US State Department downplays number of Palestinian terror attacks

The number of Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians in 2019 was 15 times greater than the number listed in the State Department report.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The State Department is downplaying the number of Palestinian terror attacks against Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria, reported Israel Hayom on Tuesday.

In March 2020, the State Department released its 2019 Human Rights Report. Regarding Palestinian terror against settlers, the report said, “the UNOCHA [United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] reported 101 incidents of Palestinians committing violent acts against Israeli civilians in the West Bank, primarily stone throwing.”

But according to publicly available data from the IDF and the Israeli Security Agency, the number of Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians in 2019 was 15 times greater than the number listed in the State Department report.

The IDF reported in its 2019 annual summary of activity in Judea and Samaria that 290 Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israelis and 1,469 stone-throwing incidents were recorded. The ISA reported 1,327 terrorist attacks in the period in question.

More data on Palestinian terror attacks was collected by Boomerang, a pro-Israel advocacy nonprofit. Ezri Tubi, the head of Boomerang, sent an extensive report about all Palestinian terror attempts in 2019 to the U.S. Embassy in early 2020.

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The report details over 1,000 incidents of attempted terror attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria, but the information from the Boomerang report was not included in the State Department’s report.

Tubi followed up with the U.S. Embassy employee who received the Boomerang report and asked why the Embassy was willing to include information from left-wing groups like B’Tselem and HaMoked, while ignoring his organization’s findings.

The U.S. Embassy employee responded that, “Our report is not intended to serve as a catalog of all allegations of human rights violations in the given year, but a document outlining facts relevant to human rights concerns.”

In response to an inquiry from Israel Hayom, the Embassy said in a statement that “the methodology for gathering information for human rights reports is standard worldwide, and includes consultation with host governments, international organizations, and civil society organizations.”

“We regularly request information from the Israeli government on these issues, including during the preparation of the report. Information and statistics provided to us by the Israeli government were included.”

Tubi was disappointed by the Embassy’s response. He told Israel Hayom, “Instead of genuinely acknowledging and apologizing for a false and distorted report that has been published for decades, the State Department is choosing to continue to claim that it is acting objectively.”

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“It is worth mentioning to the authors of the report that behind the numbers of hundreds and thousands of Palestinians attacks against Israelis are people who have been stabbed and have had Molotov cocktails and rocks thrown at them.”

In response to the report, Yisrael Medad, a journalist and longtime resident of Shilo, posted on Tuesday the image of a shattered car window from a rock thrown by a Palestinian, one of many 1,000s of terror incidents that go unreported.