Weekend long read

1) The ITIC reports on “Preparations for the mass “return march” to mark the first anniversary of the marches and Land Day”.

“With the escalation that followed the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip in the background, preparations continue to be made for the “return march” that will take place on Saturday, March 30, 2019. The events will mark one year of “return marches” as well as Land Day, affiliated with Israeli Arabs. A series of events are planned, which will be held at the usual five sites of the “return marches.” The events will be accompanied by a general strike and closed schools to increase the number of participants. The organizers are also trying to attract Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the refugee camps in the dispersal to join the protest activities. It is unclear if and to what degree there will be a response to the calls from terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.”

2) Also from the ITIC: the background to the kind of Hamas propaganda uncritically recycled this week by the BBC News website.

“Instructions were posted to a Hamas forum regarding the terminology that should be used in the media. According to the instructions, media workers should avoid the use of terminology that indicates a recognition of the existence of Israel (the “Zionist entity”); care should [be] taken to designate all sites attacked by Israel as “civilian targets” and not as military targets; the cities in Israel which are attacked should be referred to as occupied Palestinian territories, and not as cities; and there is no such thing as “the residents of Israel’s south” because [the Israelis] are thieves who took the Palestinian lands by force.”

3) At the Jerusalem Post Lahav Harkov analyses “The ‘Wag The Dog’ Conspiracy That Never Happened”.

“When Palestinian terrorists shot rockets into central Israel and completely destroyed a house in Moshav Mishmeret, injuring all three generations of one family, some thought that instead of condemning Hamas for targeting infants, toddlers and their grandparents, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the real problem here.

A conspiracy theory in the style of Wag the Dog began to be floated in news outlets of varying levels of respectability – like the UK’s Independent – and on the social media accounts of anti-Israel organizations that Netanyahu wants a war, because it’ll somehow help him ahead of the April 9 election. They claimed that Netanyahu intentionally sparks wars right before elections to help him win.”

4) To mark the fortieth anniversary of the Israel-Egypt peace agreement, Ofir Winter and Udi Dekel of the INSS assess that treaty.

“March 2019 marks the fortieth anniversary of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. This signed agreement affirmed peace as the strategic choice of both countries, and in turn distanced them from the danger of war. Over the years, the peace has survived challenges and upheavals, and provided tightened security cooperation around shared interests. However, relations between leaderships and security establishment are not enough, and the time has come to deepen the roots of peace between the two peoples.”

Hamas agitprop requires BBC journalists to brush up on UN resolution

Reports have emerged concerning an upcoming six-week long stunt organised by factions in the Gaza Strip that is primarily aimed at the international media.

Gaza border area

“In the coming weeks, Hamas plans to set up tent encampments along the Gazan border with Israel, where thousands of the strip’s denizens will be housed, with the intention to march hundreds of Palestinians every day—including the elderly, women and children—to the border fence in “return marches.” 

At the same time, Hamas also intends to hold mass fishing boat protests near the maritime border with Israel. These actions will gradually grow in intensity and culminate just before Israel’s 70th Independence Day.”

The ITIC has more details on the agitprop scheduled to commence on March 30th – ‘Land Day’ – which this year is also Passover Eve.

“According to the march organizers, the objective is to send a message to the world about the Palestinians’ “right of return.” […]

Originally the proposed date for the march was May 15 (Nakba Day). However, calls have recently been heard to hold the main event on Land Day, March 30, the day Israelis Arabs have demonstrated their adherence to their lands since 1976. The organizers of the march said it would not be a single event but rather a series of activities which would continue over time. Issam Adwan, head of Hamas’ department of refugee affairs, said the organizing committee had agreed to hold the march on Land Day (March 30, 2018). He said all the national and Islamic organizations, including Fatah, had agreed. He said the march would be only a part of the comprehensive initiative of “the great return march”. […]

The organizers said they intended to recruit about a hundred thousand participants, most of them from the refugee camps in the Gaza Strip. The “great return march” coordinating committee appealed to Gazans to take an active role. The committee also reported it was continuing its efforts to establish national committees in other countries that would organize their own marches, simultaneous to the one in the Gaza Strip.

The organizers, led by Abu Artima, continue to emphasize the march will be non-violent and there is no intention to confront IDF forces. Interviewed by Hamas’ Palinfo website, he called “the great return march” a “popular strategic tool” to use peaceful measures to realize the “right of return.” He said the march would be different from the [routine] clashes at the border security fence. That was because the participants would not throw stones, but rather hold a rally that the whole world and media outlets would watch.”[emphasis added]

Obviously such an event could not take place without Hamas’ approval.

“The organizers got a green light from Hamas and the PIJ for the march. “The great return march” Facebook page posted a statement from Issam Adwan, head of Hamas’ department of refugee affairs, who emphasized the necessity and importance of the event. He said it was part of the “resistance” and that it was no less important than the “armed struggle.” He also said that the Land Day march would be only the opening move of a comprehensive global operation. […]

Talal Abu Zarifa, senior figure in the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said the Palestinian organizations had agreed on activities that would be consistent with the objectives of “the great return march.” […] He added that the organizations had agreed to continue mass recruitment, to make Israel responsible [for what happens] and realize the “right of return”.”

Apparently the organisers of that agitprop intended to employ antisemitic Nazi analogy.

“According to information on the Facebook page of “the great march of the return,” in preparation for the event the organizers need clothing like the striped suits worn by the inmates of the Nazi concentration camps. Anyone who could provide such suits, or sew them, was asked to contact the march’s coordinating committee. The organizers are apparently going to present a display comparing the Palestinians to the victims of the Nazis.”

Photo credit: ITIC

The project’s logo includes a reference to UN GA resolution 194 of December 1948.

“The new logo shows the UN logo and the number 194, which relates to UN General Assembly Resolution 194 […], a map of “Palestine” in the colors of the Palestinian flag, with no reference to the existence of the State of Israel; a hand holding a key, the symbol of the so-called right of the Palestinian refugees to return to the places they lived in 70 years ago.”

Any BBC journalist intending to cover this propaganda campaign should of course be aware of the fact that Resolution 194 is non-binding, that it does not specifically relate to Palestinian refugees (despite long-standing BBC claims to that effect) and – contrary to often heard assertions – neither does it grant any unconditional ‘right of return’. Rather, it recommends that refugees be allowed to return to their homeland if they wish to “live at peace with their neighbours”. Also worth remembering is the fact that the Arab states voted against that UN GA resolution.

Related Articles:

BACKGROUNDER: The Palestinian Claim to a “Right of Return”  (CAMERA)

 

 

Syrian fire into Israel again goes unreported by the BBC

Until recently the BBC only saw fit to report on cross-border fire from Syria into the Golan Heights when Israel fired back. Now it seems not even those incidents merit a mention.

On the evening of April 2nd 2013 a mortar shell fired from Syria landed near Tel Fares and shortly afterwards shots were fired at an IDF patrol near Tel Hazeka. Israel responded with tank fire in the direction of the Syrian outpost from which the shooting came. 

Map Tel Hazeka

The BBC did not report these incidents. 

Another recent Syria-related incident not reported by the BBC was the attack on an Al Jazeera news team covering ‘Land Day’ events in the Galilee town of Sakhnin on March 30th.

“A scuffle broke out Saturday during a Land Day procession in Sakhnin. Several dozen protesters who support Syrian President Bashar Assad assaulted an Al-Jazeera reporter and his crew.

The rioters hurled water bottles at the journalists claiming they were fabricating reports about the situation in Syria. The scuffle quickly spread to include other protesters. Three people were lightly injured including a Channel 1 journalist who sustained a minor head injury and was treated at a local clinic.”

map Sahknin

In fact, the BBC chose to maintain ‘radio silence’ altogether regarding the annual ‘Land Day’ demonstrations – several of which turned violent. At the Qalandiya checkpoint near Jerusalem the day was marked with stone-throwing by some 150 rioters. On Route 60, near Efrat, a four year-old Israeli boy was injured when the car in which he was travelling was pelted with rocks. 

Of course, BBC audiences’ comprehension of the Middle East is not enhanced by selective reporting.