The Washington Post gives terrorists the last word

In "As rival Gaza factions battle Israel, civilians bear the cost" (8/12/22), we learn, among other things, that The Washington Post takes the word of a terrorist organization (recognized as such by the U.K., the United States, and the European Union) — Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) — over the word of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and a member of the United Nations.

The article states that in the recent battle between Israel and PIJ, PIJ said "just 12 of those killed [of 47] were active in its ranks," and "the rest, including 16 children, had no connection to the group."  One would expect the Post to follow with Israel's vastly different estimate of the death toll, but surprisingly, the reporter doesn't air Israel's account at all.  To the Washington Post, once reporters present the word of the terrorist organization, enough said.

Only toward the end of the article is a hint of balance, when the Post states that "Israel said some of the fatalities were caused by [Palestinian rockets]," including those that "killed at least four children."  But the article follows with "Gaza officials ... said Israel was to blame for all deaths," giving the terrorists the final word on the matter. 

Interestingly, the Post interviewed "Abu Omar Khadoura, 71, the imam of a mosque in north Gaza, known to be a center of Islamic Jihad supporters."  According to the article, Khadoura said, "I think the popularity of Islamic Jihad has increased, God willing."  Khadoura complained that "Hamas ... had become more concerned with governing than fighting."  He further stated that "thousands more Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank had gotten permits to work in Israel in recent months, which many have credited with reducing conflict in the year since the last war."  That was a complaint!

In summary, he said, "It's not about work, it's about dignity[.]"  Dignity?  He concluded that "the enemy has to be erased."  This from the clergy.

If ever a neutral observer of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict wanted to understand why this conflict is so longstanding, all he would need to do is see what the most respected members of Palestinian society are spouting.  Hurt feelings, past grievances, and genocidal goals supersede peaceful co-existence to Palestinian clergy.  Peace does not seem to have a chance.  Full stop on reading more into this conflict.

The article also interviewed Basem Naim, head of Hamas's political wing, who commented on Hamas's differences with PIJ.  "Yes, we've had some problems [with Islamic Jihad]," Naim said.  "Maybe we have a difference when it comes to tactics, but at the end of the day our goal is the same, to get rid of the occupation."

Whatever one's definition of "occupation", there is clearly no "occupation" in Gaza — not one Israeli or Egyptian resides there.  One might call it a blockade by Israel and Egypt — which borders Gaza on the southwest side — but there is certainly no occupation.

The Post should add a clarifier, as it often does in certain cases, that when Gazans say they want to "get rid of the occupation," they mean they want to get rid of Israel.  Why the Post is so fearful of disclosing this obvious truth is beyond any rational explanation.  The Gazans don't even deny that their goal is to destroy Israel.  Why can't the Post acknowledge this?  And why is the Post so protective of a terrorist group's reputation? 

Dr. Michael Berenhaus is a freelance watchdog activist who works tirelessly to combat anti-Israel bias in the media.  He has been widely published in news sources such as The Economist, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

Image: Ron Cogswell via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 (cropped).

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