Ayman Mohyeldin Excuses Palestinian Violence: They Want a Peaceful Life

On Wednesday’s MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts, reporter Ayman Mohyeldin presented a video of his interviews with two college kids from Jerusalem, one an Israeli, the other a Palestinian. After playing excerpts, Roberts and Mohyeldin discussed the video, with Mohyeldin lecturing that “To try to understand this current cycle of violence, one of the reasons Palestinians will always say is the humiliation and frustration that the young people are experiencing.”

Mohyeldin – who a few weeks ago suggested in a live report that an Israeli police officer unjustifiably shot a knife-wielding Palestinian youth  – complained:

“these are young people who don't have jobs. Unemployment is rampant throughout eastern parts of Jerusalem. Sanitation as you saw in that report is very basic. Education to get to school, this guy has to go through many checkpoints and spend hours on the road every day. So his life is full of frustrations and is very deprived of very basic rights. So for him, he said to us, that he and many others of his age feel like exploding sometimes. And for people who perhaps are not as educated as him, perhaps a lot more incited by stuff they are seeing on social media, they are resorting to the kind of violence we are seeing with the stabbings and these kinds of killings.”

But the Palestinian youth, Haman, admitted on camera that the Palestinian Authority was failing to provide basic government services to its people: “we don't get any services from the other side, from any side, of the UN, or the Israeli occupation, or from the Palestinian Authority.”

Rather than exploring that aspect of the story, however, Roberts and Mohyeldin placed blame squarely on the Israeli government. “I find it fascinating from the Palestinian that they face this daily humiliation from the Israeli government,” Roberts lamented. Despite the Palestinian government denies its own people rights, that didn't stop Mohyeldin.

Mohyeldin ended the segment declaring, “They both want a better future. The Palestinian wants to live in an area with full political, economic human rights. The Israeli wants to live in security. He's concerned about his economic well-being. They have a lot of shared interests, both want to live in a safe environment, but neither one is getting it.”  

See the relevant transcript below.

MSNBC
MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts
Nov. 4, 2015

THOMAS ROBERTS: We move onto news out of Jerusalem and a unique look at a struggle that spanned more than half a century. Our Ayman Mohyeldin spoke to an Israeli and a Palestinian who lived just miles apart, but are worlds apart when it comes to their realities.

 AYMAN MOHYELDIN: Two college age students, one city, two very different realities. Amir is an Israeli student in west Jerusalem. He walks to school every day, has time to meet up with friends and says he has a comfortable life. His biggest concern? 

[Interview with Amir]
AMIR: I guess cost of living is yeah, Israel is probably the most expensive country in the world. 
[Clip ends]

MOHYELDIN: Haman is a Palestinian, and lives just across town in east Jerusalem, but he might as well be in a different planet. 

[Interview with Haman]
MOHYELDIN: There's a lot of garbage in the street, there’s sewage, it smells a little bad -- 

HAMAN: Because we don't get any services from the other side, from any side, of the UN, or the Israeli occupation, or from the Palestinian Authority. 

MOHYELDIN: Every day the frustrations add up. Hours of checkpoints on the way to class. 

HAMAN: There's a humiliation from the Israeli government. 

MOHYELDIN: And just on the horizon, a constant reminder of what cannot be his. From where you live, you can see the separation wall. 

HAMAN: Yes. 

MOHYELDIN: You can see an Israeli settlement. And I mean, it's a very modern, sophisticated settlement. 

HAMAN: Yes, I feel like -- why I don't live like them, what should I do to live like them? I am human. 

MOHYELDIN: Both young men attend Hebrew University but they face very different futures. And they think about the current political tensions in very different ways. Are you afraid when you're out on the streets? 

AMIR: I wouldn't say I'm afraid. Certainly more anxious. I guess more on the alert. 

MOHYELDIN: Have you ever felt personally you are going to explode? You come up here every day and look at all this. 

HAMAN: Listen, basically what we want, it's just that, to learn, to live a peaceful life, just live like anybody else. 

ROBERTS: Live like anyone else, a peaceful live. Ayman joins me now, live in studio, a fascinating contrast there of the two, relatively same-age college kids, but with these different perspectives. And I find it fascinating from the Palestinian that they face this daily humiliation from the Israeli government. 

MOHYELDIN: Yeah absolutely. To try to understand this current cycle of violence, one of the reasons Palestinians will always say is the humiliation and frustration that the young people are experiencing, these are young people who don't have jobs. Unemployment is rampant throughout eastern parts of Jerusalem. Sanitation as you saw in that report is very basic. Education to get to school, this guy has to go through many checkpoints and spend hours on the road every day. So his life is full of frustrations and is very deprived of very basic rights. So for him, he said to us, that he and many others of his age feel like exploding sometimes. And for people who perhaps are not as educated as him, perhaps a lot more incited by stuff they are seeing on social media, they are resorting to the kind of violence we are seeing with the stabbings and these kinds of killings. 

ROBERTS: And from a peaceful outlook, they both want what for their futures? 

MOHYELDIN: They both want a better future. The Palestinian wants to live in an area with full political, economic human rights. The Israeli wants to live in security. He's concerned about his economic well-being. They have a lot of shared interests, both want to live in a safe environment, but neither one is getting it. 

ROBERTS: Ayman Mohyeldin, great to see. Ayman, thank you for that story. 

NBDaily Foreign Policy Israel/Palestine Media Bias Debate MSNBC MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts Video Journalistic Issues Government & Press Ayman Mohyeldin Thomas Roberts

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