Harriet Sherwood scolds Romney for refusing to believe in the mythical “peaceful” Palestinians

Harriet Sherwood’s latest report, Mitt Romney’s remarks reflect dwindling faith in two-state solution, Sept. 18, represents another example of the Guardian Left’s capacity to reject even the most basic logical statements about the Middle East — the ones “absolutely necessary to understand reality” — and rule them out-of-bounds.

Sherwood writes:

According to Romney, the Palestinians are committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel and have no interest in peace;

She then adds, in a manner suggesting that the Guardian Jerusalem correspondent may be auditioning for a future role as spokesperson for the Palestinians:

His characterisation of the Palestinians is wrong. The Palestinian Liberation Organisation, acknowledged as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinian people, recognises the right of Israel “to exist in peace and security”. The Palestinian leadership is committed to a negotiated solution and opposes armed struggle.

One statement purportedly attesting to the Palestinians’ peaceful ways?

Well, that’s enough proof for her!

Such parroting of Fatah ‘hasbara’ is remarkable even for Sherwood, whose sympathy for the Palestinian cause is rarely ever disguised.

Whatever Palestinian leaders say occasionally in public (in English), the role of a reporter is, of course, to see through such unserious platitudes, and Sherwood, in her latest report, doesn’t even go through the motions of such basic fact checking.

If Sherwood would have done so much as search Google she would have determined that Fatah – who attempted  or carried out (through various terror groups affiliated with its movement) more than 1,500 attacks during the Second Intifada – has never changed its charter supporting terrorism and rejecting Israel’s right to exist.


Fatah has not changed to its internal charter calling for the “complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence” through violence.” (Article 12).  Other articles which still stand include:

Article 17, which states: “Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine.”

Article 19, which states that “armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.”

In addition, Fatah:

  • Still refuses to accept Israel as a Jewish state and insist on the right to resettle millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants within Israel’s pre-67 borders.
  • Denies Israel’s Jewish history, condemning its “falsification” of  history, calls for “the return of Palestinian sovereignty over the whole of the soil the city of Jerusalem” and insists on the evacuation of Jewish communities in Jerusalem.
  • Continues to endorse the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade – responsible for numerous suicide bombings and terrorist attacks– as its armed wing.

If Sherwood had an interest in objectively analyzing Romney’s claims, she could have easily come across mounds of evidence attesting to a Palestinian political culture which glorifies terrorism, promotes antisemitism and rejects the very idea of peace and co-existence with the Zionists.

As Palestinian Media Watch reports:

“Since the Palestinian Authority was established it has systematically indoctrinated young and old to hate Israelis and Jews. Using media, education, and cultural structures that it controls, the PA has actively promoted religious hatred, demonization, conspiracy libels, etc. These are packaged to present Israelis and Jews as endangering Palestinians, Arabs, and all humanity. This ongoing campaign has so successfully instilled hatred that fighting, murder and even suicide terror against Israelis and Jews are seen by the majority of Palestinians as justified self-defense and as Allah’s will. The PA presents Jews as possessing inherently evil traits. Jews are said to be treacherous, corrupt, deceitful and unfaithful by nature. These Jewish “attributes” and traditions are presented as the unchangeable nature of Jews. Forgeries and fiction masquerading as history are used to document and support the libel that Judaism is in essence racist and evil. Jews are said to be planning and executing heinous crimes, including burning Palestinians in ovens, murder, using prisoners for Nazi-like experiments, and more. 

Palestinian daily: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 6, 2008,

The PMW report continues:

“The PA assigns responsibility to the Jews for all the problems in the world: Wars, conflicts and civil wars are all said to be triggered by Jews. Indeed, the oppression suffered by Jews throughout history is presented as the legitimate response of nations seeking revenge for the injury caused them by the Jews living among them. The creation of the State of Israel is said to have been a European plot, in order to be rid of their Jews and save Europe from the evil of Jewish presence in their countries. 

The Palestinian Authority makes no attempt to educate its people towards peace and coexistence with Israel. On the contrary, from every possible platform it repeatedly rejects Israel’s right to exist, presents the conflict as a religious battle for Islam, depicts the establishment of Israel as an act of imperialism, and perpetuates a picture of the Middle East, both verbally and visually, in which Israel does not exist at all. Israel’s destruction is said to be both inevitable and a Palestinian obligation. 

the Palestinian Authority foment violence against Jews and Israelis, presenting it as legitimate and even heroic self-defense.”

Satanic Israeli peace: PA TV broadcast a caricature from the UAE newspaper Al-Ittihad in which Israel is depicted as Death with an olive branch in his mouth – Palestinian TV (Fatah) June 28, 2011

“PA terror promotion takes many forms. Nationalistically, the PA actively elevates violence as a valid and heroic means to achieve political goals, while religiously, fighting and killing Jews has been presented repeatedly by PA religious and academic leaders as Allah’s will. On the social level, Palestinian leaders and society honor even the most loathsome of murderers portraying them as heroes and role models.”

Additionally, Sherwood could have reported a 2012 Palestinian poll indicating that if a presidential election were held today Marwan Barghouti—a terrorist who founded the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigades, jailed over his role in directing suicide bombings —would garner the most votes.

She could have also reported the results of another poll in 2010 which found that 59 percent of Palestinians in the West Bank (and 63 percent in Gaza‏) eventually hope that one state − Palestine − will replace the Jewish state. (The same poll indicated that only 23 percent of Palestinians said they believed in Israel’s right to exist as the national homeland of the Jews.)

She could have noted that 47.5% of Palestinians still support terrorist attacks inside pre-1967 Israel.

Or, Sherwood could have cited a 2011 poll indicating that 73% of Palestinians “believe” the Islamic Hadith that preaches it is Islamic destiny to kill Jews.

In fact,  a bit of searching  on YouTube and the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent may have found the following clip of ‘moderate’ PA leader Mahmoud Abbas admitting that he ordered terrorists to carry out their “operations“.

Later in her Sept. 18 report, Sherwood goes beyond merely shilling for Fatah, and makes a claim about Hamas’ supposed willingness to embrace a ‘peaceful solution’ which their own leaders don’t even pretend to support.


“The official founding charter of Hamas, the Islamist faction that rules the tiny Gaza Strip, still calls for historic (ie pre-1948) Palestine to be liberated. However, its leaders have repeatedly indicated, albeit sometimes opaquely, that they can live with a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.” [emphasis added]

This is simply a lie. 

As recently as April 2012, senior Hamas member Mousa Abu Marzook told the Jewish Forward – a leftist publication which would have likely accepted even the most risible claims as to the group’s “moderation” – that Hamas will never recognize Israel as a state, but will only accept a hudna a tactical temporary cease-fire.

The Hamas covenant is unequivocal:

“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad. Initiatives, proposals, and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

Further, the Hamas covenant doesn’t just call for the destruction of the Jewish state, it openly calls for the murder of Jews as such. As recently as last month, the deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Sheik Ahmad Bahr, called for the annihilation of Jews.

A woman doesn’t need permission from her husband, nor a “servant his master’s permission,” in order to engage in jihad, Bahr told his flock. This, he says, is “in order to annihilate those Jews.”

Hamas clerics have similarly called for the murder of all Jews on earth.

Here’s Hamas cleric Muhsen Abu ‘Ita on Hamas TV in 2008.

Moreover, if Harriet Sherwood has ever, in her entire career at the Guardian, written a report dealing seriously with Palestinians’ extreme antisemitism – a culture which often promotes the murder of Jews – I’ve never seen it.

The truth is, however, that Harriet Sherwood does not represent an anomaly.

For much of the elite media the Palestinians exist merely as an abstraction.  If Israelis continue to be obsessively scrutinized by much of the world – their every act and decision placed under a microscope – the Palestinians are, inversely, one of the least examined, and under-scrutinized, political or national groups.

If Harriet Sherwood and her colleagues were to bookmark Palestinian Media Watch, visit the site regularly and honestly report what Palestinians actually say to each other in Arabic, rather than uncritically accepting the scripted lines they dutifully report to Western journalists, Guardian readers would be unable to continue trumpeting the Palestinian cause with quite the same vigor.

They’d be forced, perhaps, to empathize with Israeli concerns that a future Palestinian state may likely devolve into yet another terrorist run polity, and wouldn’t, in fact, deliver “peace and security”.

In short, such inconvenient facts about the true nature of Palestinian culture would disabuse many of their fanciful notions regarding the “root cause” of the conflict.

In a revealing blog post in 2011, Guardian Assistant Editor Michael White, writing about media self-censorship, made a revealing admission.

White, who’s been with the Guardian for over 30 years, wrote:

[The Guardian has] always sensed liberal, middle class ill-ease in going after stories about immigration, legal or otherwise, about welfare fraud or the less attractive tribal habits of the working class, which is more easily ignored altogether.

Toffs, including royal ones, Christians, especially popes, governments of Israel, and US Republicans are more straightforward targets.

White concluded, thus:

And remember, dear reader, that we are also striving much of the time to tell you what you’d rather know rather than challenge your prejudices or make you cross.”

By exposing Palestinian racism and their culture of violence – thus giving lie the fiction of a peaceful, progressive national liberation movement – the Guardian would be challenging their readers’ considerable prejudices about Jews and Israelis.

In such an extremely unlikely scenario, of course, the institution would actually be able to honestly lay claim to the genuinely liberal values they now so egregiously and consistently undermine.

51 replies »

    • Israel’s best hope is not Romney but its people, its democracy, its culture, and its strong army. That it’s enemies have the intelligence of Rich who simply couldn’t get the points in a very simple article only helps.
      BTW Rich who are the “we”? The Stormfront? Muslim Brotrherhood? Hamas? Fatah? Tell “us” please don’d be so shy…

      • ” we ” in this context is all those that think the status quo leaves Israel in big trouble and the longer it persists the bigger the trouble.

    • There’s never been a Palestinian government more eager to make peace than the current one.

      Meanwhile, Israel’s Government of Israel prefers to cling to the illegal settlements rather than use this historical opportunity.

      This is a terrible mistake.

      • I don’t give a flying fig what Romney thinks (unless he does become POTUS in which case it becomes important). This article is about what Harriet Sherwood (and by extension, the Guardian) thinks is the true Palestinian mentality, and Adam Levick has clearly demonstrated how blind she apparently is to the depth of antagonism to all things Israeli and Jewish that evidently exists in Palestinian society.

  1. If humanity’s best hope was a conceited egotistical racist prick like Rich A we would all be truly f****d.

    • I get called a racist on certain other blog spots too. Unfortunately no one is able to point to a single racist statement I have ever made. Can you do any better zeitgoose ?

  2. Well said! Romney cuts through the Emperor’s new clothes and tells it how it is. There isn’t any Peace Treaty worth the paper it’s written on with the present Palestinian leadership. It’s not politically correct to say so, just as it’s not PC to scold the Palestinians and their Arab cousin for their lack of political maturity. C’est la vie.

    The Guardian, like Obama, is deeply dishonest in peddling the lie that Israel has a serious partner for peace.

  3. Of all the nonsense talked about the Israel/Palestinian thing the most ridiculous is that the PA does not want a deal. Romney is a half wit at the very best.

    Without a deal Abbas et al are nothing. They desperately want their little fiefdom that they can rule over and be somebodies. It would/will be a nasty, corrupt and brutish place. Bringing it about as soon as possible is Israel’s very best option.

    • Rich A. Your claim that Abbas et al are nothing is correct. Now please give us a hint of how they show their eagerness for a deal. Is it their turning up to negotiation sessions? Is it their demand that the sessions should be held more than once a decade?

      Do tell. What gave it away ?

    • Well thank goodness Israel doesn’t care what you think.

      Can you point us to disinterested links where we can read that the PA behaves that it wants peace? You see, I know that Abbas bleats “peace” at his front door and then the next day names a square or a school after an Islamist murderer of Israelis. From any other person that would be at least confusing but from him not only is it stupid but it’s evidence of bad faith isn’t it?

  4. Well they actually would do virtually any deal they could get away with. Obviously they have to deliver something that wouldn’t get them lynched. They are a bunch of self serving, corrupt thugs. I exempt Fayyed from this.

    My experience of the West Bank is that the overwhelming majority of Joes on the street hate the PA more than they hate the IDF.

    • So actually what you’re saying is – the Palestinians won’t accept a peaceful settlement with Israel. So Romney was right then?

    • I don’t think your basic point about the status quo being unsustainable is wrong, but in the line “they have to deliver something that wouldn’t get them lynched” there’s the main reason that the Palestinians won’t make a final peace deal with Israel (and try to redefine “won’t” as “can’t). Among other things, Palestinians have said that they cannot agree to a deal that doesn’t A) divide Jerusalem along the 1948-67 lines and B) allow for millions of nebulous Palestinian “refugees” to become Israeli citizens. So the terms that would, as you say, get Palestinian leaders “lynched” are the same ones that would, inevitably, cause that fiction to become reality for Israelis (and not just their leaders). If you’re going to pretend that this isn’t a self-fulfilling prophecy from the Palestinian side, and that they bear no tangible responsibility for ending this conflict, that’s fine. There’s just no obligation for anyone else to agree with that analysis unless they have an established agenda like Ms. Sherwood does. So here we are.

      • You surely don’t believe most of that. There are many options vis a vis Jerusalem that Joe Palestinian would buy. Obviously they all involve some degree of sharing.

        No one seriously believes millions of refugees are to become Israeli citizens.

        I used to be an out and out two stater. I don’t now think such an outcome is possible. Hasn’t Bibi declared that Jerusalem will never be divided or shared ? And that Israel will never ” cede ” the Jordan valley ? And by the time there is a more pragmatic govt in Israel it will be too late. Also I am a lot less sure than I used to be that two states is in Joe Palestinians best interests.

        We already have one state it only remains to formalise it.

        • Hasn’t Bibi declared that Jerusalem will never be divided or shared ?

          Were you only slightly less ignorant maybe you would know that Barak in 2000 (Camp David), in 2001 (Taba) and Olmert in 2007 (Annapolis)agreed to divide Jerusalem and your peaceloving “Joes” not just didn’t accept that but they didn’t came out with any counterproposals.

          Rich with friends like you the Palestinians don’t need any enemies…

        • And you know this how, precisely?

          And just because you no longer believe that two states are possible, that should not automatically lead to your advocating that Israel engage in lunacy which would result in her demise, unless of course you are not thinking straight, and that, of course, is a distinct probability given your posts here.

        • This means that the only solution left is a bi national state granting Israelis and Palestinian the same rights.

          That’s what Bibi has chosen for Israel.

  5. Hi Adam,

    This is a little one-sided. Why have you not mentioned the extreme racism that exists in sections of Israeli society?

    I’ve just returned from three months in Hebron, where the walls are sprayed with graffiti such as “Gas the Arabs” and “Death to the Arabs”; where young Jewish children spit on elderly Palestinian men and women; where Palestinian school children are stoned by Jewish settlers (; and where the grave of Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Palestinian men while they prayed in 1994, remains a site of pilgrimage and celebration? (

    Or what about the brutal racist lynching of an Arab youth by Jewish teens in Jerusalem recently? (,7340,L-4271398,00.html)

    Or the recent firebombing of a Palestinian taxi – with a family inside – near to Gush Etzion? (

    Plenty of commentators and organisations have pointed out that these incidents are far from one-offs, but instead arise out of a culture of racism that has become embedded in Israeli society. (See, for example: and and

    Since you are keen to highlight “inconvenient facts”, shouldn’t these have also been included in your article – or are some facts more inconvenient than others?


  6. Well they actually would do virtually any deal they could get away with. Obviously they have to deliver something that wouldn’t get them lynched

    Exactly. Any realistic deal they would sign with the Jews would have them lynched.

    My experience of the West Bank is that the overwhelming majority of Joes on the street hate the PA more than they hate the IDF.

    You must be correct seeing the huge number of lynched PA personnel and the incessant violent attacks against them.

    Always a fun to read the comments of people who are totally clueless about Israel, about Palestine but they have a very strong opinion based on ideology instead of reality and they know better what is good for the savage natives than the involved themselves…
    And Rich you the wise expert could you tell the readers whether the Palestinian Joes hate the IDF or the Joos?

    …the status quo leaves Israel in big trouble and the longer it persists the bigger the trouble.

    Your hertfelt worry for us is simply sob-inducing.

  7. The last thing Harriet Sherwood wants to talk about is the Palestinians racist, genocidal media against Jews.

  8. In order to take a peace proposal from Hamas or even the PA seriously, it will have to incorporate some elements in the future that have been noticeably lacking up to this point:
    *it will NOT mention a “hudna”. One of the fascinating & enduring features of anti-Israel voices is the assumpion that pro-Israel parties (including Israel itself) are a blanket cotillion of imbeciles. For example, I’m not exceptionally smart and I know that a hudna is a temporary cease-fire offering designed to give a weakened party time to regroup and later wage a victorious war. It’s not an end of war idea in any sense of the word. We are aware of that, OK?
    *The offer process won’t involve even insulting “hudna” offers immediately disavowed or rewritten by officials who want to reassure their supporters that they didn’t really mean what they said to the previous audience (which was inevitably a combination of English-speaking/Caucasian/liberal members).
    *If the offer sounds statesmanlike and interested in forging peace in English, the next step won’t create a new offer that sounds warlike and interested in waging war in Arabic.
    *Having the non-existent right of return for Palestinian “refugees” listed as part of a (temporary) cease of conflict. There’s no peaceful resolution to the I/P conflict that ends with Israel becoming a 23rd Arab ME state; the resolution in that case would be the result of a war that turned into a genocide, and it’s pure fantasy to pretend anything else.
    A real peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians would be along the lines of a divorce: limited in everything related to contact or interactions for good and bad. Have that announced and people will be rightly interested. Otherwise, they’re rightly either “forget about it” or “what a lovely scenario!”

    • You have forgotten, Ben, the absolute requirement to BEHAVE as though it wants a lasting peace, which will mean mega-changes to its media and education system and probably the (literal) gagging of the PA spokesmen.

      We know that Abu Bluff will spin any old yarn and tell us what he thinks we want to hear rather than the truth, which is the certainty that if he declares a lasting peace with Israel and means it, he will be a marked man, so he remains mealy-mouthed and intelligent people are supposed to take him seriously.

  9. I think the mistake so often made is projecting past Palestinian rejectionism onto the present. The rejection of Camp David was lunacy. But then the prevailing Palestinian attitude was ideological. Now it is self serving. Abbas desperately wants to be da boss of a Palestinian state. Make the Olmert offer tomorrow he will bite your hand off.

    • Sadly the “lunacy” is all to present in what most Pals and Arabs get up to these days. Never mind the last sixty years.

      • Robert what is the source of your info about most ” Pals ” and most Arabs ? My West Bank experience tells me that most ” Pals ” just want a reduction in the levels of stress in their lives, levels that have reached crisis pitch. What is your experience ?

    • Sorry Rich there is no repeat of past mistakes. They should have accept the peace when it was proposed, they shouldn’t have observed the advice of your guardista friends. The train has left already and no ticket refunds…

    • Were we talking about a people sensible of what would be best for it in the long term, that could contain its need for instant gratification, I might agree with you. But we are not, are we?

      Palestinians and other Muslims are not exactly renowned for their common sense and capability to do things differently if they have not been successful in the past. Are you seriously asking us to believe that they would suddenly develop maturity and common sense in regard to Jews?

      I think you are either being disingenuous or fatuous but without the element complacency which attaches to the latter.

  10. I’m happily whiling away my time in South Bucks. I don’t have to live with it. And if you are in Hungary you don’t have to either.

    • If you don’t have to live with the outcome then how do you think to have the right to open your ignorant mouth?

      And if you are in Hungary you don’t have to either
      Is the Galilee in Hungary?
      But even this assertion of you is a laughable. Seems to me that the situation in Hungary makes Israel’s future a very crucial problem for Hungarian Jews. BTW Do you have no-go areas in your South Bucks for Jews, gays, inmodest women, etc. too? Maybe you should devote your time to solve your own problems …

  11. During the settlement moratorium of the Israelian government in 2010 negotiations were denied by the PLA/PLO/Fatah, the Hamas, Islamic Djihad, PFLP, DFLP and the others suicide-bombed as usual.
    When the terror subsidies of the Islamic countries will be cut down and the subvention of the Palestinian society by the world will be stopped, then peace will immediately follow.