News & Politics

Media Bias? What Media Bias?

In this Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 photo, Athab Kaseeb, poses holding a poster showing her late husband Shadi Kaseeb, right, and her brother-in-law, Fadi Kaseeb, left, at the family house in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The two Kaseeb brothers were shot dead by Israeli civilians after they attacked or attempted to attack Israelis according to Israeli police. Almost daily, ordinary Palestinians -- many in their teens and without political affiliations -- carry out what are essentially suicide missions. The poster reads "The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine offers to God the martyr Sheikh Fadi Kaseeb, 28, from the village of Arura, who was martyred in an act of jihad, in the cause of Palestine and Islam." (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

The Associated Press is puzzled by the ongoing “lone wolf” attacks by West Bank Arab Muslims on Jews:

On a recent morning, Palestinian taxi driver Shadi Kaseeb dropped off his two oldest children at school before picking up his first passenger — a seemingly routine start to his day. Before noon, the 31-year-old driver was dead, shot by two Israeli civilians after police said he ran toward them with a kitchen knife.

Five days later, in the same West Bank spot, Shadi’s younger brother Fadi rammed his car into two Israelis at a bus stop near a Jewish settlement before being shot dead. The brothers were among dozens of Palestinians gunned down by Israeli troops or civilians since September in what Israel says were attempted or actual Palestinian attacks. The attacks, mainly involving cars or knives, have killed 19 Israelis.

Now in its third month, this round of Israeli-Palestinian violence has defied definitions and easy explanations. Almost daily, ordinary Palestinians — many in their teens and without political affiliations — carry out what are essentially suicide missions. Yet most attacks appear to be spontaneous, lacking a guiding hand or clear tactical goal. Political and personal motives appear to overlap.

Let’s stop right there. The AP’s reporters —  Mohammed Daraghmeh and Karin Laub — are either unbelievably naive or else willfully blind to the plain meaning of their own words. “Spontaneous” the attacks may be, but there is a clear “guiding hand” here, and that is Islam, which gives a religious patina to a thirst for infidel blood.

The violence is playing out in one of the darkest periods of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Israeli rule over Palestinians well-entrenched. Hopes for a peace deal establishing a Palestinian state are at a low after Israelis this year re-elected their hard-line government, which continues to build Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

The killing of dozens of Palestinians by Israeli fire in recent months, including in stone-throwing clashes, has further stoked popular anger. Some rights activists blame what they say is a “shoot-to-kill” atmosphere in Israel, fueled by incendiary comments by leading Israeli politicians and security officials.

When somebody suddenly self-detonates and comes at you with a butcher knife, “shoot to kill” seems an eminently prudent policy. But what the AP and other media outlets are after here is essentially the delegitimization of the state of Israel. Where the borders between Israel and her neighbors ought to be is the proper subject of political discussion, but whether Israel should even exist ought not to be. The call for a “Palestinian” state is essentially a call for the abolition of the Jewish state.

Let’s pick up that heart-rending anecdote with which our story opened again:

On Nov. 22, Shadi drove his two oldest children, 7-year-old Samira and 6-year-old Mohammed, to school in the West Bank town of Ramallah, before taking a passenger to Jericho, about an hour’s drive away. On the way back, near the settlement industrial park of Mishor Adumim, his taxi swerved into an Israeli vehicle in the next lane, according to Israeli police. Shadi got out of his car, wielding a 20-centimeter-long (8-inch) kitchen knife and ran toward a group of Israelis before being shot by two civilians, police said.

I can’t believe my husband wanted to stab anyone because he knows we need him,” said his wife Athab, 29, speaking in the family’s small basement apartment. “We are a very poor family…and have three kids to raise.”

Brother-in-law Mohammed Samara, 27, said Kaseeb was deeply affected by what he felt was unrestrained Israeli violence against Palestinians. “Shadi was a very sensitive guy,” said Samara. “He used to watch the news on TV and feel sad.”

Five days after Shadi’s death, 30-year-old Fadi followed in his older brother’s footsteps. The supermarket clerk, a father of two with a baby on the way, drove to the Mishor Adumim intersection and rammed his car into two Israelis waiting at a bus stop — the force of impact flinging one of the men over a security barrier. Fadi got out of the car and ran toward the Israelis, but was shot and killed by a civilian at the scene, police said.

There was no doubt about his motive. “He was furious when his brother was killed,” said Fadi’s wife, Sawsan, 24. “He said, ‘I cannot live without my brother. I’ll kill them all, I’ll kill all the settlers.'”

There’s your easy explanation, right there.