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March 29, 2022 11:13 am

Axios Article Incorrectly Suggests Annual Ramadan Violence Connected to Jewish, Christian Holidays

avatar by Gidon Ben-Zvi


People hold Hamas flags as Palestinians gather after performing the last Friday of Ramadan to protest over the possible eviction of several Palestinian families from homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, in Jerusalem’s Old City, May 7, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Buried deep in an article, titled “Blinken to visit Israel, West Bank, Morocco and Algeria,” Axios — a popular news site that offers quick takes on current events — claims that any outbreak of violence that may take place in Jerusalem over the coming days would merely be due to bad timing:

Blinken will arrive in Israel and the Palestinian Authority ahead of an unusual situation that happens once every 10 years, when Passover, Ramadan and Easter take place at the same time — heightening the potential for violence in Jerusalem.

In the alternate reality presented by Axios, the annual spasm of unrest that roils Israel’s capital city following incessant incitement leading up to Ramadan — regardless of the timing of Passover and Easter — seemingly has no place.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins this year on the evening of April 2. In preparation, and left unmentioned by Axios, the Palestinian leadership has already begun to incite violence against Israelis, just as it did prior to last May’s conflict with Gaza-based terrorist groups, headed by Hamas.

A Hamas spokesman on March 17 said that “the Palestinian people are united behind the gun,” and called on Jerusalem Arabs to “make all friction points with the enemy [Israel] clash points.”

On March 20, two Israeli police officers were stabbed in an incident that was hailed as “heroic” by Hamas.

The previous day, another Palestinian terrorist assaulted an Israeli while he was jogging in central Jerusalem. That came after another knife attack was carried out by a Hamas member that injured Israeli security forces at the entrance of the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. Earlier this month, two Israeli policemen were injured in a similar incident.

The week before, two Israelis were wounded in separate stabbings in Hizma, an Arab town bordering Israel’s capital.

The incitement by Palestinian politicians and religious leaders resulting in a surge in terrorism during Ramadan — which is conveyed uncritically by the media — is anything but an “unusual situation.”

Last year, tensions in Jerusalem also intensified around the start of the Islamic fasting month.

On April 15, a Palestinian man attacked two ultra-Orthodox Israeli boys on the Jerusalem light rail. The footage of the unprovoked attack went viral on the video-sharing app TikTok. In the days that followed, more clips of attacks on unsuspecting Israeli civilians started appearing on the platform.

Then, in the days leading up to the outbreak of the Hamas-initiated conflict, rampant Palestinian incitement fueled violence perpetrated by Muslims at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem throughout much of Ramadan. During this period, Palestinians waved Hamas flags and called for Hamas to “bomb, bomb Tel Aviv.” and Palestinian rioters lobbed firecrackers, stones, and chairs at Israeli police.

As it does every year, the situation escalated significantly when the Palestinians marked Quds [Arabic for “Jerusalem”] Day. Held on the last Friday of Ramadan, it was initiated in 1979 by the Islamic Republic of Iran — that is, the country whose leaders regularly call for Israel’s destruction.

This incitement has proven to be effective: historical data finds a 200 percent increase in Palestinian violence during Ramadan.

Indeed, the Second Intifada, a five-year terror campaign during which Palestinians killed more than 1,000 Israelis and injured 7,000 more by way of suicide bombings and shootings, developed during a “sensitive time during the High Holy Days and the end of Ramadan.”

While Palestinian leaders attributed the outbreak of violence to Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount, Yasser Arafat had in fact been planning the concerted attack on Israeli citizens after having rejected yet another peace offering by Israel at Camp David in 2000.

Imad Falouji, the Palestinian Authority Communications Director, gave a speech in which he said that the Intifada:

…was carefully planned since the return of Yasser Arafat from the Camp David negotiations, rejecting the US conditions.

Mamduh Nofal — former military commander of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group revealed that following Camp David: “Arafat told us, ‘Now we are going to fight so we must be ready.’”

Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar revealed in September 2010 that in the summer of 2000, as soon as Arafat understood that all of his maximalist demands would not be met, he instructed Hamas, Fatah, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades to begin attacking Israel.

When it comes to a complicated topic like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, context and background are critical to providing readers with an accurate depiction of unfolding events. Axios’ whitewashing of chronic Palestinian incitement and violence during Ramadan represents a failure of basic journalistic due diligence.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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