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August 25, 2022 10:59 am
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Media Are Ignoring Palestinian Authority’s Glorification of 1929 Hebron Massacre

avatar by Gidon Ben-Zvi

Opinion

A Palestinian rioter hurls stones at Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Hebron, Feb. 6, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mussa Qawasma.

On August 24, 1929, 67 Jews in Hebron, then part of British Mandatory Palestine, were killed by Arabs incited to violence by baseless rumors that Jews were plotting to seize control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

While the massacre started in Hebron, rampaging Arabs also murdered Jews in Jerusalem and Safed. Over the course of one week, Arabs killed 130 Jews.

The Hebron Massacre sent shock waves through Jewish communities in Palestine and around the world. It led to a more coordinated Jewish defense, manifested in the professionalization of the Haganah —  the official militia of the Jewish community in Palestine — that later became the nucleus of the Israel Defense Forces.

But even though the Hebron Massacre generated widespread news coverage around the world in 1929, the annual celebration by the Palestinian Authority (PA) of the pogrom until the present day is simply ignored by the international press.

This blackout could be the result of inconvenient chronology. Since the Hebron Massacre occurred before the creation of a Jewish state or army, the murders fly in the face of the media’s standard origin story that frames Israel’s establishment in 1948 and expansion as the result of a preemptive war of survival in 1967 as the sources of the conflict with the Palestinians.

Maurice Hirsch has written extensively about the PA’s ongoing love affair with the perpetrators of the Hebron Massacre. Every year, as Hirsch notes in Palestinian Media Watch, Israel’s supposed peace partner marks the execution of three Hebron Massacre murderers — Muhammad Jamjoum, Fuad Hijazi, and Ataa Al-Zir — by the British mandatory government.

In 2019, PA TV marked the execution of “the three heroes” and used the opportunity to add that they have become “a legend of self-sacrifice for the homeland.”

This is nothing less than PA-sanctioned incitement to kill Jews.

And while the winds of change are blowing across the Middle East, the Palestinian Authority is mired in a violent past.

In 2020, Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates officially announced that they had concluded the Abraham Accords and were working toward full bilateral relations. In the following months, Morocco and Sudan followed that lead to normalize ties with Israel.

The growing acceptance of Israel in the region by other Muslim countries — and the benefits of that policy change — can be seen in  unprecedented economic growth, the development of cutting-edge technology and strategic coordination that is ushering in a new, hopeful chapter in the tortured history of the Middle East.

But back in Ramallah, it’s as if time stopped in 1929. PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party this year celebrated the executed Hebron pogrom murderers with a post on the official Facebook page of Fatah’s Commission of Information and Culture:

“Ninety-two years since the execution of the heroes of the Al-Buraq Rebellion.” [The post includes the lyrics]: “Three men who competed over death/And their feet rose above the hangman’s neck.

The image shows the three murderers. In the upper corner is the Fatah logo, which includes a grenade, crossed rifles and a map that presents all of Israel together with PA-controlled areas as “Palestine.”

Not reporting on the Palestinian Authority’s glorification of the Hebron Massacre is much worse than sloppy journalism.

The story the media are missing is that of a sovereign nation that has shown a willingness to resolve the conflict with an ostensible peace partner that has long indoctrinated its own people with a vicious intolerance of the Jewish people’s ancient connection to the Land of Israel.

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

Until then, the media’s continued silence on the Hebron Massacre or any other event that refutes the “blame Israel” narrative will only serve to normalize Palestinian terrorism.

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.

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