Deir Istyia, Occupied Palestine – Deir Istyia, in Salfit district, is a village of 4000 inhabitants who mostly live on agriculture. The Salfit district has 19 villages and 24 settlements. Land confiscation is ongoing in the area and many of the settlements are growing, as the road that connects them is widening.
The 3 families are now the only Palestinians living on the west side of the road.
Now three families, living in the outskirts of Deir Istyia (see photo), are under daily threats and harassment from the Israeli forces. They don’t know if the goal is to take over their land or just to try to make their lives so unbearable that they will themselves decide to move from the land on which they have been living peacefully for many generations.
It started in the beginning of October this year, where the soldiers started to come to the houses and harass the families, mainly at daytime. Often the women are alone with the children during the day while the men are working. Israeli forces have chosen this time to come to the houses and scare the families. One of the women explained to us that the soldiers hit her, told her that the house wasn’t hers and that she soon would have to move away. They also told her that she was a terrorist, and that the soldiers would soon come back and shoot her.
Over the last 4 days the Israeli forces have been there day and night, telling the families that they have permission to stay on the roof of one of the houses. One night, they stayed all night and slept on the roof. They claim to have to watch the road and the surroundings, because of stone throwers, even though there hasn’t been any stone throwing in that area. Last Saturday, when the soldiers were there, they took pictures of the house and the yard.
Now, the children are very insecure, and their mothers don’t leave the houses as they are afraid of leaving them alone, a situation that makes them feel, as they describe it, as in prison. They can hear the soldiers walking around outside their houses and standing on the olive hill behind them at night.
Volunteers from International Solidarity Movement and International Women’s Peace Service will follow up on the situation of these families.
HEBRON – “As you can see we live in a cage,” Arwa Abu Haikel sighed as she walked up the steps of her home. “Because of the continuous attacks by settlers, throwing stones, breaking windows and causing injuries, we had to build the bars around the windows.” Based in Tel Rumedia, a neighborhood of Hebron, Arwa’s home possesses one of the most contentious postcodes of the occupied Palestinian territory. Hebron has been the epicenter of burgeoning violence since the outbreak of the so-called “Third Intifada” at the beginning of October, and a few weeks ago the Israeli military declared the whole of Tel Rumeida a closed military zone.
Despite this, Palestinian residents told Ma’an that Tel Rumedia’s difficulties long precede the recent spate of violence, and can be seen in the fight over the area’s archaeological ruins.
The troubled neighborhood has been at the heart of a longstanding battle — between settlers in the area, numerous rights groups and the Palestinian municipality of Hebron — over the development and management of an archaeological site that’s thousands of years old.
Critics say that the site is being used by a state-funded body for the benefit of extremist Israeli settlers living in the area, who have been aiming for decades to push local Palestinians out of their homes and out of the neighborhood.
A front for settler expansion
Based on archaeological surveys, the Tel Rumeida archaeological site dates back to the formation of Hebron in the middle Bronze Age. The site also has remains originating in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Excavations by the Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) began in 1967, but last year new excavations started in what many criticize as a political move taken to support the presence of settlers in the area. Yonathan Mizrachi is an Israeli archaeologist who used to work for the IAA, but left the body in order to establish Emek Shevah, an organization which monitors the role of archaeology in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yonathan says the importance of and contention over the site in Tel Rumeida come from the possible implication it has for the demographic balance of the area. “In 2014 the IAA began a new excavation in Tel Rumeida on behalf of the settlers in order to make the site an archaeological park,” Yonathan told Ma’an. “When we started to monitor activity in Tel Rumeida, we began to see different ways that archaeology is used as a political tool,” he said.
“First of all, the idea of developing an archaeological park is the best way — from the settlers’ point of view — of how they can take over the land. They also realize that it can increase their power and their legitimacy over this place,” Mizrachi added.
The IAA — supported and sponsored by the Israeli government — received 7 million shekels ($1.8 million) last year from Israel’s Ministry of Culture and Sport for the Tel Rumeida project, according to Mizrachi.
Abu Haikel told Ma’an that her family owns segments of land in Tel Rumeida, parts of which have been confiscated by the Israeli military and are threatened by the expansion of the archaeological park. “Our daily life is difficult. To live in Tel Rumeida you have to be very strong, very patient and very peaceful,” Arwa said. She spoke of her fear from increasing numbers of settlers in the area, and the problem that a large influx of tourists to a settler-run archaeological park may pose for Palestinian residents. “Through the years, we have been attacked many times by settlers, especially by buses of Zionist extremist tour groups. They cause a lot of trouble for us and have physically assaulted us many times… I have a problem in the nerve of my eye from being attacked by a settler,” Abu Haikal explained to Ma’an.
The manipulation of history
Dr. Ahmed Rjoub is the director of the Department of Site Management at the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. When speaking to Ma’an about his concerns over the management of Tel Rumeida, Rjoub explained that “the conflict is all on history, and as such Tel Rumeida is a conflicted place, not just in terms of the physical space but a conflict over history and culture, heritage and identity.
“We have a lot of fears that the history, the archaeology and the remains of this site will be faked for the interests of Israeli heritage,” Rjoub told Ma’an.
Rjoub had grave concerns over the conservation of the site, especially regarding any artifacts that might be related to Islamic heritage. “They actually found some tombs and ruins relating to the Roman and Islamic period and removed them,” he claimed. Rjoub said that such excavations — their methods in particular — violate standards put in place by both Palestinian and international law, and are “against the ethics of archaeology.
“Such excavations, especially the methods of excavations, violate the international standards of Palestinian and international law, and are against the ethics of archaeology.”
“As members of the PA we tried to interfere,” Rjoub told Ma’an.
“In Oslo there is an article saying any project in Area C should be coordinated with the PA. But unfortunately Israel violates even the Oslo Accords, and refused our official requests to visit even as technical and professional archaeologists,” Rjoub said.
Explaining how the political motivations behind the excavations go against the grain of archaeological convention, Rjoub said: “They have preconceptions and interpretations over this site before they have even started the excavations.
“This is very wrong, and it isn’t a scientific method to interpret the remains before you’ve even finished excavating.”
Mizrachi also raised misgivings over the integrity of Israeli archaeological practice in the occupied Palestinian territory.
“We [Emek Shevah] are monitoring all kinds of activities of the Israelis in the West Bank,” Mizrachi said. “Based on previous and present cases that we know about, we have a lot of criticism in regards to which periods are being emphasized and narrated to the people.”
Mizrachi told Ma’an that there are those who attempt to identify the layers of ruins with a “specific culture of today,” labeling the area as a “Jewish site” or a “Muslim site.”
“In this land you might find an ancient synagogue, church or mosque, obviously it is very dear to a specific culture, but it doesn’t mean that you can claim sovereignty over it. It means that it is part of the heritage of a place and you should protect it according to the international convention,” Mizrachi said.
After lobbying efforts — carried out by the Palestinian municipality, Tel Rumeida residents, Emek Shevah and Israeli rights group Breaking the Silence — the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank agreed to cancel the lease of the site to an pro-settlement organization, Association for Renewed Jewish Settlement in Hebron, a few weeks ago. However, this does not signal that the struggle in Tel Rumeida, or for archaeology throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, is over. Rjoub spoke of a move to raise the issue with UNESCO due to the universal value of the site. “The international community has a responsibility to protect this site as part of everyone’s history”, he said.“It’s not just Palestinian cultural heritage either — this heritage is for all,” Rjoub added.
Seeing as archaeology does not conform to contemporary political borders — such as Israel’s separation wall, the Green Line, or the West Bank’s delineation of Areas A, B and C — conforming excavations to a framework of military occupation has rendered the practice problematic. There is little structure in place to enforce accountability regarding archaeological conduct, and other sites such as as the City of David’s national park in occupied East Jerusalem as well as the Tel Shilo national park have been criticized for their current management. Israeli excavations in occupied Palestinian land appear to systematically abuse the occupation force’s power and flout International Law, whilst alienating Palestinians from their cultural heritage.
Megan Hanna is a freelance photographer and journalist based in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Madama, Occupied Palestine – Earlier today, November 28th, a group of Israeli illegal settlers, in the presence of three Israeli soldiers, threatened to burn down a family in the village of Madama, occupied West Bank.
At noon, 25 settlers from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar trespassed the land of the Palestinian village Madama. Once they had reached the outskirts of the village they started yelling and threatening a family.
The family, which previously had problems with settlers from Yitzhar, includes 9 children and an additional child is expected within two months.
The settlers, some of whom were armed with rifles, were standing within 100-150 metres from the family’s house when they were yelling at the family. The illegal settlers were threatening the family with facing the same end as the Dawasheh family, referring to a previous attack this year where a settler firebombed a Palestinian family. 18 month old Ali Dawasheh was burned alive and both his parents later succumbed from the arson attack, leaving 4 year old Ahmed as the only surviving member of the family.
The settlers today also yelled at the family that they would be the next Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Mohammed was only 16 years old when he was kidnapped outside his house in the neighborhood of Shuafat, East Jerusalem. The kidnappers, later found out to be Jewish Israeli nationalists, beat him up and forced him to drink gasoline before finally burning him alive, from the inside out.
After today’s attack, the family in Madama is feeling even more insecure. Due to repeated attacks by the settlers the family recently got founding from the authorities to put up a barb wire fence, surrounding the house. And the father of the family has put a cover on the windows to protect his family from potential rocks thrown by the settlers.
RAMALLAH – At least 67 Palestinians were shot by Israeli military forces during ongoing clashes across the occupied Palestinian territory, the Palestinian Red Crescent said Friday.
A Red Crescent spokesperson told Ma’an that 16 Palestinians were injured by live bullets, as well as two by rubber-coated steel bullets in the Gaza Strip.
Five of those injured by live fire were shot when clashes erupted near the Nahal Oz crossing east of Gaza City, one of whom was shot in the chest and left in critical condition, according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidra.
Several others were injured in the besieged enclave when Palestinians demonstrated in areas north of Khan Younis, demanding the return of Palestinian bodies currently held by Israel, witnesses told Ma’an.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that “multiple violent riots took place near the security fence” between the Gaza Strip and Israel, where Israeli forces used “riot dispersal means” to deter participants attempting to break through the security fence.
The spokesperson said that the forces opened fire on demonstrators after ignoring calls by the forces for the participants to halt.
Palestinians in the Ramallah district meanwhile staged a demonstration near Israel’s Ofer detention center, where medics told Ma’an that Israeli forces opened fire on protesters.
One of those shot by live fire was left in critical condition, medics said, adding that dozens of others suffered from tear gas inhalation.
A total of 22 injuries by live fire were reported from the occupied West Bank, the Red Crescent spokesperson told Ma’an, as well as 27 injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and over a hundred who were treated for tear-gas inhalation.
In Hebron, 14 Palestinians were hit with live bullets, and 10 with rubber-coated steel bullets, the Red Crescent said, adding that Israeli forces targeted an ambulance with tear gas, shattering its windshield.
In Kafr Qaddum near Qalqiliya, Qaisar Jihad,13, and Hamza Mutei, 22, were shot in the legs and lightly injured after Israeli forces trapped protesters and opened fire, according to a spokesperson for the village’s popular resistance committee, Murad Shtewei.
In the village of Bilin in the Ramallah district, locals told Ma’an that photojournalist Hamdi Abu Rahma was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the thigh as Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian demonstrators.
Over 10,300 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces since Oct. 1, not including those injured by Israeli settlers.
Around 160 Israelis have been injured by Palestinian individuals during the same time period, according to documentation by the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs.
Hebron, occupied Palestine – Sunday 22nd November 2015, two international solidarity activists were arrested by Israeli forces on the claim of ‘staying in a closed military zone’ in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron).
One German human rights defender passed a checkpoint manned with a group of half a dozen soldiers with two Palestinians and another international. They were not stopped on their way by the soldiers and were allowed to pass without any problems. After visiting a house in the neighbourhood however, they were immediately stopped by soldiers when stepping on the street only twenty minutes later. Soldiers immediately questioned them about what they were doing and ordered them to walk down the hill instead of up, the direction they were headed. When the internationals asked for a reason, soldiers called the police, but allowed the Palestinians in the group to leave. An American activist was also allowed to leave as she was Jewish, whereas the German was detained by the soldiers and not allowed to leave. According to the soldiers, the detained activist was ‘the reason for everything bad in the world’ and ‘should go to Syria’ to die there ‘as the world would be a better place without her.’
Another group of internationals was going to a shop in the same neighbourhood. The three of them were yelled at by soldiers, and one out of the group was ordered to come towards the soldiers whereas the other two were ordered to leave immediately or they would be arrested. Even though in the beginning the international argued that then she would be entering a closed military zone, which she wasn’t allowed to do, soldiers kept insisting. In the end the French activist did approach the soldiers as they kept requesting her to do so – only to be arrested for entering a ‘closed military zone.’
Both the French and German activists were held at the Givat Ha’vot police station in the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba for in total nine hours. In contrast to two Palestinian prisoners held at the police station, they were treated well. One Palestinian youth, only 18-years old had been at the police station for already 16 hours when the internationals were taken there. He was visibly shaken and told the internationals that he will be taken to Ofer prison. Another Palestinian youth, about 16 years old, was walked past the internationals hand- and foot-shackled, visibly in great pain, trying to hold his stomach while walking bent over in extreme pain. No medical aid was given to him, instead he was forced to sit on the ground outside.
At one point, everyone including the two Palestinian youths, the two internationals and an Israeli prisoner were made to leave the only at least slightly heated room and forced to sit outside in the cold for about an hour as soldiers and police were bringing food and drinks and were audibly enjoying having a good time inside. Any requests for blankets or being allowed back inside were completely ignored or denied. When the internationals asked for food they were only given some bread and a tomato.
The Israeli settler, clearly phsycologically disturbed, kept talking about the ghosts talking to him, all because of a spell that a Rabbi put on him. Still, he was released after a few hours. The two internationals were released after about 9 hours only when agreeing to sign conditions barring them from the ‘Tel Rumeida area’ of al-Khalil for 15 days. Even though they were released in the middle of the night around 2 o’clock they were denied staying in their respective homes as they are in the area signed for. Unfortunately, nothing is known so far about the two Palestinian youths held at the police station. What can be said for sure though is that in Israeli military courts they will not even have the chance of a fair trail or anything at least distantly related to justice.
Silwan, Jerusalem — The occupation municipality issued a ticket to s Jerusalemite merchant under the pretext of finding an ashtray inside his store in the neighborhood of Ras Al-Amoud in Silwan.
Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that the occupation municipality raided several commercial stores in Silwan especially in the neighborhoods of Ras Al-Amoud, Bi’er Ayoub and Ein Al-Lozeh and checked stores’ and establishments’’ permits and asked the owners to follow-up with the competent departments.
The center added that municipality crews raided a fruits’ store in Ras Al-Amoud owned by Izz Eddin Abdelrahim Barbar and issued him a 5-thousand NIS ticket under the pretext of the presence of an ashtray on the stores’ table. They also issued another person a 1,000-NIS fine for smoking inside the store.
Barbar explained that he tax authority crew raided his store on Tuesday while he was buying merchandise for his store and issued a 5-thousand NIS ticket under his name and a 1,000-NIS fine for another man for smoking.
Barbar said: “The daily harassment against Jerusalemite merchants including raiding stores and randomly issuing tickets falls within the “strict” policy practiced against merchants”.
The center also added that the occupation forces raided several residential houses in the neighborhood of Ein Al-Lozeh under the pretext of looking for stone-throwers. They ascended some roofs and randomly fired rubber bullets in the area; they also took pictures of several houses.
Locals of Silwan complained about the police deployment in the streets of the village, random establishments of checkpoints, searching vehicles and checking young men’s IDs which create heavy traffic jams.
Hebron, Occupied Palestine – In Qaitun, a Palestinian Neighborhood of Hebron, situated in Oslo-defined Area H2, Israel has the authority for administrative and security control.
Israeli administrative control results in Apartheid: Palestinians will never get permission for doing anything, as building, extending or repairing their houses, and all other sort of things. Israeli citizens get permission for almost everything they want in occupied Hebron H2.
Israeli security control results in the abuse of many human rights including extrajudicial executions and using the Palestinian neighborhoods for military training – as today.
Three teams of at least seventeen soldiers each, invaded several Palestinian homes on a random basis, and detaining the family. They went inside the house to the rooftop and tried observation and shooing possibilities from there. After some 15 minutes they went down again for raiding another home.
Most of these soldiers looked very young as if they were barely out of high school. They were heavily armed and many appeared to be nervous. This could have led to an extremely dangerous risk to Palestinians and anyone else near their training exercise.
A trainer, sided by a personal bodyguard, instructed them how to invade houses and do other military things as stopping civilians and cars in this Palestinian neighborhood.
In the three hour training they invaded more than 20 homes.
Jodi Rudoren today in The New York Times puts up a numbers barrier to hide the reality of Palestinian casualties in the latest spate of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The aim, as usual, is to maintain the claim of Israeli victimhood and to obscure the criminal brutality of the occupation.
In a story about four who died yesterday in alleged attacks in the region, Rudoren writes that more than 90 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 1, “about half while attacking or trying to attack Israelis and the rest during demonstrations where they clashed with Israeli soldiers.”
We are to believe from this statement that only violent activists have died at the hands of Israeli forces, but in fact, several Palestinians have been killed in circumstances that were anything but “clashes”—at checkpoints, for instance, when trigger happy troops shot and killed unarmed victims. One of the dead was a 73-year-old grandmother on her way to lunch with her sister.
To omit these cases is to ignore the findings of human rights groups that have charged Israel with committing extrajudicial executions in recent weeks, and Rudoren’s statement, in the face of their evidence, is an effort to distort the facts.
The misrepresentations do not end there, however. Rudoren goes on to say, “At the same time, 17 Israeli Jews have been killed and dozens wounded in 70 stabbings, 10 shootings and 10 vehicular attacks.”
Note what is missing here: the number of Palestinians that have been wounded and the attacks against them in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Her aim is to minimize the huge discrepancy in casualty counts by omitting the number of Palestinians wounded by Israeli forces and settlers.
Ninety compared to 70 sounds like something approaching parity, but Rudoren has deliberately omitted the logical comparison—the number of injuries. This, according to United Nations data, was 133 Israelis and 9,171 Palestinians injured as of Nov. 16.
We should ask Rudoren and Times editors why this information is missing here, in a context that cries out for full disclosure.
Beyond the full casualty count, the Times could also inform readers of other statistics that illuminate the reality of Palestinian-Israeli relations:
- A weekly average of 150 Israeli military search and arrest operations in the West Bank last year.
- 211 reported incidents of settler violence against Palestinians this year as of Nov. 16. (Actual incidents are daily occurrences throughout the West Bank.)
- 50 Israeli military incursions into Gaza from Jan. 1 to Nov. 16, 2015.
- 481 demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures as of Nov. 16 this year. (This includes homes, animal shelters, cisterns, wells and public buildings such as schools.)
- 601 Palestinians displaced due to demolitions in 2015.
- 6,700 Palestinian political prisoners currently held by Israel.
- 320 Palestinian child prisoners currently in Israeli prisons.
The information for the numbers above comes from the UN Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs and from Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization. The Times, however, ignores their reports and prefers to rely on official Israeli entities. Thus, the numbers Rudoren cites for attacks and casualties are taken from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has an obvious interest in political spin.
Israel has the first and last word in the Times. The United Nations, Palestinian monitoring groups and human rights organizations are silenced while Israeli official claims are taken as fact. The word “alleged,” for instance, never appears in Rudoren’s piece today. The UN report, however, uses the term frequently, distinguishing between the claims of security forces and verified information.
In short, Times reporting on Palestine and Israel is a disgrace. Numbers are deliberately manipulated, relevant facts are censored, and the result is dishonest journalism, in spite of the newspaper’s lofty claims of providing “the complete, unvarnished truth” and “impartial” reporting. The numbers simply prove them wrong.
Follow @TimesWarp on Twitter.
A Palestinian man stabbed and killed an Israeli woman on Sunday, after occupation police and settlers shot and ran over a Palestinian girl on the same day.
The attack took place near the so-called Gush Etzion block of settlements south of al-Quds.
The Palestinian attacker was shot dead by occupation forces afterwards, Israeli police said. He was identified as Issam Thawabteh, 34, from Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem.
The Israeli woman was stabbed in retaliation for the brutal killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian girl who was shot and run over by occupation police and Zionist settlers earlier on Sunday.
Also on Sunday another Palestinian was shot dead by occupation police, who claimed he was attempting a stabbing attack against occupation forces.
Hebron, occupied Palestine – On Tuesday, 17th November, several groups of soldiers raided houses in the Wadi al-Hurriya neighborhood of al-Khalil (Hebron), an H1 district legally outside of Israeli control. From 7.30pm, Israeli forces were present in the area, divided into groups of 7-12 soldiers and entering every house and business on designated streets. At some of the residences they entered by force, violently smashing through doors. They checked every I.D card of the residents and also, according to soldiers who confronted the ISM volunteers, searched for weapons. Later in the night they informed the volunteers that they were looking for weapons and collecting data in order to prevent potential stabbings: “yes, some people are scared. But some people have reason to be scared.”
Each group of soldiers patrolled different streets and dark alleys, checking each house and entering with backpacks, mapping equipment, bullet-proof vests, and cocked machine guns. On entering houses, 2-3 soldiers remained outside to “secure” the entrance, periodically pointing guns at passers-by and preventing vehicle and pedestrian passage through the streets.
The raids lasted until at least 12.30am, after which one unit was witnessed occupying the second floor of a Palestinian house – the other half of which was inhabited by a Palestinian family – and could be heard setting up sleeping equipment. According to the soldiers questioned on site: “no, we are not inside a Palestinian house, they are not living in this house.” The residence is located within 500 meters of an army base and checkpoint bordering the H2 restricted area of al-Khalil.
It was reported later from residents who were in contact with ISM that furniture and property was damaged on the night. This is typical of night raids on Palestinian houses, and in other incidences money and other property has also been stolen. While these raids have been used extensively in the al-Khalil district in recent weeks as part of a tactic of intimidation, it is unclear as to whether the policy of raiding the H1 district and squatting family homes will continue.
Five men died in Israel and the West Bank yesterday, the victims of shooting and stabbing attacks by Palestinians. The assaults took place in Tel Aviv and in the Etzion illegal settlement bloc, and their deaths, according to The New York Times, marked “the deadliest day in the recent wave of violence.”
Deadliest day? For Israelis, yes, but not for Palestinians. As the Times has reported, Israeli soldiers shot and killed six young men in Gaza during demonstrations at the border fence on Oct. 9. Days later, on Oct. 20, five more Palestinians died at the hands of Israeli troops within the span of 12 hours (in this case, the newspaper remained silent and made no effort to report their deaths).
Nevertheless, Isabel Kershner in the Times today insists that the five deaths (one involving a Palestinian working in Israel and one involving an American visitor) are the high point in violence since a wave of lone wolf attacks against Israelis broke out at the beginning of October.
Nothing could provide more certain evidence of the Israeli bias in the Times. Palestinian deaths do not register on their tally of casualties; violence refers only to Palestinian aggression.
Kershner’s story acknowledges that some 90 Palestinians have died since the beginning of October, compared with 16 Israelis, but in explaining this discrepancy she manages once again to blame the victims. The Palestinians died, she says, while attacking or attempting to attack Israelis or “in clashes with Israeli security forces.”
Nothing is said of those who died in what human rights groups call apparent extrajudicial executions: the youth shot as he tried to extract his identity card from his pocket, the young woman killed as she stood with her hands over her head. It seems the Times wants us to believe the often dubious claims of Israeli forces responsible for Palestinian deaths.
Today’s story lists all of the victims by name and gives a detailed account of one of them, an American teenager who had “distributed food and candy to Israeli soldiers” the day he was killed. The Oct. 9 story about the deaths in Gaza gives the name of not a single Palestinian.
Kershner, however, has provided us with some context here, and the result is bizarre. She manages to link the five deaths to a long-awaited agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority “granting Palestinian cellphone carriers 3G high-speed cellular services in the West Bank.”
The attacks came “hours after” this agreement, she writes, and she goes on to imply that Palestinians should have taken this contract as something of a white flag, a sign that a truce is in effect.
“The move,” Kershner states, “intended to bolster economic development, had indicated a possible effect, or desire, to return to calm after weeks of violence.” She then quotes an Israeli minister who claims, “We always agree to confidence-building measures with the Palestinians to help with their economy.”
It is difficult to reconcile this assertion of goodwill with the fact that Palestinian cellphone carriers have been requesting the right to use 3G services since 2006 and only at this point has Israel agreed to allow this now outdated technology. Yet Kershner reports it without a hint of irony.
Readers are to take from this that the Palestinians have no right to protest, let alone to resort to violence. Israel, Kershner is saying, has their well-being at heart.
Missing, as usual, is the context of the brutal occupation, the ever-tightening pressure of settlement building that robs Palestinians of land, water, basic livelihoods and the right to move freely. Missing also are the arrests and abuse of young Palestinians, some as young as 6, and the heavy use of administrative detention, which denies detainees the right to a defense or even to know the charges against them.
If Kershner wanted to peg her story to recent developments, she could have mentioned the crackdown on the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel; the slap on the wrist meted out to the police officer who brutally beat an American Palestinian teenager last year; or the collective punishment of home demolitions, which can leave a wide trail of devastation beyond the stated targets.
Instead, readers are told that Israeli “goodwill” has been spurned by ungrateful Palestinians and that Israelis alone are the victims of violence. Thus, the Times and Kershner give dominance to Israel spin even as their efforts turn the news into an exercise in distortion and absurdity.
Follow @TimesWarp on Twitter