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October 27, 2022 10:47 am
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CNN Takes Down ‘Palestine’ Reference Following Watchdog Action

avatar by Akiva Van Koningsveld

Opinion

PA President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting in Ramallah, in the West Bank August 18, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/Pool

While Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Mahmoud Abbas might call himself the president of “Palestine,” most mainstream media outlets have rightfully refrained from recognizing Ramallah’s claim of independence. After all, the territory under Abbas’ control currently does not meet the formal criteria for statehood, as outlined in international law.

As the Associated Press makes clear in its authoritative stylebook: “Use Palestine and Palestinians in the context of Palestine’s activities in international bodies to which it has been admitted … Do not use Palestine or state of Palestine in other situations, since it is not a fully independent, unified state.” [Emphasis added]

CNN, in its reporting on the Arab-Israeli conflict, has likewise referred to Abbas as the “Palestinian Authority President” (see, for instance, herehere, and here).

But not now.

In a piece on the IDF’s counter-terrorism operation in Nablus, titled “Several dead after Israeli joint security forces raid in West Bank,” Jerusalem reporter Kareem Khadder noted: “Palestine’s President ‘is making urgent calls to stop the aggression on our people in Nablus,’ said a presidential spokesperson, speaking on Palestinian television early on Tuesday.” [Emphasis added]

CNN’s apparent nod to Palestinian statehood can hardly be dismissed as a mere typo or figurative slip of the tongue, considering the significant role that PA unilateralism plays in the continuation of the conflict. Indeed, Abbas’ unilateral moves — a clear breach of international agreements to which the Palestinians are a party — have made peace more elusive than ever.

In “Fact-checking The New York Times: There Is No Palestinian State,” HonestReporting explained that there is a path to Palestinian independence. The Oslo Accords forged in 1993 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority the following year. The agreement was based on a promise by the Palestinian leadership to renounce terrorism and resolve all outstanding issues with Israel via bilateral negotiations.

To date, the Palestinian leadership has failed to live up to its obligations under the Oslo Accords that lay out a path to possibly establishing a “State of Palestine.” Accordingly, the current status of the West Bank and Gaza is not that of a sovereign country, as evidenced by Palestinian leaders who have said as much.

In the same October 25 article, Kareem Khadder also attempted to sanitize Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), writing that “Saraya al-Quds, the Armed Wing of Islamic Jihad, released a statement saying their affiliated group the Nablus Brigade were [sic] ‘engaged in violent armed clashes’ with Israeli military forces who ‘stormed the city.’”

It is imperative to note that PIJ is an Iranian-backed terror organization responsible for some of the worst terrorist atrocities in the Jewish state’s history. The group, which is proscribed in its entirety by the Western world, has carried out numerous horrific attacks targeting innocent Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Israel.

CNN’s attempt to fabricate a distinction between Islamic Jihad’s “armed wing” and other parts of the organization is all the more ridiculous given the fact that — unlike Hamas — PIJ generally doesn’t provide any social services, and is less involved in politics.

Following the story’s publication, HonestReporting immediately sprang to action, contacting the journalist directly while simultaneously setting the facts straight in a Twitter post. Some five hours later, the broadcaster moved to take the entire text down, replacing it with a new piece.

The new article correctly identifies Mahmoud Abbas as the “Palestinian Authority President,” and makes no mention of Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s response to the events in Nablus. One is left guessing why Khadder, who has promoted the anti-Israel apartheid libel on social media in the past (see herehere, and here), did not simply update his existing piece.

Notwithstanding the issue we have with the updated headline (“Six killed by Israeli forces in the deadliest day for Palestinians this year“), CNN should be commended for correcting the “Palestine” reference in response to our request.

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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