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In Palestine, Everything is Relative: The Settler Violence You Won’t Hear About

By Yousef Munnayer | Permission to Narrate | March 14, 2011

When I heard the horrific news last night that 5 Israeli settlers were murdered in their home in the settlement of Itamar, I knew it would only be a matter of hours before a shoddy piece of journalism describes the murders as the end of a “lull in the violence” or the end of “relative calm” since 4 Israeli settlers were killed in an attack near Hebron last summer. At that time, the Washington Post ran an editorial saying that the attacks then ended “three years of peace” in the region which we posted about.

So I suppose it should come as no surprise that the Washington Post’s own Janine Zacharia leads the way this morning by displaying a complete ignorance of the situation she is supposedly covering or an overt pro-Israel bias (or both). Here’s Zacharia’s story and the critical excerpt:

The Israeli daily Ha’aretz, citing a preliminary investigation, reported that the children killed were ages 11, 3 and a 3-month-old baby. The newspaper also said that another 12-year-old daughter and two of her younger brothers managed to escape.

The attack shattered a relative calm that had prevailed in the West Bank in recent months as Palestinian security forces assert greater control in the territories where they are allowed by Israel to operate and as Israeli and Palestinians forces coordinate security efforts.

Last August, four Jewish settlers were killed in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank.

Zacharia’s chronology is likely representative of the broader mainstream media’s coverage of these events, sadly. American readers or consumers of mainstream media (MSM) are delivered a simple, straightforward message: Israelis are killed about 6 months apart and in between everything was calm.

The problem is that for Zacharia and much of the MSM “relative calm” means no Israelis were attacked, injured or killed and ignores the ongoing occupation and violence against Palestinians.

In this period of “relative calm”, the Israeli Human Rights group B’Tselem recorded at least 41 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in occupied Palestinian territory. This includes Omar Qawasmeh, the 66 year old Palestinian civilian who was massacred in his bed while he slept by raiding Israeli soldiers and two 20-something Palestinian unarmed civilians shot and killed at the same checkpoint less than a week apart.

That reports can describe the killings of dozens of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers as “relative calm” and finding them completely unremarkable is disgusting in itself. Still, it’s only part of the story.

Readers may know that one of our ongoing research projects at the Palestine Center is the recording and analysis of Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians. This past fall, we made an extensive presentation of these data that shed light on a facet of occupation almost never discussed. The presentation covered data from Jan of 2009-Aug. 2010 and included over 1000 instances of settler violence. Since then, we’ve undertaken the coding of a much more significant period of time that would span 6 years and give us the ability to understand more about the history and trajectory of Israeli settler violence. This would be the most comprehensive analysis of settler violence that I am aware of. I was

hoping to make an updated presentation covering this new data in the fall, however given the recent surge in Israeli settler violence we’ve expedited the project and will make the presentation this spring.

So what instances of settler violence were there in the period of “relative calm” that Zacharia describes? There were, in fact, over 300 instances of settler violence during this period which left over 85 unarmed Palestinians injured, 4 dead, and inestimable property damage (Including thousands of torched or uprooted olive and almond trees). Among these events were over 26 acts of Arson, 59 acts of destruction of property, 32 physical attacks, 20 shootings, 60 acts of stone throwing and 23 instances of theft. There were also 10 instances of vehicular attacks where settlers mowed down Palestinian civilians including a 5-year old and 11 year old in Hebron, an 85-year old in Salfit and this horrifying act caught on video in Jerusalem.

Attacks originated from the settlements of Adora, Ariel, Ateret, Bat Ayin, Beit El, Beitar Elit, Bracha, Dulip, Efrat, Eli, Eli Zehav, Elkana, Elon Moreh, Haggai, Halamish, Harsina, Havat Gilad, Immanuel, Itamar, Kaida, Karmei Tzur, Karmel, Karnei Shomron, Kedumim, Maale Mikhmas, Maon, Maskiyot, Neve Daniel, Rehalim, Revava, Shama, Shuvot Rachel, Shilo, Sussia, Talmon, Kfar Tappuah, Yaki, Yash Adam and Yitzhar. These attacks were directed against 79 different Palestinian villages and cities in every district in the West Bank….and this is only in the past 6 months.

If these 6 months can be described as “relative calm” one really has to wonder just what extent of violence against Palestinian civilians would be considered noteworthy by the mainstream media?

In a world where everything is relative, it seems the mainstream American press has decided that Palestinian lives are relatively worthless compared to Israeli lives. But this is also a world where the mainstream media is losing its grip on the control of storytelling and information that directly contradicts faulty journalism is available at everyone’s finger tips.

We’ll continue to do our part to bring this information, especially about settler violence, to you and we hope you’ll share it with others who’d otherwise be mislead by a relatively worthless mainstream media.

March 14, 2011 - Posted by | Aletho News

3 Comments »

  1. Yousef, thank you for the time and energy it takes to get this news to us.. we, who love truth, and love also the besieged Palestinians, will always find the truth when we search diligently.. also, Aletho News specializes in getting us your news. I saw/heard mealy mouthed Megyn Kelly this morning on Fox news.. she was feigning mortification, as if ‘is ra hell’ is some kind of saint.. let’s spell their correct name here and now, they are satanic driven, so their name will be st. satan.

    Trust me when I say, don’t be deterred by people who are so easily bought by this current system.. God is on YOUR side, the side of FREEDOM and justice, HIS eyes are on those who have no power and His time has come.. those of us who champion HIM are so much more forceful than evilness, our energies and frequencies, our intent of heart and soul, are thousands of times more powerful than those of humans. We are spirits of GOD and HE will prevail, and we will ride upon His shoulders, and He will carry us to victory over the evil powers of this hell we are in.

    Comment by Joyce | March 14, 2011 | Reply

  2. Seems to me that the world is very subjective (as we all didn’t know that already….. but OK, bear with me here..) When an jew is called a dirty jew it’s anti-semitism, when a palestinian is called a dirty arab it is …… what? Nobody is shocked that a palestinian is called a dirty arab..
    When a jew is killed it’s a world-shocking event, when a palestinian is killed it is not mentioned, only by arab papers… PERHAPS!
    The world is in apathy were it concerns the crimes and insults against Palestinians, at the same time the world is up in all arms when it concerns a jewish person… Even when a group of illegal aliens (settlers) shoot palestinian children the world keeps silent, were at the same when a 10, 11 or 12 year old kid throws a stone at a heavily armed settler who he knows is only there to steal his land the world is screaming “terrorist”!
    I think the Palestinian news agencies should publish more and more the news on these kind of happenings, and sent them to all the national (and international) news agencies and news papers, including Al Jahzeera, to have the news spread to the European news agencies, so that these KNOW. When enquiring with for instance De Telegraaf, de volkskrant and other dutch newspapers, they do not KNOW what is happening, they have not heard of what the settlers have done, and are doing! Ignorance is the biggest danger to be left out, the fastest way to have mis-information being spread around!
    Big things like a settlement build up is always known, the little things like kids being killed by settlers is not known (and I am not saying it is a little thing when a kid is shot for throwing stones!) by national newspapers, INFORM them…. and let them see what kind of people the settlers are, what the Israelian army is doing to people’s land, to people at crossings………….

    Comment by Adrian Masters | March 14, 2011 | Reply

  3. Adrian… you are completely right.. it is a sad fact, but the world has lost its’ facade. Evil used to be able to hide itself, but now so much is wrong with the world, there are so MANY atrocities, it is difficult to keep track of all the evil being wrought on Muslims, in particular. I was called a Muslim recently, and I asked why he thought I was a Muslim, he said because I love God… I said if that is the criteria then I am a Muslim.. so that must be why the world hates Muslims. THAT is NOT a bad thing.. God hates those who hate HIM, if they see God in us, then they hate us because they can’t fight God.. He is out of their reach. I must be pretty naive because it took me a very long time, late into my life on earth, to understand why Godly people were so persecuted… but this isn’t Gods world, it was given to satan/lucifer to rule until God said ‘enough’. So when Godly people are persecuted, that means that God is on their side, and only God can rectify all the wrongs.. if you look at everything that is happening in the world today, you will see that satan has lost his supreme power, and God is now in control.. it may take another week, or another month, it is all in Gods time, but HE will put an end to the tyranny and HIS people will be justly rewarded for all the tears, and blood shed, that was meant for HIM. Right now, black is white, truth is a lie, and right is wrong.. it is all upside down and inside out. God will sort it all out, and when we see victory in the Middle East against tyranny, then we know we are at the end, that we have won. It won’t be long now, and we will see it all unfold.. it will be a joyous time, the dead will rise and live forever in peace.

    Comment by Joyce | March 14, 2011 | Reply


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