Media coverage of Palestinian violence goes out of its way to avoid assigning blame to the perpetrators, focusing wherever possible on the Israeli response.
Molenbeek, Belgium, January 10 – Jihadists around the world have begun to seek Palestinian citizenship as a way to avoid being considered terrorists when they engage in ideologically motivated violence against civilians.
Palestinian diplomats and bureaucrats in Belgium, West Africa, Somalia, Egypt, and elsewhere have noticed a marked uptick in the number of new applicants for citizenship, a development they attribute to the international community and media’s reluctance to describe Palestinian acts of terrorism as such, and those Islamist applicants seek to gain the Palestinian public relations advantage of rarely having their violent attacks referred to in those terms.
Since the 2014 increase in Palestinian attacks on Israelis, primarily involving vehicular homicide and stabbing attempts, Islamists across the globe have noticed that while their violent activities targeting enemies are referred to by governments and media outlets as terrorism, identical acts by Palestinians escape such designation. Almost invariably, they say, vehicular assaults, stabbing, stone-throwing, firebombings, rockets, bombings, and shooting attacks perpetrated by Palestinians are described in terms that studiously avoid direct use of the words “terrorist” and “terrorism,” invoking them only when attributing such words to Israeli security spokespeople.
In fact, notes Ali Figleef, a community activist of Pakistani origin in Antwerp, media coverage, and most governments’ treatment, of such Palestinian activities go out of their way to avoid assigning blame to the perpetrators, focusing wherever possible on the Israeli response and never mentioning the atmosphere of incitement to violence that saturates official Palestinian media.
“It would be such a help to the Jihadist mission if fighters could similarly have their attacks escape the ‘terrorism’ moniker,” he explained. “So much of the activity aimed at subjugating the infidel West is stymied by the reflexive animosity that comes with the use of that term. Palestinian citizenship would go a long way to freeing the Jihadist modus operandi from the obstacles posed by framing that MO as ‘terrorist.'”
A diplomat at the Palestinian delegation in Tunis, speaking on condition of anonymity, added that the PLO is in negotiations with UN agencies to have the new citizens included in the roster of refugees from the 1948 war, so that more funding can be allotted to the PLO. “There are bureaucratic as well as legal hurdles – restrictions do actually exist on who can and can’t be designated a Palestine refugee,” he offered. “So that might not happen. But an increase in the Palestinian population by such means would also benefit our cause by including the new Palestinian citizens in the figures and bolstering pressure on Israel that there’s a demographic time bomb, and force concessions.”
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