Shortly after 9/11 a few Palestinians in East Jerusalem were filmed celebrating the terrorist acts by Reuters. The footage was seen all over the world. This perverted act did in fact happen.
But in actual fact the vast majority of Palestinians reacted to this most monstrous and horrifying crime the same way people of conscience all over the world did, with horror, pain and tears.
Meanwhile, the idea among U.S. viewers that the Palestinians - and Arabs and Muslims in general - were celebrating the attacks belied the reality that most Palestininans, like others in the region, were shocked by the bombings and fearful of what they might bring. Arafat himself issued a statement on September 11 condemning the attacks and declaring, "It's not only against the American people and against America, it's against the international humanity."How unfortunate it is that it is more newsworthy and attention grabbing to note something unusual and repulsive. Sometimes it can be hard to note what the most common and expected because it seems so ordinary.
"How few cameras have caught the spontaneous sorrow, despair, tears and heartache of the vast majority of Palestinian people," Rev. Sandra Olewine, the Jerusalem liaison for the United Methodist Church, later recalled. "my phone rang and rang as Palestinians from around the West Bank called to express their horror and their condolences." The U.S. consul general in Jerusalem received a 12-inch-thick stack of condolences from Palestinians - which he ordered sent to CNN. (Lawrence Pintak, Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens, 2006, p. 79.)
How unfortunate it is that a few Palestinians reacting badly to this event had the effect of obscuring the fact that the vast majority of Palestinians were disgusted, shocked and appalled as everyone else. And this was despite the pain and violence many Palestinians endured during the second intifada which was raging at that very time.