Yesterday, I reported on Fatah’s Christmas celebration in Bethlehem. Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh, a Fatah Central Committee member, spoke about his concern regarding the growth of settlements in the West Bank. He specifically referred to the Har Homa settlement, which is encroaching on the land of the town of Beit Sahour, east of Bethlehem.
Israeli Channel 2 reported the event, but distorted Dr. Shtayyeh’s comments, in an article published in Hebrew, titled “Fatah leader: No difference between Ramallah and Jaffa,” which claimed that Shtayyeh proclaimed, “There is no reason to distinguish between Ramallah and Jaffa,” meaning – the two cities belong to the same entity.
It is a sexy title, and I thought that the full quote would be reported in the actual article. I was wrong. The article restates the same quote from the title, enforcing Israeli government propaganda that insists that Palestinian leaders are unwilling to pursue a two-state solution. The article accuses Palestinian leaders of taking an extreme line against Israel and uses Shtayyeh’s comments as an example of Palestinian extremism.
Shtayyeh’s quote was taken completely out of context. His actual quote was (Arabic), “IF Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t recognize the difference between Abu Ghoneim [the site of a Jewish settlement north of Beith Sahour] and Tel Aviv, then the Palestinians will not recognize the difference between Ramallah and Jaffa.”
I am not seeking a discussion on the content of Shtayyeh’s original comments, but rather to draw attention to the distortion carried out by major media outlet, in order to fit a political agenda.
The inflammatory reporting by Channel 2 on this issue is not just a sloppy journalism, but an act of deception committed against the Israeli people. It is this kind of journalism that adds fuel to the fire and ensures that people do not see a peaceful partner on the other side.
I hope that Channel 2 will admit its mistake and apologize for this deception – but I have little faith.