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April 24, 2001
NPR's message: Palestinian lives worthless

by Ali Abunimah


Dear NPR News,

NPR is nothing if not consistent in its practice of highlighting violence when it affects Israelis and ignoring it when it affects Palestinians.

I monitored the 8, 8.30, 9, 9.30 and 10 AM Eastern Time news bulletins on NPR today. Only on the 9.30 bulletin did I hear a report about violence in the Middle East, which stated that:

"Israeli police are blaming Palestinian militants for a pipe bomb attack in a central Israeli town." According to the report four people were lightly injured.

There was no mention at all of 11-year-old Mohannad Muharib who was killed by a live bullet to the head fired by Israeli occupation forces at a funeral near Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern part of the occupied Gaza Strip today. The funeral was for a member of the Palestinian police killed in an Israeli air attack last week. In addition to the killing of Mohannad a number of other people were injured by Israel gunfire this morning according to wire service reports and Al-Jazira.

Earlier this morning, I sent the news of Mohannad's death to my email list. In response, my friend, Jennifer Bing-Canar, an American citizen who recently returned from a visit to Gaza wrote:

"one of the boys that I spoke to in Khan Yunis was a boy, age 11 named Mohannad. I'm sure there are thousands of Mohannad's of that age still alive today in Khan Younis and possibly the boy I/we met at the check point. But also possible is that the boy killed was the Mohannd we briefly met, a bit shy, but curious about the foreigners visiting his community and anxious to show me where the Israeli soldiers fire on his camp. I think it is important for us to put faces to the children that are killed every day in Gaza; who briefly get a mention in our papers. In any case I am hoping that all of you will take time today to remember our visit to Khan Younis, the people we briefly met, and the terror that they now face as the situation escalates."

I certainly couldn't put it any better than that.


Ali Abunimah