An opinion piece by Baria Alamuddin in the Saudi owned Arab News (April 10, 2023) is saturated with inaccuracies and bias as propaganda replaces fact. Alamuddin, a Lebanese national of Palestinian and Tunisian Arab parentage, wrote under a provocative headline, “Israel will be incinerated by these fires Netanyahu Ignites.” “It might be her wish to see Israel incinerated, but the reality is that Palestinian Muslims have regularly resorted to terror and violence, particularly during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Alamuddin asserted that “Attacks by Israeli security forces on Ramadan worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, in which about 40 Palestinians were injured and 350 arrested, are symptomatic of escalatory tendencies. Why was the mosque raided when there was no credible security threat?” Perhaps to the outside world it might have appeared as Israeli aggressive action against a holy site, and Israel’s enemies capitalized on the one-sided images screened across the world. But according to Israel’s Police Chief Kobi Shabtai, there was a credible threat to the lives of Jews and Christians visiting Temple Mount, and to those Jews praying below at the Western Wall. On previous Ramadan occasions, Palestinian worshippers and incited youths lobbed rocks at the praying Jews below.
This time, incited by Hamas, hundreds of Palestinian young men barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, stockpiled large rocks, firebombs, fireworks, projectiles, metal bars, knives, and other tools of violence in order to attack and possibly kill non-Muslim visitors passing by the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Credible Israeli intelligence was provided to the Israeli security forces about the organized Palestinians inside Al-Aqsa who were preparing to terrorize Jews. The Israeli security force attempted to disperse the barricaded young people peacefully, but were met with hails of stones and fireworks, which clearly threatened not only Jews but Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa as well.
Alamuddin continued, “About 1,000 radical settlers then stormed Al-Aqsa on April 9, 2023.” This highly charged statement is not only provocative, but it is totally false. Israeli Jews are permitted during Passover, and they did not ‘storm’ the Al-Aqsa Mosque nor did they provoke the Muslim worshippers by entering the mosque. On the contrary, the latter cursed the Jews and leveled crude antisemitic catcalls. According to Alamuddin, Jews are instinctively ‘radical settlers,’ and not ordinary people seeking to be on the holiest ground in Judaism. The Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty signed in 1994, acknowledged Israel’s overall authority on Temple Mount, including security responsibility.
Alamuddin charged, “We see provocative approach applied to settlement expansion, demolition of homes, and security crackdowns in Palestinian areas.” Alamuddin refrains from mentioning that the so-called ‘crackdowns’ are preventive measures against Palestinian terrorists ‘ticking bombs’ who recently murdered innocent Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv and elsewhere in Israel. Demolishing houses of terrorist murderers is not an Israeli invention. Until 1948, the British Mandatory administration used this measure to deter Arab-Palestinian terrorists by exacting a cost. It has had a deterrent effect then and now. Settlement expansion is a Zionist response to terror. The logic here is that Palestinian killers believe that killing Jews will compel Israeli-Jews to vacate Judea and Samaria or leave Israel altogether. The opposite is true. It makes Jews more determined than ever to settle on public lands, and on every hill and valley. Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria is legal, albeit, not conducive for a two-state solution that is nowhere in the opting anyway, at least not in the foreseeable future.
“The killing of two British-Israelis in the Jordan Valley,” is another example of Alamuddin’s obfuscation of the truth and reality. She does not mention that the three Israelis were a mother, Lucy (Leah) Dee – 48, and her two beautiful daughters, Rina – 15, and Maia – 20, shot and killed by a drive-by Palestinian terrorists on their way to enjoy their Passover holiday. Almost a whole family was wiped out by hate and intolerance deeply inculcated in Palestinians since childhood.
Alamuddin goes on seeking to inflame resentment against Jews in the Christian world by stating that, “In the lead up to Easter there was a surge in hate crimes against Christians and Christian holy places by Jewish fanatics…” While it is true that a bunch of youthful Israelis shamefully and inexcusably desecrated a Christian cemetery, there was no plural, i.e. no hate crime(s). The young Jewish Israelis were punished and imprisoned and there was an outcry against such an act in the Israeli media and throughout the country. On the other hand, the murder of any Jewish Israeli is celebrated by Palestinians with women going out to the street to express their joy by handing candy to everyone.
Alamuddin makes some cogent points about the dangers of war in the region. She rightly points out that Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah’s bellicose rhetoric threatens to unleash war with Israel…and cautions that, “we should be under no illusions that Israel’s military would make short work of Lebanon. The civilian loss of life would be horrific – and no country is set to rush to Lebanon’s aid.” Alamuddin observed that there is a growing awakening throughout Lebanon and specifically among Hezbollah’s supporters, that Hezbollah is “less an agent of protection and resistance, and more a catalyst for Lebanon’s destruction.”
Her conclusion about the Palestinians and Israel are less perceptive. She makes the same demographic argument Arafat made in the 1980’s about the Palestinians becoming a majority. Yet, Jewish birthrates today match that of Palestinians, and the trend among Palestinians is showing a demographic downturn. Still, her advice to Israel is to “make peace now from a position of relative strength,” except for one thing, Israel needs a partner for peace, and there isn’t a brave Palestinian leader ready to chance his life to make peace with Israel.
Alamuddin accuses Prime Minister Netanyahu of efforts to “eviscerate Israel’s judiciary and turn his extremist allies into omnipotent paramilitary warlords, posing an existential threat to Israel’s future.” Ms. Alamuddin might have an insight into Lebanese affairs, but she has to learn a great deal about Israel. Israel’s democracy is sound despite the demonstrations by thousands against the government’s judicial reforms. The judiciary in Israel will remain on solid foundation, with perhaps democratic modifications by the proposed reform. The internal upheaval seen on Israeli TV, the hate and merciless terror displayed by the Palestinians, and the Iranian regime and its proxies toward the Jewish state should not confuse the watching world. Israel resolves to survive and flourish will overcome the internal disputes. The hate and intolerance demonstrated by the Palestinians in Al-Aqsa earlier this week, and the murderous terror in the Jordan valley that wiped out a beautiful Jewish family brings the people of Israel together as one.