This was published in The College View, October 28, 2009.
I enjoy your paper, but I feel compelled, as someone who supports any democracy in conflict with totalitarians, to reply to the anti-Israel propaganda in your interview of Palestinian Jaber Wishah ("Testimony from the front lines", 14 Oct). I suggest your journalist develops some scepticism of the claims of his interviewees.
Your article said Wishah was in the PFLP. Shouldn't you have then mentioned the PFLP's barbaric attacks on civilians, such as Flight 330, or the Lod massacre? A sceptical journalist would have asked Wishah about the morality of these attacks.
Wishah said: "One day Israelis will .. recognise [Palestinians'] right to govern themselves and set up their own country". Your article did not mention that in 2005 Israel gave the Palestinians a chance to do that. Israel withdrew from Gaza, and ethnically cleansed 9,000 Jews who lived there (many were born there). Did the Palestinians then set up a peaceful democracy with free speech and freedom of religion? If they had, Israel would have backed it to the hilt.
Sadly they did not. They set up an Islamic fundamentalist dictatorship under Hamas rule, like the Taliban's Afghanistan. Opponents of Hamas are shot. There will never be another election. All demos are banned. Remaining Christians are persecuted. Hamas attacks and loots Christian churches and schools. The Hamas force for the "Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" arrests women for "immodest" dress, or meeting men who are not relations. The Palestinians in Gaza also did not stop but rather escalated the war against Israel. Rocket attacks on Israel rose 10-fold after Israel left.
Contrary to Wishah's claim, most Israelis would love for the Palestinians to set up a parliamentary democracy with human rights, but there is no sign that this ever will or could happen. Israel let the Palestinians set up a state in Gaza, and it turned into a Taliban tyranny. The PA has also had years to demonstrate that Palestinian rule in the West Bank is that of a corrupt dictatorship. All this context was missing from your one-sided article.
You displayed a photo of "militant leader Samir Kantar" without telling us anything about him. Samir Kuntar (usually thus spelt) took a 4 year old Jewish child in 1979, killed her father in front of her, and then smashed her head on a rock with his rifle butt until she was dead. Don't you think this is information your readers should know if you are going to print a picture of this monster? Google a moving article by her mother: "The World Should Know What He Did to My Family". You showed a photo of Jaber Wishah smiling, standing beside Samir Kuntar in 2008. A sceptical journalist would have asked Wishah to explain. This photo is certainly enough for me to discount everything Wishah says.
I wish journalists were sceptical about everyone - instead of being sceptical about the claims of Fianna Fail Ministers, and credulous about the claims of romantic non-Western revolutionaries.