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To France24’s Laila Odeh, terror victims die, but their killers ‘ascend’

The France24 logo. Source: Screenshot.
The France24 logo. Source: Screenshot.

June 25 UPDATE: On June 22, following the publication of this post, Laila Odeh deleted her tweet stating that the terrorist who murdered four civilians in Samaria had “ascended” to heaven.

In less than an hour, France24’s Jerusalem correspondent Laila Odeh went from glorifying a terrorist who murdered four civilians (“settlers,” in her words) to being treated as a respectable, balanced journalist reporting on the exact same terror attack.

Following the murder on June 20 of four Israeli civilians by Hamas terrorists near the town of Eli, Odeh took to Twitter and posted the following:

“Israeli military broadcaster: the perpetrator who ascended [i.e. to heaven, Arabic: ارتقى] near the ‘Eli settlement in Ramallah [governorate], is a resident of ‘Urif near Nablus.”  

Of course, Israel’s Army Radio never used the term “ascended” with regard to the killing by Israeli forces of Khaled Mustafa Sabah (one of the two perpetrators of the attack; the other, Muhannad Faleh Shehadeh of Huwara, was killed by Israeli special forces several hours later.) Rather, this was the product of Odeh’s own sick imagination.

This isn’t the first time the Jerusalem correspondent has glorified terrorists who targeted civilians. Consider, for example, the following October 2013 Facebook post, which she wrote while employed by France24:

“Palestinian youth Muhammad ‘Asi ascended to the highest heavens after his assassination by the Israeli military […]”

Hamas– and PIJ-affiliated Muhammad ‘Asi planted a bomb on a Tel Aviv bus in November 2012, wounding 28 civilians.

In yesterday’s case as in several previous ones, Odeh also distinguished between the murderers—whose death she labeled “ascension” or “martyrdom”—and their victims, who are simply “dead” or at best “were killed.”

Similarly, during a round of fighting between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in May 2019, Odeh differentiated between the “martyrdom of seven Palestinians in Gaza” (three of them combatants, including two PIJ members) and the “death of an Israeli settler in Ashkelon.” That “dead settler” was Moshe Agadi, 58, a father of four from Ashkelon, a town on the Israeli side of the 1949 Armistice Lines, indicating Odeh views all Jews in Israel as “settlers.”

France24’s management was made aware of its Jerusalem correspondent’s social media record several months ago, but, after a brief suspension pending an investigation, chose to reinstate her, without even demanding an apology or the retraction of her posts. Having done so, France’s publicly-owned international broadcaster now pretends that Odeh is capable of functioning as a balanced observer of the conflict, as though her extremist views on the subject will not affect her coverage.

But this premise was disproven once again following the Eli shooting, as Odeh rationalized the murder of the four Israeli civilians while speaking with the studio in Paris:

“We know that the West Bank settlements are illegitimate settlements, according to international law. Therefore, naturally, this settlement [Eli], where approximately 5,000 settlers live, is among these illegitimate settlements. Therefore, it seems that three Palestinian perpetrators headed out to execute this targeted operation, according to [Israel’s] Channel 13,” she said.

Unsurprisingly, in typical France24 fashion, Odeh’s legitimizing of terrorism was picked up and echoed in the comment section of the YouTube version of the video. Of the 14 comments, 12 expressed support for the attack and celebrated the murder of civilians (screenshot below).

Originally published by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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