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After 4 were killed and 13 others were wounded in a Jerusalem terror attack today, international media outlets from the United States, Great Britain, Turkey and the Arab world refuse to call the Jerusalem terrorist what he is. For them, he is merely an attacker.

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As reported on JOL today, 4 were killed and 13 more were wounded in a Jerusalem terror attack when a Palestinian truck driver deliberately ran over a group of Israelis in the East Talpiot neighborhood. Some of the victims are in critical condition. The question arises, how are international media outlets covering this latest terror attack that has struck the country immediately after the Palestinian Authority was rewarded for the recent wave of terror attacks with a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israeli settlements?   Does the international media condemn this latest act of wanton terror or do they think that it is justified due to the existence of Israeli communities over the green line?

In a recent article published by the BBC titled “Jerusalem attack: Four dead after lorry driver rams soldiers,” the word terrorism is not utilized once except in a quote made by an Israel Police spokesperson. According to the BBC, 35 Israelis have been killed in the recent wave of terror that broke out in October 2015. This number contradicts the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs website, which proclaims that 42 Israelis have been killed between December 2015 and January 2, 2017. However, this number is minimized when the BBC stated that over 200 Palestinians have also been killed. While they do state that Israel says that most of them are attackers, they refuse to verify this fact.

The BBC discusses two theories for the recent terror attack. While they noted that Israel stated that Palestinian incitement has fueled the attacks, they concluded by emphasizing: “The Palestinian leadership has blamed frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation.” In other words, for the BBC, the fact that most of the Palestinians killed were terrorists and that incitement played a role in this terror attack is an Israeli claim but the “frustration rooted in decades of Israeli occupation” is beyond dispute.

According to CNN, a truck rammed into a group of soldiers in Jerusalem, killing 4 people and injuring at least 13. While they quote Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett as calling it an act of terror, CNN refuses to call the assailant a terrorist. They prefer to call him an attacker.   However, at least till now, they have not posted a justification for this particular Palestinian terror attack. Al Arabiya and the Daily Sabah gave similar coverage.  They quoted an Israel Police spokeswoman, who called it a terror attack but they preferred to call the terrorist merely a Palestinian in Al Arabiya’s case or an attacker in the Daily Sabah’s case. However, both the Daily Sabah and Al Arabiya refrained from publishing a justification for the recent terror attack, a surprisingly good move for Muslim media outlets.

However, not everyone in the Muslim media outlets refrained from throwing accusations at Israel. The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency alleged that the attack took place at an “Israeli military station in the illegal Israeli settlement of East Talpiot in the Jerusalem district of the occupied West Bank.” While they have acknowledged that there has been a number of car ramming attacks since September 2015, Ma’an claimed: “the Israeli authorities versions of events have been challenged in a number of incidents with officials in some later cases admitting that so-called ‘terror attacks’ were actually traffic accidents.” Ma’an alleged that most of the Palestinian attacks were ‘small-scaled” and targeted “uniformed Israeli soldiers and police.” They denied that Palestinian terror attacks were also orchestrated against Israeli civilians in this recent wave of terror. According to Iranian human rights activist Shabnam Assadollahi, Al Quds TV outright praised the Jerusalem terror attack: “The news agency wrote live broadcast from the place of the heroic run-over process in occupied Jerusalem. They cheered Allahu Akhbar (Allah is great) and that the West should be annihilated. All of their comments were hateful.” 

How the international press covers a terror attack is of pivotal importance.  As I wrote in Women and Jihad, “When covering terror attacks, word usage and the semantics of language do matter. The way that one uses language in order to influence audiences to research a certain interpretation is the art of journalism. How one describes a given terror attack can dramatically affect the meanings of a news article. To cover terrorism while minimizing playing into the publicity objectives of terror organizations is an ideal that every journalist should aspire towards. Unfortunately, too many journalists especially ones working for foreign news publications provide justifications for terrorism by listing Palestinian grievances against Israel and claiming that terrorism against Israel occurs because of these grievances rather than as a politically calculated method to destroy the State of Israel. Whenever a terror attack occurs in Israel, we are reminded that too many journalists in the West either consciously or subconsciously fall prey to the publicity objectives of Palestinian terror organizations.”

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