Five Distorted Takes on Palestine This Past Week
May 15 2021

1) On May 11, CNN International host Robyn Curnow interviewed Mohammed El-Kurd, a Palestinian poet living in his Sheikh Jarrah home in Jerusalem. Curnow asked Mohammed if he supported “violent protests in solidarity of [his] family” – attempting to frame Palestinians as violent, while failing to inform viewers about illegal settlement activities in Sheikh Jarrah, which have been documented for years by Human Rights Watch. Mohammed’s response went viral: “do you support the violent dispossession of me and my family?”

2)    Edward "Ned" Price is an American political advisor and a former intelligence officer serving as the spokesman for the U.S. Department of State. On May 10,  two White House reporters - Said Arikat, Washington bureau chief for al-Quds news agency, and Matt Lee of the Associated Press – repeatedly asked Price if he would condemn the killing of Palestinian children. Price dodged their questions, claiming that he did not have enough information about events on the ground. While Mr. Price has repeatedly criticized the ICC’s investigations into Israel’s war crimes during his short time with the Biden administration, Monday’s press conference was perhaps his most despicable moment.

3)    Dominic Raab, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, stated that the UK “condemns the firing of rockets at Jerusalem and locations within Israel. The ongoing violence in Jerusalem and Gaza must stop.” Raab made this statement on May 11, having been silent for months when Israeli settlers brutalized families in Sheikh Jarrah. Similarly, Raab and the Johnson government never condemned the attack on Al-Aqsa mosque by Israeli police, ignoring London-based Amnesty International’s reports about Israel’s unlawful use of force against Palestinian civilians. 

4)    On May 12, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as usual, used some of his favorite buzz words: ‘concern,’ ‘sadness,’ and ‘empathy,’ while answering a question from New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh about the situation in Palestine. He then followed this vague condolence-like message with unwavering support for “Israel’s right to defend itself.” The Canadian PM and his Liberal Party are strong supporters of the Netanyahu government – Trudeau has often used social media since his election in 2015 to praise Netanyahu and reach out to Canada’s Israel lobby. Canada is a major arms and technology supplier to Israel, and while the NDP responded to the bombing of Gaza by calling for a ban on arms sales to Israel, Trudeau’s Liberals will be able to count on the backing of the Conservative Party of Canada to quash any such policy changes. 

5)    Isabel Kershner, a Jerusalem-based correspondent for The New York Times, ran a series of articles this past week with headlines including “Arab-Jewish Coexistence in Israel Suddenly Ruptured,” and “Israeli-Palestinian hostilities explode, with shocking communal violence.” Kershner, whose son and husband both served in the Israeli military, is attempting to make the recent violence seem two-sided and shocking. In reality, Israel is the only aggressor, using its weaponry, police and army to target Palestinian civilian populations, and there have been many instances of Israeli settlers assaulting and lynching Palestinians over decades. There is no balance of power here. 

Kershner, along with NYT Jerusalem Bureau Chief Patrick Kingsley, are using the Times as a space to be disingenuous about the reality at play in Occupied Palestine. Despite having witnessed Israeli war crimes for years, they continue to make them seem sporadic, when they are, in fact, a daily occurrence.

About The Author: 

Avik Jain Chatlani is a writer and teacher. 

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