Context! The Wall Street Journal Gets It Wrong, Again.

The recent article “Israel’s Hunt for One Elusive Militant Brings Gaza Tactics to West Bank” By Omar Abdel-Baqui and Fatima AbdulKarim (The Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2024) is missing some important “context” as it paints a sympathetic picture of Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade commander, Abdulla Abu Shalal.

The reporters state that “Israel is deploying wartime tactics against militants in some of the 19 refugee camps that still dot the West Bank over 75 years after Israel’s founding displaced more than 700,000 Palestinians. The camps are now dense urban environments marked by poverty and longing by residents to return to family homes in what is now Israel.”

The reporters do not put this into the following context:

  • The displaced were lured by the governments of the invading Arab (Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and others) armies to leave their homes in Palestine with the promise that once the Jews were wiped out (can you say “genocide”) they would be able to return and move into their homes. Yes, there were some who were displaced due to war and just ran away due to fear. This occurred despite the 12th paragraph of the Israel Declaration of Independence, that states, in part: “it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”
  • When the 1948 war was over, the Arab nations did not welcome their brothers but put them into refugee camps and created UNRWA.
  • At the same time (1949 thru the 1950’s), 850,000 Jews were exiled penniless from Arab countries (Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, etc.) where they had lived in for centuries, if not close to a millennia. Where are those Jewish refugees today? They and their descendants are productive citizens of the countries who took them in, while maintaining their religion, identity, and culture.

The article goes on to mention that in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Abu Shalal said that he was “resentful about frequent Israeli military raids, land taken from Palestinians to create Israeli settlements and the vast, austere wall erected in his youth that separates the West Bank’s Palestinian communities from Israel.”

The reporters leave out important facts for the readers to properly assess the “context” of his comments and the situation. Specifically:

  • The repeated Israeli raids are in direct response to constant terrorist acts and planning against Israeli civilians.
  • The fence was built to reduce the long history many terrorist incursions and move border crossings through security checkpoints, like every other county (except perhaps as reflected by the current US southern border crisis). It has proven to be mostly successful in protecting Israeli citizens, which is the primary function of any government; unlike the current activity of Hamas who use civilians as human shields.
  • As for “land taken from Palestinians,” is he referring to the “West Bank” or “from the river to the sea”? If the latter, he is advocating genocide. If the former, we are talking about the area of land also referred to by its Biblical names, Judea and Samaria.This area was captured and illegally occupied by Jordan from 1949 to the 1967 when it invaded Israel in 1948. Interestingly, no “Palestinian State” was offered by Jordan during the 18 years they held it.This area was recaptured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. It is important to note that international law states that lands captured by the aggressor are occupied and those lands captured by the defender are not. In addition, this area was then officially and legally ceded to Israel by Jordan according to the terms of the 1994 peace treaty.

Finally, and importantly, while the reporters mention Abu Shalal’s title and organization, they omit that it (and therefore, he himself) is a terrorist organization, with genocidal objectives, as designated by the United States, the European Union, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and Israel.

[Author’s note: I used “again” in the headline because on 3 January I wrote “Surprisingly, The Wall Street Journal Got It Wrong” in response to the first article I saw where ‘they got it wrong.’]

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About the Author
David is a former NYC advertising agency, corporate-side marketing executive, and consultant. Prior to his career in advertising David spent 5 years in the financial arena. David holds a BS and MBA (both in Marketing & Finance) from New York University. He has been an officer/board member/speaker of industry, educational, and community organizations, as well as several new business startups. David is a US Patent Holder and published author (Hey Israel – You’re Perfect. Now Change (free) and How to Run the Business of YOU). See his website for more information and other writings. David is a retired instructor from Rutgers University School of Communication & Information. He lives in Ashkelon, Israel with his wife and is an active volunteer with the Ashkelon Search and Rescue.