WaPo blames Israel for Palestinian barbarity (updated: NY Times too)


On Jan. 6, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas released half a dozen Hamas terrorists from a Palestinian Authority jail, including Wael Bitar, a terrorist kingpin implicated in several attacks against Israeli civilians, including the murder of 4 Israelis four months ago.

The sequence of events was as follows:

On Thursday, Jan. 6, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas released half a dozen Hamas terrorists from a PA prison, including a wanted killer implicated in the murder of four Israelis four months earlier.  This was but the latest in a long string of Abbas's "revolving door" tactics with Palestinian terrorists -- grab headlines by arresting them and then let them loose a few days or a few weeks later.

Did the Post report any of this in its Jan. 7 edition?   It did not.  Not a word about it.

On Friday, Jan. 7, an Israeli Defense Forces unit proceeded to reverse Abbas's shameful act with a roundup of the terrorists he had freed the previous day.  It managed to apprehend 5 of the 6 terrorists, including Wael al-Bitar, the Hamas killer implicated in the murder of the 4 Israelis.  Bitar also happened to have planned a 2008 suicide bombing that killed a woman and injured 10 other civilians in Dimona in 2008.  During the round-up, the IDF unit by mistake killed an elderly Palestinian man who lived in the same building a floor up from Bitar, the principal target of the anti-terrorism operation.   The IDF apologized and began an investigation about this mishap.

So how did the Washington Post report these Jan. 7 events?  Did it lead off with the news that Israel had recaptured a Hamas terrorist cell a day after Abbas let these terrorists loose to murder more Israeli civilians?

No.  It did not.

Instead, the Jan. 8 headline -- in big type -- across three columns blares:  "Palestinian mistakenly slain by Israeli troops."  In the Post's upside-down world, Israel ends up as the villain, not the terrorists who embed themselves among civilians and "moderate" Palestinian leaders who abet their lethal pursuits.

Here is correspondent Joel Greenberg's lead paragraph:

"HEBRON, WEST BANK--Members of an Israeli special forces unit hunting for a Hamas militant shot dead a 66-year-old Palestinian man in his bed early Friday, mistaking him for the wanted man, who lived in the same building.  The killing, witnessed by the man's wife, raised fresh questions about the military's conduct and rules of engagement in the West Bank." 

Note that neither the lead nor the headline mentions that 5 of the 6 terrorists freed by Abbas and sought by Israel were in fact arrested.  It is only the collateral fatality of the elderly man that really matters  to Greenberg and the Washington Post. 

The last sentence of the lead paragraph is especially instructive.  According to Greenberg, the only question raised by this incident is about IDF conduct and rules of engagement in the West Bank.  Not mind you about Abbas's revolving door of arrests-cum-quick release of Palestinian terrorists.  Abbas, in the eyes of the Post, comes off scot-free.

Greenberg is so intent on pinning the entire blame on Israel that he describes in meticulous detail the scene of the mistaken killing of Bitar's neighbor -- "A blood-soaked sheet remained on the bed, and blood was smeared on the headboard and an adjacent closet.  Bits of flesh and bone were scattered on the floor and the ceiling."

It goes without saying that no such gruesome details were reported by Greenberg and the Washington Post when Bitar had a hand in the killing of 4 Israelis four months earlier.  In fact, Greenberg doesn't even mention this episode in his Jan. 8 article (he refers only to the Dimona suicide boming).  Don't expect Israeli victims of terrorism to receive commensurate sympathy from the Post.

Greenberg's gruesomely warped journalism pops up in another part of his article when he reports Hamas's suspicions that Abbas colluded with Israel in releasing Bitar and then tipping off the Israelis about his whereabouts.  Greenberg himself lends credence to this theory, writing that "Cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security forces has improved markedly in the past two years as the Palestinian forces have cracked down on Hamas and other armed groups in West Bank cities."

Some crackdown!  Arrest a Hamas terrorist on Monday and set him free on Tuesday.  And Abbas gets a star!

But this isn't the end of the all-out anti-Israel bias in Greenberg's piece.  To pump up his fulsome attack on his main villain -- not Hamas, not Abbas, but the IDF --  Greenberg writes that the mistaken killing of the elderly man in Hebron was the third time in a week "that a Palestinian had died in an encounter with Israeli troops in the West Bank," citing a Palestinian who was shot at a checkpoint when he approached security guards with a bottle and a "Palestinian woman died a day after inhaling tear gas fired by troops during a protest in the village of Bilin against Israelis separation barrier in the West Bank."

Greenberg fails to mention that the Palestinian shot at the checkpoint ignored repeated calls to halt and to go through a line where the bottle could be checked.  Nor does he report that the IDF concluded after its own investigation that the Palestinian woman didn't die from inhaling tear gas, but apparently from pre-existing medical conditions that may not have been properly treated.

But why provide such facts to Post readers when you're out to smear Israel?   In erasing blame from Hamas terrorists and Abbas's complicity, while putting the onus on Israel, Greenberg and the Post display a moral inversion of staggering proportions.


On Jan. 6, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas released half a dozen Hamas terrorists from a Palestinian Authority jail, including Wael Bitar, a terrorist kingpin implicated in several attacks against Israeli civilians, including the murder of 4 Israelis four months ago.

The New York Times failed to report this development in its Jan. 7 editions.

On Jan. 7, a special forces unit of the Israeli Defense Forces staged a roundup of the Hamas terrorists released by Abbas and succeeded in arresting five of them, including Bitar.  During the roundup, the unit mistakenly killed Bitar's uncle who was staying a floor above Bitar.

In sum, this was a successful counter-terrorism operation.  If anybody was to blame for the uncle's death, it was Hamas whose terrorists embed themselves among civilians and Mahmoud Abbas for his persistent revolving-door practice of staging arrests of terrorists one day and then releasing them a few days or a few weeks later.  Had Abbas not freed Bitar, the uncle would be alive today.

But this is not how Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner reported this event in the Jan. 8 edition of the New York Times.  The headline above her story reads "Israeli Soldiers Kill Palestinian, 65, in His Bedroom."

The lead paragraph reads: 

"HEBRON-West Bank -- Israeli soldiers shot and killed an unarmed 65-year-old Palestinian man in his bedroom in this tense city early Friday, in what appeared to be a case of mistaken identity."

There is no mention whatever at the top of Kershner's article about Israel being forced to re-arrest Hamas terrorists who had been released by Abbas.   First, she goes in great detail about "mattress, sheets and pillow were soaked in blood.  The headboard, an adjacent wardrobe and the ceiling were spattered with blood and bits of what appeared to be brain matter."

In other words, if you just read the headline and the top of the article, this was a terribly gruesome Israeli killing of an old man.

It is not until the fourth paragraph that Kershner finally and grudgingly reports that "the soldiers were apparently looking for the dead man's nephew, a Hmas militant who was one of six released from a Palestinian Authority prison on Thursday.  Four of the other released militants were arrested by the Israelis overnight as well."  What should be the lead is pushed way down so as to put Israel in the dock and blame it for daring to go after terrorists.

Why also, in the same vein, Kershner's bit about the IDF "apparently" looking for Bitar and, in the thrid paragraph, that "the Israeli military expressed regret but offered no explanation beyond saying it had been carrying out an arrest operation?"

That's a bald lie.  The IDF issued an official statement making it clear that it did a roundup of Hamas terrorists released by Abbas and managed to capture five of them.  It also acknowledged the mistaken killing of Bitar's uncle and reported that an investigation would be conducted.  There was no "apparently" qualifier in the IDF communiqué and, Kershner notwithstanding, the IDF did explain why it conducted this operation, specifically mentioning Bitar's blood-soaked past.

In sum, the IDF operated in a straightforward matter, hampered by Hamas's habitual practice of embedding killers among civilians, and Abbas's habitual practice of releasing such killers a short while after arresting them in a show for media consumption.

Kershner, however, turns this event upside down, brushing off the pro-terrorist actions of Hamas and Abbas so as to put the entire onus on Israel for trying to defend itself against murderous terrorists.

This again is a case of the New York Times faulting Israel for its refusal to commit suicide.
If you experience technical problems, please write to helpdesk@americanthinker.com