James J. Marlow
James J. Marlow

The media has incited more hatred than necessary

Credit: Stephen Marks

Some of the coverage on the international news networks has been absolutely appalling. ITN reported on Tuesday, “Israelis have continued a second day of relentless bombing of Gaza, killing at least 24 Palestinians, 9 of which were children. “In response, Hamas fired a few rockets into Israel yesterday evening”.

Truth was, the “relentless” Hamas bombing of Israel lasted the entire Tuesday and all through the night. But in contract, Israel sought out military targets in Gaza with precision bombing.

On Monday, BBC Newsnight claimed that “dancing Israelis at the Western Wall were in celebratory mood after seeing, what they thought was the Al Aqsa Mosque on fire.”

Truth was, Palestinians who were rioting on the Temple Mount, set a large tree on fire, after a firework aimed at the police, missed its target. The “dancing Israelis” was the “celebratory mood” of Yom Yerushalayim.

On the same day, Al-Jazeera, a network I used to report for as an Israeli political analyst, portrayed the near lynching of an Israeli driver, close to the Lions Gate in Jerusalem as “an Israeli extremist settler who tried to kill Palestinians by running them down with in his vehicle.”

Truth was, the car was driving along the old city Jerusalem walls, when its driver and two passengers were suddenly pelted with rocks and metal objects.

As the vehicle tried to reverse and then move forward to avoid the barrage of at least 20 stone throwers from close range, the vehicle was surrounded and in a panic, the driver accelerated and hit two Palestinians as it mounted the kerb.

Al-Jazeera could easily see how the car was hit with a massive onslaught of rocks, but it purposely edited out that section and just showed how the driver ran down two Palestinians, both of whom got up and walked away.

If it wasn’t for a single traffic police officer, running down the street with his pistol in his hand, there is little doubt the 3 Israelis would have been lynched by the mob. The police officer had to fire in the air several times to keep the crowd back. But Al-Jazeera chose to spread lies and incitement in the worst way possible.

When covering the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians from a news point of view, how does one give the correct narrative as to who is right and who is wrong? It always seems to change depending upon when you start the clock.

This past week is a perfect example. If you start the timeline from Israel bombing Gaza, then Israel is clearly the aggressor. But if you take a step back in time and say, Hamas began firing rockets into Israel, then Hamas are the wicked ones.

But go back further and say, BUT the Israeli police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the holiest night of the year during Ramadan. Not only that, but they fired stun grenades and rubber bullets. In that case, Israel is the bad guy.

But then you take another step back and say: Palestinians began rioting with Molotov cocktails, rocks and fireworks several hours before riot police were anywhere near the scene.

GO back further: BUT the Israelis were trying to evict a family from Sheikh Jarrah.

BUT wait, an Israeli Yeshiva student, Yehuda Guetta, was shot along with two other student friends in his car, as he drove by the Tapuach junction. He later died in hospital from his injuries.

AND Israeli police put up barriers around the Damascus Gate, which infuriated Muslims who were heading to Al-Aqsa for Ramadan prayers.

BUT Hamas in the eight Palestinian cities of the West Bank used its influence to incite hatred and violence against Israelis so their young followers would post the attacks on Tik-Tok (social media).

AND another step back: Israel takes the land. Well the Arabs started the wars. But what about the rejection of the UN partition plan of November 1947. And before you know it, you are back to the forties when the news presenters will stop you and say, “But wait, let’s deal with the problem today”.

In short, the catalyst for the current violence is not really about Sheikh Jarrah because the Jewish community bought that land for 15,000 francs in 1876, but were removed by the Jordanian army in 1948 when the ethnic cleaning began.

In 1967, Jewish owners initiated legal proceedings to reclaim their property and in 1982 the court ruled, that they were the rightful legal owners. But in an act of clemency and compassion, the al-Kurds family were the rightful occupants and were granted “protected tenants” status.

This meant they could remain, as long as they agreed to register a tenancy agreement and pay rent to the owner. They did neither.

But on the subject of the current violence, we are witnessing a civil proxy war between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, who are angry with President Mahmoud Abbas, who did exactly what I predicted – he cancelled the Legislative and Presidential elections.

Now each Palestinian faction is competing for “legitimacy” by demonstrating who can organize more violence against the Israelis.

With the Palestinian Authority calling for rioting against Israel in the name of “defending Al-Aqsa” Hamas had no choice but to compete for attention by attacking Israel. So Hamas (funded by Iran) unleashed the largest barrage of rocket attacks on Israeli civilians since 2014.

It’s difficult to see how this plays out in the coming days, as no doubt “international diplomacy” will step in. But the misinformation we are hearing on the news that the latest flair-up occurred because “Israelis stormed the Mosque”, may convince the majority, but it’s not the main reason this violence broke out. Those behind it have carefully constructed a well-orchestrated move to turn public opinion against Israel and the Jewish communities supporting Israel, and so far, it is working.

About the Author
James J. Marlow is a broadcast journalist and public relations media consultant. He has previously worked for ITN, EuroNews, Reuters, Daily Mail, Daily Express, LBC Radio and Sky News. In addition he has trained and prepared hundreds of business and entertainment people, politicians and Rabbis, for the media, including television, radio and audiences.
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