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February 10, 2023 9:28 am

Vox Offers Masterclass in How to Blame Everyone But the Palestinians for Palestinian Problems

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avatar by Rachel O'Donoghue


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

Known for its so-called “explanatory journalism,” the news and opinion site Vox promises to empower its readers with the “insight needed to understand and shape our world,” which apparently involves taking each reader on a “journey from curiosity to understanding, adding context and clarity to the events and issues swirling around [them].”

Only then, Vox contends, can one “truly understand the problems we face.”

However, it appears that Vox’s lofty aim of taking hoi polloi on a journey of truth and understanding does not apply when it comes to Israel.

This week, the outlet published a lengthy piece in which Vox staffer Jonathan Guyer attempted to explain why the elusive two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has so far not been actualized, and who’s at fault for this. Spoiler: everyone but the Palestinians is to blame.

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Headlined, “The US’s empty commitment to a two-state solution,” the article runs to more than 2,000 words and yet still manages to omit the most critical facts that would actually explain why hopes for a two-state solution are moribund.

Guyer opens the piece with a lamentation that now is a “particularly dangerous moment for Israel and Palestine (sic),” and references the violent incidents that occurred very recently — namely, the Jenin raid and the Jerusalem synagogue terror attack.

Guyer notes that the “terrorist attack in East Jerusalem (sic) killed seven Israelis and an Israeli raid on the refugee camp of Jenin killed nine Palestinians, culminating a month in which Palestinians experienced the highest level of killings at the hands of Israeli forces and Israeli settlers in more than a decade.”

What Guyer fails to tell readers, though, is that at least seven of the Palestinians killed in the Jenin raid were militants belonging to the terrorist group Islamic Jihad and they were planning an imminent terror attack on Israeli soil.

Contrast this with the fact that every single one of the seven Israelis who were murdered while exiting a synagogue in Neve Yakov on Shabbat was an innocent civilian.

In the next two paragraphs, Guyer highlights how far off the two-state solution seems, even though the proposal has broad support, including from Democrats and Republicans in the United States, the United Nations, and US partners. He suggests a central problem is that “recent Israeli governments have expressed little political will for Palestinian statehood.”

What Guyer completely ignores is the long history of Palestinian rejectionism that has rendered the two-state solution virtually impossible to implement.

When Israel’s late foreign minister Abba Eban observed that the Palestinians “never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity,” he was referring to the many times its leadership spoiled their chances of ending the conflict with Israel and creating their own autonomous state.

From the 1947 UN Partition Plan and the infamous “three nos” following the Six-Day War, to the unleashing of the Second Intifada following the Camp David Summit, Palestinians have been offered statehood on numerous occasions only to turn it down.

Later on in the piece, Guyer posits that all the conditions for a third intifada are present, with one factor apparently being the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the “ongoing humanitarian disaster” that this supposedly represents.

Aside from the fact that Guyer neglects to mention that Egypt also maintains a blockade, it is simply bizarre that he mentions the crisis in Gaza without mentioning who is in charge of the coastal enclave.

Indeed, US and EU-proscribed terrorist group Hamas is not mentioned once in the whole piece at all, which might have been a deliberate omission on Guyer’s part. See, if he had referred to Hamas, it would have completely invalidated his simplistic assertion that Israel is entirely responsible for the dire conditions in the Strip.

Instead, he would have been forced to acknowledge that Hamas spends much of the humanitarian aid it receives on buying more rockets to fling at Israel, and spends the rest of the cash on snapping up luxury properties abroad.

Finally, the piece is replete with the most egregious hyperbole and distortion.

For example, at one point, Guyer sharply criticizes Israel for mounting actions that challenge the viability of Palestinian statehood, including building a “hulking, concrete separation barrier between Israel and the occupied West Bank.”

But far from being a colossal mass of concrete that blights the landscape, the barrier for most of its length is little more than a chain-link fence with sensors and cameras. In fact, just five percent of the barrier consists of a nine-meter tall concrete structure.

Also, Guyer might have at least told readers why it was built in the first place. The answer, of course, was that it went up during the Second Intifada terror wave, and resulted in a significant drop in the number of terror attacks on Israeli citizens.

In a similar vein, Guyer claims the West Bank is now a myriad of “settler-only roads,” having been split apart by Israeli settlements. However, the segregated roads charge is simply not true and is an example of the kind of malicious accusations that are lobbed at Israel in the hope of making the apartheid libel stick.

While there are roads where different populations are separated from each other, said separation is based on nationality, not religion or race. An Arab Israeli would be entitled to use one of Guyer’s erroneously labeled “settler-only roads.”

Vox and Guyer are welcome to publish anything they like about Israel and the disappearing prospect of a two-state solution.

However, it is basic journalism 101 that lying by omission is still lying.

And this piece omitted a lot.

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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