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April 5, 2022 11:09 am
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CNN, ABC, AP, Vice Dredge Up ‘Cycle of Violence’ Myth

avatar by Gidon Ben-Zvi

Opinion

Israeli security and medical personnel secure the scene of an attack in which people were killed by a gunman on a main street in Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv, Israel, March 29, 2022. Photo: Reuters/Nir Elias

Israel’s attempt to stem the recent terrorist tide and restore safety for the country’s citizens is being depicted by the media as being part of a “cycle of violence.”

Although framing Palestinian attacks against innocent Israeli civilians in this way might be evocative, it fails to accurately describe recent events.

More than a failure of journalistic due diligence, this twisted “tit-for-tat” narrative effectively diminishes the murder of Israelis and other innocent people.

For instance, in a piece, titled “Israel and the West Bank are on edge again. Here are five things you need to know,” CNN notes that:

The overlap of three major religious holidays over the next month — Ramadan, Passover and Easter — could heighten tensions further, exacerbating a potent mix of factors that could spark yet another cycle of violence.

Then, after describing the series of deadly attacks that killed 11 people in the course of just over a week, CNN reports on the IDF’s raid in which three Islamic Jihad operatives were killed in the West Bank:

The cycle of violence has continued since then. On Thursday, two Palestinians — including one teenager — were killed and 15 others wounded during an Israeli police raid in the West Bank city of Jenin targeting suspects connected to the Bnei Brak shooting.

The Associated Press similarly builds its “Israeli troops kill 3 Palestinians in West Bank gun battle“ news item around the “cycle of violence” theme:

They [Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian leaders] hope to avoid a repeat of last year, when protests and clashes in Jerusalem during Ramadan ignited an 11-day Gaza war and Jewish-Arab violence in Israel’s mixed cities.

Vice implies, in “Two Palestinians Killed in Refugee Camp Shootout Following ISIS Attacks,” that the deliberate targeting by Palestinians of Israeli civilians in population centers is par for the course:

Israelis and Palestinians are used to a spike in violence during the religious holidays of Passover, Easter and Ramadan as Jews, Christians and Muslims share key holy sites in Jerusalem.

The publication then proceeds to negate any distinction between the perpetrators of terrorism and its victims: “Reciprocal violence could continue to take more lives in the coming weeks.” [emphasis added]

ABC News, in a report titled “Fears grow of renewed violence in Israel ahead of Ramadan amid deadly shootings,” takes the tit-for-tat motif a step further, implying that the endless loop of violence is the result of the Palestinians not having their own independent state:

With a succession of Arab states normalizing ties with Israel, there is a sense among analysts that hopes of a peace deal are becoming hopeless – and without that hope comes the threat of more violence.

Reality: Palestinian Violence Necessitates Israeli Response

Framing the deadly wave of terrorist attacks through the cycle of violence lens is problematic, because it inevitably leaves out certain salient facts.

Critically, spikes in Palestinian violence immediately before and during Ramadan have long been connected to incitement by Palestinian leaders.

Last year, in the days leading up to the outbreak of the Hamas-initiated conflict with Israel, Palestinian incitement fueled violence perpetrated by Muslim worshipers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Specifically, a crucial distinction between Palestinian violence and the Israeli government’s countermeasures is that Ramallah has openly supported those who murder Israelis, including by providing financial aid to terrorists and their families.

As HonestReporting noted, the March 29 terror attack that resulted in five people being killed after a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on the streets of Bnei Brak, was likely perpetrated by someone affiliated with the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the “military wing” of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction.

Going further back, scholars who tracked violence during the Second Intifada found “little evidence to suggest there is a cycle of violence.” Rather, the data reveal that “Israel responds predictably and systematically to Palestinian violence,” and that “Palestinian violence is not predictable by past Israeli violence.”

The image of a cycle is thus debunked by a discernible pattern — that of Palestinian attacks on civilians, and defensive Israeli responses to such attacks.

Moreover, by laying equal blame on Jerusalem and Ramallah for the “cycle of violence,” the media simply ignores the fact that while Israel has accepted every peace plan offered, the Palestinians have rejected every peace plan offered.

In truth, there is no spiral of attack and counter-attack taking place. Rather, the story the media are missing is a sovereign nation that has shown a willingness to resolve the conflict  — but also to defend itself against those who seek to murder its own citizens (at the behest of an ostensible peace partner that has long indoctrinated its own people with a vicious intolerance of the Jewish people’s history in Israel).

In short, only once Palestinian leaders drop their rejectionist posture and return to the negotiating table with Israel, will the violence actually end.

When this happens, a cycle of peaceful coexistence could come about.

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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