Most ordinary Americans are sympathetic to Israel. This is actually surprising, when you consider what the media pushes at them, day after day. For example, this morning my local Fresno Bee newspaper contained part of an article from the NY Times headlined “Palestinians Erupt in anger at Israel,” which began like this:
JERUSALEM — Days before Secretary of State John Kerry’s return to the region, anger and defiance continued to flare across the West Bank on Thursday as Palestinians buried two teenagers killed by Israeli soldiers during protests triggered by the death of a prisoner with cancer while in Israeli custody. …
Clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youths hurling stones and firebombs erupted there and in other West Bank locations for the third straight day, as Palestinian leaders accused Israel of escalating tensions in order to thwart Washington’s efforts.
“It seems that Israel wants to spark chaos in the Palestinian territories,” President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority told leaders of his Fatah faction at a meeting in Ramallah. “Israel on every occasion is using lethal force against peaceful young protesters, and peaceful demonstrations are being suppressed with the power of weapons. This is not acceptable at all.”
Although firebombs are mentioned, the Times article does not mention that the two “youths” (aged 17 and 18) who were killed were shot while throwing them at soldiers until the 17th paragraph. The excerpt in the Fresno Bee only included the first 8, so local readers did not get the benefit of even this:
The Israeli military said that the youths were hurling firebombs at an army post late Wednesday, and that soldiers responded with live fire; it is investigating the episode.
Here is another account of the incident, from Arutz Sheva, a right-wing Israeli source:
IDF soldiers opened fire on Wednesday night at two terrorists who approached an IDF position near the community of Einav in northern Samaria.
As the two terrorists approached the soldiers, they hurled a firebomb at them. The soldiers returned fire, killing one terrorist and wounding the other.
Personally, I prefer the second version. But even the first is better than the description of the “peaceful young protesters” presented by Mahmoud Abbas, which is all that Fresno Bee readers saw.
Now, a few words about the death of the prisoner, Maysara Abu Hamdiya, in Israeli custody. The Arabs claim that he died because Israel withheld medical care, and even provided a photograph of the poor man handcuffed to a hospital bed. Of course the photograph actually was taken last year of an insurgent in a Syrian hospital, but as you know, truth is all relative anyway.
Abu Hamidya had throat cancer. A prison service spokesperson said that
[He] had been treated since his diagnosis in February and that prison authorities applied to a parole board for his early release after he was found to be terminally ill. He died before the process could be completed…
Did he get good enough medical care? Who knows, but Arabs die in Palestinian Authority custody all the time and there are no riots or media coverage.
So why was Maysara Abu Hamidiya imprisoned in the first place?
In 2002, this retired general in the P.A. “security” forces was arrested for dispatching a suicide bomber to the Café Caffit in the Emek Refaim neighborhood of Jerusalem. The bomber was incompetent and walked in with disconnected wires dangling from his bomb. A waiter saw him and pushed him outside; his bomb did not go off. In 2004 there was another unsuccessful attempt at the same location.
Abu Hamidiya worked for both Fatah and Hamas, and was heavily involved in providing weapons, financing of terrorism and bombmaking, in addition to his role in the failed attack.