Whether the main subject of the story is a Palestinian teen killed during clashes with Israeli troops or West Bank Palestinians firing a rocket at an Israeli community, Agence France Presse demonstrates a steadfast propensity for whitewashing Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians.
We’ll begin with the latter, less obvious case. How could a story about a Palestinian rocket attack in a new arena possibly downplay Palestinian violence? Remarkably, Agence France Presse finds a way.
Today’s article, “Palestinian militants in West Bank fire rocket at Israeli community,” which misleadingly reports: “Thursday’s rocket launch was the second time this month Palestinian militants in the West Bank have attempted to target Israelis.”
An ostensible group called Ayyash Batallion claims responsibility for firing a rocket in the northern West Bank today. pic.twitter.com/2oGDYSHnUn
— Joe Truzman (@JoeTruzman) July 27, 2023
While the rocket launch from Jenin today was the second time this month Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank have attempted to fire rockets at Israelis, it’s not the second time this month “they have attempted to target Israelis.”
As documented by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, during the week of July 19-25:
This past week Palestinians carried out five terrorist attacks: two shooting attacks (in Har Gerizim in Nablus and in Hawwara); two stabbing attacks (in Jerusalem and at the Gilboa crossing); and a vehicular ramming attack near Sebastia (northwest of Nablus). A stabbing attack was prevented near Kiryat Arba when a Palestinian with a knife was detained. IDF forces continued counterterrorism activities, focusing mainly on the Nur al-Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm, where IEDs ready for detonation were seized. Two Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces.
Not only have there been “attempted” attacks targeting Israelis. Unfortunately, some of the attacks were successful, with civilian victims. As the Meir Amit report noted:
On July 20, 2023, three Palestinians attacked an Israeli civilian in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem, stabbing his upper torso about twenty times and then fleeing the scene. He was critically injured and evacuated to a hospital. Two knives were found at the scene of the incident. The three were later apprehended in the village of Harmala (south of Bethlehem). After interrogating the three Palestinians, the Israeli Security Agency confirmed it was a terrorist attack.
In addition, about the week of July 12-18, the Meir Amit center reported:
This past week Palestinians carried out two shooting attacks: shots were fired at an Israeli vehicle near Tekoa (southeast of Bethlehem), injuring a civilian and his two daughters, and at an IDF post near Tulkarm. A Palestinian who infiltrated the settlement of Asaël (south of Hebron) was apprehended by the settlement’s security personnel. The terrorist who shot at the vehicle near Tekoa, a Hamas operative from Hebron, was apprehended several hours later in a mosque in Bethlehem. (Emphasis added.)
Detailing Palestinian attacks July 5-11, Meir Amit wrote:
This past week Palestinians carried out five attacks: a stabbing in Dir Qadis and a shooting and hand-grenade attack in Dir Nidham (both northwest of Ramallah); a shooting in Qadumim (east of Qalqilya), in which an IDF soldier was killed; a shooting in Har Gerizim (Nablus); and a combined shooting and vehicular ramming attack in Tel Aviv; an attempted stabbing in Jerusalem was prevented.</p<
The first days of the month were no different, and included a stabbing attack in Bnai Brak in which a young Israeli victim was wounded, and a shooting at the community of Avnei Hefetz.
Moreover, each of the weekly reports contains an appendix in the back detailing the numerous daily rock, molotov cocktail and other non-“critical” attacks, per Meir Amit’s terminology.
A second AFP story today, “Israeli troops kills Palestinian teen in West Bank: ministry,” likewise whitewashes Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians, stating: “Since early last year, the territory has seen a string of attacks by Palestinians on Israeli targets, as well as violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian communities.” (Emphases added.)
The double standard in the language is striking. Israeli settlers attack Palestinian “communities,” but Palestinians attack Israeli “targets,” a term which erases the fact that Palestinian perpetrators have relentlessly targeted Israeli civilians.
Indeed, almost all of the fatalities on the Israeli side this year have been civilians, while the vast majority of fatalities on the Palestinian side have been combatants, most affiliated with terror organizations.
But that critical information is completely lost in AFP’s story, which obscures:
So far this year, violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has killed at least 203 Palestinians, 27 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on both sides.
They include, on the Palestinian side, combatants as well as civilians and, on the Israeli side, three members of the Arab minority.
It’s remarkable that while civilian deaths on the Palestinian side are an exception, AFP places them on equal footing with combatant fatalities, citing “combatants as well as civilians,” without any kind of quantification. In contrast, on the Israeli side, where civilian deaths are pretty much the rule, AFP doesn’t see fit to note them at all.