NBC: Palestinians, A ‘Victim’ Of Their ‘Environment’


By: Warner Todd Huston

Martin Fletcher, NBC News Correspondent and Tel Aviv Bureau Chief, has been known to hail Palestinians as “victims” before. He has also been known often to blame Israel for all the ills suffered by Palestinians, so Fletcher is an expert at assigning blame while excusing the behavior of Palestinians. Here is a story that fits in perfectly with Fletcher’s penchant for blaming everyone but the guilty party along with extolling the supposed victimhood of the Palestinians.

Fletcher’s tale starts with the pitiful story of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot in the neck by an “Israeli soldier” paralyzing him from the waist down. He was shot because he and his other young friends were throwing rocks at Israeli security forces. Apparently, those security forces had had enough of that nonsense.

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza – Yusuf Tayem is a victim, yet he is ultimately a story of inspiration. In some ways, he’s a victim of his environment – both Palestinian rhetoric and Israeli occupation – which encouraged him to throw stones at Israeli soldiers. All the kids did on the way back from school. In America, kids may ride a skateboard home. In Gaza in 2001, kids threw stones.

Notice how Fletcher excuses violence on the part of these Palestinians as innocent, kid stuff? It certainly may be common for these kids to constantly be attacking Jews, but it isn’t “normal” or excusable behavior. And it certainly shouldn’t be behavior whitewashed by comparing it to American kids skateboarding! Fletcher just shows his broken moral compass with that line of pap.

I should also like to point out that we are taking the claim that this boy was shot by an Israeli soldier on faith, here. Do I doubt the boy’s story and Fletcher’s reporting? Of course I do. After all, the MSM has given us story after story about Israeli depredations that never happened. So, you’ll excuse me if I don’t take this Palestinian’s or this journalist’s word as gold.

One day, the stone-throwing turned especially nasty and an Israeli soldier fired back, shooting Yusuf, who was 12 years old at the time, through the neck, leaving him paralyzed below the waist. That’s when we first met him – lying in his bed, pale and weak, saying, although I didn’t believe him, that he was glad he could make this sacrifice for Palestine.

Is it just me, or would this boy have escaped being shot in the neck if he wasn’t trying to attack Jews? And the foolishness that the child was “glad he could make this sacrifice for Palestine” is nothing to admire but is evidence of the sick, twisted world of Palestinian hatred on full display. Yet, here is Fletcher acting as if this “victim” is someone we should all get to know and admire.

Then Fletcher tries to make a martyr of the young man. Not a religious martyr, but a martyr much more to the western left’s liking: a martyr to secularism.

That was then. Today, he’s also a victim of the Hamas government. He told me that because his family supports secular Fatah, Hamas refused him batteries for his electric wheelchair, although they gave them to their own disabled people.

Smooth, Mr. Fletcher, very smooth. Make of Fatah a “secular” government as if it is just like any government in the west. Let’s forget all about the fact that Fatah doesn’t have any more intention of treating its neighbors in Israel any different than does Hamas. Fletcher is making believe that Fatah is really very much different from Hamas, but in the end it isn’t so much.

Fletcher goes on to report on this boy’s life as he becomes a young man. Fletcher features his wheel chairs, his “pumped” biceps, his schooling, his father… etc., etc.

But, the hook of this piece is that Yusef, being that he is in a wheel chair, cannot “join the fun at Gaza’s border with Egypt.”

And that’s why Yusuf wasn’t able to join the fun at Gaza’s border with Egypt, which Hamas fighters blew open a week ago. As many as 700,000 Gazans, half the population, crossed to breathe some freedom, and to go shopping, but Yusuf wasn’t among them. He couldn’t propel his wheelchair through the sand of the Khan Younis refugee camp.

Curiously, there isn’t a single note from Fletcher just why these Palestinians weren’t able to “breathe some freedom” before the hole in the wall was created. But, that is unusual for Fletcher because he is usually quick to blame everything “Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians”for all ills. Still he did give a hint that he thinks the main fault lies with the Jews in his first sentence by calling the situation in Palestine the “Israeli occupation.”

What we have here, though, is Fletcher’s attempt to direct blame away from the Palestinians and onto others. It is one more attempt by a western journalists to make Palestinians into victims without dealing with who’s really at fault here — the Palestinians.

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