Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The kidnapping, the Arab press and Israel

Today is Wednesday, June 18, 2014. It is day six for the three Jewish boys kidnapped on Thursday night, June 12. The boys are teenagers. Two are 16 years old. One is 19.

In Israel, we unite to pray. We unite to pray for their safe return.

The Arab press shows us how it views what has happened during these last six days. It does not see things as we do. It does give us details not found in Israel’s press. But it uses those details to demonize Israel and to build a legal case against Israel.

 First, the new details:

According to the Hamas and Palestinian Authority (PA) news services, Israel’s army, the IDF, has invaded Judea-Samaria (the boys were kidnapped in Judea, near Hevron). The IDF, the Arab press reports, has cut off electricity to Hevron  (“Israeli raid-“hysteria” bursts out in al-Khalil in search of missing soldiers”, June 17, 2014).

According to the Arab press, this news story is not about three missing Jewish boys. It’s about soldiers. The Arab press has turned the Jewish teens into Israeli military personnel.

As of mid-day June 18, the Arab press has reported that the IDF has sent troops into the cities of Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah, East Jerusalem and Hevron.  It has also gone into a series of Arab communities most Jews have never heard of: Beit Furik, Audla, Tell, Talfit, Salfit, Beit Awwa, Taffuh, Beit Ula, Dura, Sanjar, Idhna,  Silwad, Wadi al-Maleh, al-Louza, Sheikh, Yatta, Beit Ummar, Bab el-Zawiya, Beit Kahil, al-Bireh and Beitunia .

It reports that one refugee camp, al-Aroub, was sealed. Other refugee camps, notably Balata and Askar, were invaded.  Even the Beit Kahel cemetery, west of Hevron, was invaded.

The Arab press reports that the IDF has been breaking into private homes. To gain entry to those homes, it has not been ringing doorbells or knocking on doors. It fires a rocket. It has blown off scores of doors. The Arab press doesn’t like that. It calls the tactic brutal and abrupt.

The Arab press reports that, as the IDF swept through the region, dozens of Arab youth have sometimes rushed to the scene to pelt the soldiers with stones, bottles and firebombs (“Violent clashes erupt in Bab al-Zawiya, raids reported in Beita, Beit Ummar”’ June 26, 2014). It has reported violent clashes in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jenin, Bitounia, Nablus and the refugee camp called, Jalazoun. Reports say that many Arabs attacked the soldiers. Many of the attackers were wounded. One was shot dead.

The Arab press has reported that the IDF has fired tear-gas, rubber bullets and even live rounds at the attacking youth.

The Israelis were reported to have confiscated a large number of CCTV surveillance cameras. It continued to blow off house doors.  During the first 4 days following the kidnapping, Arab news counted more than 200 Arabs arrested. It counted more than 240 IDF raid-and-search operations in Hevron alone.

The Arab press calls the arrests, ‘arbitrary abductions’ and ‘IDF kidnappings’(“Israeli raid-“hysteria” bursts out in al-Khalil in search of missing soldiers”, June 17, 2014). It called for Humanitarians to attack Israel for Humanitarian Law violations involving arbitrary abductions, kidnapping citizens, mass arrests and arbitrary detention.

The Arab press is not simply reporting news. It is telling a story. It is creating a narrative. It is telling the world that Israel violates international Humanitarian code with ‘arbitrary mass arrests’.

The Arab press is wrong. There was nothing arbitrary, random or unfocused about these arrests. They were not ‘mass arrests’ in the sense that Israel was arbitrarily arresting everyone it saw in a given place. At one point, eighty per cent of those arrested were tied to Hamas; and most of the remaining detainees were ‘liberated prisoners’ (convicted terrorists released to the PA in the 2011 Shalit prisoner-exchange agreement), university lecturers, clerics and former Palestinian Authority officials whom reasonable people could reasonably believe might be connected to the kidnapping (“250 arrested in West Bank”, June 17, 2014).  

On June 18, Israel’s Haaretz published that the IDF had arrested 240 Arabs, 180 of whom were tied to Hamas. Arabs and their Humanitarian friends may be shocked by the speed, scope and number of arrests. They may use that speed and scope to accuse  Israel of having violated Humanitarian code—for how else could the Israelis have arrested so many so quickly? But, again, these arrests were neither random nor arbitrary. The IDF clearly knew who they were looking for—and found them. Virtually all of those arrested were obviously targeted as belonging to the type of ‘interested person’ Israel would want to interrogate.

The Arab press peddles propaganda, not news. It wants to demonize Israel. It wants to criminalize Israel for its search for the missing teenagers.

The Arab press has no other interest.

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