NOVEMBER 29 CORRECTION:
Previously, this article referenced a Palestinian named in the CNN article, Hisham Sharibati, stating that he had spent 12 years in prison and that a Google search indicated he had been a bomb maker for Hamas. This was incorrect. Upon further investigation, it appears there are two men named Hisham Sharibati from the same town, of similar age, who are both prominently featured in Palestinian media and both described as "human rights activists." The Sharibati referenced in the CNN piece was not the Sharibati connected to Hamas. The author sincerely regrets the error.
CNN Senior Writer Tara John’s name has repeatedly featured on the bylines of some of CNN’s worst pieces since the October 7 Massacre carried out by Palestinian terrorists. On October 24, she laundered claims that clearly came from Hamas as instead coming from an unnamed “aid group.” On November 2, she wrote about scenes of Palestinian grief, while omitting that those same Palestinians had just weeks earlier celebrated the atrocities carried out against Israelis.
Yet again, in her November 23 article, “‘This is collective punishment:’ West Bank Palestinians under curfew say they are being punished for something they did not do,” John’s bias is on full display.
The narrative advanced is that Israel is unfairly and cruelly subjecting Palestinians in Hebron to “collective punishment” in the form of movement restrictions. But “collective punishment” is a specific legal term, which refers to criminal-like punishments for entire communities for the actions of just some of them. Prohibitions on “collective punishment” do not, however, prohibit lawful measures taken by security forces to address legitimate security needs, including in “occupied” territories.
Thus, to understand whether Israel’s measures are justified or not, readers need to be informed about the nature of the security threat. Yet, out of the nearly 2,000 words in the article, John found space for only around 100 words – in the form of a short, generalized statement from the IDF – about the security threats Israel is facing.
Left unexplained is just how pervasive the problem of incitement and terrorism is among Hebron’s Palestinians. Among the numerous recent terror attacks carried out in the Hebron area or by Palestinians from Hebron: a 10/10 shooting attack from the Jabal Johar neighborhood; the 11/6 murder of Sgt. Rose Elisheva Lubin, an Israeli with American citizenship, by a Palestinian teenager from Hebron; the 11/14 attempted stabbing attack at the Beit Einun junction; the 11/16 killing of Cpl. Avraham Fetena by two Palestinians from Hebron who were attempting to carry out a much larger massacre; and an 11/17 ramming and shooting attack.
Notably, John omits the role Palestinian terrorism has played even long before recent events. She explains the “deployment of new checkpoints” as happening after the “second Palestinian intifada between 2000 and 2005 and increasing Jewish settler-Palestinian violence…” She depicts the violence as a “Jewish settler” issue, when in fact, the waves of Palestinian suicide bombers during the Second Intifada were butchering hundreds of Israelis in places like Netanya, Tel Aviv, and Haifa which are anything but “settlements.” It’s also notable that while John mentions the 1994 Hebron Massacre by a Jewish extremist, she never explains Hebron’s history and the fact that a much earlier massacre, carried out by Palestinian Arabs in 1929, saw the city ethnically cleansed of its Jewish population, which was only allowed to return after the Six Day War in 1967. Suffice it to say, depicting Jews as “settlers” in a city that they had long lived in before being ethnically cleansed for a brief period of 38 years is a wildly inadequate history.
On incitement, while John finds the space to depict Jews in Hebron as “hardline” and even adds details about how one Jewish resident “approached CNN’s team with a rifle slung over his soldier [sic],” she didn’t find the space to mention jubilant celebrations of Hebron’s Palestinians after the murder, rape, torture, mutilation, and kidnapping of over 1,400 Israelis on October 7. Nor does she mention details like the four weapons-manufacturing machines or the Hamas funds and computer equipment recently found in Hebron.
— العربي الجديد (@alaraby_ar) October 7, 2023
Unfortunately, this is a recurring pattern at CNN, where numerous articles direct the reader’s attention to alleged misbehavior of Israelis in the West Bank while largely, and sometimes completely, omitting the enormous scale of Palestinian terrorism there.
John’s bias is exhibited in other ways, too. The article asserts, in the ninth paragraph, that Israeli settlements are “considered illegal under international law.” It is only 20 paragraphs later (in the 29th paragraph) that John acknowledges that it isn’t a universal view, writing “[m]ost of the world considers these settlements illegal under international law.” Indeed, as CAMERA has repeatedly pointed out, the United States itself does not believe the settlements are illegal. By making the inaccurate claim early, while hiding the contradictory details much deeper into the 2,000-word article, John is misleading the audience and burying the facts.
The article also perniciously misleads the audience when it states that there is “physical and legal segregation between the hundreds of Jewish settlers and the thousands of Palestinians” in Hebron, and that the “restrictions on Palestinians’ movement” is in “stark contrast to the freedoms afforded an estimated 700 hardline Jewish settlers…” The attempt to depict these policies as “racial” or “religious” segregation is a deeply inaccurate talking point emanating from a handful of anti-Israel activist organizations. In misleadingly portraying the issue as such, John is falsely depicting movement restrictions based on citizenship and security needs as racial “segregation.” The distinction made is one between Israelis and Palestinians - citizens and non-citizens - not one based on race or religion. Israeli Muslims and Christians have the same rights as Israeli Jews in the area.
Between these omissions, inaccuracies, contradictions, and false equivalencies, CNN’s readers are being done a tremendous disservice at a critical point in history.