Harriet Sherwood’s continuing advocacy journalism on behalf of Palestinian terror suspects

Those reading Harriet Sherwood’s latest two advocacy pieces, Israel warned of volatile situation as Palestinian hunger strikers near death, and Administrative detention the key to Palestinian hunger strikes, (posted at the Guardian on May 13th) could almost be forgiven for believing that Israel imprisons Palestinians either arbitrarily or to suppress their political beliefs.

While you can read our blog’s substantive critiques of the Guardian Group’s sympathetic coverage of Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strikes (here, here, here, here, & here), the following represents a summary of Harriet Sherwood’s latest two reports:

Passages which represent, or are sympathetic to, the Palestinian prisoners’ side of the story: 20

Passages which represent, or are sympathetic to, the Israeli side of the story: 4

Use of the words “terror”, “terrorism”, “terrorist” (or even the Guardian Style Guide preferred word, “militant”) to characterize the suspects in Israeli custody, or in any context at all: 0

Passages offering context concerning the use of administrative detention by other democratic states: 0

Most incendiary, unserious or hyperbolic quotes included in Sherwood’s report:

Sherwood quotes from a letter written by a Palestinian prisoner to his daughter:

“…You will know that your father did not tolerate injustice and submission and that he would never accept insult and compromise, and that he is going through a hunger strike to protest against the Jewish state that wants to turn us into humiliated slaves…” [emphasis added]

Sherwood also quotes an Israeli MK:

Jamal Zahalka, a member of the Israeli parliament, told a solidarity rally in Jaffa: “If one of the striking prisoners dies, a third intifada [uprising] will break out.” [emphasis added]

And if the “striking” prisoners are released they are highly likely to continue their involvement with terrorist movements intent on launching lethal attacks against Israeli civilians: a real world consequence of treating violent extremists as human rights activists which the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent never seems to consider.

(The media just reported that the prisoners have ended their hunger strike, after both sides agreed to an Egyptian brokered deal.)

7 replies »

  1. Boy oh boy, are these people full of threats, or what? It’s a neat trick to bully and play the victim card simultaneously. It helps if westerners think you’re exotic which means “authentic” in their simple little minds.

    This is just another effort to get the “Palestinian cause” back into the headlines, and to stop Israel from conducting legitimate defense against murderers and would-be murders and their accomplices.

    I’m sure that if a hunger striker died it would cause all sorts of manufactured rage. The very thought of a Palestinian dying without taking some Jews with him would be too much for these “activists” to bear.
    This is the world we now live in. Activists = journalists. Murdering terrorists = peace activists. Orwell anyone?

    • The practice of administrative detention is disturbing, and is even criticized by Israeli human rights organizations. Detaining someone without even charging him is unacceptable in a democracy. Ever heard of the Habeas Corpus?

      • You are quite right Nat. In an ideal world it would not be necessary, but Israel is far from alone amongst western democracies in considering it necessary in a world where people are prepared to commit the most brutal acts of terrorism against civilians.

        Personally I think there are good reasons for the existence of administrative detention in such circumstances, distasteful as it is. The key point for me is not whether administrative detention exists, but what safeguards are in place to ensure the state doesn’t abuse it. On this ground, Israel does a lot better than many other western democracies, as is set out in detail eslewhere on this site.

  2. I can remember back to 1981 when a handful of terrorists committed suicide by going on hunger strike in Northern Ireland. The then Prime Minister said this of Bobby Sands in Parliament;
    “Mr. Sands was a convicted criminal. He chose to take his own life. It was a choice that his organisation did not allow to many of its victims”.

    Those who write sympathetic pieces of the Palestinian terrorists should remember the last two sentences of that quote it is as apt for the Palestinian terrorist as it was for Bobby Sands.

    • Interesting that you should ask us to “remember the last two sentences of that quote”, Gerald, thereby omitting the bit about Sands being a “convicted criminal”.

      The point about the Palestinian detainees is that they have not been convicted of anything; they have not even been informed of the nature of their suspected offences,

      • sencar interesting that you forget, or choose to ignore, that Sands and Co. didn’t consider themselves convicted criminals or recognise the jurisdiction of the Courts that convicted them.

        Any more spurious points sencar?

      • Not entirely true. About 1500 prisoners were on some form of hunger strike and as only there are only 308 in administrative detention, it is clear that the vast majority of the hunger strikers were convicted terrorists.

        The strike is now over; the Shabak and the prisoners leaders reached an agreement whereby certain improvements in the the prison conditions will be carried out in exchange for cessation of terrorist activity organized by cellphone from within the gaols.