Sheikh Jarrah: How the US media is erasing Israel’s crimes


Israeli security forces detain a Palestinian man as families face eviction in Sheikh Jarrah on 4 May 2021 PHOTO/AFP

If there are no consequences for expelling Palestinians from their homes, there are surely none for the media’s erasure of these illegal acts

Over the past week, Jewish settlers with thick Brooklyn accents were caught on camera bullying their way into Palestinian homes in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. 

“If I don’t steal your home, someone else will steal it,” one settler said to Mona al-Kurd, a Palestinian woman whose house was being invaded, in a video that has since gone viral.

Israeli police, too, were seen storming the neighbourhood, violently breaking up vigils, and beating and choking activists conducting sit-ins in protest at the displacement of Palestinian refugees living in the area, many of whom are facing eviction in the coming days. On social media, online campaigners have been sharing #SaveSheikhJarrah in a bid to garner international attention and to make sure the world bears witness to yet another Israeli crime. 

Make no mistake: an ethnic cleansing is currently underway in the predominantly Palestinian neighbourhood in full view of the world. 

But in the American mainstream media, it is as if nothing is happening at all.

In this parallel universe, the illegal and vicious attempt to remove Palestinians from their homes, and the violent actions of Israeli forces to halt demonstrations against a recent court order upholding the evictions, have been met with a resounding silence.

Multiple displacements

A cursory glance at the New York Times, NPR, CNN and Time Magazine returned no results on the events of the past few days. Instead, they continue to focus primarily on Israel’s inability to form a government. When the evictions and the violence inflicted on Sheikh Jarrah residents have been covered – for example, by the Associated Press – the issue is framed as a quasi commercial dispute between two parties and described as a “long-running legal battle” between Palestinians and settlers, conveniently neglecting to note that under international law, Israeli courts do not have the authority to settle civilians in occupied Palestinian territory, while the displacement of Palestinian families contravenes the fundamentals of international humanitarian law. 

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