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December 10, 2001
Gradstein's amazing distortions

By Ali Abunimah


NPR--Gradstein's amazing distortions
December 9, 2001

Dear NPR News,

Linda Gradstein's coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict hit a new low this morning.

Gradstein's news spot at 9 AM Eastern Time today recounted in great detail how a number of Israelis were injured today when a Palestinian allegedly set off a bomb in the city of Haifa, and recounted that in response Israel's prime minister Ariel Sharon has threatened to step up "military operations" against the Palestinians. She mentioned that Sharon had convened his cabinet in the West Bank (without acknowledging that it is occupied territory) and that Israeli occupation forces had entered two Palestinian villages and made arrests.

What she did not mention at all was that BEFORE the new Haifa bombing Israeli occupation forces shot and killed four Palestinian policemen in the attack on the two villages Anabta and Ramin. The BBC reported:

"Four Palestinian policemen were shot dead by Israeli forces during the raids - which took place in the neighbouring villages of Anabta and Ramin - but the circumstances of their deaths are unclear. Shortly afterwards, a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated explosives at a crowded hitchhiking point in the port city of Haifa in northern Israel injuring at least 10 people."

("Israeli troops storm West "Bank villages, BBC News Online, December 9, 2001)

Israel claims that the four men were killed in a gun battle, but Palestinians say they were killed in cold blood by an Israeli death squad.

Also unreported by Gradstein was the death today of a Palestinian in the occupied Gaza Strip. The French news agency reported:

"A Palestinian who was badly wounded when Israeli tanks opened fire earlier this week in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah has died of his wounds, Palestinian medical sources told AFP Saturday night. Khalil Abu Shaweesh, 25, was wounded Tuesday after a dozen tanks in an Israeli border area with Egypt fired shells and heavy machine guns at a refugee area, said Muawiya Abu Husseinein, head of the emergency ward at the Al-Shifa in Gaza city. Shaweesh had been wounded in the head and right hand, he said." ("Palestinian wounded by Israeli tanks dies of wounds: hospital", AFP, December 9, 2001).

Imagine the reverse: five Israelis are killed in a Palestinian attack, while a number of Palestinians are injured in Israeli shelling of refugee camps. Would it ever come to pass that NPR would report only on the latter and not the former? Of course not, and in fact today's "report" once again underlines that there is a consistent and unrelenting pattern in NPR's and particular Gradstein's coverage the the mere injury of Israelis is treated as newsworthy than while the killing of numerous Palestinians is simply ignored. The mere injury of Palestinians would never be on Gradstein's radar. Does no one edit or review Gradstein's work? This morning's example is so egregious as to require an explanation and correction.

It can be only one of two things: gross negligence or deliberate bias. Which one is it?


Ali Abunimah