January 17, 2018

Updated: AFP Photo Captions Mislead on Gaza 'Smuggling Tunnels'

Update Appended to Bottom of Post: AFP Removes Misleading Reference to 'Smuggling' Tunnels
A series of Agence France Presse photo captions earlier this week misleadingly identified the tunnel discovered under the Kerem Shalom crossing, extending from Gaza into Israeli territory, as "smuggling tunnels" [sic], despite the fact that the Israeli army has said it is an offensive attack tunnel.

According to Haaretz:

In contrast to Hamas' claims that the tunnel was used for smuggling goods, the IDF unequivocally stated that it was an attack tunnel used to smuggle in weapons, terrorists and other operatives into Israel in order to carry out terror attacks.

A sampling of the captions with the misleading reference to "smuggling tunnels," as if the tunnel was intended to illegally move flour, livestock or other harmless goods across the border, follows.

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Palestinian security forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority (L), walk at the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main passage point for goods entering Gaza, after is was closed by Israel following the discovery of smuggling tunnels underneath the crossing, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafat on January 14, 2018. SAID KHATIB / AFP
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A Palestinian security man closes the gate of the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main passage point for goods entering Gaza, after it was closed by Israel following the discovery of smuggling tunnels underneath the crossing, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafat on January 14, 2018.
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Palestinians ride a donkey and cart near the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main passage point for goods entering Gaza, after is was closed by Israel following the discovery of smuggling tunnels underneath the crossing, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafat on January 14, 2018. SAID KHATIB / AFP

But as AFP itself reported ("Israel destroys tunnel from Gaza it says intended for attacks"):

Israel said Sunday it used a combination of air strikes and other means to destroy a tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into the country and continuing into Egypt.

Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said the tunnel belonged to Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, and was intended for attacks as opposed to smuggling.

Such tunnels have been used to carry out attacks in the past.

In particular, in 2014, Hamas used a similar tunnel to infiltrate into Israeli territory and kill five soldiers.

As of this writing, AFP has failed to clarify its captions which echo Hamas' dubious claim that the tunnel's purpose was to smuggle goods.

See also: AFP Last to Correct Its Own Arabic Mistranslation

Update, 6:20 a.m. EST: AFP Removes Misleading Reference to 'Smuggling' Tunnels

AFP has amended all of the captions, removing the misleading reference to "smuggling tunnels." The captions still erroneously refer to the discovery of tunnels (in plural), though the discovery of just one tunnel was announced this week.

afp tunnelfixed.jpg
Palestinian security forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority (L), walk at the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main passage point for goods entering Gaza, after is was closed by Israel following the discovery of tunnels underneath the crossing, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafat on January 14, 2018.
afp tunnelfixed2.jpg
A Palestinian security man closes the gate of the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main passage point for goods entering Gaza, after it was closed by Israel following the discovery of tunnels underneath the crossing, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafat on January 14, 2018.
afp tunnelfixed3.jpg
Palestinians ride a donkey and cart near the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main passage point for goods entering Gaza, after is was closed by Israel following the discovery of tunnels underneath the crossing, in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafat on January 14, 2018.

Posted by TS at 02:11 AM |  Comments (0)

January 14, 2018

AFP Last To Correct Its Own Arabic Mistranslation

BBC and The Guardian, clients of Agence France Presse photo service, along with Getty Images, a distribution partner of AFP, have all corrected an AFP photo caption which mistranslated an Arabic sign about the boycott of Israeli good. Only AFP has failed to answer CAMERA's call to correct.

Though the inaccurate captions in question date to 2015, last week they again appeared on numerous news sites due to the Israeli Strategic Affairs Ministry publication of a list of 20 BDS organizations whose key activists will be denied entry into Israel. The captions wrongly state that the pictured sign is "calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements." In fact, the Arabic writing on that sign makes no reference whatsoever to a selective boycott of "Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements." The sign actually states: "Boycott your your country's produce."

Moreover, the sign is credited to "the national campaign for boycott of the occupation and its goods" along with two other groups.

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A tourist photographs a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem on June 5, 2015, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements. The international BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaign, that pushes for a ban on Israeli products, aims to exert political and economic pressure over Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories in a bid to repeat the success of the campaign which ended apartheid in South Africa. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX
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Palestinians walk past a sign painted on a wall in the West Bank biblical town of Bethlehem on June 5, 2015, calling to boycott Israeli products coming from Jewish settlements. The international BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaign, that pushes for a ban on Israeli products, aims to exert political and economic pressure over Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories in a bid to repeat the success of the campaign which ended apartheid in South Africa. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX

In response to communication from CAMERA's BBC Watch, BBC commendably corrected the caption on its site, which now accurately says the sign is "calling for a boycott of Israeli products."

Also as a result of BBC Watch's communication, Getty Images, which is a distribution partner with AFP, also amended its caption to accurately refers to a "boycott of Israeli boycotts."

In addition, in response to communication from CAMERA's UK Media Watch, The Guardian also corrected the AFP caption which it had used. The Guardian also commendably appended a note alerting readers that on January 12 "the picture caption which contained a mistranslation" was amended.

Only AFP has failed to correct its own caption in violation of the news agency's Editorial Standards and Best Practices, which states:

Particular vigilance is needed during translation and proofreading of graphics, with regard to both the text and graphic elements. Good proof reading comprises three phases: the coherence and general relevance of the graphic, the text content (form and shape, spelling, font,) and the graphic content (accuracy, choice of colours).

Posted by TS at 06:27 AM |  Comments (0)

In English, Haaretz Misleads on Ibrahim Abu Thuraya

Update, 8:10 am EST: For Second Time, Haaretz English Edition Corrects on Abu Thuraya's Leg Injury

Despite the fact that Haaretz's earlier this month corrected a photo caption which inaccurately reported on the unclear circumstances regarding the death of double amputee Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, along with the circumstances in which he lost his legs, the Israeli daily's English edition continues to get the facts wrong.

Thus, in the English edition, Amira Hass' Jan. 8 Op-Ed ("One Palestinian More or Less, What Does It Matter to the Israeli Army?"), misleadingly refers to "Abu Thuraya, whose legs had been amputated after an Israeli air strike nine years ago."

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Abu Thuraya injured his legs in a clash with soldiers, and not in an air strike. Haaretz ran this AP story last month stating:

While relatives have claimed Abu Thraya lost his legs in an Israeli airstrike while trying to rescue people, AP records show that he was wounded on April 11, 2008, in a clash between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. AP television footage from that day shows Abu Thraya identifying himself as he is taken away on the back of a pickup truck. He is also seen being taken on a stretcher.

The Hebrew version of Hass' Op-Ed does not claim that Abu Thuraya lost his legs in an Israeli air strike. It states (CAMERA's translation):

Less than two weeks after he wrote this, the army's criminal investigation unit announced that it would investigate the circumstances of the death of Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, a double amputee.

Hass AbuThuraya Heb.jpg

Continue reading "In English, Haaretz Misleads on Ibrahim Abu Thuraya"

Posted by TS at 03:25 AM |  Comments (0)

January 11, 2018

Where’s the Coverage? Israel Prevented ‘Several Dozen’ Terror Attacks in Europe

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The nation of Israel prevented ‘mass’ terror attacks on the continent of Europe, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Jan. 9, 2018. This admission—made at a meeting of Israel-based Ambassadors to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)—was widely ignored by major U.S. news outlets.

According to The Times of Israel, Netanyahu told the foreign diplomats:

“We have, through our intelligence services, provided information that has stopped several dozen major terrorist attacks, many of them in European countries. Some of these could have been mass attacks, of the worst kind that you have experienced on the soil of Europe and even worse, because they involve civil aviation. Israel has prevented that, and thereby helped save many European lives (“Netanyahu hints Israel has stopped hijacked planes crashing into European cities,” Jan. 9, 2018).”

The Israeli leader declined to provide specific examples, but noted that the Jewish state has contributed to the safety of Europe, both by preventing attacks in European cities and by thwarting attempts by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to set up a base in Egypt. He also highlighted Israel’s efforts to pushback against Iranian attempts to establish a “military base in Syria,” noting that battles between the Shi’ite theocracy and Sunni Muslims would result in a “spillover” of refugees fleeing to Europe.

Times of Israel correspondent Raphael Aren pointed out that “Israel and NATO have cooperated on security matters for decades but recently upgraded their ties significantly,” with Jerusalem opening its first office in NATO headquarters in 2017.

Israel’s prime minister telling foreign diplomats that his nation prevented ‘mass’ terror attacks on European cities is newsworthy. Yet, most U.S. and U.K. news outlets failed to cover it. The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, USA Today, and others didn’t provide readers with any original reporting on Netanyahu’s comments.

By contrast, The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post (“Benjamin Netanyahu: Israel thwarted ‘major’ terror attacks in Europe involving planes”), The Telegraph (“Netanyahu:Israel helped stop terror attacks on plans in Europe”), and Business Insider( “Israel claims it has prevented ‘several dozen major terrorist attacks”) all highlighted the prime minister’s remarks.

Instead of reporting on Israel foiling “several dozen major terrorist attacks” on European cities, The Washington Post chose to attack Israel’s leader. The Post’s World Views columnist Ishaan Tharoor offered a skewed Jan. 10, 2018 “analysis,” entitled “Trump and Netanyahu are playing the same game.” That report claimed that the Israeli prime minister and the U.S. president have “echoed each others illiberal agendas.”

Tharoor asserted: “In a year when much of the international community has held Trump at arm’s length, Netanyahu went in for a full embrace.” Yet, much of the “international community,” including the European Union (EU), and its leading member states of Germany, France, the United Kingdom, among others, have failed to fully condemn Iran’s violent repression of its citizens, who, since late-December 2017, have been protesting in the streets. Tharoor omitted this fact, instead he argued that by “celebrating their nationalism and defiance” of political opponents, Netanayahu and Trump were promoting “illiberal” agendas.

Those who promote the illiberal agendas of Islamic terrorism—such as the Islamic Republic of Iran and ISIS—were not mentioned in The Post’s analysis.

Posted by SD at 02:05 PM |  Comments (0)

January 09, 2018

The Palestinian Authority Paid Terrorists $347 Million in 2017

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A Jerusalem Post graph illustrating how PA payments to terrorists are calculated, with amounts shown in shekels

The Palestinian Authority (PA) paid imprisoned terrorists and their families 347 million USD in 2017, Israel’s defense ministry reported on Jan. 9, 2018. The PA is dominated by the Fatah movement, which rules the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Both entities are led by Mahmoud Abbas, who is routinely described by media outlets as a “moderate.”

The Jerusalem Post highlighted the defense ministry’s report, noting that it was submitted to the Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (“Palestinian Authority Paid Terrorists Nearly $350 Million in 2017,” Jan. 9, 2018). The paper noted that the payments are greater for those with higher prison sentences—“in other words, those who committed more severe crimes and likely were involved in killing Israelis” are financially rewarded.

Married terrorists and those with children receive “bonuses,” as do those with Israeli citizenship and those who live in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post provided a breakdown of how payments are rewarded, allowing readers to calculate how much a Palestinian terrorist could make for murdering Jews.

As CAMERA pointed out in a May 17, 2017 Op-Ed in The Hill, the PA’s decision to pay terrorists and their families is enshrined in the authority’s own laws, passed in 2004 and amended in 2013 ("How the Palestinian Authority's 'Social Safety Net' Encourages Terrorism"). The PA even treats the payments as salaries by withholding tax on them. Indeed as Doug Feith, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and Sander Gerber, a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, have noted, the authority has created the Prisoners and Released Prisoners Ministry and the Institution for the Care for the Families of Martyrs to manage these payments, which comprise an estimated 7 percent of the PA’s budget.

Payments to terrorists violate the Oslo accords, which created the PA and provided the basis for its funding. Although Fatah and PA head Abbas is routinely portrayed as a “moderate” and a “peace partner,” he has refused to stop paying terrorists.

After an August 2017 meeting with U.S. officials—who demanded that he cease providing a financial reward for terror—Abbas issued a statement: ““I will never stop [paying] the allowances to the families of the prisoners and released prisoners.” The PA head—who marked his thirteenth year in power on Jan. 9, 2018—added: “I will pay them until my dying day.”

As CAMERA noted at the time, Abbas’ decision to resist demands from his chief benefactor went widely underreported by major U.S. media outlets that frequently report on the “peace process ("Palestinian Leader Promises to Pay Terrorists 'Until My Dying Day," Aug. 28, 2017).”

The Knesset will soon be considering legislation that will “deduct the equivalent amount to what the PA pays terrorists and their families, from taxes and tariffs Israel collects for the PA,” The Jerusalem Post reported. The legislation is proposed by Yesh Atid MK Elazar Stern and is modeled on a similar U.S. bill, The Taylor Force Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in December 2017 and is awaiting approval in the U.S. Senate.

Posted by SD at 01:52 PM |  Comments (0)

Foreign Policy Fails To Tell The Truth About UNRWA

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An image posted on the official Facebook page of an UNRWA school

As its headline illustrates, a Jan. 5, 2018 Foreign Policy article, “Nikki Haley’s Diplomacy of Revenge Targets U.N. Relief Agency,” substituted editorializing for reporting, while omitting key facts about the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The dispatch, by reporter Colum Lynch, ostensibly detailed U.S. warnings that it would cut aid to UNRWA.

But Foreign Policy—which pitched the article as an “exclusive” report—failed to explain UNRWA’s curious mission and history.

As CAMERA has highlighted, UNRWA is the only U.N. organization whose stated mission is to assist a specific group of refugees, Palestinian Arabs. All other refugee populations in the world fall under the jurisdiction of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (“The Washington Post Whitewashes UNRWA,” Jan. 5, 2018).

UNRWA was established after Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, which occurred when Arab states rejected the U.N. partition plan and declared war on the fledgling Jewish state. Although the agency was created to resettle Palestinian Arab refugees from the conflict, it soon changed course—beginning with changing the definition of what constitutes a “refugee.”

Unlike UNHCR, UNRWA considers people generations removed from the 1948 War and people who are citizens of other countries to be “Palestinian refugees.” This definition is exclusive to Palestinian “refugees” and, as CAMERA has noted, enables people like the twenty-year-old Los Angeles-born fashion model, Bella Hadid, to be classed as a “refugee” to a war that occurred seventy years ago.

The result of UNRWA’s policies? More “refugees.” Although there were an estimated 700,000 refugees in 1950, there will be a projected 6.4 million in 2020—2 million of whom are Jordanian citizens, according to the publication Middle East Quarterly ("Why a Special Issue on UNRWA?"). Created to resettle refugees, UNRWA instead manufactures them. All for the purpose of “right of return,” a novel legal claim that asserts that generations of Palestinians have a “right” to return to a country their forefathers sought to destroy.

Yet, Foreign Policy omitted UNRWA’s history while noting that the U.S. State Department “decided to put on hold more than $100 million in funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that was scheduled to be paid on the first working day of January, according to two diplomatic sources.” UNRWA is almost entirely reliant on the donations of individual member states, with the U.S. being the chief donor country, donating $360 million dollars in 2017—40 percent of the organization’s budget.

As The Washington Post detailed, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid since “the Palestinians [are] no longer willing to talk peace,” asking “why should we make massive future payments to them?” Instead of highlighting this aspect—that the U.S. is using aid as leverage in pursuit of a policy goal—Foreign Policy portrayed the funding halt as largely one of “revenge” against Palestinians for introducing U.N. resolutions condemning the United States for implementing the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act.

The magazine failed to inform readers that Palestinian leaders have, on a number of occasions, rejected U.S. and Israeli offers for statehood in exchange for peace with the Jewish state.

Lynch also omitted that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to participate in bilateral negotiations with Israel—violating the very terms of the Oslo Accords, which created the authority and which remains its source of funding. Oslo stipulates that all “outstanding issues” must be resolved “bilaterally,” yet Palestinian leadership has sought to internationalize the conflict and rejected talks with Israel. Put simply: The U.S. is seeking to use aid as soft power to achieve goals that are, in part, the reason for the aid in the first place.

Foreign Policy noted that Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour claimed that the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “disqualifies” the United States from a role as a neutral arbitrator. This, Foreign Policy argued, is purportedly the main reason for possibly cutting aid. But Lynch failed to tell readers that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was mandated by the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which was reaffirmed by a bipartisan majority of 90-0 in the U.S. Senate seven months ago. The Dec. 6, 2017 decision by the United States to belatedly implement this piece of legislation explicitly does not commit the US to a position “on any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of the contested borders ("Days of Rage and Bad Reporting," The Times of Israel, Dec. 7, 2017).”

Continue reading "Foreign Policy Fails To Tell The Truth About UNRWA"

Posted by SD at 11:50 AM |  Comments (0)

January 02, 2018

Where’s the Coverage? Palestinian Leaders Spend Christmas Celebrating a Terrorist

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PA President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Rafat Al-Jawabra on Dec. 25, 2017. Image courtesy of MEMRI

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and head of the Fatah movement, spent Dec. 25, 2017 meeting with a recently released terrorist named Rafat Al-Jawabra, according to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). Major U.S. news outlets failed to report that a Palestinian leader they frequently label a “moderate,” met with a commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

Al-Jawabra was “responsible for a series of shootings and a suicide attack in the Jewish settlement of Efrat during the second intifada,” MEMRI noted. He was imprisoned in 2002 and was released at the end of 2017. While incarcerated, Al-Jawabra was elected to the local council of the village of Al-Doha in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

Fatah held several events and receptions to celebrate his release.

At one Dec. 16, 2017 event, Abbas’ deputy, Mahmoud al-Aloul, presented Al-Jawabra with a “certificate of honor.” As CAMERA has highlighted in several Op-Eds, al-Aloul himself is an unrepentant and convicted terrorist whose February 2017 appointment has been ignored by the press (see, for example “The Media and the Missing Abu Jihad,” The Washington Jewish Week, Oct. 4, 2017). Al-Aloul, whose nickname is Abu Jihad, is a possible successor to the octogenarian Abbas.

Speaking at Al-Jawabra’s release, Al-Aloul called the terrorist “a leader of whom we are proud.”

At a rally celebrating his release, Al-Jawabra was greeted by hundreds of activists waving Palestinian and Fatah flags. MEMRI noted:

“In his own speech at the rally, Al-Jawabra mentioned the Al-Aqsa members killed during the second intifada, saying: ‘We renew our pact with the martyrs and tell them: your blood was not shed in vain.’ He added that the occupation, the prisons, the oppression and the Nakba ‘will only increase our faith, our strength and our resolve to continue the fight for Jerusalem... There will be no negotiations without Jerusalem and no solution without Jerusalem... We are united and the occupation is temporary.’ The audience responded with cries of ‘millions of martyrs are marching on Jerusalem.’”

As CAMERA has pointed out, Palestinians often refer to the existence of the Jewish state of Israel on any land as “the occupation.” Their school textbooks and official media depict a world without Israel—a direct violation of the Oslo accords that created the PA.

Fatah operatives spent ten days celebrating Al-Jawabra’s release. In addition to Abbas and Al-Aloul, other top officials, such as Fatah Central Committee Members Abbas Zaki and Jamal Muhaisen attended events, which included marches, parades, and motorcades.

It’s not unusual for Fatah to celebrate the release of convicted terrorists. However, it is unusual for the movement to spend ten days doing so—perhaps suggesting a greater role for Al-Jawabra and/or a desire to compensate for the U.S. decision to belatedly implement the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act. The latter was widely viewed as a loss for the PA and Fatah, which rejected the sovereign right of their chief benefactor, the United States, to place an embassy in Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

Major press outlets provided extensive—if frequently flawed—coverage of the United States’ decision. As CAMERA noted in The Times of Israel, many in the media claimed that it hindered or destroyed the “peace process.” However, according to a Lexis-Nexis search, not a single major outlet reported the fact that top Palestinian leaders spent ten days—including Christmas—celebrating the release of a convicted terrorist and murderer. USA Today, The Baltimore Sun, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, among others, failed to inform readers.

Posted by SD at 01:37 PM |  Comments (1)

Newsweek Errs on Legality of Occupation

In a Dec. 28 article ("Israeli teens refuse to serve in military, take part in occupation"), Newsweek's Jack Moore errs, stating:

The majority of the international community considers Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be illegal under international law.

Newsweek illegaloccupation.jpg

Occupations are legal under international law and the majority of the international community has not dubbed the occupation itself illegal. Other that other leading media outlets have corrected this very error, including The New York Times (twice). A March 21, 2016 New York Times correction stated:

An article on Jan. 13 about a divestment action against Israeli banks by the United Methodist Church pension board referred incorrectly to the Palestinian territories, where, the board said, the banks help finance Israeli settlement construction. While most of the world officially considers the territories to be occupied, and the settlements illegal, there is no consensus that the occupation itself is illegal. The error was brought to the attention of editors only this week.

Previously, The New York Times had corrected on Oct. 14, 2015:

An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the Golan Heights. While most of the world officially considers it to be occupied, and the settlements there illegal, there is no consensus that the occupation itself is illegal. The same error appeared in an earlier version of a caption with the accompanying slide show.

Similarly, The Independent corrected the same point last month.

CAMERA has contacted editors. Stay tuned for an update.

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Posted by TS at 04:52 AM |  Comments (1)

Reuters Removes Photograph Implicating Israel in Deaths of Iranian Street Protesters

What do Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz have to do with the deaths of 10 Iranian protesters demonstrating against their regime? That's what Twitter users were wondering after Reuters TV used a photograph of the pair conspiratorially huddling to accompany a video about the Iranian deaths.

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In response to Reuters TV's tweet, this writer mused:

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(TheMossadIL is a satirical account.)

Reuters later pulled the photograph and tweet, which is no longer available.

Posted by TS at 03:12 AM |  Comments (1)

December 24, 2017

'Crux' of the Conflict, According to The New York Times

What is the crux of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? According to a New York Times headline in yesterday's print edition, and online here, it is religious settlers encroaching on Palestinian land ("An Israeli Settler, A Dead Palestinian, and the Crux of the Conflict").

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The article itself addresses tension surrounding land between Palestinians and Israelis living in the West Bank, but does not describe this friction as the "crux" of the conflict:

This is the story of one Palestinian village and an adjacent settlement in the hills south of Nablus — formerly friendly communities now tinged with hostility and suspicion. The deterioration reflects the broader strife from a volatile mix of populations, 50 years of Israeli occupation and a competition over the same land that is only intensifying.

Indeed, just six months ago, The Times cited a different issue as the "crux" or core of the conflict. The The Times reported in June:

For Israel, the capture of the Old City, with its ancient holy sites, from Jordanian control was the emotional pinnacle of its swift victory in 1967. It is the nucleus of the city that Israel has declared its sovereign and eternal capital. It is also the hotly contested core of the conflict.

In a lengthy 2015 feature ("Netanyahu and the Settlements"), The Times quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who rejected the notion that the settlements sit at the crux of the conflict:

Mr. Netanyahu now explains his building initiatives as an inevitable accommodation to natural growth and says they have not materially affected the map, only added, as he put it, “a few houses in existing communities.” He rebuts any suggestion that settlements are the core of the conflict, noting that Arabs and Jews were fighting in this land long before they existed.

“From 1920, when this conflict effectively began, until 1967, there wasn’t a single Israeli settlement or a single Israeli soldier in the territories, and yet this conflict raged,” he said in a May interview with Bloomberg View. “What was that conflict about? It was about the persistent refusal to recognize a Jewish state, before it was established and after it was established.”

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So, while The New York Times promises holiday readers facts "in abundance all year" and urges them to "[g[ive the gift of understanding, with on the ground reporting from more than 140 countries," it fails to deliver understanding on the crux of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Posted by TS at 03:22 AM |  Comments (0)

December 21, 2017

Where’s the Coverage of New Jersey Imam’s Call for Genocide?


On December 8, MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, translated a sermon given in a New Jersey mosque. The organization summarized as follows:

Sheikh Aymen Elkasaby, imam of the Islamic Center of Jersey City, dedicated his Friday sermon on December 8 to U.S. President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Imam Elkasaby defied the assumption that Israel is invincible, quoting from the Quran to demonstrate that the Jews “are the most cowardly of nations.” “So long as the Al-Aqsa Mosque remains prisoner in the hands of the Jews… So long as the Al-Aqsa Mosque remains under the feet of the apes and pigs, this nation will remain humiliated,” he said. Towards the end of the sermon, Imam Elkasaby prayed for Allah to grant him “martyrdom on the threshold of the Al-Aqsa Mosque” and to annihilate “the plunderer oppressors” down to the very last one.

The video with subtitles is available for viewing here.

While one local news outlet originally reported on the antisemitic comments, the AP and several other local news outlets covered the story only after the Imam was suspended, over a week later.

By waiting until the Imam was suspended, these news outlets are able to turn the focus of the story away from the Imam’s call to “kill them down to the very last one.”

Instead of being a story about a call to genocide issued from within the US, the story is now about a mosque that is making amends for its misstep. Further, one wonders whether, if the Imam had not been suspended, these news organizations would have covered the story at all.

Other than local news and the brief AP story, Sheikh Aymen Elkasaby’s comments have been prominently reported only in Jewish, Middle East, and right-of-center news organizations.

Another sermon with similar themes, given last summer in a Northern California mosque, was prominently covered by mainstream media after that Imam apologized – again, after the focus was turned away from the original, hateful, content.

Meanwhile, similar comments made by Sheikh Raed Saleh Al-Rousan of the Tajweed Institute in Houston, Texas have also come to light. Al-Rousan recited the prediction that “the Muslims will kill the Jews, and the Jews will hide behind the stones and the trees, and the stones and the trees will say: Oh Muslim, oh servant of Allah, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.” He then said “"All these games in the Muslim and Arab countries are from them. They do not want a Muslim leader.”

Will the media do better this time?

Posted by kabe at 01:39 PM |  Comments (0)

December 13, 2017

DPA Captions Wrongly Blame Israel for Islamic Jihad Deaths

Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) published photo captions yesterday which incorrectly imply that an Israeli strike was responsible for the deaths of two Islamic Jihad members in Gaza. The photos and captions, distributed by major photo agencies including Agence France Presse (AFP) and Associated Press, note the funeral procession for the Islamic Jihad men "follow[ed] an Israeli strike in Beit Lahia, Northern Gaza Strip."

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ATTENTION/GRAPHIC CONTENT: Palestinians carry the body of one of two Islamic Jihad militants, during a funral procession following an Israeli strike in Beit Lahia, Northern Gaza Strip, 12 December 2017.Wissam Nassar.

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ATTENTION/GRAPHIC'CONTENT: Palestinians mourn and shout slogans as they carry the body of one of two Islamic Jihad militants, during a funral procession following an Israeli strike in Beit Lahia, Northern Gaza Strip, 12 December 2017.Wissam Nassar.

But as DPA reported today ("Israeli air force bombs Gaza Strip after rocket attacks"):

Also on Tuesday, two Palestinian militants were confirmed dead after an explosion in the Gaza Strip, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group said that the two militants - Hassan Ghazi Nasrallah and Mustafa al-Sultan - were preparing rockets when the explosion occurred. (Emphasis added.)

In addition, Haaretz reported yesterday ("Gaza-based Islamic Jihad Drops Claim of Israeli Drone Strike"):

The Islamic Jihad militant group in Gaza now says the blast that killed two of its members was an accident.

The group earlier Tuesday accused Israel of killing the men in an airstrike. But it has issued a new statement saying the men had mishandled explosives.

Ealier [sic] reports from Gaza's Hamas-controlled Health Ministry said Tuesday that two Palestinians were killed in what was described as an assassination by an Israeli military drone. Palestinians say the two killed were members of the Al-Quds Brigade, the military wing of Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli army denied any role in the incident and said that contrary to the Palestinian report, the military had not carried out any such drone strike in Gaza. Israeli army officials said that the explosion was believed to have been the result of a "work accident," the term generally used when explosives intended to be used by militants against Israel explode prematurely.

CAMERA has contacted DPA to request a clarification. Stay tuned for an update.

Posted by TS at 01:17 PM |  Comments (1)

December 12, 2017

Reuters Rushes to Publicize Claim of "Israeli Attack." You Won't Believe What Happened Next

There may be times when "local residents" are good sources for a news story. But the death of two members of the Islamic Jihad terror group, killed in an explosion as they raced through Gaza on a motorcycle, is clearly not one of those times.

Before the metaphorical dust had a chance to settle, the Reuters World Twitter account sent to its 236,000 followers the following, in which Israel is named as the culprit:

Turns out it wasn't an Israeli attack. At some point after this was posted on Twitter, the Reuters article updated to note that, by all indications, the terrorists were involved in a planned attack against Israel, but their explosives detonated prematurely. Not only did Israel indicate it wasn't responsible, but Islamic Jihad announced that its two dead members were "martyrs of preparation," indicating that their own weapons did them in.

Still now, hours after the article was updated, the Reuters headline frames the story as one about Israel denying responsibility for an "attack," as opposed to Islamic Jihad bungling plans to strike at Israel.

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The conclusion is pretty straightforward. Reuters should be aiming more for accuracy and less for intrigue in headlines and tweets. If a mysterious explosion kills Palestinians, dubious allegations about Israeli involvement don't belong front and center, at least not until they become something more than dubious allegations. And when they become something less than dubious allegations — inaccurate claims — the headline should focus on what happened, not on Israel's denial of something Israel didn't do.

Impatient journalism might get more clicks. But readers expect more from serious news organizations.

Posted by GI at 02:32 PM |  Comments (6)

What Were the Motives of the Port Authority Bomber?

What were the motives of Ayaked Ullah, the Port Authority bomber in yesterday's attack? There are many news headlines that address the issue, and they advance differing theories, each of them presented as fact.

Thus, Haaretz's English print edition page-one headline states as fact: "N.Y. bomb suspect sought revenge for Israel's Gaza actions."

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The accompanying article, however, is more cautious about determining the motive. It qualifies:

The suspect in a failed suicide bombing in New York City on Monday told police he was motivated by Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip, CNN reported. (Emphasis added.)

Haaretz's headline for the digital version of the same article was also more careful, likewise attributing the Gaza claim to a "report," as opposed to presenting it as fact: "New York City Bomber Tells Police He Carried Out Attack Due to Israeli Actions in Gaza, Report Says."

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Meanwhile, others are equally certain that it's Jerusalem that motivated Ullah to strap a bomb to his body in hopes of killing as many commuters as possible. Thus, for example, The Times of London proclaims as fact:

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The article itself, however, is much less certain that Jerusalem was a factor. It reports:

Akayed Ullah, 27, is thought to have been inspired by Islamic State, but without having been in direct contact with the jihadist group. According to some reports he shouted that he was acting in the name of Isis. Others said he shouted the word “Jerusalem” — a reference to President Trump’s decision last week to recognise it as the Israeli capital.

Still a third theory -- again depicted as fact in headlines -- is that the ISIS-inspired terrorist was angered by the Christmas decorations in Port Authority. Business Insiderposits: "The ISIS-inspired NYC bomber chose to attack Port Authority because of its Christmas posters."

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Is it possible that a combination of the above factors could have motivated Ullah? Yes, but until the facts are established, media outlets would do well to present theories as just that.

Posted by TS at 06:54 AM |  Comments (2)

December 08, 2017

Erin Burnett’s Hostility on Display

Media bias can manifest in a variety of ways. Selective omissions, lack of balance, and errors that seem to favor one side are common. In television news, journalists can, in addition, betray their bias with their voices, facial expressions, and gestures. Erin Burnett’s December 6 interview with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, following President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, was a case study in a journalist’s expression of personal bias.

None of Burnett’s questions to Dermer were, in terms of content, out of line. It’s reasonable to ask about the Arab response to the announcement, the effect on the peace process, and even a video clip in which Dermer appeared to be reacting to a gaffe made by the US President. Throughout the interview, however, her tone, and at times her language, is hostile and accusatory.

(You can also watch it here.)

In her first question to Dermer, Burnett begins:

Look I know this is a day you have wanted for a very long time and I know it matters a lot to you. That is important. But, of course, the situation that we’re seeing now is crucial, the State Department warning of violence because of the move, leaders of countries throughout the region, across Europe, warning of violence, Palestinians calling for three days of rage. A crucial question for you tonight, Ambassador: are you willing to accept violence and the possible death of Israelis in exchange for getting what you have so long desired?

Burnett announces that Palestinians have called for “three days of rage” as though national leaders calling for violence is the most natural thing in the world. She doesn’t seem bothered by it, nor does she ask whether they should call for peaceful protests instead of “rage.” Instead, both her language and the accusatory tone directed at Ambassador Dermer imply that any violence that occurs is the fault of the government that the Ambassador represents. Similarly, her facial expressions during his response betrays her skepticism of anything he said.

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After Dermer responds, Burnett continues with her second question:

Two senior US White House officials are telling CNN that this decision has temporarily derailed the peace process. And as you know, Ambassador, the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas saying Trump’s announcement means the United States has completely withdrawn – completely withdrawn – its role in mediating the Middle East peace process.

Once again, Burnett’s accusatory tone suggests that the Palestinian reaction to the US President complying with US law is the fault of Ambassador Dermer and the government he represents.

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Ambassador Dermer, to his credit, ignored Burnett’s animus, and simply made the points he wanted to make. Burnett’s antipathy, however, is conveyed to viewers, who will come away from the segment with the subtle message that Israel, again, is to blame for the violence against it, and Israeli government officials are not to be trusted.

Posted by kabe at 11:42 AM |  Comments (1)

USA Today Cartoon Notes Palestinian Calls to Destroy Israel

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A USA Today cartoon, published on Dec. 8, 2017, detailed the response by many Palestinians to the United States recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. As the cartoon, entitled “Same old Palestinian response,” highlighted, not much has changed.

The illustration, by Nate Beeler, a syndicated cartoonist with The Columbus Dispatch, showed two “American textbooks,” each with a map of Israel. One “old American textbook” listed Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital and a “new American textbook” showed the capital city as "Jerusalem.”

Juxtaposed underneath these books were two “Palestinian textbooks,” one “old” and one “new.” Both remained unchanged despite the U.S. recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in a Dec. 6, 2017 announcement by President Donald Trump. Both said “Wipe Israel off the map!” Prior to the announcement, it was official U.S. policy to decline to "acknowledge any capital at all," as the President noted in his remarks.

As CAMERA highlighted in a Dec. 7, 2017 Times of Israel commentary, Palestinian leadership called for Israel’s destruction long before the U.S. acknowledged that Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish state—a fact that many in the media coverage failed to note (“’Days of Rage’ and Bad Reporting”). And Palestinian textbooks have long shown maps that erase Israel.

With one cartoon, USA Today offered more insights than numerous media reports.

Posted by SD at 11:01 AM |  Comments (2)

December 05, 2017

The Hill Omits Turkey’s Support for Hamas

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

A Hill dispatch about Turkey threatening to cut ties with Israel, omitted key information about Ankara’s support for Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror group committed to the Jewish state’s destruction ("Turkey: Recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli Capital Would Be 'Red Line' for Muslims," Dec. 5, 2017).

Reporter Max Greenwood noted a Dec. 5, 2017 speech by Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, before his country’s parliament. Erdogan stated that a potential decision by the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a “red line for Muslims.” The Turkish leader added: “We could go as far as cutting diplomatic ties with Israel over the issue.”

Yet, The Hill failed to inform readers that Erdogan—the leader of Turkey’s Islamist Justice and Development Party, also known as the AKP—has been a long-time supporter of Hamas, which routinely launches terror attacks against Israel.

Erdogan’s support for Hamas is well documented.

As Politico highlighted in an Aug. 16, 2016 article: “Turkey has worked with Islamist groups and supported militant organizations in the Middle East for years, according to the German government (“German government: Turkey supports terror groups in the Middle East").”

The German foreign ministry even issued an August 2016 statement, based on information from its Federal Intelligence Service, pointing out that “as a result of the gradually Islamized domestic and foreign policy of Ankara since 2011, Turkey has become the central platform for action for Islamist groups in the Middle East.” Hamas and Egyptian and Syrian Muslim Brotherhood groups were among those listed by the German diplomatic service.

Indeed, as CAMERA has noted, Turkey has supported “humanitarian agencies” with ties to Hamas. In February 2017, a man named Muhammad Murtaja, the Gaza coordinator for the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency, was arrested by the Israeli security agency, Shin Bet. Murtaja was accused of “funneling funds earmarked for humanitarian projects to Hamas,” according to a Jerusalem Post report.

Murtaja’s employer, the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency is a government-run agency that operates on five continents. The agency is a department of the Prime Minister of Turkey and is tasked with providing development assistance to select countries and regions.

Another Turkish “charity,” the IHH, “has a record of supporting terrorist groups” and “has close relations with Turkey’s AKP government,” per a study by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

Although relations between Ankara and Jerusalem have waxed and waned since the ascension of Erdogan and the AKP in 2003, Turkey’s support for Hamas has been a constant, according to Jonathan Schanzer, the Vice President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, and a former U.S. Treasury Department terror analyst ("Turkish Organizations Under Fire for Alleged Hamas Support," FDD Policy Brief, March 22, 2017).

On several occasions, Hamas has even thanked Erdogan for his support. In a June 28, 2016 statement posted on its official website, Hamas “expressed its deep appreciation of Turkish official and popular efforts” to bolster the group’s propaganda efforts against Israel.

Such expressions of gratitude shouldn’t go unmentioned.

Posted by SD at 02:24 PM |  Comments (0)

December 04, 2017

Palestinian Textbooks Are ‘Significantly More Radical’ Than Before


The hatred taught in Palestinian schools is only increasing, according to an Algemeiner article by correspondent Shiri Moshe (“Report: New Palestinian Curriculum Praises ‘Martyrdom,’ Significantly ‘More Radical’ Than Before,” Dec. 3, 2017). Moshe highlighted a recent study by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), which found that Palestinian textbooks “groom young Palestinians to sacrifice themselves to martyrdom,” promote the idea of a mass “return” to Israel and “feature a radical Islamist, and occasionally, a Salafi worldview.”

The report noted that—as with previous Palestinian textbooks—the newer ones include maps that erase Israel, depicting all of the land as “Palestinian.”

Anti-Jewish violence is also encouraged in the curriculum. A fifth grade language textbook defined “martyrdom” and “jihad” as “the most important meanings of life.” The book even extolled the benefits of becoming a “martyr,” claiming that those who commit terror attacks teach “people that drinking the cup of bitterness with glory is much sweeter than a pleasant long life accompanied by humiliation.” It also proudly admitted that in Palestinian society, such attackers are honored:

“We give their names to our children; we put their names on our streets and squares and the cultural places.”

This hateful indoctrination starts early. Moshe noted that a third grade textbook included a poem calling to “sacrifice my blood” in order to “eliminate the usurper from my country.” In keeping with this theme—that Jewish people, indeed that non-Muslim people have no right to the land—some textbooks even categorize Palestinian figures like Dalal Mughrabi and Yasser Arafat, as “heroes,” along with figures like Tariq ibn Ziyad, an 8th century Berber general who helped conquer Spain.

History is not the only field to be contaminated with Palestinian Authority (PA)-sanctioned perversion.

Moshe detailed that IMPACT-se found a seventh grade science textbook that “teaches Newton’s Second Law through a cartoon depicting a Palestinian youth with a slingshot facing off against armed Israeli soldiers.” Similarly, fourth graders learning math are instructed to perform calculations using “martyrs.”

IMPACT-se presented their report in meetings with representatives from the European Union (EU) and major European donors to the PA, such as Belgium, Finland, Germany and the United Kingdom. The Joint Financial Agreement, a pooled funding system that supplies half of the budget for the PA’s Ministry of Education, funds the curriculum. That agreement is currently co-chaired by Belgium which, the Algemeiner noted, halted future construction on two Palestinian schools in November 2017 after it was revealed that a PA school would be named after Mughrabi, a terrorist who murdered 38 Israelis—13 of them children—during the 1978 Coastal Road massacre.

In other words, Palestinian schoolchildren would be taught in a school named after a child-murdering terrorist. As CAMERA has highlighted, numerous sports teams, streets, and even stores—or what the textbook refers to as Palestinian “cultural places”—are named after Mughrabi and/or are adorned with her likeness (see, for example "Missing the Palestinian after-terror after party," The Washington Examiner, July 6, 2016).

Continue reading " Palestinian Textbooks Are ‘Significantly More Radical’ Than Before"

Posted by SD at 01:54 PM |  Comments (0)

Fatah Official: Iran is Hindering Palestinian Reconciliation

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Top Hamas operatives Yahya Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh

The man tasked with leading efforts to reconcile Fatah and Hamas has accused the Islamic Republic of Iran of working to prevent reconciliation between the two Palestinian groups, which rule the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and the Gaza Strip, respectively.

Fatah and Hamas are rivals for power. They engaged in a brief and bloody civil war in the summer of 2007, after Fatah lost elections in 2006. That conflict ended with Hamas seizing control of the Gaza Strip, which had previously been run by Fatah, the movement that dominates both the U.S.-supported Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

As CAMERA has noted, Hamas and Fatah have been in reconciliation talks for nearly four months ("The Washington Post Belatedly Covers Hamas-Fatah Talks," Oct. 6, 2017).

On Nov. 27, 2017, a senior Fatah official named Azzam al-Ahmad told al-Arabiya, a Saudi Arabian outlet, that, “Iran is the number one sponsor of the division…the number one financier.” The Times of Israel’s Dov Lieber noted the significance of al-Ahamd’s comments, calling them “rare” and “full-throated (“Senior Fatah Official: Iran the key source of Palestinian division,” November 28).”

Tehran is a chief supporter of Hamas and other groups that rival Fatah, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

Both Hamas and PIJ challenged Fatah’s support for diplomatic engagement with Israel during the 1990s Oslo process that created the PA. Both groups, as well as Fatah elements like Tanzim—which was supported by then-Fatah and PLO-head Yasser Arafat—perpetrated terrorist attacks against Israelis.

Iran’s support for Hamas dried up as a result of a disagreement over Tehran’s involvement in the Syrian civil war. However, Iran recently renewed its support of the U.S.-designated terrorist group and, in a widely underreported move, senior Hamas operative Saleh al-Arouri visited Iran in late October 2017 (“Where’s the Coverage? Hamas Visits Iran,” CAMERA, Oct. 27, 2017).

Indeed, in an August 2017 interview, Hamas’ Gaza chief, Yahya Sinwar, admitted that Iran is now “the largest backer financially and militarily” of the terror group.

In his interview with al-Arabiya, Al-Ahmad stated, “It seems that one of the conditions for the return of Iranian support [to Hamas] is the continuation of the division.” As part of the ongoing talks, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has insisted that the authority be in sole control of all weapons and security in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has refused to give up its arsenal.

Azzam al-Ahmad’s remarks were widely ignored by major U.S. news outlets, including The Washington Post, USA Today, The Washington Times, and others. By contrast, The Times of Israel provided a detailed report, complete with essential background and context.

A Palestinian official highlighted Iran’s efforts to thwart a “unity deal” between two rival and warring factions and many in the media were nowhere to be found.

Posted by SD at 11:02 AM |  Comments (0)

December 01, 2017

Israeli Peace Offers Go Missing in Politico

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A Politico report about the Trump administration possibly moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, omitted the numerous instances of Palestinian leadership rejecting a Palestinian state if it meant peacefully co-existing with a Jewish one (“Trump inches toward moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem,” Nov. 20, 2017).

The article, by reporters Andrew Rusticcia and Eliana Johnson, claimed that moving the U.S. Embassy “could derail Trump’s attempts to restart peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.” Politico reported that Jordan’s King Adbullah II has told administration officials that such a move “could derail efforts to reach a peace agreement in the region,” and some administration officials have claimed it could “heighten tensions in the region.”

However, Politico failed to inform readers that Palestinians have refused opportunities for statehood on numerous occasions, including 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba and 2008 after the Annapolis Conference.

As CAMERA has detailed, the 2008 offer included 93% of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and a Palestinian state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem. Not only did Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas reject this proposal, he failed to either make a counteroffer or to call Israeli and American negotiators back.

Politico also stated that some Trump administration officials are worried that an embassy move could “heighten tensions in the region.” Yet, as CAMERA’s Senior Research Analyst Steve Stotsky has pointed out, Palestinian terrorism increased after the establishment of the PA and peace talks as part of the Oslo process during the 1990s (“The Straight Facts about the Palestinian Authority and Fighting Terrorism,” Oct. 25, 2012).

In 1995, the U.S. Congress passed a law mandating that the U.S. Embassy be moved to Jerusalem, in keeping with the custom of maintaining embassies in a nation’s capitol. Yet, as Politico noted, U.S. presidents have overridden that law by continually signing a six-month waiver keeping the embassy in Tel Aviv. The publication did not note, however, that failing to move the embassy didn’t stop endemic Palestinian anti-Jewish violence, including during the Second Intifada, in which more than 1,000 Israelis—most of them civilians—were murdered (“Jimmy Carter’s Second Draft,” CAMERA, March 3, 2009).

History is clear: Palestinian leadership has rejected opportunities for peace and statehood while supporting terrorism. And they’ve done so without the U.S. moving an embassy to Jerusalem, as mandated by law.

Posted by SD at 03:00 PM |  Comments (0)