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December 09, 2015

Where's the Coverage? Palestinian Official Shoots Israeli Soldier

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PA Security Forces


A Palestinian Authority (PA) intelligence officer attacked and wounded an Israeli civilian and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier on December 3, 2015—although you may not have seen it reported that way in major U.S. print news outlets.

The PA official, later identified as Mazen Hassan, was shot and killed after he got out of his vehicle at the Hizma checkpoint near the West Bank and began shooting at Israeli soldiers and civilians.

The terror attack was reported by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) on December 3, but received scant U.S. media coverage.

An Associated Press story that ran in The Los Angeles Times expended 926 words on the topic of an app developed to help Palestinians navigate their way around what the paper called “burdensome” checkpoints (“Apps help to navigate Israeli checkpoints, December 6”). The article featured extensive quotes from Palestinian sources, who claimed that checkpoints were an unnecessary form of “collective punishment.” Not a single Israeli official appeared as a source.

The report quoted a former PA official who said that while the app “will be helpful…it would be even more helpful if we didn’t have checkpoints.” The recent terror attack at a checkpoint by another PA official, occurring only three days prior, was omitted.

The Boston Globe, covering remarks by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at D.C.-based think tank Brookings Institute, seemed to put the onus for a lack of peace between Israel and Palestinian Arabs on the Jewish state, failing to note that a PA official had attempted to murder Israelis (“Netanyahu rejects warning from US on Israel’s future,” December 7). In 653 words, The Globe sought to frame the recent terror attacks as being random violence by “Palestinian individuals.” Israeli actions against terrorists, were framed as “Israel says”—implying skepticism the paper does not explain.

Palestinian terror was given short shrift by The Globe; omitted were the actions of PA officials, be it an intelligence officer carrying out terror attacks or PA President Mahmoud Abbas August 1 speech calling to spill blood in Jerusalem (CAMERA, September 16, “Incitement over Temple Mount Leads to Palestinian Violence, Again”).

According to a Lexis-Nexis search, the only two papers to have noted that a PA security official committed a terror attack were The Washington Post (December 4, “Israeli holds suspects in July arson deaths”) and The New York Times (December 4, “Israel Arrests Young Jews Deemed Extremists”). However, both only did so in one or two sentences in articles on topics casting Israel in an unfavorable light.

The PA is committed to security cooperation with Israel as part of the 1990s Oslo diplomatic process that created it and allowed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), previously designated a terror group by the United States and others, to relocate from Tunisia and establish limited self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Despite this requirement, PA security officials have a history of participating in or encouraging the very terror attacks they are supposed to help prevent.

One of the first terror attacks during the second intifada (uprising), that lasted from 2000 until 2005, occurred when a Palestinian security services official shot two Israeli soldiers during a joint PA-IDF patrol, killing one and injuring the other. PA security and intelligence units, including then-PA head Yasser Arafat’s bodyguard unit, Force 17, also participated in terrorist activities during the second intifada.

As described in Kings College historian Efraim Karsh’s book Arafat’s War (Grove Press, 2003), Force 17 operatives shot and wounded Jews in several terrorist attacks outside Ramallah, following a visit by then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell in February 2001. Prior to the attacks, Force 17 had been guarding Powell during his visit.

According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an organization that monitors Arab media in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem, former Palestinian security forces head Jibril Rajoub said that he was “proud of” every Palestinian Arab who has carried out recent terror attacks. Rajoub’s comments were made on official PA television on Oct. 17, 2015.

In Tested by Zion (Cambridge University Press, 2013), former U.S. deputy national security adviser Elliot Abrams noted that the United States and other countries provided training to Palestinian security services in the hopes they would help Israel deter terrorist attacks. IPT reports that Israeli and Palestinian sources say together they have “foiled more than 100 stabbing plots targeting Israelis.”

Yet, it seems that sometimes Palestinian security officials conduct terror attacks instead of preventing them.

Where was the coverage?

Posted by SD at December 9, 2015 11:26 AM

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