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March 24, 2023 9:41 am

Whitewashing Terror: UK Paper Lumps Together Palestinian Murderers and Their Victims

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avatar by Akiva Van Koningsveld


United Hatzalah volunteers treat a number of people for gunshot wounds and a number of people suffering emotional shock at the scene of a terrorist attack on Dizengoff Street at the corner of Ben Gurion Boulevard in Tel Aviv. Credit: United Hatzalah

The demise of Al Jazeera correspondent Shireen Abu Akleh during an Israeli counter-terrorism raid in the West Bank city of Jenin has been the subject of disproportionate scrutiny by the media, with countless outlets producing one-sided “investigations” into the events of May 11, 2022.

Some 10 months after the fact, The Guardian opted to join the chorus against the Jewish state, publishing a lengthy interactive report that deceivingly seeks to present Abu Akleh’s case as a symptom of Jerusalem’s West Bank policies. Titled “The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh: what one morning in the West Bank reveals about the occupation,” the piece aims to link the journalist’s death to everything from riots near Ramallah to court-sanctioned demolitions at Masafer Yatta.

Yet rather than revealing anything about Israel’s alleged occupation of the West Bank, a close read of The Guardian’s March 21 article lays bare an effort by the newspaper to twist the facts and whitewash Palestinian terrorism in the most appalling ways.

The glaring bias informing “global development journalist” Kaamil Ahmed’s reporting on the Middle East conflict is apparent from the get-go, when he erases crucial context surrounding Israel Defense Forces operations in Jenin, dubbed the Palestinian “terror capital” by some observers:

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During the second intifada in the 2000s, it was the scene of heavy fighting between Palestinians and the Israeli military. In 2022, it again became a flashpoint after Israel launched Operation Breakwater, a campaign of night-time raids in Palestinian cities against armed Palestinian groups. It is one of these raids that brings Abu Akleh to the Jenin refugee camp again on 11 May 2022.

Indeed, readers are left entirely uninformed as to why IDF forces entered Jenin in 2002 and 2022, leaving the false impression that the Israeli government is somehow to blame for escalations in the city. In reality, Operation Defensive Shield and Operation Break the Wave were both responses to deadly waves of Palestinian terrorism. The latter was launched in March 2022 after terrorists murdered 11 Israelis in just one week.

Sadly, that’s just one example of Ahmed’s attempts to extenuate the crimes of UK-designated terrorist organizations.

Describing the death of Thaer Yazouri, a Palestinian youth who was shot as he participated in a violent riot in Al-Bireh near Ramallah in the hours following Abu Akleh’s death, The Guardian goes out of its way to emphasize his love for sports, writing that Yazouri “was a boy who hated violence and loved football,” while attaching two pictures of his soccer practice.

However, a cursory search on Arabic-language social media reveals a very different side of the Palestinian teen — one that Ahmed evidently tried to hide from readers. In numerous photos posted online, the “boy who hated violence” can be seen posing in the garb of Hamas.

On the day of the riot, he reportedly carried a note professing himself to be a member of Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The genocidal terror group mourned Yazouri as their “heroic martyr” after he was shot while attacking IDF soldiers outside his hometown.

Notably, The Guardian is not alone in its overt attempt to sanitize the actions of teen terrorists. Just last month, HonestReporting called out the Reuters wire service for portraying a gunman who shot two innocent people in Jerusalem as a “teenager with a strong personality, a passion for football and an ambition to be a chef.”

Lumping Together Terrorists and Their Victims

Further down in its essay, The Guardian connects the stories of Shireen Abu Akleh and Thaer Yazouri to what it calls “the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the second intifada,” explaining that “the UN counted 155 Palestinian fatalities in 2022.”

The piece fails to acknowledge altogether the fact that most Palestinians who died last year were killed while attacking Israelis.

Meanwhile, nearly half of the deaths were publicly claimed as members of recognized terror groups, including HamasIslamic Jihad, and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.

The Guardian’s complete disregard for the truth becomes obvious when it writes, without providing any context, that “11 Israelis and four Palestinians were killed within [pre-1967] Israel.” Shockingly, the last part of the sentence apparently refers to Diaa HamarshehRa’ad HazemMuhammad Abu Juma’a, and Abdullah Srour, all neutralized terrorists who murdered a combined total of eight Israelis, in addition to injuring many others.

In obscuring the way these “four Palestinians” met their ends, The Guardian essentially lumped together murderous terrorists and their civilian victims — an affront not only to honest journalism, but also to the memories of the Jewish and Arab Israelis who were slaughtered on the streets of Tel Aviv.

This March marks one year since the beginning of the current wave of violence and terrorism that has already claimed the lives of 45 Israeli citizens and residents of the Jewish state, and has wounded scores of others. Yet The Guardian, like many other publications, still can’t get it right.

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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