Hebrew media review

Caught in a lie, cast as a villain

News outlets continue to play up the false claims made by PA President Abbas, highlighting growing mistrust for Palestinian leader

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Ahmad Manasra, one of two cousins who went on a stabbing spree in Jerusalem on October 12, 2015 is seen at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem on October 15, 2015. Manasra was hit by a car while fleeing from the scene of the attack. (Courtesy)
Ahmad Manasra, one of two cousins who went on a stabbing spree in Jerusalem on October 12, 2015 is seen at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem on October 15, 2015. Manasra was hit by a car while fleeing from the scene of the attack. (Courtesy)

For the second day in a row, Israel’s most-read newspapers enthusiastically provide evidence aimed at disproving beyond any doubt the false claims made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who insisted in a speech Wednesday that security authorities “executed in cold blood” a 13-year-old Palestinian following the teen’s involvement in the stabbing of an Israeli boy in Jerusalem earlier this week.

At this point, anyone with access to a smartphone who is even slightly up to date on current regional events has probably seen footage of the teenage attacker lying comfortably in an Israeli hospital bed, very much alive as a nurse feeds him what appears to be chocolate pudding.

But the country’s leading papers nevertheless continue to highlight the errors in the version of the events as presented by Abbas, echoing the feeling of disappointment, dismay — and maybe a bit of schadenfreude, too — spreading among Israelis following the PA president’s fallacious comments, which one can safely assume did not particularly assist in quelling tensions between Arabs and Jews at such a delicate time.

“The living dead,” reads Israel Hayom’s sarcastic headline. A picture of the 13-year-old Palestinian stabber, Ahmed Manasra, awake and fully conscious is presented to emphasize the point. Manasra and his cousin, 15-year-old Hassan, stabbed a 13-year-old Israeli boy and 25-year-old man in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev, seriously wounding both. “Executed?” the underline ponders rhetorically, quoting Abbas. “The 13-year-old was photographed in Hadassah [Medical Center in Jerusalem] as he was provided with full care,” the paper adds. One can almost imagine a following line reading: “Take that, Abbas.”

An op-ed by Boaz Bismuth, one of the paper’s leading analysts, accuses Abbas of being a chronic liar, a political figure who from the start should never have been trusted. Bismuth points to the PA president’s doctoral thesis, which, the analyst claims, offers a denial of the Holocaust. Bismuth’s harsh words represent a growing sentiment among Israelis on the right, center, and even some on the left, who are increasingly beginning to view Abbas as a terror-propagator, rather than a figure who is interested in putting out the flames of incitement.

The same tone is vividly present in Yedioth Ahronoth, where a chilling quote by the teenage Palestinian clashes with an image of the young boy in Israeli hospital clothes. “I came to stab Jews,” the paper’s headline reads. The words “living evidence,” appear above the teenager’s picture.

Yedioth’s Sima Kadmon criticizes Abbas in light of the fact that the Palestinian boy was not killed at all, and says the PA president’s blunder/lie had a profound effect on Israeli peace-seekers more than anyone else. “The speech by Abbas made moderates, those who believe that the right way to exit the deadlock is through discourse, question whether there truly is anyone to talk with.”

Haaretz stays away from Abbas and instead leads with a thought-provoking photograph of a newly installed security barrier in one of East Jerusalem’s neighborhoods. The image, which shows two border patrol soldiers standing near a series of large, gray concrete blocks, while a Palestinian woman dressed in a striking blue dress and a religious headscarf lowers her purse as she prepares to be inspected, seems to perfectly capture the tense atmosphere in the capital’s eastern half.

Both columnist Nir Hasson and military correspondent Amos Harel repeat a claim already stressed by the paper in the past, that the decades-long effort by Israeli governments to unify Jerusalem has made it nearly impossible to impose an effective closure on the city’s predominantly Arab neighborhoods. Both also note that the current round of violence is focused in Jerusalem, not the West Bank, with some two-thirds of the past 25 terrorist attacks against Israelis being carried out by Palestinian residents of the capital’s east.

Israel Hayom brings up another contentious issue which has riled up many people throughout the country — the treatment of terrorists by Israeli medical teams following attacks against civilians. Magen David Adom Chairman Eli Bin came under fire earlier this week after saying medical teams were instructed to first treat the most severely wounded person on the scene of a terrorist attack, even if the injured individual happened to be the perpetrator of the violent act. Now, Israel Hayom reports, thousands on social media sites are calling to remove Bin from his position, and are accusing him of giving a “tailwind to terror.” MDA, on its part, issued a statement in which it said that it was obligated to treat the terrorist as well, even if no one wants to do so.

Yedioth reports on a special exhibition set to be held at the Habima theater in Tel Aviv ahead of the 20th anniversary of one of Israel’s most traumatic events — the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. The exhibition, entry to which is free of charge until November 7, will include stills taken by Yedioth photographers from before, after, and even during the assassination, in an attempt to portray the country’s mood during a time of extreme tension and grief.

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