Palestinian representative refuses to condemn terror attack in fiery TV interview

Mr Zomlot also accused Sky News of pro-Israel bias


A Palestinian representative to the UK has refused to condemn the terror attack that took the lives of seven Israelis last Friday, despite being asked repeatedly if he would do so.

Appearing on Sky News on Wednesday, Husam Zomlot said "no" when asked directly by presenter Kay Burley if he would condemn the attack, instead blaming Israel for being the "origin" of the violence.

Both during and after the interview, Mr Zomlot accused the media of "bias" in their reporting on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, despite having had more speaking time in his interview than the Israeli ambassador had the previous day.

The interviews came after seven Israelis were killed and several more were injured on Friday evening when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on Israelis leaving a Jerusalem synagogue on Shabbat. Among the dead were a 14-year-old boy on the way to meet friends, and a newly-married couple who had rushed to help the victims of the attack.

A couple of minutes into the interview, Mr Zomlot was asked by Ms Burley if he condemns the attack, to which he responded: "Every life lost is absolutely a tragedy and no one works for a non-violent solution to this more than us."

Mr Zomlot was then asked a second time if he condemns the attack, and he replied: "No. I condemn the origin of this."

Asked a third time, Mr Zomlot said: "We can sit here until the morning to talk about condemnation. We must stop the cycle of violence. That's what we need to do, and we must visit the root cause of this violence. For many many years, and the media is guilty of that, is trying to draw some parallels, is failing to focus on the actual cause of all this."

Ms Burley then asked: "If you won't condemn it, will you at least send condolences to the families of those who died?"

Mr Zomlot responded: "The Palestinian people and leadership have been doing that all along and have been expected not only to do that, but to provide protection to our jailers, our own occupiers, colonisers, besiegers, and we have been doing that all along."

Mr Zomlot also sharply criticised Ms Burley's interview with Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely the day before, claiming that she was allowed to get away with "sheer misinformation" and "cheap propaganda".

He described the Israeli ambassador's accusation that a Palestinian terror attack outside a synagogue amounted to antisemitism as "a completely new level of propaganda."

"Our issue is not with the identity of our oppressors," he said. "Our issue, Kay, is the fact of our oppression which has lasted for a long time. We have no issue with the Jewish people. In fact, the most vocal advocates for Palestinian rights are British Jews and American Jews. So, she got away with murder really."

Mr Zomlot also criticised the media presentation of there being two sides in the conflict: "There is only one side; a military occupation that has lasted for 55 years that goes and wreaks havoc every single day."

Further criticising the media coverage of the conflict, Mr Zomlot also drew parallels between the plight of the Palestinians and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and questioned why Sky News was presenting the Ukrainian fight as "resistance", but was not presenting Palestinian violence the same way.

When asked what the Palestinian leadership was doing to prevent violence, Mr Zumlot said: "We've spent a generation trying to make peace. We've signed the Oslo Accords. We have recognised the State of Israel. Israel never recognised us. We have complied to the dot with every single provision of international law and with the signed agreements until today. And since we signed the agreement, Israel has wreaked havoc in every single agreement we have signed."

He was also asked why the Palestinian Authority appears to be losing control of the West Bank and why the Palestinian people seem to be losing faith in its leadership, for which he blamed Israel for preventing the peace process.

At the end of the interview, he was asked: "Do you think there will be more violence in Jerusalem?"

Mr Zumlot replied: "I hope not. I pray not. Remember we are on the receiving end. Violence is exercised against us."

He finished by accusing Ms Burley and the media of bias against Palestinians, to which Ms Burley said that he was welcome to appear on her show "anytime".

However, the accusations of bias did not end with the interview. On Twitter, he and the Palestinian Mission asserted that a clip that Ms Burley posted was an example of "media bias", and shared the full interview "in the interest of truth".

On Thursday afternoon, Ms Burley responded by tweeting: "Explain the media bias to me? Both Palestinian and Israeli representatives had the same length of time and were pressed equally on their approach to war and peace…"

In fact, Mr Zomlot had more uninterrupted speaking time than the Israeli ambassador the day before.

Although the total length of the Palestinian representative's interview was 12 seconds shorter, he spoke for a total of 8 minutes and 41 seconds, equating to 84.4 per cent of the interview.

In contrast, the Israeli ambassador spoke for 8 minutes and 9 seconds - 32 seconds less - or 77.7 per cent of the interview.

Both Ms Burley and the editor of her morning program on Sky News, Laura Scott, publicly extended invitations to appear on the program in the future.

Ms Scott tweeted: "It was important to give the interviews with both representatives the same amount of time, the day after each other. We would also like to invite them both back to appear together if they’re willing…"

Ms Burley added: "Tzipi Hotovely and Husam Zomlot you are sincerely both welcome. Do join us".

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