Sky News’s Distorted Sharon Narrative

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Sky News Middle East Correspondent Sam Kiley adds his own interpretation of Ariel Sharon’s legacy and is found severely wanting. He opens with:

In October 1953, Israeli paratroops and commandos from the Jewish State’s first special forces unit, attacked the Arab village of Qibya, on the West Bank.

Some 69 villagers, many of them women and children, were killed. International condemnation followed.

This ignores vital context whereby Israel was responding to deadly raids by “fedayeen” terrorists sponsored by neighboring Jordan and Egypt. The result is to set the framework of Israel, and particularly Sharon, as belligerent.

Kiley writes:

In September 2000, he [Sharon] ignited the al Aqsa Intifada by provocatively exercising his ‘right’ to enter the al Aqsa Mosque complex in a move which sparked immediate bloodletting.

Like many other journalists, Kiley insists on sticking to the faulty narrative that blames Sharon for starting the Second Intifada despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, much of it provided by the Palestinian leadership. Kiley’s description of the Temple Mount as the “al Aqsa Mosque complex” is disingenuous considering Sharon had no intention of entering the mosque itself. Referring to “his ‘right’” in quotations can be interpreted as a denial of Jewish historical claims to its holiest site, adopting instead a Palestinian narrative that erases Jewish rights or the historical presence of the Temple in that location.

Further proof of Kiley’s adherence to the Palestinian narrative is provided in this sentence:

His [Sharon's] plans to end the most poisonous aspect of Israel’s relationship with her Arab neighbours, the occupation of Palestinian lands, were cut short when he suffered a stroke. 

Israel’s Arab neighbors attempted to wipe out the Jewish state many years before any so-called “occupation of Palestinian lands” – to call this the “most poisonous aspect of Israel’s relationship” with the Arab states ignores the deep-seated hatred and hostility towards a Jewish state in the Middle East that goes back to even before 1948. Unless Kiley considers “Palestinian lands” as meaning Israel in its entirety.

If we give Kiley the benefit of the doubt on that, his article highlights the importance of the use of correct and accurate terminology and giving the relevant context. In this regard Sam Kiley has failed.


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