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April 28, 2021 12:47 pm

Media Blackout as PLO Commits War Crimes — Days After Abbas Calls for Removal From US Terror List

avatar by Emanuel Miller


Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas takes part in a virtual meeting with Palestinian faction heads, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sept. 3, 2020. Photo: Alaa Badarneh / Pool via Reuters.

Over the weekend, Israel came under fire, as dozens of rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into the Jewish state. While Hamas rules the enclave, the “armed wing” of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, which essentially governs the West Bank by fiat, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility for some of the attacks — each one constituting a war crime.

As The Times of Israel reported:

Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade claimed responsibility for some of the rocket attacks on Friday night, while the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades took credit for attacks on both Friday night and Saturday night.”

Fatah is the largest faction in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), of which the PFLP is also a member.

That these groups are perpetrating war crimes is headline-worthy enough. That it happened just days after Abbas urged the Biden administration to remove the PLO from the US list of terrorist organizations makes the violence even more newsworthy.

However, not a single major news outlet in the United States or Britain reported these facts. Neither have any of the major wire services, including Reuters, Agence France-Presse (AFP), and the Associated Press (AP).

While an AP article by Josef Federman and Fares Akram noted that Hamas — designated a terrorist organization by many Western countries and which in 2007 seized control of Gaza in a bloody internecine war that ousted Abbas — “did not claim responsibility for the rocket fire,” and correctly observed that “Israel considers the group responsible for all fire emanating from its territory,” it neglected to mention the groups that did take responsibility.

In fact, the story being told was mainly that clashes in Jerusalem sparked the firing of rockets from Gaza. For example, the same Associated Press piece was titled, “Jerusalem tension triggers Gaza-Israel fire exchange.”

The headline fails to provide context in a number of ways. First, it casts violent protests in Jerusalem as “triggering” war crimes by Palestinian terrorists many miles away. And second, it fails to distinguish between attacks aimed at Israeli population centers, and the IDF responding by targeting terrorist infrastructure — in full accordance with international law.

Readers have thus been left uninformed about a basic reality with which Israel must grapple: can it really count on the PA, which incentives terrorism through its “Pay for Slay” policy, to make peace? Why was this information about Israel’s ostensible peace partner left unwritten?

In fact, journalists even failed to document that the violent clashes in Jerusalem — the supposed impetus for the rocket attacks — were described by PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh as “heroic.”

Time and again, the media collectively fails to report such inconvenient facts. Could it be that this is because doing so would fatally undermine the convenient, simplistic narrative that so many journalists and editors seek to perpetuate?

Emanuel Miller is a writer-researcher for HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

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