The BBC, The Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and similar beraters of Israel have been eager to portray the Israeli government as somehow complicit in the settler rampages through a handful of Palestinian villages. They give great attention to those “far-right” Israeli officials who idiotically declare their sympathy for those who, in the course of their rampages, set fire to Palestinian cars, houses, and fields. Itamar Ben Gvir is widely quoted; it was he who in a security meeting, called those who rampaged “sweet kids,” and he always manages to be good for a quote that will bring Israel into disrepute. But other stories, about the condemnation of the rampagers by so many Israelis in positions of leadership, are only passingly mentioned, if at all, in the international media, which is determined to present Israel in a bad light.
More on the reaction of Israel’s chief of staff to the recent settler rampages can be found here: “IDF chief Halevi: officers must intervene to stop attacks against Palestinians,” by Emanuel Fabian, Times of Israel, June 28, 2023:
Military chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi says officers must intervene in violence by Israeli civilians against Palestinians in the West Bank, following a recent string of settler attacks on Palestinian towns and villages.
“An officer who sees an Israeli citizen intending to throw a Molotov cocktail into a Palestinian house and stands by, cannot be an officer,” Halevi says at a cadets graduation ceremony at the Israel Defense Forces’ officers school in southern Israel, known as Bahad 1.
“This is our way, this is our strength here compared to the complex region in which we live, and we must not erode it,” he says….
I am unable to find any reference to these remarks made by the IDF’s head, Lt.-General Herzi Halevi in the mainstream media. Surely it would be of great interest to many, to learn how stern is his reminder to new officers that they must not stand by if a “Molotov cocktail” is thrown at a Palestinian house, for if they do, they “cannot be officers.” This means, of course, they would be booted from the military if they didn’t protect innocent Palestinians from attack. A few days before he addressed the graduating cadets, the IDF Chief of Staff joined Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar, and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, in issuing a joint denunciation of the recent string of settler attacks on Palestinian villages, and said they plan to step up efforts against them. They called the attacks “nationalist terrorism.”
But you didn’t find out about that joint statement, or about Halevi’s speech to graduates, if you rely on the BBC, or The Guardian, The New York Times, or The Washington Post.
Nor was this the only telling failure to cover the Israeli officials’ condemnation of the rampaging settlers. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant several days before had condemned the settler rampage in Umm Safa, and reinforced the message when he spoke by telephone to the P.A.’s Minister of Civil Affairs, Hossein Al-Sheikh, telling him that he, Gallant, “strongly condemns the actions caused by the Israeli extremists on innocent Palestinians” that have been carried out recently. Gallant said the defense establishment views the recent violence against Palestinian civilians with “great concern” and emphasized that Israel will “take action to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Like the joint statement issued by the heads of the IDF, the Shin Bet, and the Israeli Police, condemning the settler violence as “terrorism,” and like the speech the IDF head, Herzl Halevi, delivered to the new officers reminding them of their duty to defend innocent Palestinians from attack, the phone call of Defense Minister Gallant to Hossein al-Sheikh, reassuring him that he “strongly condemns the Israeli extremists”and promising that Israel “will take action to bring the perpetrators to justice” did not make it into the Western media.
Finally there was the message delivered by Israeli President Herzog in a phone call to Mahmoud Abbas. He unequivocally denounced the “recent assault on innocent Palestinians by extremists.” He further said that he denounces “the cruel and unrestrained” settler riots, which he said were “illegal and immoral.”
And President Herzog’s denunciation of the rioting settlers, just like those of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Herzl Halevi, Shin Bet Chief Ronen Bar, and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, didn’t make it into the Western media. On the other hand, Itamar Ben-Gvir’s extremist statements against the Palestinians, and in praise of such people as Rabbi Meir Kahane and Baruch Goldstein, always manage to get plenty of attention from, among other mainstream media outlets, the New York Times.
Which leads me to ask just one question: Why?