Of Course It’s All Our Fault

Why is foreign reporting about what is happening here often so misleading?

Israeli police battle rioters on the Temple Mount.
Israeli police battle rioters on the Temple Mount. Photo: Jamal Awad/Flash90

The news these days is all about the Temple Mount, though not the Temple Mount itself. Rather it’s about the violence that has erupted there over the age-old dispute regarding who “owns” the holy site. But does such disagreement need to every time devolve into violence?

The current unrest on the Temple Mount has been going on for a number of days already. The so-called mainstream media are once again getting the images they need for their distorted reporting, images of Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount using tear gas to control a rioting mob. The well-equipped Israeli security forces against the ordinary people who can only defend themselves with stones. It’s a compelling image.

But anyone who takes a serious look at the events of the past few days quickly understands that the reality was quite different. As we have already reported, the current conflict on the Temple Mount began with a group of Muslim Arabs who had hoarded stones and firecrackers in the Al Aqsa Mosque before prayer on the Friday before last in order to later assault the Israeli police. Of course, they also disturbed their fellow Muslim worshippers during prayer and prevented a peaceful Ramadan. It should be clear that the Israeli police cannot stand idly by. And things were far from quiet outside the Temple Mount too, as buses carrying Jewish worshippers headed to the Western Wall were pelted with stones.

Three holidays at the same time in Jerusalem. That shouldn’t be a reason for violence. Photos: Flash90

A number of foreign media outlets proposed that the violent flare-up in Jerusalem was due to the fact that this year Ramadan and Passover coincided. I could only roll my eyes. It’s a mistake to explain the riots on the Temple Mount in this way. Even those reports that did include more details on what lead to the confrontations were always careful to qualify them with “according to Israeli police.”

I have a low tolerance for misleading news briefs or “unfortunate” headlines that focus on the Israeli response to missile fire or some other attack by Arab terrorists. It often reads like this: “Israel strikes targets in the Gaza Strip,” and only later in the report are we informed that rockets were first fired at Israel.

Another example: Following an incident at the Temple Mount a few years ago, we were told that two Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli police officers. We were then told that the Palestinians had opened fire first, and the two Israeli police had died. Like that – the Palestinians were killed, while the Israelis just died.

I often ask myself why people report in such a misleading way about what happens here. I’m afraid of the answer. In the end, it seems that only we Israelis are to blame for the situation, based on foreign media reports.

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