Khaled Gharabli, the France 24 Arabic international affairs analyst notorious for routinely misplacing all semblance of impartiality and accuracy when it comes to Israel, has been notably absent from the French public broadcaster for the last two months. His disappearance, together with the unusual removal of his author page, indicate that he no longer works for the French public broadcaster. (The unceremonious deletion of his author page stands in stark contrast to the still available pages of past contributors, including some whose most recent material dates back years.)
His last studio appearance in Paris most likely was Dec. 8. By early January he had returned to Doha resuming his old position as presenter in the Qatari channel al-Araby TV, founded by former Israeli Member of Knesset Azmi Bishara.
Gharabli’s propensity for grotesquely skewed anti-Israel commentary became even more pronounced following Hamas’ Oct. 7 brutal attacks targeting mostly civilians. The France 24 personality referred to the civilians Hamas kidnapped as “settlers,” though all except a tiny minority are either residents of the Gaza envelope area or other regions in Israel internationally recognized as part of the Jewish state, not disputed territory. Gharabli also argued US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s “here as a Jew” remarks would pose a problem for the American administration to “present itself as a neutral mediator between the two sides.” He subsequently denied any antisemitic motive in Hamas’s actions. (Video, in Arabic, follows the excerpt):
What was problematic in [US Secretary Blinken’s] act of support, in the way the support was expressed, there are two issues. The first issue concerns his talk about not coming [t]here as a Secretary, or not only as a Secretary of State but rather, he came as a Jew. Here, introducing the personal dimension, or the personal history of the Secretary of State into the [US] relations with Israel, this will be a problem if the US wants to present itself as a neutral mediator between the two sides. Another problem is when he says, talks about his understanding on the personal level the magnitude of massacres which Hamas carried out against the Jews. Therefore, what we understand from his words here that what Hamas has done is targeting Jews, and Jewish faith. But in fact the issue may not be this way, meaning, Hamas relates to the Israeli state as an occupation state, with Hamas and the Palestinians living under the occupation. Consequently, the targeted party is not necessarily the Jews. This is not a religious conflict between Muslims, represented by Hamas, [and Jews]. Many conflate between Hamas as a movement and an organization, and all of the Gaza Strip, in the sense that Hamas is the one controlling it. Blinken talking that way hence gives the impression as though the conflict is religious, between Muslims and Jews, as though Jews are being targeted only because they are Jews, but the real issue is a political conflict standing on Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.
Prior to Oct. 7, Gharabli’s anti-Israel sentiments found expression in his repeated denial of evidence that a Jewish Temple ever existed in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound, his peddling of false “settlers storming al-Aqsa” hyperbole and unfounded allegations of Israeli war crimes. Particularly troubling was the way he characterized the deadly Jerusalem 2023 attack in which a Palestinian terrorist murdered seven worshippers and pedestrians outside a Neve Yaakov synagogue as an inevitable reaction to Israeli occupation,
a reaction governed by human nature – self defense, a reaction which right and legitimacy both confer. International legitimacy, the UN Charter in Article 51, permits self defense for individuals and groups [alike. This is] a reaction similar to Israel’s, which uses force to defend its interests. Consequently, it is natural for the Palestinian side to use force in self defense, on the condition that such conduct respects international law. One of these conditions [for the conduct to pay such respect] is that no civilians are subjected to it.
Contrary to Gharabli’s suggestion, all seven dead in Neve Yaakov were indeed civilians, aged 14-68, a fact which host Hassania Malih likewise failed to clarify.
While Gharabli’s apparent departure is a step in the right direction, it is still early to talk about a true wind of change at France 24’s Arabic service. Terrorism supporter Laila Odeh still serves as the network’s permanent Jerusalem correspondent supplying most of the reports from and about Israel. Other staff members, meanwhile, cited “the resistance” shooting rockets at Israeli civilian communities, reprised conspiracy theories involving Jews visiting the Temple Mount, and recycled the demonization of all of Israel’s Jews as “settlers.” Day ago, the outlet featured an Egyptian café distributing “Free Palestine” coffee cups sporting a map of the internationally recognized Jewish state of Israel, whitewashing the campaign as an “Egyptian idea to support the Gaza Strip.”