On December 31, Fox News gave a very pro-Israeli spin by promoting this article as “hate on display.” What happened was that a Palestinian court gave an American with dual Palestinian citizenship a life sentence in prison for “selling land to a Jew.” Here is what the Fox News report said, in part (emphasis added):
An American-Palestinian dual national reportedly was sentenced Monday to life in prison with “hard labor” for trying to sell land to Israelis – extending an incarceration that has already drawn the ire of the U.S. ambassador.
A Palestinian court convicted Issam Akel, who has been held since Oct. 10, of “attempting to sever parts of Palestinian land and annex it to a foreign state,” Reuters reported, citing a judiciary spokesperson.Akel was accused of trying to sell a property in East Jerusalem without telling his business partners or Palestinian officials. Under Palestinian law, potential sellers must get the Palestinian Authority to sign off on any land sales in that area before proceeding, according to Reuters.
Palestinians are said to be concerned with land sales in the so-called occupied territories due to alleged fears Israelis will purchase property to further efforts to solidify control of the region.
Akel’s family told Reuters on Monday it was not aware of the verdict or sentence against him. But his plight previously has drawn criticism from U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman.“His suspected ‘crime’? Selling land to a Jew. Akel’s incarceration is antithetical to the values of the US & to all who advocate the cause of peaceful coexistence,” Friedman tweeted in November. “We demand his immediate release.”
A Palestinian judiciary spokesperson told Reuters that Akel’s life sentence also includes “hard labor,” although he can appeal the verdict.
The emboldened sentence contains the core of the problem, though, even though Fox has tried to “hide” this very legitimate claim.
What most Americans do not realize in a clear manner is that the “Palestinian Territories” as such are not distinct from the land that is understood as sovereign territory of Israel. The average American may be led to believe that the two areas are distinct, and that the Palestinians are mad at Israel for Israel having the most and the best land, while the Palestinians are in a terrible area.
But in reality, it is worse than that. The Palestinians have two regions under their jurisdiction, but that jurisdiction gets heavy pressure from Israel, even though both Palestinians and Israelis receive aid from the United States. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that Israelis keep starting settlements in Palestinian lands. This is sort of an “invasion by encroachment” that, ironically is also the same sort of subject that gets brought up in the United States concerning its own open southern border.
Although the US gives aid to Palestine, the American government is heavily committed to Israel, despite Israel’s exceedingly bad record of treatment of the Palestinians. In 2011, for example, the US vetoed a draft resolution to condemn all Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories as illegal.
This is the same as if Mexico or Honduras began building settlements in Texas and New Mexico and the Americans in the area could do nothing about it.
At times, various US leaders, like VP Joe Biden, have softly spoken against it, but to date no American leader has simply and unequivocally condemned this practice as just plain wrong.
The level of political resentment between the two sides has been almost constant since 1948 when Israel was carved out of British Palestine and 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes, never to be allowed to return. Again, picture this in the USA, where for example, the cities of El Paso and Brownsville get overrun by migrants and the Americans who have lived there for generations suddenly cannot get into their own homes. Not only are their homes not accessible, the migrants live in them now.
The Palestinian situation and response is not any better. With such financial depravity caused by forced eviction, and the hot tempers that are honestly often exacerbated by Islamic ideas of revenge, many Muslim Palestinians consider it honorable to take out their bitter enemies, the Jews, while the Christian Palestinians quietly support the ferocity of the militants because they were wronged, too.
It is probably not a stretch to propose the notion that the strife in this region has been carefully nurtured by the US and even maybe by other powers, for reasons that fill the speculative and often anti-Semitic pages and newspapers in the world. It is certainly an easy bit of incendiary rhetoric to say that having dealings with Jews is like dealing with the devil.
However, the real issue underneath all of this is a refusal to really solve the problem. There is no logistical reason why the problems in Palestine and Israel cannot be solved in a manner mutually beneficial to everyone involved. But this fight is egged on by passion, and to be sure, Fox News’ eye-catching “Hate on Display” was no help at all.
As for the American Palestinian, his actions are easily seen as a betrayal to the beleaguered Palestinian Authority, and his sentence is in response to their territory literally being sold out to a group of people who is illegally squeezing the Palestinians harder and harder. The US use of the new buzzword “hate” is irresponsible here, and it represented a slap in the face of a suffering people, while offering no solution.