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March 14, 2002
NPR--Another grossly biased Gradstein report

By Ali Abunimah


From: Ali Abunimah
To: National Public Radio (atc@npr.org)
Cc: ombudsman@npr.org
Subject: NPR--Another grossly biased Gradstein report

March 12, 2002

Dear NPR News,

Linda Gradstein's report from West Jerusalem on All Things Considered this afternoon about the latest events in the Occupied Territories and Israel was incomplete and biased.

The studio introduction to the report read by host Robert Siegel mentioned that at least 30 Palestinians and seven Israelis were killed in today's violence. But Gradstein's report itself contained absolutely no mention of any of the dozens of Palestinian deaths let alone any details about them. As usual, Gradstein did provide details on Israeli deaths.

Describing Israel's attack on Ramallah, Gradstein (a reporter who has for years been accepting thousands of dollars in unethical payments from Zionist groups) said only that:

"Dozens of Israeli tanks entered the city and a nearby refugee camp early today, ripping up roads and crushing cars. Sporadic gun battles broke out between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian gunmen."

In fact, at least two people were killed in the Israeli attack. A joint press release by the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees and Physicians for Human Rights--Israel stated that, "Two hospitals, the Ramallah Hospital and Ramallah Maternity Hospital, have been fired upon by Israeli troops. Also, as in many places in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, soldiers have this morning fired upon two ambulances in Ramallah." The release also said that Israel continues to prevent medical services from reaching the injured.

Describing Israel's attack on Jabalya refugee camp in the Occupied Gaza Strip, Gradstein said only that:

"Earlier, Israeli troops pulled out of the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip after arresting what were described as terrorist suspects and blowing up several buildings Israeli officials charged were weapons factories."

For some strange reason, Gradstein made no mention of the fact that at least 22 people were killed in the attack on Jabalya, and more than 80 injured according to medical sources, many of them civilians. The "buildings that Israeli officials charged were weapons factories," were almost certainly what Palestinians would describe as homes and workshops.

The Associated Press reported of the attack on Jabalya that "many civilians, some in their pajamas, fled the fighting, moving toward nearby Gaza City on foot and in donkey carts. 'They are killing us,' said Laila Ayoub, 38, carrying a baby girl. 'They used helicopters to fire on us while we were leaving.'"

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza reported that:

"Abdul Rahman Mohammed Izz al-Din, 55, was hit by several bullets fired by Israeli forces while standing in his house. When his son, Walid, went to help him, he too, was killed by Israeli fire. According to eyewitnesses, a deaf man, Samir Sadi Sababa, 45, was also killed by Israeli occupying forces at the entrance of Jabalya."

But Gradstein was having none of this. In total contrast, when describing a later attack on Israelis, Gradstein said:

"Meanwhile, gunmen dressed in Israeli army uniforms opened fire on a road along Israel's border with Lebanon killing six Israelis, five of them civilians. The gunmen were shot dead after a half hour battle with Israeli troops. Israeli military officials said they believe the radical Hizbullah movement in South Lebanon was involved."

It is simply outrageous that when dozens of Palestinians are killed in an Israeli onslaught on refugee camps, Gradstein mentions only property damage and arrests, while no less than three times quoting or including actuality of Israeli officials and officers referring to these camps as nests of "terror." Meanwhile, she describes in detail an attack which took far fewer Israeli lives.

Other significant events that Gradstein failed to note included when Israeli soldiers in Al Amari refugee camp near Ramallah took over a Palestinian apartment building. Haaretz reported that the "Israeli forces fired for 10 to 15 minutes from tank-mounted machine guns on a hotel where journalists were photographing tanks targeting the refugee camp."

"No one was injured in the barrage, which sprayed the glass-enclosed stairwell and nearby rooms where about 40 journalists were working," the Haaretz website said, but "An ABC news television camera left filming on a tripod when the journalists took cover was hit by seven bullets - one directly in the lens."

Perhaps Gradstein can be excused for missing that one. After all, as usual, she wasn't there.


Ali Abunimah

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