Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Whitewashing Palestinian Violence Again at the NY Times

...Hewing to a well-worn pattern, The New York Times again whitewashes Palestinian violence and responsibility for conflict. This time, though, there's a novel twist to the old, tired formula: the story doesn't involve Israel.

Jordanian Prime Minister
Wasfi Tal, murdered by
members of the Palestinian
 "Black September" terror group
in 1971
Tamar Sternthal..
CAMERA Snapshots..
01 December '14..

Certain traditions die hard. Like camels in the Jordanian police force. And Times' whitewashing of Palestinian violence.

Hewing to a well-worn pattern, The New York Times again whitewashes Palestinian violence and responsibility for conflict. This time, though, there's a novel twist to the old, tired formula: the story doesn't involve Israel. In an interesting article about the traditional use of camels in Jordan's desert police force, Ben Hubbard writes (Nov. 29):

Jordan’s rulers have long seen those descendants of Palestinians, who tend to care less about the monarchy, as a demographic threat to their rule, according to Ora Szekely, an associate professor of political science at Clark University in Massachusetts, who studies Jordan.

This sentiment increased after Black September, the violent battle that began in 1970 between the Jordanian Army and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Thousands were killed, but the monarchy won and expelled the P.L.O. from the kingdom.

“This cemented the decision and convinced the monarchy that the only people they could trust were the East Bankers,” Dr. Szekely said, “and especially the Bedouin.”

What, exactly, convinced the monarchy that it couldn't trust Palestinians? Contrary to Hubbard's muddled reporting and the confusing statement by Dr. Szekely, the violence of Black September was not the cause of the late King Hussein's distrust of Palestinians; it was the result.

In addition, the source of King Hussein's lack of trust was not merely of a demographic nature. In August 1970, Yasser Arafat convened the Palestine National Council in Amman, which openly debated overthrowing King Hussein (Arafat's War, Efraim Karsh). Indeed, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine twice attempted to assassinate the King in early September 1970.

Marie Colvin wrote in The New York Times back in 1988:

Increasingly [after 1964], the P.L.O. created a state-within-a-state in Jordan: the Democratic Front broadcast lessons in Marxism over mosque loudspeakers; Habash's Popular Front plotted to overthrow King Hussein, then staged a spectacular series of hijackings, blowing up three passenger jets in the Jordanian desert.

The Jordanian Army finally moved in September 1970 - now known to Palestinians as Black September - killing thousands of Palestinian fighters and civilians. The P.L.O. withdrew, eventually to Lebanon.
Karsh wrote that in the late 1960s,

The Palestinians kidnapped Arab diplomats and unfriendly Jordanian journalists, attacked government buildings, and publicly insulted the Jordanian flag in front of Jordanian subjects. Incidents of thuggery and crime abounded, including sexual molestation and rape and acts of vandalism against bakeries that left some of the population without bread. Recalling a particularly chilling incident, Zeid Rifai, chief of the Jordanan royal court, graphically described how "the Fedayeen killed a soldier, beheaded him, and played soccer with his head in the area where he used to live."

Moreover, the King's distrust of Palestinians continued to grow following the bloody month of September 1970 as Palestinians carried on with their attacks on Jordanian aircrafts and politicians alike. As reported in The Palestinians: People, History, Politics (edited by Michael Curtis, Joseph Neyere, Chaim Waxman and Allen Pollack), these incidents included:

Nov. 28, 1971: Wasfi Tal, Prime Minister of Jordan, assassinated in Cairo by members of "Black September" (el-Fatah)

Dec. 15, 1971: Attempt to assassinate the Jordanian Ambassador in London by PLO agents.

Feb. 19, 1972: Attempt to hijack a Jordanian plane flying from Cairo to Amman failed. One PLO agent arrested.

Link: http://blog.camera.org/archives/2014/12/ny_times_again_whitewashes_pal.html

Founded in 1982, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America is a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East. Learn more by visiting www.camera.org/

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