Guardian source honours convicted terrorists.

Usually presented as an historian, Sami Abu Shehadeh has been repeatedly quoted by Guardian writers as a source of information on the subject of Jaffa (Yaffo).

Sami Abu Shehadeh

 Last summer saw an article by David Hearst which quoted Abu Shehadeh extensively and was addressed by Anne at Anne’s Opinions and Cif Watch. Prior to that, Harriet Sherwood also relied heavily upon information from Abu Shehadeh in her Observer piece about ‘settlers’ in Jaffa which we addressed here.

As we pointed out at the time:

“Abu Shehadeh is hardly some tweedy local history buff, but a seasoned political activist with a specific agenda for whom history is but an integral part of an ideological arsenal deployed in the service of dismantling the Jewish State.  As secretary of the political party Balad in Jaffa, Abu Shehadeh is one of the chief organizers of demonstrations against the establishment of “settlements”, as he terms them, in this neighborhood in Israel’s largest city.

Balad opposes Israel as a Jewish state and advocates its replacement with a bi-national state which would include over four million official Palestinian “refugees” taking advantage of the ‘right of return’.

Abu Shehadeh is also a founder of the Jaffa Popular Committee for the Defence of Land and Housing Rights, aka the Popular Committee against House Demolition in Jaffa, a signatory of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and a board member of Zochrot; an organization devoted to promoting the Nakba narrative and working to achieve the Palestinian ‘right of return.’ Zochrot is also an endorser of the Free Gaza movement – an organization (which includes the International Solidarity Movement), behind the recent violent flotilla incident, in co-operation with IHH, a radical organization with proven ties to terrorist organizations such as Hamas.” 

Further information regarding the activities of Mr. Abu Shehadeh has recently come to light via ‘Mynet‘.

It appears that in December 2011, Jaffa council member Abu Shedadeh presented awards on behalf of the Jaffa Youth Organisation – which he also heads – to two convicted terrorists released under the terms of the Gilad Shalit deal.

“The evening’s compere went on stage and announced that the Jaffa Youth Organisation is happy and proud to present certificates of appreciation to the guests of honour  Ziada (57) and Burgal (48), residents of Lod, whom he described as “heroic activists receiving recognition for their struggle”. The audience went wild and welcomed them with thunderous applause.”

Mansour Ziada and Muchlas Burgal were found guilty of throwing a grenade at an Egged public bus travelling from Ramle to Tel Aviv on the morning of Friday, June 5th 1987. Fortunately, the grenade failed to explode, but one person was injured by glass splinters. The two were arrested and tried three months later. Ziada was supposed to remain in prison for the rest of his life and Burgal was scheduled for release in 2027.

Hundreds of children and adolescents were among the 400 invitees present at the ceremony organized by Abu Shehadeh’s group.

“During the ceremony the audience watched a play which had as its central character a Jewish settler. On stage the settler was seen spraying tomb-stones with the words ‘price tag’, wandering around the neighbourhoods of Jaffa and persuading local residents to become collaborators with the Israeli authorities.”

Sami Abu Shehadeh’s activities as a member of several extremist organisations were obviously not deemed by Guardian reporters to be reason enough to disqualify him from being quoted at length as an authority in the past.

So, it will be interesting to see whether his part in honouring the activities of convicted terrorists will be enough to persuade the likes of Sherwood and Hearst that interviewees such as Abu Shehadeh do nothing to contribute to ‘fair and balanced’ reporting.  

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