+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Ch. 2 accuses Fatah leader of extremism by misquoting him

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.

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. Jerry

      When the maps of Israel distributed by the PA include Israel, then you will have something to talk about. Until then, you are just a propagandist.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Cassie

      Jerry, your comment does not make sense. This article would have to be deceiving to be propaganda, and stating a fact does not quite measure up to the definition of what propaganda is. I think we can all agree though that journalists in general need to be held to a higher standard, especially ones with so much media influence.

      Reply to Comment
    3. @Jerry
      So you think if the P.A didn’t include Israel in its map that’s a justification for Israeli media to lie and deceive its readers and viewers. I have to admit, I am not smart enough to understand your brilliant argument.

      Reply to Comment
    4. AYLA


      Reply to Comment
    5. Michal

      Hi Aziz,
      I think that what Jerry is trying to say is that when a member of the PA is misquoted by Israelis or there’s a misconception about the Palestinians you speak out, but when crucial facts about Israel are misconstrued or when the Palestinians misinterpret something the Israelis say there’s a double standard and you stay silent.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Matt

      I was in Haifa this summer and the hostel I stayed in displayed a map of Israel that said it was printed by the Haifa municipality. It did not contain the Green Line. All of Israel-Palestine was labeled “Israel.” I suspect this is de rigueur. Therefore, it’s hard to see the “double standard” implied by Jerry’s statement.

      Reply to Comment
    7. If I wanted to draw a map and show — on that map — the borders of Israel, where would I put those borders, and upon what authority would I choose those borders?

      Has Israel ever declared that its borders are those of UNGA -181? The so-called “green-line”? Something else? Maybe involving the “separation fence”? How about the Nile and Euphrates?

      Or maybe Palestinians should draw a may and show Israel behind the green-line and label that as pre-1967 Israel?

      Reply to Comment
    8. Jerry

      @Pabelmont: Israel lived within the Greenline until it was attacked in 1967. Had Jordan remained out of the war, that border would still be intact. That Judea and Samaria were made Judenrein (Jew-free) by Jordan arouses no emotion in your limited considerations.

      @Cassie: I did not say that the article was propaganda, but that Aziz Abu Sarah was a propagandist. He starts with his conclusions and works backwards. Language allows for the back-engineering of any conclusion in the hands of a really skilled demagogue.

      @Aziz Abu Sarah: “P.A didn’t include Israel in its map” Your comment simply mirrors the state of war that exists between the Arab people and Israel. The Arabs want too much – too much for the power they yield, too much to be of service to humanity, which includes the Jews, and too much for world peace to prosper. The very idea that Hamas can call for the annihilation of the Jews is astoundingly self-serving. Any parent hearing that thought from one child about another of their children would have that child committed to an institution.

      @Matt: ” All of Israel-Palestine was labeled “Israel.” ” In the first place Israel is in de facto control of the West Bank. Second, Israel took Judea and Sarmaria in a defensive war. Third, the Jews have a better legal right to Judea and Samaria than the Palestinian Arabs. Any other word on the matter is one of guile or ignorance. Fourth, the Jews seem willing to share the “West Bank”, while the Palestinians are not. Jews are not evil simply because of their presence in a place. Nor are they evil for protecting themselves and their children.

      Finally, your argument regarding the “Nile and Euphrates” is a straw man. No responsible Israeli leader mentions such things that exist in the Biblical narrative, nor, let me assure you, do they even think about them in the privacy of their minds. This straw man represents your own form of guile. It would be refreshing if some of you would understate, rather than overstate, your arguments, but that would relieve them of emotional content. What a waste of time that would be!

      Reply to Comment
    9. Mikesailor

      Jeryy: There are none so blond as those who will not see. And you are a perfect example of what I call a ‘hasbarista’, those whose Zionist propaganda knows no bounds, nor even reality, and truth is no barrier. If the PA placed Israel on its maps, what borders would it use excepting the ’48 boundaries? Those are really the only recognized boundaries Israel has. The world has let Israel slide and dictated that the pre-’67 boundaries could be considered the basis for negotiations, yet Israel has refused that also. So, tell me Jerry, What are Israel’s boundaries since they have consistently refused to announce them? By the way, the ’67 ear was a war Israeli started, even Menachem Begin admitted it was a war of choice. And the placing of a civilian population on occupied land is in direct contradiction of the Geneva Conventions. The only reason Israel has gotten away with its BS id that the US has allowed Israel a free ride, without ever investigating Israel’s actions or sanctioning Israel in any way. That indulgence will end, I promise you. Israel, in the US, is not a foreign policy issue bit rather a domestic policy issue. That is why the $235 million gift to Iswrael for its ‘missile defense’ was added to the latest biuill authorizing the payroll tax ‘holiday’ and extension of unempoyment insurance with absolutely no media coverage. Why didn’t the media announce this ‘gift’? While US cocitizens are losing services and the Republicans refuse too raise revenue, why was such a present unannounced? At present the US citizenry is kept in the dark but that ignorance is fraying and when it finally ends, the future may prove an unwelcome surprise to the ‘hasbaristas’.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Mikesailor

      By the way, isn’t it true that the so-called threats by Iran are also the results of mis- quoting? Iran mnever siad they would ‘nuke’ Israel. And the statements by Ahmadinejad were that Israel would be removed from the map much as the Soviet Union was removed. Of course he calls the Zionist regime a ‘criminal enterprise’ but in that he is only telling the truth.

      Reply to Comment
    11. sam

      it’s funny how saying that theres no difference between ramallah and jaffa is considered extremism… jaffa is a palestinian city just like ramallah….

      Reply to Comment
    12. Hostage

      Jerry you wrote “Israel lived within the Greenline until it was attacked in 1967. Had Jordan remained out of the war, that border would still be intact.”

      That’s nonsense. Israel had conducted a huge military operation inside Jordanian territory in the Hebron area in November of 1966. It was condemned by the UN Security Council. Afterward Israel still ignored the Green Line. On 16 March 1967, Israeli forces had crossed the Armistice Demarcation Line south of Hebron causing the death of two Jordanian civilians. On 15 April Israeli authorities crossed the Armistice Demarcation Line into the Latrun no-man’s land and plowed areas situated in Jordan and in no-man’s land.http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/17BDF357679B218F85256C41006AD66D

      When Israeli officials subsequently tried to get US officials to relay assurances to Jordan, no one felt they were credible.The Jordanians had long-since concluded that Israel intended to annex the West Bank. Israel attacked Egypt knowing that Jordan had signed a mutual defense pact. So, it was Israel that triggered the armed conflict.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Jerry

      Seven proximate causes compelled Israel to take pre-emptive defensive military action on June 6, 1967; five of them constituted direct causi belli, while the two others were of a different nature: one – political and the other being water

      Egyptian blockade against Israeli shipping in international waters – Straits of Tiran

      UN acquiescence in removal of the peacekeeping force from Egyptian-Israel border

      Massing of troops on Egyptian, Syrian and Lebanese borders poised for invasion

      The Jordanian attack on that part of Jerusalem held by Israel since 1948, and on the UN enclave around Government House despite Israeli approaches to Jordan that if she remained uninvolved, Israel would not attack her.

      Water: The onetime Commander of the UN Observer Forces in the area, General Odd Bull, notes that the roots of the 1967 conflict started much earlier in 1964 (see Odd Bull, War and peace in the Middle East: The Experiences and Views of a UN Observer, Leo Cooper; London, 1976, pp. 72-78) On May 28, Israel started to pump water from the River Jordan to irrigate the Negev- the desert southern part of Israel. The quantity to be taken was within that allocated to Israel in Eric Johnson’s 1955 plan for sharing the combined water of the Jordan River and its tributaries between Israel and its neighbor

      Terrorist Activity Emanating from Jordan

      Soviet disinformation Soviet disinformation tactics play a crucial role in instigating war.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Jerry


      Hostage was kind enough to present a link to a UN document that preceded the Six-Day War. He, through summarizing the document, condemns Israel for being responsible for the upcoming war. The document indicates the opposite of his conclusion.

      We have the following quote from the very same document used to condemn Israel and shall leave it to the readers to interpret its meaning.

      “As for Israel’s accusation of a “people’s war” against Israel, Syria stated that it was not responsible for and would not obstruct the activities of Palestinian Arabs seeking to restore their inalienable right to self-determination. The Government and people of Syria were determined not to accept more humiliation from the Zionist settlers in Arab Palestine, in spite of all the backing they received from their masters and regardless of the results. The threats and invocation of the right of self-defence by Israel officials pointed to the conclusion that another Suez was in the making, Syria stated.”

      The “Zionist settlers” refers to pre-1967 borders. No change since the 1940s and earlier. It would be no problem to find similar quotes that extend to the 1880s. Politically inclined Arabs have ramrods up their rear ends that prevent compromise, which is seen as the equivalent of defeat. Just a cultural difference, I guess.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Mikesailor

      Can anyone stay on topic? The topic was trthe misquoting of an Palestinian leader to buttress propaganda. Instead we have neeb regaled with soties completely off-topic. Does Jerry, or others, approve of such inaccuracies? Or outright lies? And how about the misquotiong of Ahmadinejad? Or do the lies not concern any Israelis?

      Reply to Comment
    16. Philos

      Abu Sarah, Channel 2 news has clearly learnt the lessons of the Channel 10 news. That is; don’t f**k with Bibi and his government of white-shirts (instead of calling them fascists we should all start calling them white-shirts after the uniform of the religious settlers)

      Reply to Comment