‘Fisking’ Robert Fisk’s latest on Israel: distortions, half-truths and fabrications

Robert Fisk isn’t very happy with the latest “betrayal of the Palestinians”, which is how he characterizes the US decision to temporarily end their aggressive engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process after Fatah’s reconciliation with Hamas.  

In his latest report for The Independent, ‘Yet another betrayal of the Palestinians‘, April 25, Fisk blames Barack Obama for ‘cowardly’ walking away from the process, and laments that the US President has shown himself once again to be ‘in lock step’ with Jerusalem.

However, beyond the narrow and quite risible claim that Obama and Netanyahu are in cahoots, or at least using the same political playbook, Fisk’s ‘analysis’ is laden with distortions, half-truths and outright fabrications. 

Fisk derides “claim” that Hamas is a terror group

Fisk:

Of course – lock-stepping with Israel as usual – Obama condemned Mahmoud Abbas for the “unhelpful” step of trying to form a unity government with Hamas, a skewed version of events that entirely chimes with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s predictable claim that the Palestinian President “formed an alliance with a murderous terrorist organisation that calls for Israel’s destruction”.

So, to Fisk, Obama and Netanyahu are merely parroting an evidently debatable “claim” that Hamas is a “murderous terrorist organization that calls for Israel’s destruction”, despite the fact that the group is an internationally recognized terror organization whose founding charter unambiguously calls for Israel’s destruction and the murder of Jews, and has launched terror attacks that killed hundreds of Israeli civilians.

Fisk uncritically accepts Palestinian talking points about Hamas’s imminent move to the political centre.

Fisk:

Forget that Mr Abbas insists that this Palestinian unity would be founded on recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence and acceptance of previous agreements.

Of course, the suggestion that Hamas – whose leaders have called for genocide against the Jews – would ever betray its fundamental anti-Zionist doctrine and recognize Israel (and renounce violence) is ludicrous. Not only has a Hamas spokesperson already distanced the group from suggestions that they may recognize Israel, but the PA’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat reportedly already walked back Abbas’s claim, and stated that Hamas is not obligated to recognize Israel to be part of the government.

Fisk grossly under counts the population of Arab Israelis

Fisk:

Since Mr Netanyahu has been demanding that Mr Abbas accept – even before the latter’s renewed love affair with Hamas – that Israel was a “Jewish state” (thus deleting its tens of thousands of Israeli Arab citizens), no “recognition of Israel” without its Jewish definition would be of any use to him.

We’re not sure how he made such a big error, but a simple tour of the website of the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (among the myriad of sources he could have used to check this ‘fact’) would have demonstrated that the population of Arab Israelis is over 1.6 Million, not “tens of thousands”.

The US is “in hock” to the Israeli government?

Fisk:

How on earth did Mr Kerry think that he could bring this nonsense off in nine months?  For as long as the US administration remains in hock to the Israeli government and continues to support Israel, right or wrong, it can never – and will never – negotiate peace between the two.

Though we weren’t previously familiar with the term “in hock”, it appears that (based on a popular online dictionary) if you are “in hock” to someone, you feel you have to do things for them because they have given you money or support.  Given the context, it appears that Fisk is (furtively) evoking the alleged influence of the ‘Israeli lobby’ over US foreign policy.

New Jewish “colonies” in east Jerusalem?

Fisk:

Only a month ago, Israel approved the construction of yet another 186 houses in the newly colonised Jewish areas of East Jerusalem

Fisk is likely referring to Israel’s recent approval of 40 new homes in Pisgat Zeev and 146 in Har Homa.  However, contrary to his claim, these are not “newly colonized” areas.  The Har Homa neighborhood was established in 1997, while Pisgat Zeev was founded in 1982.  

The Oslo Accords prohibit Israeli construction across the green line?

Fisk:

From the start, Mr Arafat agreed that his land would exist only in 22 per cent of Mandate Palestine. Fair enough. But then he accepted the growing Jewish colonies on the West Bank, allowed America to dictate the terms for peace – which were supposed to prevent any such territorial expansion after the Oslo agreement – and then permitted the US to blame him for the failure of negotiations

Contrary to Fisk’s suggestion, the Oslo Accords (Oslo 1 and Oslo 2) did NOT prohibit Israeli settlements in the territories.  The Accords stipulated that such issues – relating to final borders and the fate of Israeli settlements – were to be settled in a final status agreement.

Hamas rocket attacks on Sderot (and only Sderot?) were a “gift” to Israel:

Fisk:

Hamas…handed Israel a gift by bombarding Sderot from Gaza with thousands of inaccurate rockets, most of them home-made. It allowed Israel to kill hundreds of Palestinian civilians as it sought revenge, and deprived the Israeli left (that which still existed) of their support for the original Israeli withdrawal from Gaza;

So, to Fisk, thousands of Hamas rocket attacks (on Sderot, and, presumably, only Sderot) were a gift to Israeli leaders who were intent on finding an excuse to kill Palestinian civilians.  

Additionally, addressing Fisk’s other contention, beyond Sderot, towns targeted by the more than 8,000 quite deadly rockets (Heavy Mortars, Qassams, Grads, and the FAJR-5) fired from Gaza since its withdrawal in 2005 include Netivot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Be’er Sheva, Kiryat Malachi, Okafim, Kiryat Gat, the greater Tel Aviv area and even the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Finally, here’s a glimpse at a few of those “home-made” “inaccurate” rockets in action:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygb6VrW8WZw]

 

Robert Fisk: So many distortions and fabrications in so few words of text.

There’s indeed a reason why bloggers refer to the point-by-point refutation of such blatant errors in an article or op-ed as ‘Fisking‘.

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