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Has the Guardian become a platform for Israel disinformation? 

February 25, 2023 at 3:35 pm

An arrangment of Guardian newspapers is photographed in an office in London on January 26, 2016 [BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images]

When 2022 was claimed to be the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2005, international human rights organisations as well as those in Israel, corroborated with statistical data. So did the UN Security Council, which called for “reversing the trends” in January this year. The Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, broke down the statistics for 2022 in an accessible manner and which proves Israel’s colonial violence against the Palestinian people. “Every Palestinian is “suspect” and any risk posed to Israeli forces – real or imagined – is met with lethal gunfire,” B’Tselem’s report states, noting that Israel’s open fire policy has contributed to the increase of Palestinians killed by Israel. Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also admitted to the open fire policy resulting in more Israeli killings of Palestinians.

In a letter published in The Guardian, the Spokesperson of the Israeli Embassy to the UK Orly Goldschmidt claimed that, “In 2022, Israelis suffered from over 5,000 Palestinian terror attacks, including car-rammings, shootings, stabbings and bombings targeting innocent men, women and children on the streets of Israel.”

Yet Israeli media make no mention of the alleged “5,000 Palestinian terror attacks.” Drawing on data from Israel’s security agency Shin Bet, I24News states that 31 people were killed as a result of Palestinian attacks. The Times of Israel  expands further on Shin Bet’s statistics, stating that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) recorded 300 shooting attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians and soldiers, mostly within the context of Israeli incursions in Palestinian cities to detain Palestinians with ties to resistance activities. The Times of Israel uses “terror activities”.

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Furthermore, the Times of Israel also states, “The IDF’s ongoing operation, meanwhile, has netted more than 2,500 arrests, and foiled around 500 potential terror attacks, military officials have said.” If the letter to the Guardian included a typo – 5,000 instead of 500, the disinformation has still already been spread, while Israeli media is in agreement about the number by referring to its security agency’s official statistics.

Likewise, the claim made in the letter that “Israel has shown its desire for peace with the Palestinians” cannot be substantiated by peace agreements that do not even recognise the nature of Israel’s colonisation of Palestine. Starting with the 1948 Nakba, the forced displacement of Palestinians needs to be acknowledged and addressed, to pave the way for an understanding of the predicament Palestinians finds themselves in as a result of ongoing colonial violence and dispossession.

In a letter to his son Amos, David Ben Gurion wrote in 1937, “My assumption (which is why I am a fervent proponent of a state, even though it is now linked to partition) is that a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning.” Not only does Ben Gurion determine that Zionist colonial conquest will require ongoing expansion, but also, as early as 1937, he declared, “We shall organize an advanced defense force—a superior army which I have no doubt will be one of the best armies in the world.” With such early promise of force which, throughout the decades, were fulfilled mostly by the US granting Israel the qualitative military edge as well as $3.8 billion annually, who is the oppressed, and who is the oppressor?

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.