Washington Times Report on ‘Israeli Clashes’ Falls Off Credibility Cliff

A Washington Times report, “Palestinians live on edge with West Bank violence: Parents worry about Israeli clashes” (April 22, 2016), by special correspondent Asma Jawabreh is riddled with false equivalencies and undermined by a failure to dig deeper into Palestinian Arab anti-Jewish violence.

Jawabreh profiles a Palestinian Arab grocer named Abu Saleh who lives in the city of Hebron in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). She claims that Hebron is a “city divided between his fellow Palestinians and ever-rising numbers of Israeli settlers.” In fact, as CAMERA has noted, 80 percent of Hebron is ruled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and has been since January 1997, when the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew from that much of Hebron municipal territory in keeping with the September 1995 Interim Agreement (Oslo II) between Israel and the PA.
False Equivalence

The equivalence between the size of these two communities that The Times special correspondent implies is also false; Hebron municipal region is home to approximately 250,000 Palestinian Arabs and approximately 700 Jews (“Hebron: History and Overview,” Jewish Virtual Library). Jewish residents of Hebron have lived under the threat of Arab violence for centuries. Among the more infamous examples, are the 1929 massacre in which Arabs killed 67 Jews and the 1775 ‘blood libel’ in which Jewish residents were falsely accused of murdering the son of a local sheikh leading to anti-Jewish violence. In 2001, a Palestinian sniper in Hebron shot dead a 10-month-old Israeli infant, Shalhevet Pass, as she sat in a stroller.

Regardless of this history, Jawabreh writes that “for many Palestinians, the mood during these in-house lessons is increasingly strained.” What are the “in-house lessons” she refers to? Perhaps what Abu Saleh—and later Jawabreh herself in a instance of editorializing—refers to as “resistance.”
The meaning of  “resistance”

The meaning of the term goes unexplained as The Times correspondent fails to dig deeper. What are Hebron’s Arabs “resisting?” The presence of a tiny Jewish minority in which Jews have lived for centuries? Considering that the PA repeatedly has rejected “two-state solutions” in exchange for peace with Israel, it becomes clear that “resistance” means Palestinian rejection of any sovereign Jewish presence on any part of the land of Israel that later fell under Muslim rule.  As CAMERA has noted, “resistance” is a term often used by Palestinian terrorist groups and their apologists as code for the destruction of the Jewish state (see, for example, “More Palestinians want economic cooperation with Israel, poll shows,” Aug. 5, 2015).

Almost exculpatory terminology crops up again when Jawabreh writes that “for more than a year, Palestinian Arabs have stabbed, thrown firecrackers and stones and firebombed Israeli settlers and soldiers in Jerusalem, and the West Bank. Israeli forces, in turn, have killed and arrested many of their young antagonists.”

This incomplete listing omits the assaults and murders by Palestinians committed with axes, firearms, vehicular assaults and bus bombings against Israelis. Many of these victims were not “settlers”—although this didn’t stop official PA media, and apparently The Washington Times, from describing them as “settlers” in a terminological attempt to whitewash anti-Jewish violence and make it somehow sound excusable, if not understandable. Moreover, the assaults have been committed by terrorists—not “antagonists”—that have ranged in age from pre-teen to the elderly.

Jawabreh implausibly claims that anti-Jewish violence has occurred “over the objections of older Palestinians, including Palestinian Authority leaders who are ostensibly trying to reach a long-sought peace deal with Israeli leaders.” This, she asserts “is a dynamic that illustrates how deep-seated rage and frustration have taken hold of a rising generation of Palestinians—to the concern of their parents.”
Palestinian leaders trying to have it both ways

Yet, as CAMERA has repeatedly noted, PA leaders have encouraged attacks on Israelis. On Jan. 21, 2016, Fayez Abu Aita, the spokesman for the Fatah movement that dominates the PA, called on West Bank Arabs to “intensify and develop” attacks against Israelis (“Where’s the Coverage? Palestinian Official Calls to ‘Intensify and Develop’ Anti-Israel Violence,” Feb. 9, 2016). In a Sept. 16, 2015 speech on official PA TV that preceded an increase of anti-Jewish violence, PA President Mahmoud Abbas falsely claimed Jews were threatening the al-Aqsa mosque, exhorting, “We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem…blood spilled for Allah.” This complicates Jawabreh’s claim that the violence is from “young ‘lone-wolf’ attackers and not directed by any of the major Palestinian factions.&
#148; While some individuals may act on their own initiative, Palestinian leadership then celebrates their “resistance” and “martyrdom,” encouraging “copy-cat” attacks.

Some Palestinian parents may very well be concerned about their children being injured while committing an attack. However, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a non-profit organization that translates Arab media in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem, pointed out that some Palestinian parents have praised their children’s deaths while attacking Israelis. Among numerous examples (a partial list of which can be found here), PMW reported that the father of deceased terrorist Muhammad Kmeil stated on official PA TV on Feb. 3, 2016 , “We received this [news of his son’s death] with joy. He’s a martyr. Our Creator chose him from among the people to be a martyr…Praise Allah.”

Additionally, Jawabreh’s assertion that PA leaders are “trying to reach a long-sought peace deal” is unsubstantiated. PA leaders rejected U.S. and Israeli offers for a “two-state solution” in exchange for peace with Israel in, among other instances, 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba and 2008 after the Annapolis conference. As recently as March 2016, PA President Mahmoud Abbas rejected U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden’s offer to restart peace negotiations. Jawabreh failed to note this history of Palestinian rejectionism. She did, however record complaints by Palestinian parents that “he solution to the conflict seems blocked” and PA President Abbas’ claim that violence is due to “the despair of young Palestinians over the lack of a political horizon for the two-state solution.”

Abbas and the PA leadership are trying to have it both ways by rejecting renewed negotiations with Israel, inciting violence against it and its people—and then claiming that lack of negotiations causes the violence. This Washington Times reporting that fails to dig deeper uncritically enables that Palestinian approach.


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