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April 02, 2020

When Palestinians Like Checkpoints

To some pundits, it goes without saying that checkpoints in the West Bank should be discussed with the bleakest of terms.

The checkpoints Israel erected in the West Bank during waves of Palestinian suicide bombings are understood by Israelis to be life-saving, and there is no shortage of examples they could point to of would-be bombers stopped at a checkpoint before they could reach their target.

Outside of Israel, though, they are often cast in a different light. They inflict "moral and physical suffering" for no other reason than to "humiliate and intimidate another people," insisted a pair of foreign visitors to the West Bank wrote the New York Times international edition, having once passed through a checkpoint.

"I can no longer endure the anxiety" caused in part by traffic created by checkpoints, insisted Raja Shehadeh, a frequent New York Times contributor who just last week absurdly claimed Israel's curfew on the West Bank in 2002 was imposed as "normal life" continued in the Jewish state, though 2002 was a year of relentless Palestinian suicide bombings and hundreds of Israeli deaths, unprecedented in Israeli history.

"Some of the checkpoints create terror rather than prevent it," declared the head of an advocacy group.

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It was striking, then, to hear NPR correspondent Daniel Estrin reference West Bank checkpoints this Tuesday on Morning Edition as follows:

There are over a hundred cases of Palestinians who have caught the [corona]virus in the West Bank. … And Palestinian authorities very quickly imposed lockdowns even earlier than Israel did, much stricter lockdowns. It's very difficult to move around in the West Bank. Palestinians can't drive between cities. There are checkpoints that Palestinian security officials have set up. And Palestinians are rallying around their leadership right now. They like these strict measures.

The approval of these "strict measures" makes sense. Burdensome interventions like checkpoints are sometimes necessary to save Palestinian lives. When the alternative is hospitalization or death for sick Palestinians, they not only can handle restrictions on movement, but welcome them.

Editors rushing to print hyperbole about Israeli measures might also keep in mind that burdensome interventions like checkpoints are also sometimes necessary to save Israeli lives, too.

Posted by gi at 11:14 AM |  Comments (0)

April 01, 2020

CNN’s Amanpour Condemns “power grab” By Israel’s Prime Minister and Others


We’ve said it often, but it’s worth repeating: Anyone interested in reasonably unbiased information about Israel (at least) should avoid the broadcasts of CNN’s Chief International Correspondent and Anchor, Christiane Amanpour.

In characterizing responses to the Coronavirus epidemic, Amanpour asserted on March 31: “Many leaders are using this crisis to grab special powers and violate civil rights… And Israel and even the U.K. grab emergency powers without an end in sight.”

The first third of the broadcast consisted of a conversation with William Burns, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, “about pandemic and politics.”

Amanpour asserted that there is

a power grab by Prime Minister Netanyahu. He's managed to consolidate his power even though he didn't win the election. And Benny Gantz, his opposition, has essentially given up his choice to form a government and decided to go into an emergency government of national unity. And Netanyahu has closed down courts and everything, which presumably, you know, inoculates him from the corruption trial that he was about to face.

But this charge contains typical Amanpour disinformation. As CAMERA’s Tamar Sternthal pointed out in responding to the same disinformation by others: “But Netanyahu did not shut down the courts. Nor did he delay his own trial. Nor have the courts been shuttered, though their activities have been curtailed… it was Justice Minister Amir Ohana, a Netanyahu ally, who ordered the courts to restrict their activity.”

And Amanpour asks Burns, “What does this all mean for that part of the world?”

Burns replies obligingly:

Well, I think in Israel, I mean, the pandemic has provided, in a sense, of a new political lease on life for Prime Minister Netanyahu. He can fight the criminal indictments that have been brought against him from the prime ministry assuming this government is formed, he can begin to rehabilitate his political image. It's not for nothing that, you know, a lot of Israeli political commentators call Netanyahu the magician… But, you know, at this moment, it seems as if, you know, what's being strengthened is an attitude in an Israeli government that doesn't see the urgency in trying to revive a two-state solution.

Amanpour responds here by ending the conversation, “Bill Burns, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you very much, indeed.”

Indeed – Amanpour unsurprisingly fits Israel’s response to the pandemic into her anti-Israel narrative.

Posted by MK at 04:16 PM |  Comments (0)