A non-existent “lull”, “quiet”, or “calm” — the blatant semantic clues of journalists admitting they fail to consider Israeli violence against Palestinians noteworthy

Consistently over the past week, many members of the media have been repeating as a mantra that there has over the past three weeks been a “relative calm” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

National Public Radio (NPR) has been one of the worst offenders. Correspondent Linda Gradstein defined this for us when she told Morning Edition host Bob Edwards on January 3 that:

“you know, there’s been actually three weeks of relative quiet. Only one Israeli has been killed in those three weeks, as opposed to 44 Israelis who were killed when Zinni was here last time in November and early December.”

The facts — a shameful pattern of devaluation of Palestinian life

In fact, since December 13, at least 28 Palestinians, most of them unarmed civilians and 11 of them children, have been killed by the Israeli occupation. Eighteen of them died since Yasir Arafat made his call for an end to all Israeli and Palestinian violence on December 16 as Israel’s raids, demolitions and siege have continued unabated.

The following list of Palestinians killed between 13 December 2001 and 6 January 2002 includes only those killed by the Israeli occupation. In addition to this there were dozens of men, women and children maimed and injured by the occupation forces, dozens more houses demolished, as millions of civilians continued to exist under an unrelenting military siege. Six Palestinians were killed on Dec 20-21 by Palestinian police during riots and clashes, and have not been included in the list.

The fact that NPR and other media organisations consistently and deliberately ignore these dozens of Palestinians brutally killed by Israel demonstrates in the clearest possible terms that only Israeli lives are valued and only the concerns and security of Israel are taken seriously.

A cold, hard look at the list below forces any reasonable commentator to conclude that the relentless Israeli violence has not stopped taking Palestinian lives and limbs for a single day.

This is not a new coverage trend, but rather has been a persistent pattern, both with respect to Israel’s violence against Palestinians and during Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon. Although this has been brought to the attention of NPR and other media organisations on countless occasions over a period of years, this problem has only been getting worse.

The only question really worth asking now: is NPR going to do something about this or will it choose instead to allow its correspondent to continue to indulge in such an outrageous level of bias and misrepresentation? The problem is not simply with Linda Gradstein. It seems to be endemic to NPR’s approach to the region generally since studio hosts have also routinely emphasized the concerns and experiences of Israeli civilians over those of any Arabs.

The result of this in specific instances and over time is to convey to NPR’s listeners a deeply misleading picture of the situation in the region.

Palestinians killed by Israeli occupation forces between 13 December 2001 and 6 January 2002
December 13th:

Rami Khamis Al-Zorob, 13, killed by a live bullet to the head while playing near his home as Israeli forces fired at civilian houses. Rafah, Gaza;

Ahmed Khamis Al-Masri, 19, killed by bullet to the heart as Israeli occupation forces fired at a group of young men. Khan Yunis refugee camp, Gaza.

December 14th:

Israeli occupation forces invade the West Bank village of Salfit, killing six Palestinian members of the security forces. They are:

Mohammed Mohammed Aashour, 19, wounded by two bullets in the chest and his right arm. He was run down by an Israeli army vehicle after being shot;

Assad Atayeh, 22, from Salfit, hit by several bullets in the chest. He was run down by an Israeli army vehicle after being shot;

Khalid Abu Yaqub, 27, from Kufol Haris hit by a bullet in the head;

Samih Jawad Abdel-Latif al-Danaf, 20, from Salfit, hit by a bullet in the chest and in the abdomen;

Diah Nadi Ibdah, 19, from Salfit, an employee of the Palestinian presidential guard (Force 17), hit by a bullet in the head;

Raziq Shabaan Haruzallah, 25, from Salfit hit by a bullet in the neck.

December 15th:

A Palestinian man was killed during an Israeli military incursion into the Palestinian town of Rafah, Gaza.

December 16th:

Yasir Arafat makes speech calling for end to all Israeli and Palestinian violence.

Yasir Al-Kasbeh, 12, killed by rubber-coated steel bullet, Qalandia refugee camp, West Bank.

December 17th:

Muhammad Huneidek, 12, killed by bullet to the chest fired from Israeli checkpoint near Neve Dekalim settlement, Gaza Strip.

Munjed Salman, 22, Palestinian police officer. Killed when Israeli forces opened fire with heavy machine guns on a police patrol. Nablus, West Bank.

Yaqoub Adkediq, 28, shot dead as he fled from Israeli death squad that raided his home at 3 am. Hebron, West Bank.

December 20th:

Dib Sarawi, 37, killed when hit in the head by fire as Israeli forces raided Nablus. Mr. Sarawi’s wife and 12-year old daughter were injured.

December 24th:

Jamil Abu Atwan, 22, killed in exchange of fire with Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

December 26th:

Walid Saadi, 53, killed by Israeli helicopter gunships attacking Jenin, West Bank.

December 28th:

Mahmoud Al-Boraieh, 22, from Jabaliya refugee camp, shot dead by an Israeli patrol who claimed he was “preparing an attack.” Gaza City.

December 29th:

Nujud Ghonam (female), 26, died of a brain hemorrage after being knocked unconscious with a rifle butt by an Israeli soldier during a raid of her home. Al Khadr village near Bethlehem, West Bank.

December 30th:

Three Palestinian boys are killed by Israeli forces near the settlement of Elei Sinai in the Gaza Strip. Israel first claims the boys are “militants” who had “bombs strapped to their bodies.” All these false claims are later withdrawn. The boys are:

Mohammed Ahmed Lubbad, 17;

Mohammed Abdel-Rahman El-Madhoun, 15;

Ahmed Mohammed Banat, 15.

Israeli occupation forces kill three Palestinians they say were trying to enter Israel east of Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip. They were:

Ismail Ahmed Abu El-Qumsan, 31;

Mohammed Mahmoud Salah, 19;

Ali As’ad Muhanna, 21.

January 4th:

A Palestinian man is killed as Israeli forces raid Nablus.

January 6th:

Five Palestinian children made homeless after their family fled their home in Khan Yunis refugee camp due to constant shelling by Israeli forces die when their refugee tent is set on fire accidentally by a candle. The children are:

Nafez Huneideq, 3;

Turkia Huneideq, 5;

Fadi Huneideq, 6;

Sufian Huneideq, 7;

Hussein Huneideq, 9.

Related links:

  • For NPR, Violence Is Calm if It’s Violence Against Palestinians, Action Alert, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, 10 January 2002