angela of Al-Jazeera English.

Interviewee: Daniel Barenboim, famous Argentinean-Israeli classical pianist and conductor. He is a vocal critic of Israeli policies in the conflict with the Palestinian Arabs – rarely if ever justifying such policies – while criticizing Palestinian terrorist attacks but also reportedly justifying them.

Hostess: “Acclaimed conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim has built a reputation not only in classical music but also with his political engagement. He formed an orchestra which includes musicians from Israel and the Palestinian territories. Now, Barenboim has taken on another challenge by designing a brand new piano. Charlie Angela has more.”

[Barenboim plays piano piece]

Correspondent: “The keys look like they have for hundreds of years but the sound they produce is slightly different. Pianist and composer Daniel Barenboim has played on Steinway pianos all his life, but this is the first one with his name on it. It is inspired by the piano used by the 19th century Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. Barenboim tried it and wants to combine its sound with the power of a modern piano. From the outside it looks like a modern concert piano, but inside is where the differences lie. You can see how the strings run in straight line rather than angling back. That is what creates the difference sound, the much warmer sound closer to what composers would have had 200 years ago.”

[Heard are the famous first notes of Beethoven's 5th symphony.]

Correspondent: “Daniel Barenboim is considered the world's greatest all around musician. And as a conductor. he has tried to build bridges through music, with his orchestra of Palestinian and Israeli musicians. He has repeatedly condemned Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. Even when describing his instruments he likened his role as pianist to solving a political problem.”

Barenboim: “Each note is there for a reason. And you, the pianist, has to give them a feeling of solidarity and homogeneity. But I feel very inspired by that. I am rapturously happy with it.”

Correspondent: “But listening to Barenboim talk to the instruments builder [who actually built this piano], Chris Maene, it sounds like there's still some tweaking to do.”

Barenboim: “If we do [indiscernible], it will make a difference… I think there is a problem…”

Correspondent: “This is one of at least two in the world, a rare reinvention, that will be kept under wraps until Barenboim runs his fingers over it later this week in London. Charlie Angela, Al-Jazeera, London.”

May 25, 2015 – 9:51 a.m. and 2:53, 5:54 p.m. (Eastern) briefs during news hours.

An Al-Jazeera America network brief dealing with Palestinian Football (soccer) Association's proposal to oust its Israeli counterpart from FIFA, soccer's international governing body. The news brief provides the Palestinian propaganda side of the story but unsurprisingly omits the other side of the story.

Host: One of the dozens of Al-Jazeera English news presenters from Doha, Qatar.

Speaker: Jibril Rajoub, Palestinian Football Association's president.

Host: “The Palestine Football Association will continue their bid to have Israel suspended by football's world governing body, FIFA. They say Israeli security restrictions are limiting the movement of Palestinian players, visiting teams and equipment. FIFA President Sepp Blatter had visited the region last week trying to resolve the tensions. The proposal will be discussed at a FIFA meeting on Friday.”

Rajoub: “Last week, Mr. Blatter was here and he tried to find a solution, However, despite the good intentions of Mr. Blatter, the football association has chosen to continue being a tool for the apartheid rather than one for peace. Unfortunately, I have to say the Israeli association is following the [indiscernible] of the extremist Israeli government.”

NOTE: Typically, the network provides a platform for Palestinian polemics that are easily refuted. First, Rajoub's apartheid canard: The conditions of South African blacks under apartheid are no way comparable to the situation of Arabs in Israel. Israeli Arabs freely vote in national elections, sit on the Supreme Court, are elected to Israel's Knesset national legislature, have their own political parties and can participate in other political parties. Meanwhile, West Bank and Gaza Strip Arabs live under oppressive, undemocratic regimes – of Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority or Hamas Islamist fanatics. Second, the Al-Jazeera host notes that “Israeli security restrictions” are a problem for the Palestinian soccer players but fails to mention legitimate security problems posed by some Palestinian players who have been members of or supported terrorist groups, and attacked Israelis.
 
Does the network consider Rajoub to be a credible news source? It fails to adequately identify this man who is a senior Fatah Palestinian Authority official under Mahmoud Abbas. Rajoub was sentenced to life in prison in 1970 for throwing a grenade at an Israeli army truck. He was released from prison in 1985 in a hostage exchange. The New York Times reports, “Palestinian Media Watch, an advocacy group that monitors Arabic news and social media, issued a special report that quoted Mr. Rajoub condemning the coexistence of sports programs with Israelis as 'a crime against humanity' on his Facebook page. The report documented examples of sporting events honoring Palestinians who had killed Israelis in terrorist attacks, and of Mr. Abbas praising one of the men involved in the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.”

Palestinian soccer association – hypocrisy is thy name, promoting terrorism thy game. Al-Jazeera America – hypocrisy is thy name, vilifying Israel thy game.

May 24, 2015 – identical reports at 6:42 a.m., 11:25 a.m., 5:32 p.m., 8:47 p.m. (Eastern) during news hour broadcasts.

Al-Jazzera America provides a propaganda platform for Palestinian Arab terrorism in this cleverly orchestrated report. Such reports are a regular occurrence on this network owned and operated by the wealthy sheikdom of Qatar which is a prominent financer of the fanatic Hamas Palestinian terrorist organization sworn to destroy Israel.

Host: One of the dozens of Al-Jazeera English news presenters from Doha, Qatar.

Correspondent: Imtiaz Tyab, Al-Jazeera English correspondent covering Palestinian territories and Israel.

Host: “Al-Jazeera has been exclusive access to a night patrol with one of the largest armed nationalist [Palestinian terrorist] groups in the Gaza strip. It is funded by Hamas and preparing for another conflict almost a year after the Israeli assault. Imtiaz Tyab has this report.”

Note:  Presumably, Al-Jazeera, as a de facto ally of the Gaza terrorists through its paymaster (the government of Qatar), was readily granted “exclusive access to a night patrol …” for the purpose of producing a propaganda report to be aired on Al-Jazeera television.

Correspondent: We were led through a sparse wooded area around a kilometer from Israel's boundary wall. These men are fighters for the Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) [terrorists] and they're taking us to meet one of their senior commanders. Through the brush, we find him. It's Jamal Abu Samhadana [chief of Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades].”

Note: The PRC has attacked Israeli civilians and soldiers in multi-pronged, coordinated attacks using automatic rifles, grenades and explosive devices.

Correspondent: “Unlike his fighters, this man does not cover his face. He tells me it's because the Israeli military already knows who he is.”

Jamal (translated): “The Israelis have already tried to assassinate me many times. I'm challenging them by not hiding my identity. I want them to know I'm here and ready to defend my land. God willing, I will free this land.”

Correspondent: “The PRC Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen brigades is one of the largest armed Palestinian nationalist groups in Gaza. It was heavily involved in the fighting in last year's 51 day war with Israel. A number of its fighters were killed or suffered injuries during the conflict. But they have rearmed and are ready to fight again.”

Jamal (tanslated): “We have never started any war. We are committed to the ceasefire agreements. But the Israelis always violate the ceasefire and start wars with us. We are ready to fight back.”

Correspondent: “In last year's war, more than 2000 people died, many of them civilians. What did you achieve in that conflict?”

Jamal (translated): “The Israelis should answer this question. They are the ones targeting our women and children. In the next war, we will target Israelis no matter where they are in the world.”

Correspondent: “We've been given permission by the commander to film this night patrol, but he warns that the Israelis monitor this area very closely and that he can't guarantee they won't react.”

Correspondent: “The fear of Israeli fire is real, despite an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement that brought an end to the war, Israeli's military routinely violates it according to Oxfam [a British humanitarian non-government organization]. Between August and December [2014], there were around 45 incidents of Israeli naval fire, 35 of border fire and about a half dozen incursions into Palestinian territory. During that same period, around 15 rockets were fired from Gaza, including test rockets aimed towards the sea, which is why these men say they will continue to prepare for another war with Israel, something they say is inevitable. Imtiaz Tyab, Al-Jazeera, Gaza.”

NOTE: The figures and circumstances used by correspondent Tyab above in charging Israel with aggression in the Gaza Strip in 2014 are at best unreliable and not readily verifiable. How and from whom did Tyab's source, Oxfam, obtain these numbers? Oxfam – variously categorized as a humanitarian non-government organization or as a British charity – is obsessively anti-Israel – so much so that famous actress Scarlett Johansson resigned in January 2014 as an Oxfam representative in protest of the group's anti-Israel animus. NGO Monitor says about the organization: “Oxfam consistently paints a highly misleading picture of the Arab-Israeli conflict, departing from its humanitarian mission focused on poverty. Most Oxfam statements erase all complexity and blame Israel exclusively for the situation, and these distortions and their impacts contribute significantly to the conflict… Oxfam also distorts economic analyses of the West Bank and Gaza, repeatedly arguing that that the sole impediment to Palestinian development is Israeli policy, ignoring intra-Palestinian limitations and factors.”Reportedly, “Oxfam inadvertently assisted the Hutu militias who fled to Zaire and Tanzania in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide by putting them charge of refugee camps in these countries.”

• May 20, 2015 – 5:05 a.m. (Eastern) segment in 5:00 news hour.
Similar Al-Jazeera America May 20 reports at 6:07, 7:45, 9:19 and 11:39 a.m.

Note: Typically, this Al-Jazeera one-sided report unfairly negatively portrays Israel.

Host: Nick Clark from Al-Jazeera English headquarters in Doha, Qatar.

Speaker: Nickolay Mladenov, UN special Middle East coordinator speaking to U.N. Security Council.

Host: “A Palestinian man who drove his car into a crowd in east Jerusalem has been shot dead by Israeli police. He was said to be driving towards a group of border patrol officers. Two Israeli officers were wounded.”

Host: “A proposal to make Palestinians who work in Israel travel in segregated buses has been canceled after fierce criticism. The plan would have also meant Palestinians would have had to travel to and from Israel via the same checkpoint making the commute much longer. Critics called the three-month pilot program a form of apartheid and unnecessary humiliation. The plan was overruled by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Note: Al-Jazeera's shallow, loaded-wording, one-sided description of the bus-travel controversy misleads viewers. The Jerusalem Post, providing both sides of the controversy, reported, “Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon … explained that he had ordered a pilot program to address security issues that related to the fact that there was no oversight system to ensure that Palestinians who work within the pre-1967 lines in Israel return home at the end of the day. The pilot program, he said, was limited to four crossings in Judea and Samaria. ‘Every well-run and responsible country, particularly those with sensitive security issues, check people as they enter and exit,' Ya'alon said. ‘That is all we were talking about. We weren't talking about anything else,' he said. ‘There is no separation of Palestinians and Israelis on the public transportation system in the West Bank,' Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said on Wednesday after he rescinded a controversial travel ban.”

Host: “The U.N.'s Middle East envoy warns that Gaza is in danger of imploding. During his first briefing to the U.N. Security Council. Nickolay Mladenov described his shock at the devastation in Gaza after last year's war between Hamas and Israel.”

Mladenov: “Gaza is desperate, and Gaza is angry, angry at the blockade, and angry at the closure of the Rafah crossing, angry at Hamas, including for imposing an illegal solidarity tax, and donors for not honoring commitments to reconstruction, and everyone. There is a clear moral and humanitarian imperative not just for the United Nations and the international community, but primarily for the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to prevent the implosion of Gaza.”

NOTE: There would have been no 2014 war – no need for anger at Israel if Hamas and its fellow terrorist groups had not made thousands of rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilian communities and kidnapped Israeli civilians in furtherance of Hamas' mission – to destroy Israel and kill Jews.
 
Unsurprisingly Al-Jazeera fails to inform viewers that the number of civilian casualties in the 2014 war was actually comparatively low, not high, and neighborhoods destroyed in the fighting—usually areas used by Hamas and other terrorist groups as bases, shelters, arsenals, rocket launch pads and entry points for infiltration tunnels—often were within a few kilometers of Israel and constituted approximately five percent of the Strip. (See, for example,"Where's The Coverage? U.N. Report Shows Gaza Damage Limited," Oct. 15, 2014, CAMERA).The Pentagon sent a "lessons-learned" mission to study Israel's efforts. U.N. figures have estimated the ratio of non-combatant to combatant casualties inflicted by U.S. and other coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq between 3:1 and 4:1. Israeli analyses of Palestinian figures put the proportion in Gaza last summer at approximately 1:1, with the number of fatalities among males of fighting age "disproportionately high" ("The Mulish Media and Civilian Casualties," May 1, 2015 CAMERA report).

• May 13, 2015 – 8:18 p.m. (Eastern) segment in 8:00 news hour.

This Al-Jazeera America network nine-minute segment deals with the Vatican's formal recognition of Palestinian statehood. The segment – unbalanced due to unchallenged false claims made by the Palestinian-American, anti-Israel guest – is consistent with what seems to be Al-Jazeera America's unpublicized mission reflecting Qatari government foreign policy including negatively portraying Israel and trying to influence opinion makers (teachers, broadcast commentators, editorial and Op-Ed writers). The mission seems to trump Al-Jazeera America's sparse viewer ratings and presumable lack of profits.

Host: John Seigenthaler (john.seigenthaler@aljazeera.net) from the network's New York headquarters; formerly a news anchor and correspondent for both NBC and MSNBC including eight-year tenure as weekend anchor for NBC Nightly News.

Guest: Father Garret Edmunds, OFM, Vocation Director for the United States Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land (Roman Catholic Church), Washington, D.C.

Guest: Auxiliary Bishop of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem (Catholic Church), William Hanna Shomali (native of Beit Sahour, West Bank).

Guest: Linda Sarsour, Palestinian-American Muslim activist, director of the Arab American Association of New York.

Guest: Shahar Azani, Executive Director StandWithUs Northeast Region, a global Israel education organization; former Consul for Media Affairs at the Israeli Consulate in New York.

Transcript:

Host: “Palestinian statehood has gained a new supporter, the Vatican. The formal recognition was announced today. It is symbolic but significant. The Catholic Church has deep religious interest in the occupied territories. But the new step is raising questions about politics and peace. Pope Francis and Vatican diplomats have used the term Palestine before but once signed, the new treaty will make it formal, official. The Vatican recognizes the state of Palestine. As a practical matter, it deals with access to sacred Christian sites in Palestinian lands.”

Note: Host dutifully toes the apparent official line at Al-Jazeera widely if erroneously used by hosts and reporters, as well as by many in Western news media, referring to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) as "occupied" rather than “disputed” or “contested,” which would be accurate. These are the facts: The territory is not sovereign land of any country, but rather disputed by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Currently, more than 90 percent of West Bank Arabs live in an area that has been administered by the Palestinian Authority since the 1990s. Israeli security forces sometimes enter to arrest and prevent terrorists from planning attacks on Israel.

Fr. Edmunds: “The Palestinian Authority has been very supportive of what the Church does there. It's one of the parts of the Arab world where the Church is free to operate and is not impeded by the government.”

Note: Host dutifully toes the apparent official line at Al-Jazeera widely if erroneously used by hosts and reporters, as well as by many in Western news media, referring to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) as "occupied" rather than “disputed” or “contested,” which would be accurate. These are the facts: The territory is not sovereign land of any country, but rather disputed by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Currently, more than 90 percent of West Bank Arabs live in an area that has been administered by the Palestinian Authority since the 1990s. Israeli security forces sometimes enter to arrest and prevent terrorists from planning attacks on Israel.

Host: “But the agreement carries global significance as well.”

Fr. Edmunds: “Formal recognition, that takes place today, allows the Holy See to again use his moral authority to stake out a position. I think the fact that the Holy See is joining a whole number of world countries, 135 at this point in time that have recognized the state of Palestine, including a growing number of governments in the European Union, I think it does put some pressure on all the parties to recognize what is in fact a reality already.”

Translation: “Put pressure on Israel” to make risky concessions while demanding nothing of the Palestinian Arabs.

Host: “The United States is not among those countries that recognizes Palestine. Israel expressed disappointment, saying the agreement will impede the peace process. The treaty comes just days before the Pope meets with the Palestinian president at the Vatican and just before Pope Francis is to canonize two Palestinian nuns.”

Note: Like much of the news media, the host erroneously refers to the two nuns as "Palestinians." They were Christian Arabs, now Roman Catholic saints, but not ex post facto "Palestinians." It's highly unlikely either Sister Mariam Baouardy or Sister Marie Alphonsine, both born in the Holy Land in the 19th century, ever thought of themselves as Palestinian Arabs. During all of Baouardy's life and nearly all of Ghattas', the areas they lived in were parts of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The empire contained no imperial district by the name of Palestine. Nor did the Arabs, among whom the two women lived, consider themselves "Palestinians." To the extent they had a geographic/social identity beyond their village or district, it often was as south Syrians, living in part of "greater Syria."

Bishop Shomali: “Both are called Miriam. This is extraordinary. Because the name Mary and Miriam is common to Jews, Christians and Muslims. May they both become a bridge between us all.”

Host: “Linda Sarsour is executive director of the Arab American Association in New York. She's in our studios [in New York]. Linda what is your reaction?”

Sarsour: “It's a very welcomed step by the Vatican. Good news amongst the many bad news that we hear around the world.”

Host: “What is the significance of the word 'state' in the treaty?”

Sarsour: “Very significant – to recognize that the Palestinian people deserve the right of their own determination. What's interesting is that the Vatican has joined 5.5 billion people which is 80 percent of the world population who support a Palestinian state, which is 135 countries. And the irony is Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu saying that this will damage the peace process. But there is no one that has damaged the peace process more than the Israeli government and they have been the obstacle to peace in the Palestinian region.”

Note: The 135 countries recognizing a Palestinian state consist mainly of the Arab-Muslim block of 56 mostly autocratic countries – plus third-world states run by dictators or oligarchies. The claim that 5.5 billion people “support a Palestinian state” is misleading. The Palestinian spokespeople avoid, and the Al-Jazeera America host fails to raise basic questions. Where is “Palestine”? What are its boundaries? Who constitutes its government—the Hamas regime repressing Gaza Strip Arabs or the Fatah kleptocracy that jails critics of the West Bank's Palestinian Authority? Who comprises “Palestine's” population? According to the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties States, a Gaza Strip and West Bank “Palestine” currently does not qualify, and neither the U.N. General Assembly, European Union nor the Vatican have authority under international law to conjure it up.

Sansour's false charge, “No one has damaged the peace process more than the Israeli government” should have been challenged by the host. In reality, no one has done more than the Palestinian leadership, under Yasser Arafat and his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, to damage the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian Oslo “peace process. As recently reported in the Jerusalem Post, “Following the failed Camp David peace summit in July 2000 and the outbreak of the Palestinian terror war … President Clinton placed the blame for the failure of the talks squarely on then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's shoulders. Not only did Arafat reject Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak's unprecedented offer of Palestinian statehood and sovereignty over all of Gaza, most of Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount, he refused to make a counter-offer. And then two months later, he opened the Palestinian terror war.” In 2001 at Taba, Arafat rejected another U.S.-Israeli proposal for a West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem “Palestine” in exchange for peace with Israel and an end to the conflict. In 2008, Abbas failed to pursue a similar proposal by then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, that would have compensated “Palestine” with land from Israel in exchange for Israeli annexation of large settlement blocs (less than 5 percent of the West Bank). And in 2014, Abbas said no to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's similar “framework” for a two-state deal, sweetened by an offer of $4 billion in aid (roughly doubling the PA's economy), in part because it meant an end to the conflict and recognition of Israel as the Jewish state. The Al-Jazeera America host failure to challenge the guest on such elemental facts of the topic at hand amounted to a journalistic collapse.

Host: “Other than an announcement, does this actually really help to establish a Palestinian state?”

Sarsour: “It puts pressure on the parties involved including the United States government and Israel to understand that they are losing traction and that the world, the majority of the world is looking for a Palestinian state, and right now, with the current situation, Israel has destroyed every opportunity for a two state solution. That is not -- that can't be [indiscernible] right now in any peace negotiation. So they have to come back to the table and they have to talk.”

Note: U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), which outline the requirements for Arab-Israeli peace and the direct negotiations leading to them, the 1993 and 1995 Israeli-Palestinian agreements with Palestinian commitments to resolve all outstanding conflicts through direct negotiations, the 2003 U.S., U.N., E.U. and Russian “roadmap” reaffirming these requirements as part of the basis for reaching an Israeli-Palestinian “two-state solution” don't matter. The Palestinian side is evidently entitled – partly through lack of news media scrutiny amounting to widespread amnesia – to make demands Israel must accede to without reciprocal Palestinian concessions.

Host: “So why does it matter that the Vatican has done this? If the Israelis have resisted this, the Vatican is not going to change their mind.”

Sarsour: “Well, the Vatican holds a lot of moral authority. The Vatican is the center of the Catholic world. It represents a great deal of moral authority among Christians across the world. And if it didn't matter then why would Israel be so disappointed? Why would they say this is going to impede the peace process if it was something that didn't really matter? So, I think it really matters.”

Host: “It matters, but does it move anything forward?”

Sarsour: “I think that we have started to see the elevation of the Palestinian state into an observer state in the U.N. We have seen a lot more support -- the recognition by the 135 countries. It's another step in the process to see the recognition of Palestinian state.”

Host: “Alright – Linda Sarsour. It's good to have you on the program. Thank you very much.”

Note: Sansour's propaganda here is consistent with her many anti-America, anti-Israel statements. Sarsour has promoted the Islamist demonization of Israel, equating Zionism with “racism” and falsely alleging Israeli ethnic cleansing of Arabs. In an interview, she linked “Islamophobia“ and what she called “racial profiling” of Muslim Americans, with slavery, genocide of Native American Indians and oppression of African Americans and Latinos. Sarsour is an apologist for Muslim violence, equating it with the violence perpetrated by “white supremacists” in America.

Host: “Shahar Azani is a former deputy spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry. He is currently the executive director of StandWithUs, northeast region, an Israeli advocacy group. Welcome it's good to have you on the program, Shahar.”

Azani: “It's my pleasure.”

Host: “What's your reaction to this treaty?”

Azani: “Disappointment. Not only does this not take us forward, it takes us backwards in taking away from any confidence between Israelis and Palestinians because it creates expectations on the Palestinian side and the ordinary Palestinian will work wake up the day after the declaration and nothing will change. The direction shouldn't be unilateralism but rather encouraging bilateral negotiations between the parties. Right now the Palestinian leadership does not have any incentive to move in the direction of bilateral negotiations because the message it sends to them is that the less they negotiate the more they're on the fence the more they're going to get without negotiations. And Israel has the utmost respect for Holy See and henceforth the disappointment.”

Host: “So, why did the Pope do it?”

Azani: “I don't know. This is a tough call. Maybe there is some sort of a trend going on. Maybe a feeling that if a Palestinian state is declared something will happen. But the reality on the ground is such that there isn't even one Palestinian territory. Only the other day, Hamas was blaming Fatah in the West Bank for undermining them. When you live in a situation where things are so complex, we need to deal with the issues with the necessary nuances.”

Host: “But I think you mentioned to our producer there might be other reasons that the Vatican is interested in this area, can you talk about that?”

Azani: “Well, naturally speaking, the Catholic Church has interests in the Holy Land in the Palestinian territories and in Israel. There are always other considerations that come into mind. When it comes to protecting Christian interests in the region we've seen what's been happening to Christian communities all around and it's clear that there is a desire to maintain the Christian communities in those areas. In that respect I want to remind you of something. In 2002, the relationship between Israel and the Holy See were in full effect when the Church of the Nativity [Bethlehem] was seized by Palestinian gunmen for a period of about a month between April and May, and only through these connections -- at the end of the day were the people able to get relief from the Church after being held hostage. So, there are interests and we can't ignore them but the greater interest is that of the peoples of the region and move toward a comprehensive peace that's built on bilateral negotiations. There is no other solution. Peace will not come through Stockholm, Geneva or New York. It will only come through Ramallah and Jerusalem.”

Host: “Shahar, we have heard the term ‘moral authority' bantered around today. What do you think of the Pope's moral authority after this decision?”

Azani: “We have the highest regard for the Holy See and we have the highest regard for the Pope and for the role that he's playing. Even today Prime Minister Netanyahu has submitted the guidelines for his new government to the Knesset and those guidelines include striving for a diplomatic solution for promoting the peace process with the Palestinians and peoples of the region. So, by no means are we talking about the situation that the Israeli people, the government, the people are striving for peace, are striving to reach a settlement with the Palestinians but right now the atmosphere in the international community is such that it's driving the sides apart from each other rather than bringing them together.”

Host: “Shahar Azani, it's always good to have you on the program. Thank you very much.”

Azani: “A pleasure, thank you.”

NOTE: Al-Jazeera America host Seigenthaler fails here, as he has at least once before in his Al-Jazeera career, to state key realities when Israel is concerned. In a June 2, 2014 (8:39 p.m.) news brief about a Fatah-Hamas unity deal, Seigenthaler failed to inform viewers that the Hamas terrorist Gaza-Strip rulers are committed to the destruction of Israel, and misstated Israel's position by omitting the fact that Israel condemned the “unity” deal because the inclusion of Hamas made it impossible to negotiate with the new Palestinian government.

Perhaps now with the Roman Catholic Church's recognition of a Palestinian Arab “state,“ the Church which, in the words of Linda Sarsour, “represents a great deal of moral authority among Christians across the world,” can concern itself more publicly with the tragic plight of Middle East Christians. And perhaps the network can now begin to seriously cover the peril and flight of Middle Eastern Christians (its Qatari paymaster willing). That oppression by numerous Islamic jihadi movements is reported, for example, by The Wall Street Journal (May 16, 2015),

The Christian communities of Syria and Iraq have survived 2,000 years of tumult and war. In some of them, prayers are still said in Aramaic, the language that Jesus used in daily life. These communities now tremble on the brink of destruction. The numbers are stark. Almost 1.5 million Christians lived in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Between the U.S.-led invasion that toppled his regime in 2003 and the rise of Islamic State, three-fourths of the country's Christians are believed to have fled Iraq or died in sectarian conflict. The carnage continues. Of the 300,000 Christians remaining in 2014, some 125,000 have been driven from their homes within the past year, according to a March report on “60 Minutes.”

Almost a third of Syrians were Christian as recently as the 1920s, but only about 10% of the country's 22 million inhabitants at the onset of the current civil war were members of Christian communities. That long and slow relative decline has accelerated as hundreds of thousands of desperate Christians, along with millions of their Muslim fellow citizens, flee the fanaticism of Islamist rebels and the brutality of Bashar al-Assad's regime.

It's noteworthy that Israel is the only country in the Middle East in which Christians are increasing in number and thriving. Father Gabriel Naddaf, a Greek Orthodox priest in the city of Nazareth, testified in 2014 at the United Nations that Israel is the “only safe place where the Christians of the Holy Land live in safety.”

• May 7, 2015 – 6:23 a.m. (Eastern) segment in 6:00 news hour.

This six-minute report on the recent Israeli election contains the seemingly mandatory Al-Jazeera anti-Israel propaganda. Host and correspondent each mendaciously portray the new Israeli government as right-wing extremist.

Host: One [unidentifiable] of the dozens of Al-Jazeera English news hosts (presenters) from Doha, Qatar.

Correspondent: Mike Hanna (formerly of CNN).

Guest: Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post chief political correspondent and analyst.

Host: "The Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] sealed the deal to form a new government just hours after a midnight deadline. His majority is extremely thin. Mike Hanna explains."

Hanna: "It went to the wire. Only at the last moment was an agreement reached with the Jewish Home Party – its leader, Naftali Bennett, securing major concessions before agreeing to throw in his eight seats. That gave the Israeli Prime Minister the support of the majority in parliament, a thin majority of one."

Netanyahu (translated): "Time is of the essence. Not only because I'm leaving now to call the President [Reuven Rivlin] and the Chairman (Speaker) of the Knesset [Yuli-Yoel Edelstein] to tell them that I have managed to form a government, but also because we need to form it by next week in order to give a strong and stable government to the state of Israel."

Hanna: "The full extent of the concessions made will only become apparent in coming days as Benjamin Netanyahu finalizes the composition of his cabinet. But it's clear this will be a government of extreme right wing sensibility. Jewish Home (Party) has its roots in the settler movement and its leader has called for the creation of more settlements, not less, along with the expulsion of Palestinians from parts of the occupied West Bank.

The government will also be at the mercy of two ultra orthodox parties which have demanded and been granted the pledge of renewed state welfare benefits for the Haredim, or ultra-religious, and exclusion from mandatory military service for religious students. The inevitable increase in state expenditure will in turn puts pressure on the nominated finance Minister, Moshe Kahlon, who brought his breakaway Kulanu Party back into the fold. It could take a withdrawal of support by just a single member of one of the coalition parties, to bring the government down. So, at the end of weeks of negotiation, Benjamin Netanyahu is left with a slim one-seat majority in parliament. It will be a weak government that's essentially at the mercy of the settler movements, and two small religious parties. And coincidentally on this evening, at an annual religious festival (video clip), there's added spring in the step of these dancers as they also celebrate the resurgence of ultra-orthodox religious movements in Israeli political life. Mike Hanna, Al-Jazeera, west Jerusalem."

Where is correspondent Hanna's evidence for his allegation that Israel's Jewish Home Party has advocated expulsions of Palestinians from "parts of the West Bank"? Typically, the question is not asked. Neither public statements of the Home Party nor its written platform say anything about such expulsions.

Hanna dutifully toes the apparent official line at Al-Jazeera by prefixing ‘occupied' to ‘West Bank' as do other Al-Jazzera correspondents and hosts. These are the facts: It is entirely misleading to characterize the West Bank as "occupied" since it is not sovereign territory of any country, but rather land disputed by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Currently, the overwhelming majority of West Bank Palestinians (more than 90 percent) live in an area that since the 1990s has been fully controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The only Israelis that ever enter (and then only very rarely) are security forces to arrest terrorists planning attacks on Israel.

Part of Jerusalem (which has never been the capital of any nation except Israel) and the West Bank were illegally occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967, when Israel took control as a result of successful self-defense in the 1967 Six-Day War. As Eugene Rostow, a co-author of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), the keystone of all subsequent successful Arab-Israeli negotiations pointed out, 242 does not require complete Israeli withdrawal. Rather, the status of the territory, to which Jews as well as Arabs have legitimate claims, is to be resolved in negotiations as called for in the resolution and by U.N. Security Council Resolution 338 (1973). Meanwhile, Jewish villages and towns built in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria, the ancient homeland of the Jewish people) since 1967 are no more illegal than areas built since then in previously existing Arab villages and towns.

Host: "Well, Gil Hoffman, the Chief Political Correspondent at the Jerusalem Post newspaper, joins me now from west Jerusalem. Good to have you with us. Many are skeptical inside Israel about this coalition can last, whether it can make decisions when it comes to tough issues. How efficient do you expect this coalition to be when it comes to governing?"

Al-Jazeera host and correspondent both prefix "west" to "Jerusalem" (as do other Al-Jazeera hosts and correspondents and they almost certainly would falsely capitalize the prefix) that conveys the idea of a divided Jerusalem related to the Palestinian Arabs' demand (in connection with advancing the "peace process") that they be ceded half of Israel's ancient and current capital city which has never been the capital of any other country.

Hoffman: "It will be very difficult to govern a coalition where any one member of parliament out of the 61 in the governing coalition could rebel at any point, and wreak havoc for the Prime Minister. Chances are this government will not be able to accomplish very much at all."

Host: "If decisions are not able to be made, does this mean when you look at the line-up of parties which are playing a key role like the Jewish Home Party, that policy towards things like illegal settlements, the occupation, the peace process – is going to be toughened even further?"

Hoffman: "Not necessarily. I mean, the government is so narrow that is can't accomplish what the parties in the government want to accomplish. The opposition can prevent steps from being taken that, perhaps, the people who watch Al- Jazeera, would not like to see happen. The one consensus issue that can happen is bridging the gaps between rich and poor; helping the poor sectors of the population, and helping more Arabs in this country have work. Those are the issues that will unite both the coalition and the opposition and can get done."

Host: "I'm grad you mentioned helping, for example, the status or positions of Arab citizens. But does it worry you, though, that someone who posts words like, ‘in wars, the enemy usually is an entire people, including its elderly, its women, its city and villages.' I'm talking, of course, about Ayelet Shaked, who was accused of supporting genocide in the post in her Facebook page on July 1st. But she ends up as the minister of justice."

Hoffman: "Ayelet Shaked is part of a system, our legal establishment in this country that revolves around protecting the rights of minorities, and is a model for systems around the world for how to protect the rights of minorities. No politician will be able to change that."
 
The new Justice minister, Ayelet Shaked, of the Jewish Home party is known for her strong anti-terrorist views. But Ms. Shaked has not advocated genocide of Palestinians as implied by the Al-Jazeera host ("[she] was accused of supporting genocide"). Here, host parroted without naming his source, long-time Palestinian propagandist/negotiator/spokesman Saeb Erakat. The Wall Street Journal  provides context for Erakat's false allegation: "A longtime ideological opponent of a Palestinian state, Ms. Shaked published on her Facebook page an article written by a settler who said that Israel should consider itself at war with the entire Palestinian nation. ‘It is still relevant today,' she wrote in a post last year. She subsequently deleted the post. The Shaked spokeswoman said she didn't agree with all the points in the article and she removed it ‘after seeing that her views may have been misinterpreted.'"

The Times of Israel elaborates on the views and background of the 39-year-old new Justice minister, "She's married to a fighter pilot and has two young children... she [has a degree in electrical engineering] worked as a software engineer for Texas Instruments before entering politics... She was named the best-looking female in the Knesset by the Israeli Society of Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery."

Host: "Do you think this coalition will be able to improve relations with the U.S.?"

Hoffman: "Relations with the U.S. people are wonderful. The polls have recently found that the American people see Israel as one of their closest allies. Both the Democratic and Republican parties and all of their candidates for president have good relations with Israel. There is a problem with the current President [Barack Obama] of the United States who will only be in office for another19 months. He has a problem with Israel. He has a problem with Arab and Muslim countries. He has turned off people throughout this region and soon he will be gone and things will be better."

Host: "Alright. Gil Hoffman there, thanks for your views."

• May 5, 2015 – 2:24 p.m. (Eastern) segment in 2:00 news hour.

This four-minute, biased report is consistent with what seems to be an unpublicized but actual mission at Al-Jazeera America purveying anti-Israel propaganda to influence opinion makers – teachers, broadcasters, editorial and Op-Ed writers, policy makers and so-on – regardless of sparse viewer ratings or profits.

Host: Felicity Barr (@FelicityBarrTV) from London studios of Al-Jazeera English.

Correspondent: Erica Woods of Al-Jazeera English.

Interviewee: Avihai Stollar, Director of Research for the Breaking the Silence organization.

Host: "'A policy of indiscriminate firing led to the deaths of innocent civilians.' That's how one Israeli non-governmental organization describes the conduct of some soldiers involved in last year's war in Gaza. Dozens of soldiers have given signed testimony about the tactics used in the campaign. Erica Woods has more details."

The charges in this report are based mainly on the claims of Breaking the Silence (BtS), an organization supposedly consisting of Israeli active and reserve duty soldiers (mainly anonymous). But this is misleading, since BtS's sloppy methods, unfounded allegations and anti-Israel foreign funding have been exposed.

Correspondent: "In just 50 days, Israel's war killed more than 2000 people in the occupied Gaza Strip. Its aim was to cripple Hamas but most of the victims were civilians and more than 500 were children. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and five civilians died. The air, sea and ground offensive on Gaza destroyed schools, hospitals and crucial infrastructures leaving damage that will likely take decades to rebuild. The group, Breaking The Silence, has collected the anonymous testimony of 60 Israeli troops that fought in the war. What they said paints a dark picture of Israel's actions and its apparent disregard for civilian lives.

[Male voice, face obscured, reading:] ‘We shot at cars and ambulances, doing things I was raised not to do – not to kill the innocent, not to shoot at an ambulance. It was like the wild west out there, and it was all approved by the commanders. I felt there was something morally rotten in this army. We weren't authorized to do this because our first rule is not to kill without reason, and here I was formally told to kill anything in your proximity.'"

These allegations warrant scrutiny, which Al-Jazeera does not provide. The number of civilian casualties was actually comparatively low, not high, and neighborhoods destroyed in the fighting—usually areas used by Hamas and other terrorist groups as bases, shelters, arsenals, rocket launch pads and entry points for infiltration tunnels—often were within a few kilometers of Israel and constituted approximately five percent of the Strip. (See, for example, "Where's The Coverage? U.N. Report Shows Gaza Damage Limited," Oct. 15, 2014, CAMERA).The Pentagon sent a "lessons-learned" mission to study Israel's efforts. U.N. figures have estimated the ratio of non-combatant to combatant casualties inflicted by U.S. and other coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq between 3:1 and 4:1. Israeli analyses of Palestinian figures put the proportion in Gaza last summer at approximately 1:1, with the number of fatalities among males of fighting age "disproportionately high" ("The Mulish Media and Civilian Casualties," May 1, 2015 CAMERA report).

Correspondent Woods' propagandistic phrase (routinely used by Al-Jazeera networks) "occupied Gaza Strip" is fallacious. Israeli soldiers and civilians were all withdrawn from Gaza in 2005. Of the land borders with Gaza, Israel controls those that are adjacent to Israel; the border with Egypt at Rafah is controlled by Egypt. Beyond this, it is clear under international law that Israel does not occupy Gaza. Even the Strip's Hamas rulers have disputed the "occupied Gaza" label.
 
Correspondent: "Another soldier describes how decisions were made about what they should target. [Male voice, face obscured, reading:] ‘I remember that many times the tank commander could decide, based on his opinion alone, what target we should hit. [Indistinct] would almost give us full autonomy, and say I trust you, shoot when needed.'"

Correspondent: "The group [BtS] that gathered the testimony said it wanted to tell the real story of the war."

STOLLAR (of BtS): "What we are trying to do is enlighten the public to understand what is the moral price of occupation, and how our wars look like, so that the public can be aware so that the public can manage to understand what is the real story, beyond the lies of what they hear from the government."

Correspondent: "The Palestinians have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged crimes carried out by Israel. But Israel has always denied breeching international law, and instead it accuses Hamas of committing its own war crimes. The Israeli Army says it does its best to avoid civilian casualties but it cannot deny the high numbers. The U.N. says almost seven out of every ten of those killed during the 2014 war, were civilians. Erica Woods, Al-Jazeera."

Contradicting Woods and confirming what the "Israeli Army says" about doing "its best to avoid casualties" are testimonies of knowledgeable persons, Israelis, Americans and others. Israel's efforts to limit civilian casualties – including warnings by leaflets, phone calls and text messages of imminent attacks – went beyond that of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that Israel had gone out of its way to avoid civilian casualties. "No army in the world acts with as much discretion and great care as the IDF in order to minimize damage. The U.S. and the U.K. are careful, but not as much as Israel," Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, testified on Sept. 4, 2014 about Operation Protective Edge just as he had said about a previous such operation in his testimony before the U.N. Human Rights Council in October 2009: "During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of war."

Host: "Well, the Israeli Army responded to that report with the following statement: ‘The Israeli Defense Force is committed to properly investigating all credible claims raised by media and nongovernmental organizations and official complaints concerning IDF conduct during Operation Protective Edge in as serious manner as possible."
 
But as The Washington Post acknowledged ("Israeli soldiers allege 'ethical failure' in Gaza," May 5), "the testimonies in the report are anonymous and impossible to independently verify. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) declined to address details in the report and said that Breaking the Silence 'does not provide IDF with any proof of their claims.'" Breaking the Silence's headline-grabbing report includes statements from 60-plus soldiers who said they served in Gaza last summer. There's no confirmation that these anecdotal accounts are either in context of the fighting or representative of the experiences of the several thousand troops who actually served in the Strip. Al-Jazeera fails to note that there would have been no war, no damage and casualties, had Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups not fired more than 4,500 mortars and rockets – several hundred of which fell short within Gaza – at Israel.

• May 1, 2015 – 7:10 a.m. segment in 7:00 news hour

Al-Jazeera America network provided repeats of this unbalanced segment – showing protestors in Jerusalem charging Israeli police with brutality and discrimination against black people – during at least seven separate news-hour broadcasts on May 1. Most of the segments were each immediately followed by reports of the current Baltimore racially related rioting against police protesting brutality and institutionalized discrimination. The network chronically falsely portrays a racist America and a racist Israel while rarely, if ever, presenting upbeat stories of inter ethnic/racial harmony, of which there are obviously many, in America and Israel.

Host: Richelle Carey (richelle.carey@aljazeera.net) (formerly with CNN) from Al-Jazeera America headquarters in New York City.

Correspondent: Nesama Ben Jali, Al-Jazeera English.

Host: "At least 13 people have been injured during demonstrations in Jerusalem. Israeli Jews of Ethiopian origin accuse the police of brutality and discriminating against black people in Israel. Nesama Ben Jali reports."

Correspondent: "They came out in the hundreds – mostly Israeli Jews of Ethiopian origin. Angry at what they say is police brutality against a black Israeli soldier. Medics say more than a dozen people were hurt when scuffles broke out with the police."

Avi Tesema (protestor) (translated): "We are protesting against the police brutality. The police are acting with force against Israeli Ethiopians."

Correspondent: "In an incident last week in Beersheva, an Israeli of Ethiopian descent was allegedly assaulted by immigration officers who thought he was an illegal immigrant. But it was this video that sparked outrage on social media where an Israeli policeman is seen beating a soldier. It shows the policeman pushing him to the ground after he didn't initially obey the policeman's order. Another officer tries to help his colleague. The issue of African migrants in Israel has stirred controversy for many years. Activists say deliberate policies have resulted in an almost 50 percent decline of the population of Ethiopian Jews in Israel in the last decade.

In the video uploaded on social media, the soldier then picks up a rock and threatens the policeman before police backup arrives. In 2010, Wikileaks published a classified cable from Tel Aviv saying that 65 percent of Israeli households of Ethiopian origin relied on welfare to survive. The next year, a TV program revealed that many tenants in the southern city of Kiryat Malachi have signed agreements not to sell or rent properties to Ethiopians. In 2013, the Israeli government admitted to injecting Ethiopian women with birth control treatment without their knowledge. Figures released earlier this year suggested that out of nearly 18,000 asylum seekers, mostly from African countries, just 45 were granted refugee status in Israel. Protestors in Jerusalem are demanding an end to this discrimination against black Israelis.”

The false charge that "deliberate policies resulted in an almost 50 percent decline in the population of Ethiopian Jews in the last decade" in Israel omits important facts. First, the charge relates to a purported 50 percent decrease in the birthrate among Ethiopian immigrants. This has malevolently been explained by the false claim that Israel is sterilizing Ethiopian women. Second, as documented,"declining birth rates are universally understood to be associated with increased affluence and lower child mortality rates. In other words, declining birth rates is a phenomenon one would expect to see in a population moving from Ethiopia (where incomes are low and child death rates high) to Israel (where income is higher and child death rates low)."

Purported instances of Israelis signing agreements not to sell or rent to Ethiopian Jews have been reported previously. A Jerusalem Post report, while critical of the alleged practice, provides insight deriving from interviews with Ethiopian Jews. For example, "Dan Sandaka, a 24-year old Israeli commander of Ethiopian descent in the Israeli Defense Forces, who is responsible for 120 soldiers, also echoes the complexities of the Ethiopian absorption. ‘There are good people and bad people in Israel, like any country. There are many problems and challenges in the absorption of the Ethiopian community in Israel and sometimes it is the fault of the Israeli government, but sometimes it's due to misunderstandings within our own community,' he said. ‘To get integrated into Israeli society is a long process.'"

Yoav Turina (protestor) (translated): "In the year 2015 those who are weak in the land of Israel have no reason to exist. We are subjected to racism – a covert racism, and it must be stopped."

Correspondent: "The Israeli government provides aid to some refugee groups but they still struggle to integrate into society. To deal with the issue of nearly 50,000 immigrants of African origin, Israel has built a fence on the border with Egypt. It's also built large detention centers to house those seeking refuge without the required paperwork. In Jerusalem, protests might be over for now but in the next week if relations don't improve, that anger is likely to continue to boil over. I'm Nesama Ben Jali with Al-Jazeera."

NOTE: The JTA international news agency provides (April 30) a different perspective on the riots:

Ethiopian-Israeli protesters clashed with police during demonstrations throughout Jerusalem over two attacks against Ethiopian-Israelis by Israeli law enforcement. On Thursday afternoon [April 30], some 1,000 protesters blocked roads and the Jerusalem Light Rail, and threw rocks and bottles at police sent to quell the rioting. At least three police officers and eight demonstrators have been injured.

The protests over alleged police brutality and racism were sparked by the two beatings this week of Ethiopian-Israelis, both captured on video. On Wednesday, inspectors from the Population and Immigration Authority beat a Beersheba man who they mistook for an African migrant. On Sunday, police officers beat a soldier who was wearing his uniform.

"I strongly condemn the beating of the Ethiopian IDF soldier and those responsible will be held accountable," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement issued Thursday evening. "However, no one is allowed to take the law into their own hands. The immigrants from Ethiopia and their families are dear to us, and the State of Israel is taking many steps to ease their integration into society."

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, arriving during the protest in an effort to calm things, told the protesters that he respected their right to protest despite not having a permit from police. Over 120,000 Ethiopians have moved to Israel in the past two decades.

The Qatari owned network, while typically ignoring Qatar's serious racism problems, never misses an opportunity to falsely portray Israel as against people of color or minority status. Often, this charge refers to Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but they largely run their own affairs under the leaders they select. Arabs in the Gaza Strip are ruled by a Hamas-led government that attempts to impose stricter Islamic practices; the daily lives of those in the West Bank are administered by the Palestinian Authority. Sometimes the charge refers to the more than one million Arab citizens of Israel but these enjoy full citizenship rights. Sometimes the reference is to the tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews now residing as citizens in Israel after being rescued from religious oppression, war, and famine in 1984, 1985 and 1991 in dramatic large-scale, secret Israeli airlifts. They are being rapidly integrated into Israeli society. As the late New York Times columnist William Safire memorably wrote on Jan. 7, 1985: "For the first time in history, thousands of black people are being brought to a country not in chains but in dignity, not as slaves but as citizens." Today, Israel, like other Western style democracies, is not free of discrimination against minority communities but the situation continues to steadily improve.

• April 28, 2015 – 1:45 p.m. segment in 1:00 news hour.

This is one of numerous, essentially identical such segments vilifying Israel during Al-Jazeera America network news-hour broadcasts of April 27-29. The segment makes claims regarding the 2014 war with Israel initiated by Hamas, terrorist ruler of the Gaza Strip. Based on a recent United Nations report, the charge is that 44 civilians were killed and 277 [the U.N. figure is 227] injured when Israel (allegedly) wrongfully fired on seven U.N. Gaza schools serving as emergency shelters. At least one major potential problem with the claims, including the casualty numbers cited, is that the U.N. relies on information provided by Hamas which, adept at propagandizing as it is, often misrepresents pertinent facts (see NOTE below). Furthermore, typically for the network, the one-sided segments omit context critical for viewers' understanding of the Gaza Strip conflict (see NOTE below) and fails to provide a spokesman for the Israeli position although a Palestinian spokesman is provided.

Host: Libby Casey (previously a C-SPAN Washington journal host) from New York studios.

Correspondent: James Bays (https://twitter.com/baysontheroad), Diplomatic Editor for Al-Jazeera English, United Nations Specialist.

CASEY: "A U.N. investigation says Israel wrongly fired on seven U.N. schools during last year's Gaza war. As James Bays reports, the results of an inquiry are likely to reopen old wounds."

BAYS: "It was the most controversial part of Israel's devastating war on Gaza last summer. U.N. schools, seven in total, supposed to be emergency shelters for civilians – attacked. In total, 44 people killed, 277 injured. U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon launched a board of inquiry. Eight months on, its work has been completed. The U.N. has released a summary. The full report remains confidential. There's also a letter from Ban Ki-moon which finds Israel responsible for all seven attacks."

BAYS: (Quoting Ban Ki-moon) "‘I deplore the fact, that at least 44 Palestinians were killed as a result of Israeli actions,' he says, but the letter goes on to also refer to the discovery of Hamas weapons on U.N. premises. At the U.N. briefing I saw some parity on this."

BAYS (at U.N. briefing): "Is it true that the seven schools, that were hit with the loss of 44 lives, that were all designated as emergency shelters were all hit by Israel? Is it true that the places where weapons were found, were completely separate schools that were vacant and not designated as emergency shelters?"

FARHAN HAQ (Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General): "I'll just refer you to the language of the report – the summary of the report – which states the details. You can see the facts there. You are right, that there's a difference between the three schools where weapons were found, and the seven other sites that were attacked."

BAYS: "The Palestinian ambassador [Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations] had this reaction."

MANSOUR: "What is the Secretary General planning to do in holding Israel accountable for these crimes committed against civilians which there is no money in the world that can substitute for the value of a life of 44 Palestinians that were killed and 277 of them injured."

BAYS: "This report could be extremely important. Since last summer's Gaza war, Palestine has become a member of the International Criminal Court. Already, the chief prosecutor of the Court has launched a preliminary examination, to see whether there should be a formal investigation into the Gaza war. She is bound to want to read the findings of this report extremely carefully. James Bays, Al-Jazeera at the United Nations."

NOTE: As has been documented by CAMERA and others, claims, based on information supplied by Hamas and the U.N. (and readily accepted by the media), of wrongdoing by Israel in conflicts with Hamas have turned out to be fallacious. An example, quite similar to the case at hand, indicating the unreliability of U.N. reports, is the U.N. Human Rights Council report (the Goldstone Report) on the December 2008 to January 2009 Hamas-Israel war. The report was produced by a U.N. commission headed up by South African Judge Richard Goldstone. The judge later repudiated the report's primary accusation that Israel intentionally targeted Palestinian civilians. Goldstone in 2011 wrote in the Washington Post:

“We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document…The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee's report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”

The false impression repeatedly conveyed to viewers by the network is that Israel's military actions wantonly kill and injure Palestinian civilians and Israel is criminally negligent in this. But not a word about the likelihood that civilians in any war area are inevitably subject to being casualties including in "fog of war" accidents. But what are the facts that the network never mentions in this regard related to Israel?

In the 2014 summer's war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, actually each of the thousands of terrorist rockets launched at Israel was a war crime. Israel's efforts to limit civilian casualties – including warnings by leaflets, phone calls and text messages of imminent attacks – went beyond that of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that Israel had gone out of its way to avoid civilian casualties.

"No army in the world acts with as much discretion and great care as the IDF in order to minimize damage. The U.S. and the U.K. are careful, but not as much as Israel," Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, testified on Sept. 4, 2014 about Operation Protective Edge just as he had said about a previous such operation in his testimony before the U.N. Human Rights Council in October 2009: "During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of war."

The lack of context is typical in this report – for example, not a word by Al-Jazeera America network that Hamas, ruler of Gaza Strip, virtually holds its people hostage to Hamas' fanatical zeal as spelled out in its governing Covenant or Charter — to "fight the Jews and kill them" and to replace Israel with an Islamic state. The network's propaganda platform perpetually vilifying Israel and treating fanatical Hamas gently – is not surprising since the network's paymaster, the government of Qatar – owner/operator of the Al-Jazeera networks – is the main financial backer of Hamas.

• April 17, 2015 – 9:19 p.m. segment in 9:00 news hour.
 
Containing only a brief (20-seconds) statement by an Israeli government spokesman, this one-sided eight-minute segment provided four individuals, essentially advocates for the Palestinian side, dealing with Israel's practice of "administrative detention" which is aimed at thwarting Palestinian terrorist attacks upon Israelis. Arab-American guest Dalia Fahmy cites the condemnation of this practice by various U.N. commissions. Meanwhile, hypocritically, these U.N. commissions, unrelenting in their denunciation of Israel, have members sitting in judgment who are from the worst human rights abusing countries. These countries, including surrounding Muslim ones, are unsurprisingly treated gently by the U.N. groups (no Israeli members). The Israeli position on "administrative detention" (provided all too briefly and incompletely in this broadcast) is paraphrased and summarized in the NOTE below.
 
Host: Antonio Mora (antonio.mora@aljazeera.net) from Al-Jazeera America headquarters in New York City. Mora's career includes a long stint with the ABC Television network.

Host: Barbara Serra (barbara.serra@aljazeera.net) from Al-Jazeera America headquarters in New York City. Serra until recently was based in London reporting for Al-Jazeera English.

Correspondent: Nisreen El-Shamayleh (https://twitter.com/NisreenAJE) is Al-Jazeera's Jordan-based correspondent.

Interviewees:

Hatem Qafisheh, Hamas representative in the Palestinian Authority parliament.

Murad Jadallah from Adameer (Palestinian prisoner human rights group) in Ramallah, West Bank.

Guest: Dalia Fahmy (https://twitter.com/daliaffahmy), Assistant Professor of Political Science at Long Island University, and a member of the Egyptian-American Rule of Law Association; reporter for Bloomberg News.

Transcript:

Serra: “Israeli police fired tear gas at West Bank protesters for the second day. Demonstrators wearing [indiscernible] to mark the ‘Palestinian Prisoners' Day' and were throwing rocks at Israeli troops.”

Mora: “In [indiscernible] tonight we take a closer look at ‘Palestinian Prisoners' Day.' It was first observed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1974 in solidarity with Palestinians jailed by the Israeli military.”

Serra: “Well, hundreds of them are currently held in what is called ‘administrative detention.' They are not charged, not indicted and not tried. Al-Jazeera's Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports now on how Palestinians are affected.”

El-Shamayleh: “These pictures show the Israeli Army rounding up Palestinians in Nablus on Wednesday, a scene that is repeated across the occupied West Bank almost every night. Israel currently holds 6,000 Palestinians in its prisons, 450 of whom are held in administrative detention. This means detaining Palestinians without charge or trial, on indefinitely renewable military orders. [Here is] Hatem Qafisheh, the Hamas representative in the Palestinian parliament. He spent over 13 years in administrative detention. He was released two weeks ago and while detained he's missed the birth of his two children, some of their weddings and the funerals of his mother and two siblings.”
 
El-Shamayleh repeatedly uses the term "occupied West Bank" in her reports. These are the facts: In the West Bank, Israel is the legal military occupational authority, pending a negotiated settlement. That's because it gained the territories in 1967 in a war of self-defense. Further, it has not forcibly transferred Arabs out or Jews in, and the land itself is not an occupied part of a sovereign country but an unallocated, disputed remnant of the the League of Nations' Palestine Mandate, Article 6, which calls for "close Jewish settlement" on the land west of the Jordan River. Article 6 is incorporated by Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, sometimes referred to as "the Palestine article." The United States endorsed the mandate, including Article 6, in the 1924 Anglo-American Convention.

The West Bank is not sovereign territory of any country, but rather land disputed by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Part of Jerusalem (which has never been the capital of any nation except Israel) and the West Bank were illegally occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967, when Israel took control as a result of successful self-defense in the 1967 Six-Day War. As Eugene Rostow, a co-author of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), the keystone of all subsequent successful Arab-Israeli negotiations pointed out, 242 does not require complete Israeli withdrawal. Rather, the status of the territory, to which Jews as well as Arabs have legitimate claims, is to be resolved in negotiations as called for in the resolution and by U.N. Security Council Resolution 338 (1973). Meanwhile, Jewish villages and towns built in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria, the ancient homeland of the Jewish people) since 1967 are no more illegal than areas built since then in previously existing Arab villages and towns.

Currently, the overwhelming majority of West Bank Palestinians (more than 90 percent) live in an area that since the 1990s has been fully controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The only Israelis that ever enter (and then only very rarely) are security forces to arrest terrorists planning attacks on Israel.

Qafisheh (translated): “Israel's policy of administrative detention is based on not letting inmates know the reason for [indiscernible] detention. This causes prisoners a psychological conflict because neither they nor their lawyers know when they shall be released.”

El-Shamayleh: "Palestinians protest Israel's detention policy regularly and this is one of many demonstrations held in the West Bank to honor ‘Palestinian Prisoners' Day.' [At this point, El-Shamayleh's words are difficult to understand as she walks among shouting protesters] The issue of prisoners is a point for protesters here. One in four of Palestinians has been at some point detained since Israel began the occupation of the Palestinian territories. For a decade, the United Nations has been calling on Israel to [indiscernible] … Israel violates the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel says administrative detention is a legal tool that it uses sparingly and insists detainees have the right to appeal their detention."

David Baker (Israeli government spokesman): “We prefer not to have to use this tool but we are fighting vicious terrorist organizations who have no hesitation whatsoever in murdering innocent Israelis and Palestinians. There are instances when we have no choice.”

El-Shamayleh: “Arrests increase in times of heightened tensions between Palestinians and Israelis; so do abuses of inmates according to Palestinian legal organizations.”

Jadallah (translated): “Testimonies from lawyers confirm that many prisoners are suffering from illnesses as a result of torture and a policy of medical negligence.”

El-Shamayleh: “In the last year the number of Palestinians held in administrative detention alone has almost tripled. Prisoners say more inmates are being held in solitary confinement and deprived of family visits. With no political progress on peace talks, Palestinian prisoners have little hope that things will get any better. Nisreen El-Shamayleh, Al Jazeera, Ramallah, occupied West Bank.”

Mora: “For more, we are now joined by Dalia Fahmy, she's an assistant professor of political science at Long Island University. Dalia, it's good to have you with us.”

Fahmy: “Thank you for having me.”

Mora: “Mention here was made of the number of prisoners in administrative detention. Is that because of the war in Gaza and the events that led to it?”

Fahmy: “[indiscernible] the Day of commemoration is not just about the 6,000 individuals, it's also about those in administrative detention.”

Mora: “I thought the numbers were much lower.”

Fahmy: “The numbers were lower but according to the United Nations we are actually at the highest number in the past five years. The Day also commemorates the 800,000 individuals who have historically been held in administrative detention since 1967. [indiscernible.] It is very different than criminal incarceration that we think about here in the United States which says that there has been an indictment and a trial and punishment for an act that already happened. Administrative detention is aimed to detain individuals for acts that might happen because they are perceived as possible future security threats.”

Mora: “And I know that the United Nations has called for Israel to cut down on this. But Israel's argument is -- this is information that they've gained from intelligence sources, and they can't just put people out there in a criminal trial because it would allow sensitive information to be released.”

Fahmy: “So, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, the U.N. Commission on Torture, Amnesty International, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, and the European Union have also said this is a violation of the Geneva Convention.”

Mora: “But the Fourth Geneva Convention does allow for this kind of detention under exceptional circumstances of national security.”

Fahmy: “The Geneva Convention's wording is actually that an ‘occupying force' can remove individuals and displace them in different areas. Now, Israel doesn't acknowledge that it is an occupying force. So, this is where the wording gets very sticky with regard to this issue and the Geneva Convention.”

Mora: “And Israel, of course, proud of its democracy, says that this really is not [indiscernible]. Although critics say this is undemocratic, Israel says ‘no, it is not', because people can appeal to a district court and then to the Israeli Supreme Court if they feel they're being held unfairly.”

Fahmy: “Well, the interesting thing about Israel being celebrated as the only democracy in the Middle East is that there's two kinds of citizenships. There are rights and rules for Palestinians and different ones for Israelis. This does not exist in any other democracy anywhere else in the world where there's an unequal understanding of citizenship. Now, the issue is while we can say that appeals can happen, if there isn't an indictment then what are people appealing for? So, it is not clear that Palestinians can actually look for their rights in this process.”
 
Fahmy's characterization,"two kinds of [Israeli] citizenship" is fallacious. First, the West Bank Palestinian Arabs are not citizens of Israel. Second, Israeli Arabs are full citizens with all the rights and responsibilities that their Jewish counterparts have. For example, Israeli Arabs serve on Israel's Supreme Court, in the Israel Defense Forces, and in the Foreign Affairs Ministry. An Israeli Arab, Rana Raslan, won the Miss Israel title in 1999 and represented Israel in the 1999 Miss Universe pageant. Israel, like other Western style democracies, is not free of discrimination against minority communities but the situation continues to steadily improve.

Mora: “I cannot imagine how it would be like to be detained in this way without charges and without knowing how long I'm going to be there. But if you look at the length of time that people have been detained, of the ones who are detained now, the numbers show maybe only a couple of dozen who have been held for more than two years. How big a problem is it?”

Fahmy: “So, even the one that's started under the British mandate that Israel passed in 1945 put a cap on this at six months. And the fact that this goes beyond six months is problematic even with the legal regard. Now, if we look at the number of children and women, Haaretz, the Israeli paper, has documented in written stories not just today but the past couple of weeks about the stories of children, one being eight years old, who has been detained under this extraordinary rendition. There's a problem here that the so-called largest democracy or only democracy in the Middle East is actually performing these acts.”

Mora: “Can the international community have any effect and pressure Israel on this?”

Fahmy: “So, historically we have waited for moments like this for the United States to step in and be the arbiter. Unfortunately, the relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu are not the friendliest now [Mora laughs] and President Obama just released a statement, as we all know, that it's not likely that under his administration we will actually see an end to this conflict and a creation of the Palestinian state. The Wall Street Journal has just issued a report that Israel has been spying on negotiations between the United States and Iran and leaking that to members of Congress.”

Mora: “In other words you're not very optimistic that the relationship …”

Fahmy (interrupting): “I'm not optimistic that the United States right now can be the arbiter. But there is a glimmer of hope here. The Knesset [Israel's parliament] was just sworn in on March 31st. What we saw was 17 Palestinian members actually joining the Knesset which is about 14 percent [of the Knesset] and they formed it as a coalition -- most of them. What this means is that the solution actually might come from within the Palestinian Israeli membership in this Knesset. Prime Minister Netanyahu just called yesterday for a meeting with these Palestinian members of Knesset to move forward.”

Mora: “Dalia Fahmy, thank you for being here.”
 
NOTE:  The Israeli position on "administrative detention" (paraphrased and summarized):

Administrative detention is a practice Israel uses as a preemptive and preventative measure to temporarily incarcerate those it can prove pose credible security threats to soldiers or civilians in the West Bank or Israel. Contrary to the image that Palestinian advocates have presented of the administrative detainees being innocents held unjustly in miserable conditions, many of the detainees are in fact held based on extremely precise information that they actively assisted, planned or carried out terror attacks. Additionally, while prison conditions are never considered luxurious, the Israel Prison Services ensures that no detainee is held in solitary confinement and grants family visits to the inmates.

Chapter Four of the International "Law of Belligerent Occupation" explicitly allows for the detention or internment of individuals whose freedom "may be dangerous to the occupant" or "if necessary for the security of his forces, for the maintenance of law and order, or the proper administration of the country." Likewise, Part III, Section III, Article 78 of the "Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War" stipulates that "If the Occupying Power considers it necessary, for imperative reasons of security, to take safety measures concerning protected persons, it may, at the most, subject them to assigned residence or to internment." When the detention of a suspect is considered to be absolutely necessary to ensure an adequate level of security and all other alternative avenues – including the filing of criminal charges – have been exhausted or cannot be employed, the use of administrative detention may be allowable. For example, detention orders are often issued against those planning terrorist attacks, or orchestrating, facilitating or otherwise actively assisting in the commission of terror acts.

A sentence for administrative detention cannot exceed six months. At the conclusion of the maximum six month period, the military commander must conduct a renewed assessment of the case which is also subject to the same legal and judicial reviews as the original sentencing. While there is no formal bar on the number of administrative detentions – either consecutive or cumulative – that a detainee can be held, each renewed sentence places an exceedingly onerous burden on the military commander to prove the necessity of the detention and the credibility of the intelligence. After each stage of a case's review process, the detainee may challenge the judgment and ruling of the court by petitioning for an appeal which shall be decided with the least possible delay.


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