‘Fisking’ Robert Fisk’s latest on Israel: distortions, half-truths and fabrications

Robert Fisk isn’t very happy with the latest “betrayal of the Palestinians”, which is how he characterizes the US decision to temporarily end their aggressive engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process after Fatah’s reconciliation with Hamas.  

In his latest report for The Independent, ‘Yet another betrayal of the Palestinians‘, April 25, Fisk blames Barack Obama for ‘cowardly’ walking away from the process, and laments that the US President has shown himself once again to be ‘in lock step’ with Jerusalem.

However, beyond the narrow and quite risible claim that Obama and Netanyahu are in cahoots, or at least using the same political playbook, Fisk’s ‘analysis’ is laden with distortions, half-truths and outright fabrications. 

Fisk derides “claim” that Hamas is a terror group


Of course – lock-stepping with Israel as usual – Obama condemned Mahmoud Abbas for the “unhelpful” step of trying to form a unity government with Hamas, a skewed version of events that entirely chimes with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s predictable claim that the Palestinian President “formed an alliance with a murderous terrorist organisation that calls for Israel’s destruction”.

So, to Fisk, Obama and Netanyahu are merely parroting an evidently debatable “claim” that Hamas is a “murderous terrorist organization that calls for Israel’s destruction”, despite the fact that the group is an internationally recognized terror organization whose founding charter unambiguously calls for Israel’s destruction and the murder of Jews, and has launched terror attacks that killed hundreds of Israeli civilians.

Fisk uncritically accepts Palestinian talking points about Hamas’s imminent move to the political centre.


Forget that Mr Abbas insists that this Palestinian unity would be founded on recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence and acceptance of previous agreements.

Of course, the suggestion that Hamas – whose leaders have called for genocide against the Jews – would ever betray its fundamental anti-Zionist doctrine and recognize Israel (and renounce violence) is ludicrous. Not only has a Hamas spokesperson already distanced the group from suggestions that they may recognize Israel, but the PA’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat reportedly already walked back Abbas’s claim, and stated that Hamas is not obligated to recognize Israel to be part of the government.

Fisk grossly under counts the population of Arab Israelis


Since Mr Netanyahu has been demanding that Mr Abbas accept – even before the latter’s renewed love affair with Hamas – that Israel was a “Jewish state” (thus deleting its tens of thousands of Israeli Arab citizens), no “recognition of Israel” without its Jewish definition would be of any use to him.

We’re not sure how he made such a big error, but a simple tour of the website of the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (among the myriad of sources he could have used to check this ‘fact’) would have demonstrated that the population of Arab Israelis is over 1.6 Million, not “tens of thousands”.

The US is “in hock” to the Israeli government?


How on earth did Mr Kerry think that he could bring this nonsense off in nine months?  For as long as the US administration remains in hock to the Israeli government and continues to support Israel, right or wrong, it can never – and will never – negotiate peace between the two.

Though we weren’t previously familiar with the term “in hock”, it appears that (based on a popular online dictionary) if you are “in hock” to someone, you feel you have to do things for them because they have given you money or support.  Given the context, it appears that Fisk is (furtively) evoking the alleged influence of the ‘Israeli lobby’ over US foreign policy.

New Jewish “colonies” in east Jerusalem?


Only a month ago, Israel approved the construction of yet another 186 houses in the newly colonised Jewish areas of East Jerusalem

Fisk is likely referring to Israel’s recent approval of 40 new homes in Pisgat Zeev and 146 in Har Homa.  However, contrary to his claim, these are not “newly colonized” areas.  The Har Homa neighborhood was established in 1997, while Pisgat Zeev was founded in 1982.  

The Oslo Accords prohibit Israeli construction across the green line?


From the start, Mr Arafat agreed that his land would exist only in 22 per cent of Mandate Palestine. Fair enough. But then he accepted the growing Jewish colonies on the West Bank, allowed America to dictate the terms for peace – which were supposed to prevent any such territorial expansion after the Oslo agreement – and then permitted the US to blame him for the failure of negotiations

Contrary to Fisk’s suggestion, the Oslo Accords (Oslo 1 and Oslo 2) did NOT prohibit Israeli settlements in the territories.  The Accords stipulated that such issues – relating to final borders and the fate of Israeli settlements – were to be settled in a final status agreement.

Hamas rocket attacks on Sderot (and only Sderot?) were a “gift” to Israel:


Hamas…handed Israel a gift by bombarding Sderot from Gaza with thousands of inaccurate rockets, most of them home-made. It allowed Israel to kill hundreds of Palestinian civilians as it sought revenge, and deprived the Israeli left (that which still existed) of their support for the original Israeli withdrawal from Gaza;

So, to Fisk, thousands of Hamas rocket attacks (on Sderot, and, presumably, only Sderot) were a gift to Israeli leaders who were intent on finding an excuse to kill Palestinian civilians.  

Additionally, addressing Fisk’s other contention, beyond Sderot, towns targeted by the more than 8,000 quite deadly rockets (Heavy Mortars, Qassams, Grads, and the FAJR-5) fired from Gaza since its withdrawal in 2005 include Netivot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Be’er Sheva, Kiryat Malachi, Okafim, Kiryat Gat, the greater Tel Aviv area and even the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Finally, here’s a glimpse at a few of those “home-made” “inaccurate” rockets in action:


Robert Fisk: So many distortions and fabrications in so few words of text.

There’s indeed a reason why bloggers refer to the point-by-point refutation of such blatant errors in an article or op-ed as ‘Fisking‘.

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38 replies »

  1. “It allowed Israel to kill hundreds of Palestinian civilians as it sought revenge”

    Only a man who is wicked could have written that. Fisk is truly a man worthy of both our contempt and our hatred.

      • Whilst I would take issue with you with the “respected” label, it is also true that simply because a person is respected is no guarantee that they are not vicious anti-Semites. Indeed, a number of the most respected people who ever lived have been diehard Jew-haters. Unfortunately that particular prejudice is an ineradicable virus that afflicts so many in the world of the, especially European, gentile.

      • ‘Respected’ Fisk?

        Do you read ‘Private Eye’?

        Suggest you get your hands on a back issue of No.1318 (23rd March 2012). It talks about how Fisk is known among fellow journalists as a fabricator and charlatan.

  2. He obviously writes this stuff while drunk, when the alcohol-fuelled rage in on him. He needs rehab.

      • oh dear here we go again . “haters” deary me change the record, he needs rehab etc etc all the standard garbage to protect your corrupt murdering regime

        • I would direct you to my post above and then suggest you go look in the mirror. You won’t see respected, but you will spy something else I talk about.

        • Your corrupt murdering regime? Hey bloody antisemite, we don`t talk of Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraque, Hamas, PLO, Saudi-Arabia, Pakistan, Algeria, Libya, … and all the others oy your bloody regimes.

          • Fritz of course ‘Noam’, (he of many personalities and all of them repulsive,) does not want to mention countries like Pakistan.
            This is from Fides News Agency, today

            “According to a recent report sent to Fides Agency, every year about a thousand girls of Christian and Hindu religious minorities are kidnapped, raped and forced to Islamic marriage. The report was prepared by the “Solidarity and Peace Movement”, a coalition of NGOs, associations and institutions including the “Justice and Peace” Commission of the Pakistani Bishops. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 28/04/2014)”

  3. Unlike the Arab leadership, Israel does, indeed, recognize the right of Palestinians (and everyone in the region) to live normal lives. Not just in the Jewish land, named Palestine after WW1 – now called Israel – but all over the region, including the Arab nations where the majority now live under apartheid after being pushed into refugee status by the Arabs in 1948. Recognizing the rights of others is part of the core of Israel’s character and accounts for her strong support for human rights.

    Because of this character, based on her Jewish roots, Israel has never abandoned these values, despite repeated attempts by her enemies to brutally occupy her. Despite the massive attempt, still in the recent memory of an aging generation, to completely and violently annihilate the Jewish people.

    So the problem doesn’t lie with Israel.

    The problem lies with the powerful lobbying, bullying and propaganda of the terror organizations that use the innocent Palestinian Arabs to further their own agenda. It isn’t only the Palestinian Jews who suffer at the hands of terror groups like Hamas, PLO (Fatah) and Hezbollah. The Palestinian Arabs suffer as well, both those living in Israel and those living under apartheid in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The only difference is, before the Intifadas, the Palestinian Arabs enjoyed freedom, full civil rights, security, access to education/healthcare/jobs, and a higher standard of living than Arabs living in any other country in the region. Unfortunately, thanks to the Intifadas triggered by Arafat & his successor, Abbas, these benefits have been severely impacted.

    For 77 years, since the Peel Commission, the Arab leadership has consistency rejected an independent state for the Palestinian Arabs next to an independent state for the Palestinian Jews. The latter were able to re-establish the state (for the 3rd time in history, incidentally), but only after enduring a brutal war against them waged by their neighbors. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Jews, have consistently supported an independent state for their Arab Palestinian neighbors. After the 19 year occupation of Gaza by Egypt and Judea/Samaria (“West Bank”) by Jordan from 1949 to 1967, the, mostly Jewish, Palestinians (calling themselves, “Israel” after 1948) found themselves with the unexpected and unintentional responsibility for those two areas of the Levant. Ironically, these areas were part of the original allocation, by the League of Nations, for the re-establishment of the Jewish state in the, newly named, “Palestine” Mandate, in 1922. Palestine was partitioned into “Jordan” (77%) and a, yet-to-be-named, Jewish state (23%).

    Israel also found herself in control of the Golan Heights (Syria) and the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt).

    Not desiring the responsibility or burden of having these areas and their population under her control, Israel, almost immediately, offered to return ALL of it (with the exception of the Jewish capital of Jerusalem, where Jews lived uninterrupted and continuously for centuries until 1949 when every single Jew was exiled). However, at the 1967 Khartoum Conference, the Arab nations rejected the offer since it would mean recognizing the sovereignty of Israel and recognizing that Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, the Galilee, and the Negev were a legitimate part of Israel.

    Israel made peace with Egypt and returned the Sinai to Egypt. Gaza, whose population went from total neglect and abject poverty under Egyptian occupation to a thriving area, enjoying freedom, human rights and prosperity under Israeli administration, was given to the Gaza Arabs who now enjoyed autonomy for the first time in their history – something neither the Ottoman Turks, British nor Egyptians ever offered them. The Gaza Arabs returned the favor with rocket attacks and on-going, if lame and delusional, attempts to occupy Israel. Now this population lives under the heel of Hamas, who uses their own children as shields against defensive retaliatory strikes from Israel.

    The bottom line is, the Arab leadership’s strategy is to oppress the Palestinian Arab population, both in Israel and in the neighboring Arab countries, then, via an extensive (and brutally controlled and censored) propaganda campaign, reframe their own willful acts against their fellow Arabs and say to the World, as they point their finger at Israel, “look at what the Israelis are doing to those innocent people” – and to those innocent people say, “look what the Jews are doing to YOU!” They count on the deep, if irrational, bigotry against Jews to create a desire of much of the World to WANT to believe bad things about the Jews. Despite the clear as day falsehood of lies such as: Israel stole Israel from the Palestinians, the Holocaust never existed, Israel is an apartheid state, Fatah & Hamas support an independent “Palestinian” state living in peace with Israel, the IDF brutalizes Palestinian Arabs — particularly children – despite the utterly ridiculous, in your face, falsehood of these fictions, the desire to believe them, regardless of how ludicrous and easily proven wrong they are, is a major weapon in the Arab leadership’s on-going war against Israel.

    Ignorance and bigotry are powerful weapons.

    It seems Fatah, Hamas and the rest of that gang will never give up. To them, Israel must be destroyed and they don’t care how many Palestinian Arabs must suffer, even die, to achieve that goal.

    • re writing history again, long windedness dont fool jackshit, the world can see you for what u are and it aint pretty

        • Oh yes “prove it to be a lie” the world has got it all wrong about Israel hasn’t it, your the victims cos we all hate Jews, what a great explanation , theory, thesis etc etc that you can repeat no matter who or what is said regarding it. Read these comments yourself ,talk about a variation on a theme. Please stop re writing history because less well read individuals may take your self serving lies seriously, even though most of us know it’s utter tosh.

              • thought not. That is the classic cover-up for not knowing what you are talking about. Seriously Noam (I am not being sarcastic), have you ever heard of the San Remo Declaration, for example? Do you know anything about the career of Haj Amin al-Husseini? Mere mudslinging and herewegoagainery are not convincing arguments.

          • Seeing the many proven lies Israel haters and arabs are publishing and have publish for so many years obliged you to prove that we rewrite history. YOur response show that you can;t which is not a surprise really.

  4. I simply can’t understand the how these so called journalists like Tait and Fisk can explain to themselves their own actions. I suppose that they are familiar with actual events, read other articles not only their owns, they have different more or less well informed sources who can tell/explain them the declarations and actions of the relevant personalities, and knowing all this they write something completely contradicting to all of the information what they can easily acquire – like this:
    Hamas: We will never recognize Israel
    Are they writing to themselves and believe their own lies? Or they simply decided that their job is to spread anti-Israel propaganda instead of reporting/analyzing facts? Are they writing exclusively to their loyal Jew-hating public who will believe anything anyway? Their editors, the persons responsible for the accuracy in the papers are sleeping? Or they are simply believe this crap themselves? Maybe they don’t give a shit because some soft antisemitism will increase the number of readers/clicks?
    Anyway they successfully sank to the level of the most primitive yellow media where every semi-illiterate reader can find his/her subject to masturbate on. Instead of the breasts or marital affairs of celebrities and crime-ridden soft-porn they simply use an other and more effective social and cultural poison: the hate of the Jews.

    • yeah all right minded people against what your illegal state stands for, not for being jews but cowardly, land stealing, american financed and supported puppet state that shames the planet. thats what you need to understand

      • Tell me ‘Noam’ what is it like living on Planet ‘Noam’?

        A planet where you make up your own language.
        A planet where lies and distorted facts are considered to be the truth.
        A planet where the past is twisted, ignored if it is inconvenient, then rewritten and considered to be history.

        If you ever visit Planet Earth you will have to leave behind your lies, distortions and fantasies on Planet ‘Noam’. To be honest I doubt if your feeble mind could cope with reality and truth, clearly it has not so far.

          • ‘Noam’ obviously your feeble mind,as well as being unable to cope with reality and truth, cannot cope with questions either.

      • Noam, the brave antisemite and ardent fan of dictators,boldly facing western democracy.

  5. I’ve always maintained that the Independent is far more openly antisemitic (not just anti-Israel) than the Guardian which does moderate the wilder Jew-hate talkbacks. The former not only does not moderate, but actively encourages, such postings. It recently denied it was antisemitic which begs the question “when did that happen?”

  6. Jerry is right. The history is there for anyone who wants to understand it. Ignorance and bigotry will deny anything, even if it is obvious, well-documented truth.

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