Eric Greenstein 22/10/2015
Abu MazenAdnan al-DamiriAyman MohyeldinFadi AlunHasbaraMustafa al-KhatibpropagandasmartphonesYussuf Tabib
In accusing Israel of murdering terrorist Ahmad Manasra, Abu Mazen was caught red-handed • This was one lie too many, and even the international media could not remain indifferent • In an age of security cameras and videos shot on mobile devices, the Palestinian Authority has been left behind, and its famous propaganda machine has suffered a heavy blow
The PLO version of the Walking Dead: The "dead"
terrorist in an Israeli hospital. Photo: GPO, Flash90
It was a pretty embarrassing moment for MSNBC. It isn’t every day that a journalist reporting from the field is reproached by a news anchor during a live broadcast for distorting reality. But that’s exactly what happened last week in connection with a stabbing attempt at Damascus Gate.
In case you haven’t seen the viral video, here is what happened: Ayman Mohyeldin, an MSNBC reporter on the far left of the political spectrum who formerly worked for Al Jazeera, was reporting from the field on an incident unfolding before his very eyes. Mohyeldin described how Israeli police shot a young unarmed Arab who was fleeing for no apparent reason. What he did not know was that several seconds before his report a video of the incident, shot on a mobile device, was shown on the broadcast, and it was clear from the video that the Arab was holding a knife. Thus an anti-Israel libel, which would certainly have been widely used for propaganda purposes, was immediately refuted.
This incident, which may result in another reporter entering the job market, clearly demonstrates how the current media battle is different from previous rounds of Palestinian terror: This time, everything is happening here, in our backyard, under the watchful eyes of a network of police and mobile cameras. The Palestinians are suddenly discovering that cameras and social networks make it very difficult for them to sell their narrative. Since the sympathy they garner is largely a result of their well-oiled and effective propaganda machine, the current violence may be an error with much greater significance than at first appears.
Below are links to videos showing the events of the past few days. We recommend that readers who prefer not to watch these difficult scenes avoid clicking on the links.
The Walking Dead, the Violent Moderates, and the Innocent Murderers
Abu Mazen, the Palestinian Authority president, discovered the new situation the hard way. In a speech he gave several days ago, he attempted to make Ahmad Manasra a new symbol of Palestinian resistance, emphatically accusing Israel of the “execution of our children in cold blood.” At the same time, Manasra was being depicted on Arab social networks as the new Muhammad al-Dura, a boy Palestinians claim was shot by the IDF during the second intifada in a gun battle with armed Palestinians.
But what you can do in Ramallah you can’t do in Jerusalem. It wasn’t long before video clips were posted online showing 13-year-old Palestinian terrorist Manasra with his 15-year-old cousin on a killing spree in the streets of Jerusalem, attacking Israeli civilians with a knife, including a Jewish youth who was hospitalized in critical condition. Furthermore, Israel released photographs proving that Manasra was alive and receiving good treatment at an Israeli hospital. An embarrassed Abu Mazen attempted to limit the damage, and an English-language press release issued by his office referred to “the shooting of our children in cold blood.” But even this allegation was quickly exposed when the head of the hospital where Manasra is being treated announced that there were no signs he had been shot.
Abu Mazen was caught red-handed, which did not escape the international media’s notice. Even newspapers that are generally far from being pro-Israel, such as the New York Times and theWashington Post, criticized Abu Mazen for the lie of the “living dead.” The Washington Post went even further, with its editorial gently hinting that Abu Mazen is not being truthful (“Mahmoud Abbas has adopted an ambivalent position”) and calling him “irrelevant” in terms of control over the Palestinian “street.” Even prominent Jewish journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, who is firmly on the left, wrote harsh criticism in The Atlantic of the Palestinians’ murderous anti-Semitism, identifying it as the source of the violence.
Jibril Rajoub, a member of the Fatah leadership and chairman of the Palestinian Football Association, had this to say about the terrorists: “These are their heroic deeds, the lone-wolf attacks are heroic acts. I am proud of those who carry them out and I congratulate them.” Rajoub added that since “the international community does not accept buses blowing up in Tel Aviv,” it is better not to get dragged into this, but to continue with individual attacks. He believes that the “will for the martyr,” posted on Facebook by one of the terrorists, “should be studied in schools.” Other officials on the PLO Central Committee, such as Azzam al-Ahmed, called for “an expansion of the cycle of popular resistance,” and Abbas Zaki went so far as to suggest that a “war room” be established to coordinate all terrorist activity. Muhammad Dahlan, former head of the Preventive Security Force in Gaza, wrote similar things on his Facebook page, while PLO Executive Committee member Mahmoud Ismail called the murder of Eitam and Naama Henkin in front of their four small children “a national duty.”
The Evidence Speaks for Itself
Saeb Erekat, like his boss, accused Israel at a press conference of murdering children. When Erekat, who is head of the Palestinian negotiating team, a member of the PLO Central Committee, and one of the most prominent “partners” of the various peace initiatives, called on the UN to immediately come to investigate the “kangaroo courts,” he was referring specifically to Fadi Alun, who stabbed a 15-year-old Jewish boy and caused him moderate wounds, and Mustafa al-Khatib, who attempted to stab a police officer at the Lions’ Gate and was shot on the spot. In keeping with the accepted practice in Palestinian diplomacy, Erekat added that the Palestinians had begun to gather evidence in order to file a complaint at the Hague against Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and the head of the Shin Bet.
But it appears that even in the Hague they would give greater credence to concrete evidence in the form of bleeding, wounded Jews in hospitals, many Israeli police officers, and civilians present at events while they were taking place. This may be why Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, official newspaper of the Palestinian Authority, was quick to claim that police planted the knife on al-Khatib to justify shooting (the police claimed there were two knives). After all, it is common knowledge that Israeli police are in the habit of shooting random Palestinians and carrying kitchen knives—part of their official equipment—in order to incriminate them.
Violence for the Sake of Violence
Yhe profiles of some of the attackers, which are revealed immediately on social media, show that reasons such as poverty, discrimination, the occupation, or backwardness do not explain their violence. The attackers themselves, in their authentic public statements, leave no room for doubt that theirs is a murderous ideology and hatred that is essentially religious and nationalist and is directed against Jews as Jews.
Who’s Really Violating the Status Quo?
While it’s true that the number of Jews ascending the Temple Mount has increased in recent years, the status quo restricts the behavior of Jews on the Temple Mount, not their numbers. In any case, it’s worth noting that the numbers are small: While there have been some 3.5 million Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount in recent years and another 80,000 Christians, only 12,000 of the visitors have been Jews—or in other words, only about 0.3 percent.
Anyone who has been on the Temple Mount in recent years recognizes the phenomenon. When Jews approach the center of the Temple Mount plaza, a regular commotion begins: dozens of activists, mainly female, gather around the Jewish visitors, screaming loudly and threatening them. “Al-Aqsa is in danger, Allahu Akbar,” they call out, loudly and rhythmically, in order to interrupt the tour and the tour guide, and in some cases, as the following video clips show, they have spit at the visitors and attempted to attack them.
These violent groups, the Murabitun and Murabitat, are funded by Hamas and the Islamic movement, and their function is to keep Jews away from the Temple Mount. In an interview withChannel 2, one of the activists said: “I am prepared to die for al-Aqsa and to commit suicide and become a martyr for it.” Only last month, before the Jewish holidays, it was reported that activists from these organizations stay overnight on the Temple Mount complex in order to ”prevent the Jews from entering.”
Thus, the Jews enter the complex frightened, in small groups, and with heavy police security. All of them are accompanied by waqf officials, who monitor every movement by Jewish visitors and report to each other using walkie talkies. Recently, the government decided to ban these organizations and to work to dismantle their financial infrastructure. This does not violate the status quo; it defends it.