Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"The Independent” Op-Ed on Tamimi- Simply Wrong

Last month, a video of 16 year old Palestinian Ahed Tamimi hitting IDF soldiers went viral:

If you don’t already know the full story, you can read it here.

Hiba Khan’s column in UK “The independent entitled “Everything wrong with the reaction to Ahed Tamimi’s prosecution for slapping an Israeli soldier, ” takes a defensive position toward Tamimi, which is permissible in a column: it is after all, an opinion piece.
However, even an opinion columnist may not cross the line into statements that are factually untrue, nor may a publisher allow it.
If you have to be dishonest to support your opinion, isn’t it possible that you’re just plain wrong?
For example, Khan claims:  …the sad reality for Palestinians is a life deprived of healthcare, an economy, a justice system, living in abject poverty with no food or water security and military violence against them and their children. (Just plain untrue).
·       West Bank has modern water infrastructure, and coordinates with Israel on regular improvements.

·       The West Bank produces and even exports olives, citrus fruit, vegetables, beef, and dairy products.
·       The travel web site Trip Advisor lists “The 10 Best West Bank Restaurants.” You can see the review, or even come see the restaurants, for yourself.
·       Two percent of West Bank residents are “food insecure,” an impressively low figure. For context, 7% of Americans are food insecure, over three times more than the West Bank,  by percent.

·       The West Bank has healthcare: with among the highest birth rates, lowest death rates and longest life expectancy rates  in the world.

·       There is indeed a Palestinian justice system.  Depending on the matter, Palestinian courts or Israeli military courts may have jurisdiction, as required under the international Hague Convention.
·       Tamimi’s case is before the Israeli military juvenile court, where Tamimi is represented by a prominent, influential and highly experienced attorney, who is also the former director of Peace Now and sits on the Tel Aviv city council.
According to the indictment and the viral video, Tamimi was actually punching, kicking, biting and screaming at the soldiers. In addition, last week Ahed publicly called for stabbing attacks and suicide bombings against Israelis which can be seen in this video below:

Khan wasn’t wrong when she wrote that, “violence is the norm” where the Tamimis live. She just didn’t bother to say how much of that violence is being done, and encouraged, by the Tamimis themselves.
Israel (all of it) is “occupation”
Just so we’re clear on the reason for these protests and riots: the Tamimi family objects not merely to Israel’s presence in the West Bank, but to Israel’s very existence.
When Honest Reporting Managing Editor, Simon Plosker, visited the Tamimi home in 2012:

…references were made to the occupation of 1948. Not 1967 — when Nabi Saleh fell under Israeli control, having formerly been occupied by Jordan — but the year of Israel’s rebirth. “Non-violent resistance” was a strategic choice while it was stressed that under international law, the Palestinians were entitled to use “all necessary means” to resist occupation. I remembered hearing similar sentiments from Palestinian terrorists after Israeli buses and cafes had been targeted by suicide bombers.
Indeed, as seen in the video above, Ahed Tamimi herself called for exactly that sort of horrific violence.
Even so, op er author Hiba Khan is entitled to defend Tamimi and to criticize Israel in an opinion column. But she’s not allowed to misstate facts in order to do it, and “The Independent” must take corrective action.


Gershom Lichtenberg said...

Stuart, I appreciate all the work that you do towards Hasbara. I admit that it has been a while since I have read your posts carefully.

I’m having trouble reconciling some of what I see in this recent post. I went to some of the links to see the sources. For instance, where you said that there is 2% food insecurity, the link seems to say that 1.6 million Palestinians are food insecure. How is that 2%? What am I missing or misreading?

Also you say that life expectancy in the West Bank is one of the highest in the world. #110 is in the upper half of 224, but one of the highest makes it sound much higher than that.

I did not go to all of the links but, since I believe that you try to give a realistic picture, I’m having some difficulty. Please clarify for me.

Haifa Diarist said...

According to the world health organisation Israel is placed 8th with life span of 81 years in a listing of 158 countries, West Bank and Gaza 68th with a life span of 75 well above all the surrounding Arab countries.

Re food insecurity, I believe that figure should be 20 not 2. Further there is much higher levels in Gaza than in the West Bank, since Hamas is is "playing" with its citizens lives while it continues to invest in one single objective - the destruction of the state of Israel.