Unpacking the Indy’s latest tale of ‘Israeli cruelty’

The latest Indy tale of Israeli cruelty (My friend was banned from travelling to visit his dying mother. This is the personal, intimate price of occupation, Saleh Hizjazi, Dec. 27th) begins in the opening sentences:

On Christmas Eve I received the distressing news that the mother of my friend and colleague, Laith Abu Zeyad, passed away after a short but bitter battle with cancer. She had suffered for three excruciating months between the diagnosis and her laying to rest. She died in the Augusta Victoria hospital in occupied East Jerusalem. Her eldest son, my colleague, was not able to spend the last days with her because of a travel ban Israel has imposed on him after his involvement in human rights work.

However, Hiziazi, the deputy regional director for Amnesty Mid-East and North Africa, who, research by David Collier demonstrates, has a penchant for promoting terrorists on Facebook, fails to note reports that the travel ban imposed on Abu Zeyad had nothing to with his “human rights work”.

An article published last month in Haaretz noting the following:

The Shin Bet say that the activist was denied passage through the crossing due to “serious security considerations,” and stated that their decision had nothing to do with Zeyad’s employment with Amnesty. “Any attempt to claim otherwise is completely unfounded,” the agency said.

Additionally, Abu Zeyed was formerly the international advocacy officer at the Palestinian prisoners’ rights NGO Addameer, an affiliate of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a group designated as a terror organisation by the USEU and Israel. So, it doesn’t seem like too big of a stretch to imagine that his true political sympathies are not “civil rights”.

Whilst the writer is free to dispute the claim by Israel’s security agency regarding the ban on one of his colleagues, it’s dishonest to omit the Israeli response entirely.

Later in the op-ed, Hiziazi evokes the ‘apartheid Israel’ charge.

The drive to Bethany passes by more settlements, walls, and barbed fences that, among other things, segregate and enforce control. The eeriest part is the section connecting Anata to Bethany: a segregated highway where at one part Palestinian cars pass under Israeli traffic. Some have called it an “apartheid road“.

As CAMERA has previously reported, the newly opened road, route 4370, is merely a pair of parallel highways, one primarily serving Israeli citizens and the other primarily serving residents of the PA, that are adjacent to each other but divided by a wall to ensure the security of Israelis, whose vehicles were targeted by sniper fire before the fence’s construction.  Furthermore, Israelis who want to bypass Jerusalem are allowed to use the “Palestinian” side of the road, and Palestinians with a permit to enter Jerusalem are allowed to use the “Israeli” side of the road.

Moreover, the road is part of a planned ring road east of Jerusalem designed to connect the northern and southern West Bank which, even critics of the highway acknowledge, is designed to help Palestinians travel between cities without interruption.

The Jerusalem Post notes,

According to the left-wing NGO Ir Amim, the road was initially conceived by former prime minister Ariel Sharon to address the main international complaint with regard to the E1 project – namely, that it interrupted Palestinian contiguity in the West Bank.

The new road provides Palestinians with a direct access point between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

As you can see, the “apartheid” charge is a lie.

The final accusation of Israeli malevolence in the op-ed involves a 10 year old Gaza girl with cancer.

I thought of Miral, a 10-year-old girl from Gaza suffering from leukemia who is one of several children Israel has forced to travel without their parents for treatment in the West Bank.

This is extremely misleading.

Responding to an inquiry from UK Media Watch, COGAT confirmed that Miral was initially only accompanied by her grandmother when her mother’s application was refused due to incorrect information on the request form. However, a few days after the correct information was submitted, the request was approved, and on December 23rd she arrived in Israel as her daughter’s escort for medical treatment.

Additionally, it’s important to note that Palestinian children never travel for treatment unaccompanied by a parent or (at least) a relative. COGAT informed us that “during the first half of 2019, over 2,700 permits were issued for children’s medical treatment, with a nearly equivalent number issued for accompanying parents”.  The image evoked by the language in the op-ed, of children alone in Israeli hospitals without family members, is, as with the broader narrative of the Indy op-ed, pure fiction.

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