CNN Downplays Wave of Palestinian Terrorism with Bizarre Comparison to ‘Attacks by Jewish Settlers’
An Israeli security guard was left seriously injured on Monday when a Palestinian driver rammed his vehicle into a West Bank checkpoint.
The perpetrator, identified as 16-year-old Muhammad Nidal Younis, from Nablus, was shot dead before he could cause further harm.
It was a terror attack — one that could have had graver consequences were it not for the swift and decisive actions of soldiers stationed at the checkpoint.
Yet, this was the headline used by CNN to report on the incident: “Suspected car-ramming attack by Palestinian teen highlights rising tensions, amid questions over Israeli police actions.”
חשד לפיגוע דריסה בשומרון: רכב שהגיע מהצד הפלסטיני של מעבר תאנים האיץ ופגע באבטח שעמד במקום. המאבטח נפצע בינוני עד קשה. כוחות הביטחון במקום ירו לעבר המחבל שנהג ברכב וניטרלו אותו. המעבר נסגר לתנועה pic.twitter.com/SmwLbzugNG
— יואב זיתון (@yoavzitun) December 6, 2021
There are several points that need to be addressed with regard to this title.
First, there is nothing “suspected” about the attack.
Second, the inclusion of the rather vague term “highlights rising tensions” masks the context in which this attack occurred. That is, it was the second terror attack by a Palestinian in just 48 hours, the former involving the stabbing of a Jewish man in Jerusalem on Saturday.
Indeed, so alarming is the surge in violence against Israeli citizens and soldiers, that former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon warned on Monday that “we are in the midst of a new wave of individual terrorism.”
And third, the inclusion of the statement that there are “questions over police actions” suggests security officers who shot the terrorist may have acted improperly in neutralizing the driver.
But while Israeli Defense Ministry director-general Amir Eshel confirmed “the circumstances of the incident” are under investigation, he has praised the swift actions of checkpoint guards.
Reading the article, it is clear that the apparent questions over the police response are a reference to the incident that took place in Jerusalem on Saturday, and to the harsh criticism that was meted out before the full circumstances of that terrorist act were known — specifically that the assailant had lunged at soldiers with a knife and was believed to be armed with a suicide belt (a fact HonestReporting addressed in depth).
The most egregious portion of the CNN article, however, is actually a passage right at the very end:
Away from Jerusalem, there are also concerns over a rising number of attacks by Jewish settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank. A report by the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) recorded 410 such attacks in the first 10 months of 2021 (up from 358 for the whole of 2020) including more than 100 against individuals. Four Palestinians have been killed in settler violence, OCHA says.
This clumsy attempt to link the issue of settler violence to Palestinian attacks effectively normalizes terrorism while totally ignoring the scale of the problem: between 2016 and 2020, Palestinians firebombed 3,675 Israeli buses and cars; carried out more than 10,000 stonings, and perpetrated a total of 353 knife, gun, and vehicular assaults.
Furthermore, if the distinctly separate issues of settler violence and Palestinian terrorism are going to be lumped together, the stark difference in the official responses to both should also be examined — namely, that the Israeli government has unequivocally condemned any and all settler violence in the West Bank, while the Palestinian Authority actively encourages terrorism by paying “salaries” to terrorist perpetrators and their families.
Naturally, CNN neglected to mention this salient detail.
With this in mind, here is an alternative headline suggestion for CNN: “Israeli injured in vehicle attack by Palestinian terrorist.”
No qualifications, no justifications; just facts.
The author 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.