CAMERA Letter-to-the-Editor: ‘Israel defending itself’

This letter appeared in The Washington Times (online on October 15, 2015, in print on October 16).

Your report, “Israeli-Palestinian violence escalates, approaches 2014 Gaza Strip war levels,” (Web, Oct. 14) errs. It states that current “violence capped a two-week period in which Palestinians … carried out roughly two dozen” stabbings against Jews and that “a spate of violence broke out over access to the Temple Mount in East Jerusalem’s Old City.”

The violence goes back at least to Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas’ August 1 speech in which he falsely claimed “the story of the [Jewish] Temple … the greatest crime and forgery in history” committed so Jews could conquer the Holy Land and “get rid of the al-Aqsa [mosque].” Mr. Abbas’ voice was one of several repeating the ‘al-Aqsa’s-in-danger’ libel before Palestinian rioters hit an Israeli motorist’s car, causing him to crash and die and others based in al-Aqsa attacked Israeli police on Temple Mount. Only then did Israel impose temporary restrictions on Palestinian Arab access to the mount. [This letter has been corrected to reflect events accurately. The murders of Eitam Henkin and his wife Na’ama and two other Israelis in the Old City previously cited occurred later.]

Your article says “various Palestinian factions — both moderate and hard-line — have accused Israel of fomenting the violence by blocking Muslim worshippers and sending a surge of Jewish pilgrims to the Temple Mount … ” No such “surge” took place, let alone was sent by Israeli authorities.

The report gives no details of the anti-Jewish, anti-Israeli Palestinian incitement that continues to foment the violence — including the “moderate” Fatah awarding an honorary law degree to a student shot to death after murdering two Israelis, and a “hard-line” Hamas’ cleric whose sermon last Friday urged West Bank Muslims to form “stabbing squads.”

The article quotes Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat as claiming Israel’s West Bank “occupation has spread a culture of hate and racism that justifies all kinds of atrocities, including collective punishment and cold-blooded executions.” Unmentioned is that there’ve been no “cold-blooded executions,” only several Arabs shot while committing attacks or that it’s been the Palestinian side fomenting anti-Jewish, anti-Israel hatred — in violation of Oslo Accord commitments made 22 years ago — through mosques, schools and the media.

Also left out is the Palestinian rejection in 2000, 2001 and 2008 of offers to end the supposedly intolerable occupation in favor of a “two-state solution” and peace with Israel. Nor are readers advised that Mr. Erekat, who falsely alleged an Israeli massacre of 500 Arabs at Jenin in 2002 and more recently invented a Palestinian history dating to the Canaanites (something previously unknown to archaeologists or historians) has no credibility.

The story says that the current violence has something to do with the fact Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy is dormant, “leading to mounting popular frustration” among Palestinian Arabs. As Bret Stephens wrote Monday in a Wall Street Journal commentary, “Please. It’s time to stop furnishing Palestinians with the excuses they barely bother making for themselves … Today in Israel, Palestinians are in the midst of a campaign to knife Jews to death, one at a time.” It is, Mr. Stephens said, “time to give hatred its due.”


Washington Director
CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)

(Link to published letter here.)

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