Newsweek Article on Hamas Summer Camp Whitewashes Incitement

For those who downplay Palestinian incitement, it was inopportune that a film showing Hamas campers enacting a violent takeover of the Al Aqsa mosque/Temple Mount compound – and killing Israelis – was widely circulated on the internet just before the savage stabbing of an Israeli civilian by a Palestinian teenager.

It is even more inconvenient that closed circuit footage of the brutal attack in all its graphic details became available on the internet immediately afterward.

It is easy for anyone paying attention to draw the connection between the two filmed events.

Enter Newsweek with an article by Jack Moore ostensibly about the Hamas camp’s anti-Israel indoctrination but that essentially whitewashes the phenomenon and its impact on Palestinian youth. The story instead becomes one that blames Israel for Palestinian dissatisfaction and unrest.

The headline, “Hamas Summer Camp Teaches Children How to Liberate Jerusalem Holy Site, Says Report” makes no mention of the glorification of violence that is instilled in the campers. And while the article begins with a full description of the footage, it follows by quoting a Hamas spokesman to reject the notion that “the summer camps were aimed at teaching children how to ‘liberate’ the holy site”:

“This is not true. These are just summer camps for children that take place every summer in Gaza,” he says in an email to Newsweek, “to empty them emotionally, and educate them about their reality, the causes of their suffering and how to build their future and instill a culture of love for their homeland.”

The reporter then interjects a seeming non-sequitur – a Palestinian grievance presented as fact in the reporter’s voice. He writes:

Gaza remains under an Israeli economic blockade imposed since 2007, and the United Nations has predicted that the coastal enclave could become “uninhabitable” by 2020 because of a lack of employment, ravaged infrastructure after three wars with Israel and little economic opportunity or recovery.

Not only is this completely irrelevant to the topic of Hamas indoctrination unless it is meant to provide some sort of bogus justification for it, with the inference that anti-Israel sentiment is justified.
The reporter further attempts to undermine the film’s exposure of Palestinian incitement by citing a PLO official who “questioned the authenticity of the footage, as it had been circulated by pro-Israel organizations, but said if confirmed, the exercise is anyway ‘worthless and isolated.”

Nowhere in the article is anyone quoted to comment on the effect of such institutionalized promotion of violence and demonization of Israelis on Palestinian youth. And the role of Palestinian rhetoric in fueling terrorism is similarly concealed.

Instead, events are presented from the perspective of those who justify attacks on Israelis and blame Israel for any unrest. So, for example, the only mention of Palestinian-perpetrated anti-Israel violence (the brutal murders of three members of the Saloman family) is followed by a quoted justification of the attack, with no mention of the hate rhetoric and call to jihad  that preceded the brutal incident. The reporter writes:

Following Friday prayers at the height of the tensions on July 21, a Palestinian entered the West Bank Jewish settlement of Halamish and killed three Israeli settlers in their home as they sat down to eat Shabbat dinner. Hamas did not claim responsibility for the two attacks, but it said that such attacks were “a natural response to Israeli terrorism.”

In this way, the reporter manages to avoid dealing with the effects of Palestinian incitement. Indeed, the only suggestion of cause and effect comes when blaming Israeli security measures as the “cause” for Palestinian “unrest”. Thus, the reporter writes of:

weeks of unrest following Palestinian anger at Israeli security measures at the contested site in East Jerusalem. Israel imposed metal detectors but subsequently removed them on the recommendation of security officials.

The measures caused uproar among Muslims, who said Israel is interfering with the status quo at the site. Riots then broke out between Palestinians and Israeli security forces, with dozens of Palestinians injured in the clashes.

What about the perpetrators of the event that prompted Israel’s security measures? The armed Arab-Israeli terrorists who murdered two Israeli  security guards, prompting the security measures, were celebrated as “martyrs of Al Asa”. Were they radicalized by Palestinian incitement and does glorification of their actions spur more such attacks?  These questions are not explored.  In fact, the article makes no mention at all of the perpetrators.

The article, in this way, effectively changes the focus of the article from one about Palestinian hate indoctrination into one about Israeli provocations and Palestinian grievances.

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