A longtime foreign correspondent with BBC prior to joining ABC, chief foreign correspondent Ian Pannell sought to peddle pro-Palestinian/pro-Hamas propaganda on Wednesday’s Good Morning America as he sought to elicit sympathy for the side of terrorists and warn Israel of there being “a real danger” of forcefully responding to Saturday’s Hamas terror attacks.
And what would that be? According to Pannell, that would inflame “more divisions,” and create both “suffering” on the Gazan side and “separat[ion]” between “people who have formed relationships and bonds”.
Pannell’s worst propaganda-peddling came at the end of his second (of two) segments on the Middle East chaos. After stating “the heinous act of happened last Saturday are unprecedented,” he sought to minimize the largest loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust because “[w]e’ve obviously seen similar barbaric acts elsewhere.”
He emphasized, though, that Israelis believe “the response has to be different, that — that you can’t just repeat” the same pattern because “Hamas is able to regroup” with help from Iran and the attacks came as many of those countries that used to be at war with Israel — it now has peace agreements” with.
Moments later, Pannell engaged in a disgustingly false equivalency, warning against painting Gazans with a broad brush: “[T]he danger is that you — you cast a net on an entire population through the actions of a fringe minority, even though Hamas are elected, they’re political — there’s a political wing and a military wing.”
Earth to Ian: Hamas should have thought of that before indiscriminately butchering innocent men, women, and babies. And if Hamas is so fringe, why have there been rallies across the world in their defense?
Pannell’s humanizing continued, fretting he’s “met Israelis this week who talk about Palestinians as friends and Palestinians will talk about Israelis as friends” and would be harmed by an Israeli invasion of “one of the most densely populated areas in the world.”
He reached fever pitch by fawning over Gaza as possessing “a strong sense of community and belonging even though there’s frustrations and poverty, but it also means that, when these attacks happen, it touches so many people.”
This led to his overall conclusion, lobbying Israel against a forceful response even if they have a “right to respond”:
[T]here’s a real danger here that, in Israel’s need and desire and right to respond to what happened there, the danger is that it — it creates more divisions, that it separates people who have formed relationships and bonds, and it makes the chances of any lasting peace almost impossible to think of now. We’re all talking about war. No one is any longer talking about peace.
Prior to that, he gave what was more or less billed as a history lesson, starting with the basic fact that this incarnation of Israel came to fruition in 1948, but it quickly spiraled toward Palestinians: “1948 is remembered as the nakba, or catastrophe for the Palestinian people. Hundreds of thousands of them forced or fled their homeland. Its birth was shrouded in war and despite periods of peace, today, the fighting goes on.”
He then continued (click “expand”):
About the size of Philadelphia, the Gaza Strip was handed from British to Egyptian control, until 1967 when the Six Day War erupted. Israel seizing controls of the Palestinian territories of Gaza, the West Bank, and Golan Heights. By the 1980s, as Palestinian anger over Israeli occupation of their land grew, Hamas emerged as an offshoot of the Egyptian-based Muslim brotherhood. One key goal of the militant Islamic group, the eradication of Israel.
A glimmer of hope for the region came in 1993. The historic Oslo Accords signed between Israel’s prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Yasser Arafat giving Palestinians in parts of the West Bank and Gaza some self-government under the Palestinian Authority. But Hamas never recognized the deal, continuing to assail Israel with suicide bombers and other deadly attacks. By 1997, the United States designated the group a terrorist organization. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, but then in the stunning development, Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006, taking control violently the following year. In turn, Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade that partially sealed off territory from the outside world.
As for the present, he billed them in a sympathetic light as poverty-ridden and under the fist of attacks from “an increasingly right-wing Israeli government” (click “expand’):
Today, with over two million residents, the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas on Earth, two-thirds of the population is under 25 years old, and 80 percent are living in poverty. With support from Iran, Hamas began launching periodic rocket attacks into Israel. Israel responding in turn, with their strikes and even ground troops at time.
Recent tensions, fueled by an increasingly right-wing Israeli government, expansion of settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank, deadly raids against militants in Palestinian towns, and in particular at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. One child killed there, many injured and it sparked outrage. Al-Aqsa is one of the most holy sites in Islam but also venerated in Judaism as the Temple Mount.
Not surprisingly, Pannell left a lot of important facts out. Most egregiously, he completely omitted the Yom Kippur War (which eerily was a day off of when this year’s horrors took place), which began with Palestinians and Arab partners attacking Jews from the south and north on one of Judaism’s most holy days and resulted in a decisive victory, leaving Arab countries embarrassed.
As for the Gaza Strip, it was not handed to Egypt, but seized during the 1948 War for Independence while the West Bank was controlled by Jordan after 1948 when Israel seized it in 1967.
To help with this story, Alex Christy jotted down some thoughts on what else Pannell left out (click “expand”):
The Golan Heights were Syrian — not Palestinian — but [President Donald] Trump recognized it as Israeli. The Six-Day War happened because the Soviets told the Egyptians Israel was planning to attack Syria. Later, the Soviets blamed faulty intelligence. According to former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren’s book on the war, “[f]ormer Soviet officials would later blame the misinterpretation of intelligence received from well-place KGB agents inside Israel regarding the probability of retaliatory action against Syria.” In turn, Egypt kicked out the UN observers and blockaded the Straits of Tiran where 90% of Israeli oil imports traveled through. The Temple Mount wasn’t open to Jews before 1967.
[T]he Oslo Accords…coupled with uti possidetis (basically the principle that a former colony’s or, in Israel’s case, a U.N. mandate, borders become its sovereign borders at independence). This is why we object to “occupation” labels and prefer “disputed territory” as the minimum standard (although Israel probably renounced its right to Gaza in 2005).
In the first hour, Pannell huffed that “Israel says it is hitting what it calls terror targets, but the reality on the ground is that the suffering and the death toll continues to mount” as “Gaza is about to run out of fuel in a matter of hours, leaving millions without electricity and under total siege.”
A few sob stories later (read the transcript), he warned that “a land invasion” of Gaza by Israel wouldn’t be easy with Israeli actions “increas[ing] the risk of an even wider war.”
To see the relevant transcript from August 11, click here.