by Zeinab Hawi, Al-Akhbar English
It was rather normal for Al-Arabiya news channel to retract its story about the unprecedented closure of al-Aqsa Mosque on October 28. The channel may have thought that the terminology it used would go unnoticed. However, Al-Arabiya later deleted the story from its website after having caused an online backlash for echoing Zionist rhetoric.
In an act further promoting Zionist terminology, the Saudi news channel replaced al-Aqsa Mosque with the “the holy compound,” a term usually reserved for Zionists in their reference to the holy site.
In fact, Israel had closed the mosque following the shooting of hardline Rabbi Yehuda Glick [allegedly] by Palestinian Mutaz Hijazi, with Al-Arabiya reporting the news as, “A right-wing Israeli activist was shot and wounded last night as he left a conference promoting a campaign to permit both Jews and Muslims to pray at the holy compound.”
The channel, hence, adopted the terminology used by Zionists. This caused an angry backlash over social media websites, with activists accusing Al-Arabiya of committing “political and religious treason” by adhering to the “Zionist plan” to Judaize Palestine.
However, after thoroughly reading Al-Arabiya’s report, one would notice that the channel not only resorted to Zionist terms, but framed the story in a manner that reflected the channel’s policy that complies with Zionism. The term “occupation” did not appear, not even by chance, and the channel opted to use “Israeli police” instead. Moreover, the story depicted Jewish hardliners present at al-Aqsa on an equal footing with Palestinians.
The story was hence reported as follows, “the Israeli police closed the Noble Sanctuary… in a rare step aiming to prevent clashes between Muslims and Jews.”
The hardline rabbi who was calling to “open the doors of the Noble Sanctuary for Jews” and promoting “prayers that gather both Muslims and Jews” is for Al-Arabiya a simple “right- wing Israeli activist.”
The scandalous coverage did not stop there; it also “reassured” that the Palestinian shooter – “the sole suspect” in the incident – was shot and killed by a police special force unit at his house in Abu al-Thuri neighborhood in Jerusalem.
Al-Arabiya did not settle for such bias reporting, it also quoted the director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center as saying that the rabbi is in “critical but stable” condition and that he underwent surgery after being shot in the chest and abdomen.
The closure of the al-Aqsa Mosque apparently meant nothing for the Saudi channel. It was more interested in reassuring the public about the health of the injured Zionist and making sure that the shooter “got what he deserved.”
In the end, it is not merely about adopting the Zionist settlers’ policy to change the understanding of the issue and the terminology used to define it, but it is about adopting a process aimed at wiping out the cause of not just a people but an entire nation, which the Saudi channel and its affiliates are slowly paving the way for.