Anyone who reads this blog is no doubt well aware of the British media’s obsessive focus on every conceivable Israeli flaw, real and imagined.
Conversely, “If you follow mainstream coverage”, former AP Jerusalem correspondent Matti Friedman explained in his Tablet expose on the media’s institutional bias, “you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian society or ideologies, profiles of armed Palestinian groups, or investigation of Palestinian government”. “Palestinians, added Friedman, “are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate”. “The West”, he continued, “has decided that Palestinians should want a state alongside Israel, so that opinion is attributed to them as fact”.
So, whereas the Israeli government is often characterised as hard-line, right-wing (always in the pejorative) and, at times, “the most right-wing government in its history, Mahmoud Abbas’s PA is rarely assigned such ideological markers. When his political orientation is ntoed, the extraordinarily misleading message conveyed to news consumers is that he’s a “moderate” who’s rejected violence at every opportunity – a framing reinforced by their consistent failure to report comments by Abbas (and other PA leaders) endorsing violence, lying about Jewish history, promoting antisemitism and praising ‘martyrdom operations’.
Within the media echo chamber, there is almost no alternative ‘narrative’ of the conflict.
This is the context by which to view a recent claim in the Independent article, by Daniel Khalili-Tari , on a Hamas investigation into an explosion that targeted the Palestinian prime minister in Gaza. The sentence appears in the penultimate paragraph, whilst providing a brief history of the PA’s relationship with Hamas.
Fatah was founded by Yasser Arafat and other nationalist leaders in 1958 to bring about the establishment of a Palestinian state.
This benign characterisation of Fatah’s goals is divorced from reality. First of all, in 1958, there was of course no Israeli occupation. Moreover, Fatah’s founding constitution – an English version of which was on the party’s website until 2007 – clearly states that their goal was the complete eradication of Israel by the use of “armed resistance” – violence which they described as a strategy, not merely a tactic.
Here’s Article 19 of Fatah’s constitution:
Article (19) Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s 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.
This is important, because whilst there are legitimate questions even today as to whether they are even now genuinely committed to two states, for decades they didn’t even try to hide their malevolent desire to murder Israeli civilians in order to ‘liberate’ Palestine ‘from the river to the sea’.
The claim by the Indy journalist that Fatah was founded to create a Palestinian state shouldn’t be seen as merely a one-off factual error, but, rather, part of a larger media pattern of casting Palestinians as the reasonable party in the dispute, by obfuscating their long history of terror, extremism, and rejectionism.
We’ve complained to editors about the error.
- Los Angeles Times Fails to Correct on Judaism’s Holiest Site (CAMERA)
- Activist’s posts dispute BBC’s equivocal account of 2010 flotilla incident (BBC Watch)