News has reached the Zundelsite that at least 200 Arabs and Muslims living in America have encountered hostility and, in some cases, serious and even deadly violence. Palestinians, who were winning the public relations war for the hearts and minds of Americans, feel particularly threatened because a controversial video was repeatedly shown on CNN that seemed to indicate that Middle East Palestinians were wildly celebrating in the streets in response to the terrorist attack on the United States.
It helps to know the facts, as per this press release sent out by a Palestinian agency, Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the largest network of grassroots activists dedicated to Palestinian human rights:
14 September 2001
After the horrific tragedy on September 11, media outlets in the US repeatedly aired a clip of a few Palestinians rejoicing. However, there was hardly any reporting in the news of the following items.
- The terrorist act was strongly condemned by every single Palestinian organization including Fatah, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hamas, Workers Unions and Committees, Human Right Organizations (AlHaq, Law, Palestine Center for Human Rights), student associations, municipalities, mosques and churches, etc.
- The attack was also condemned by every single Arab American, Muslim American, and countless other human rights organizations who support and/or work for Palestinian human rights
- Palestinian Americans living in Palestine issued a statement in which they reported that all messages they received from other Palestinians were of sorrow and concern.
- Palestinian lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi told a news conference the celebrations were "misguided" and "aberrations" motivated by a feeling among Palestinians that they have been victims of U.S. backing for Israel. Palestinian analyst Ghassan al-Khatib said the ``human tragedy'' in the United States should not be exploited for political gains by making Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims look like the "bad guys.'' The vast majority of Palestinians condemned and were horrified and shocked by the terrorist attacks and identified with the victims (as victims themselves).
- We won't know the exact numbers for sometime but there are likely dozens if not hundreds of Muslim and Arab Americans killed in these despicable terrorist attacks. Many are still missing and we pray that they will be found safe.
- The US Consul General in Jerusalem reported that he has received a huge stack of faxes from Palestinians and Palestinian organizations expressing condolences, grief and solidarity. He himself was pained to see that the media chose to focus on the sensational images of a few Palestinians rejoicing.
- The Palestine Legislative Council condemned the terrorist attack on the United States and sent an urgent letter of condolences to Mr. J Dennis Hasterd, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
- Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem held candle-light vigils on 12 and 14 September to express their grief and solidarity with the American families struck by this tragedy.
- Jerusalem University students, along with the president of the university and the deans of the various faculty, began a blood donation drive in occupied Jerusalem. Students and professors went to hospitals in the occupied city, in order to donate blood for the American victims who need it.
- One million Palestinian students in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, stood five minutes in silence to express their solidarity with the hundreds of American children who have been struck by this tragedy, which resembles in its shocking effects their daily sufferings.
- Throughout the US, Arab and Muslim Americans joined other American in solidarity vigils and prayers even when some of those members were attacked and/or frightened by rhetoric being espoused in the media
- Georgia Senator Zell Miller's stated "I say bomb the hell out of them. If there's collateral damage, so be it. They certainly found our civilians to be expendable." [NY Times 9/13/01].
- "Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied: 'It's very good.' Then he edited himself: 'Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.' New York Times, 12 September 2001, p. A22: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/12/international/12ISRA.html
- While the media's attention was diverted by the tragedy, Israeli forces stormed the Palestinian cities of Jenin and later Jericho killing scores of people, injuring over 120, and demolishing many homes and other buildings.
For more information contact:
Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition
P.O. Box 1172
Orange, CT 06477
Fax: (717) 832-1123
Press Room: http://al-awda.org/pressroom.htm
For your information and convenience, the factsheet below is now posted at http://al-awda.org specifically at http://al-awda.org/s11_factsheet.htm.
"Do you think Israel will face a backlash if the United States attacks Muslim targets?"
Yes 79 % No 21 %
Total Votes: 5570
(Poll taken on Sep 17, 2001 by the Jerusalem Post)
Back to Table of Contents of the September 2001 ZGrams