Violence and Incitement: The Untold Story (May 18 2005)


May 18, 2005

Dear HonestReporting Canada Subscriber:

Did you know that Palestinians recently fired an anti-tank rocket at an Israeli school-bus? That Palestinian attacks against Israelis increased by 54 per cent between March and April? That Palestinian Authority TV recently broadcast a religious sermon calling Israel a “cancer” and Jews a “virus resembling AIDS”? If you get your news from Canadian media, the answer is probably “no.”

Bias by Omission

Reporting the news is a complicated business. Journalists must boil complex stories down to the few words and images that best convey the story. But sometimes they boil away the story itself, misleading readers by omitting essential information.

This process of bias by omission is on display as Canada’s news media ignore Palestinian violations of their most basic promise: to end incitement and violence against Israel.

The Untold Story: Incitement

Under the internationally-endorsed Road Map, at the outset of Phase 1, “all official Palestinian institutions [will] end incitement against Israel.” But official Palestinian incitement of hostility toward Israel is thriving:

  • In April the PLO News Agency WAFA falsely claimed that Israel had installed a “radial spy machine” at the Rafah border that killed a 55-year-old woman and could cause “sterility, congenital anomalies, cancer, leukemia and mental retardation.” When challenged on the claim, WAFA declared that Israel was actually using a “naked spy machine” to violate Palestinians’ privacy.

  • On April 25, Fatah leader Farouq Qaddumi declared that “Israel can only be opposed with bullets.”

  • On May 13, Palestinian Authority TV broadcast a religious sermon which blamed the Holocaust on the Jews and expressed genocidal intent toward Israel and the Jewish people. (See video and transcript by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.) The sermon was delivered by a paid employee of the Palestinian Authority and broadcast on the Palestinian Authority’s official television station.

The Untold Story: Violence

Under the Road Map, at the outset of Phase 1, “Palestinians [will] declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.” But Palestinian violence — and the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to rein it in — are very much alive:

  • Attacks against Israelis increased by 54 per cent from March to April 2005, from 133 attacks in March to 205 attacks in April.
  • Despite this increase in violence, on May 4 the newly-appointed head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service declared that the Palestinian Authority had “no intention of withdrawing arms of resistance.

  • On May 7, Palestinians fired an anti-tank rocket at a school bus carrying Israeli children outside Kfar Darom in Gaza. (The rocket did not hit the bus.)

  • On May 12, in the latest episode of using children to transport bombs and weapons, a Palestinian youth was arrested by Israeli security forces when he was caught crossing through the Hawara checkpoint with a hidden handgun.

  • On May 15, Israeli workers doing construction along the Philadelphi route were taken to hospital after Palestinians fired an anti-tank rocket at them.

  • Palestinians routinely fire Kassam rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot. 

Failure to Cover the Story in Canada

Canada’s media all too frequently ignore the incitement and violence that threaten to torpedo progress between Israelis and Palestinians. When Palestinian TV predicted that “everything will be relieved of the Jews… even the stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew,” the National Post was alone among major news outlets in reporting the sermon.

Do Canada’s news media consider official expressions of anti-Semitism and official tolerance of violence to be unworthy of news coverage?

How You Can Make a Difference

Are your news media accurately reporting on the continuation of Palestinian incitement and violence against Israel?

HonestReporting Canada encourages subscribers to:

  • Stay informed by reading a variety of sources (Conference of Presidents’ Daily Alert, MEMRI and MEMRI TV, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s Daily Briefing)
  • Monitor Canadian news media to see if the full story is being reported;
  • Contact the media and ask them to tell the full story about incitement and violence.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to fair and accurate
media coverage of Israel and the Middle East


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