June 18, 2002
Al Jazeera's report of the Jerusalem Bus Bombing

March 24, 2003: This site is getting a lot of google hits from people looking for information on Al-Jazeera, presumably because of its infamous broadcast of the dead and captured American soldiers. A page with more information, including a link to some of Al-Jazeera's screen shots is here.

Below is how the Al-Jazeera website reported the sickening bus murder in Jerusalem on Tuesday. As I write this 19 people were killed and 50 were wounded. Most of the passengers were high school students on their way to school.

Today I live in San Francisco. Years ago I was a Jerusalem high school student who rode the bus to school. One of my favorite classes at the time was Arabic. I haven't used my Arabic in years. Tonight I stayed up with my old dictionary and a news page from Al Jazeera to see if I could still read the language well enough to understand how they reported this tragedy.

I'm quite rusty, but I think the translation is about right. I welcome any corrections. My comments in italics

Tens of dead and injured in a martyrdom operation south of Jerusalem.

[caption] The damaged remains of an Israeli passenger bus after a martyrdom operation at the beginning of this month near the Megiddo highway junction south of Haifa.
Who cares if this is a picture of a different bus? The purpose of Al-Jazeera is not to supply news, but to provide an ongoing spectacle of hatred and violence in order to entertain the denizens of the Arab world and to distract them from the incompetence and corruption of their dictators.

14 Israelis were killed and others wounded in a strong explosion on an Israeli passenger bus south of occupied Jerusalem a short time ago.
The attack occurred in a Jewish neighborhood within the city.

Al-Jazeera's correspondent in Palestine ...
Those Israelis are magnanimous to allow Arab journalists into their country. Aren't you grateful that there is one country in the region that offers more freedom to journalists than any other?

... said that the explosion occured as a result of a martyrdom operation,
actually, most decent people would call it a depraved crime of mass murder, not "martyrdom", and not an "operation"

carried out by a Palestinian who got on the bus at a stop outside the Jewish settlement of Gilo, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Gilo is a proper neighborhood of Jerusalem, it is not a "settlement" any more than Greenwich Village is a "settlement" of New York City.

The bus was on its way to West Jerusalem.
There is only one Jerusalem

A number of Israeli soldiers were believed to be on board.
Actually, most of the victims were high school students.

The explosion occurred despite the fact that the occupation authorities adopted strict security measure to prevent operations of this type, particularly since they announced that they knew of specific Palestinians intending to launch martrydom operations.
Then maybe they should impose even stricter security measures, such as building a massive fence and killing more terrorists.

The Al-Jazeera correspondent reported that Israeli ambulances were rushing to the site of the blast to evacuate the injured to hospitals.

As of yet, no Palestinian has declared responsibility for this operation.
Yes, but we know that Yassir Arafat is the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people", so no matter how hard he pretends to condemn this sort of thing, he is ultimately responsible. He claims that he had nothing to do with this. So let's assume that he's not lying this time. If the people who commit the violence don't listen to him, why should anybody believe that he has the authority to negotiate a peace agreement on any body else's behalf?

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at June 18, 2002 02:40 AM


Great blog! I have linked to you:



Posted by: Diana on June 18, 2002 08:06 AM

Once again, great work Stefan.

Posted by: J. Lichty on June 18, 2002 11:28 AM

Al Jazeera is supposedly starting an English language service, but they virtually have one with CNN.

Everything CNN shows from Al Jazeera makes them out to be moderates but their own words in Arabic show that they aren't any different than Hamas and Hezbollah in philosophy.

Let's pray for the peace of Yerushalyim and work for a Yerushalyim united and, someday, rebuilt. Let's also stop the Waqf destruction of Jewish history on the Temple Mount. I'm Reform and only occasionally frum, but I'm starting to dig my heels in where Yerushalyim is concerned. If only I could convince my wife to make aliyah!


Posted by: Daniel on June 19, 2002 07:08 PM

I am kind of shocked by the anger and hatered that The Jewish and Palestines have for eachother. As an African who grew up in apathied south africa, i tend to symphathise with the palesitine people. just like the black people in africa their cries often go unheard, no one asks why such arocities are commmitted why is arafat to blame for everything do u blame you're president when isnnocent people are killed by extreamists??? I do not understand this surely he cannot control what people who just happen to be the same race as he do, that is elementary. please provide insight into this.

Posted by: Nomsa on September 16, 2002 02:13 AM

Actually i am quite shocked at your "comments".
Reading this report in "arabic" as well as in your "english" i find the term "martyrdom" to be the only real grave mistake that is made here.

Your comments however speak a clear and quite hateful language.

A sad thing.

Posted by: Deist on January 6, 2003 12:05 AM

Your web site is extremely one-sided. It reduces your credibility to close to zero. So, for example:
"The bus was on its way to West Jerusalem. [reported Al Jazeera; you responded:] There is only one Jerusalem"
OK, if I say I'm going to West Seattle; that means I'm slanting the facts? Or:
"Then maybe they should impose even stricter security measures, such as building a massive fence and killing more terrorists."
If you truly think that wall and "more killing" is the way to peace, then you really are deluded.
Peace will not come in Eretz Yisrael/Palestine so long as the Jewish community in the U.S. peddles such garbage.

Posted by: Toby on December 2, 2003 12:54 PM
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