An op-ed by Kim Ghattas in the Financial Times about likely triggers for increased regional instability this year (“Unrest and unsettled leaders bode ill for the Middle East in 2023”, Jan. 19) focused a lot on a potential conflagration between Iran and Israel.
The piece by Ghattas – a former BBC correspondent who breached the corporation’s social media guidelines in 2018 by tweeting her support for Ahed Tamimi – included the following:
For Palestinians, 2022 was the deadliest year since the second intifada. The daily dose of violence by Israeli soldiers and settlers, evictions, arrests of minors and humiliation of life under occupation are set to increase as extremists in Bibi’s government claim oversight of the occupied territories.
It’s bad enough when outlets downplay Palestinian violence, but to erase it entirely from the equation is a whole other level of dishonesty. Ghattas completely omits that 2022 was an especially deadly year for Israelis as well, with 31 people killed in Palestinian attacks, the overwhelming majority of whom were civilians. Hundreds of other planned Palestinian attacks were thwarted by the IDF.
And, as far as the Palestinian casualties, the vast majority were reportedly engaged in attacks, affiliated with proscribed terror groups and/or involved with clashes.
Moreover, Ghattas erases the primary reason for the spike in violence – a spate of Palestinian terror attacks in the first few months of 2022 that killed 19 Israelis, which the IDF responded to with an operation (called Break the Wave) focusing on West Bank cities, like Nablus and Jenin, where many of the attacks emanated from.
Like so many reporters and commentators who write about Israel and the Palestinians, the Financial Times contributor seems to reject the idea that Palestinians have agency, and that the decisions they and their leaders make impact the conflict – in other words: that there’s an undeniable correlation between good choices and good outcomes and bad choices and bad outcomes.