NPR’s Gradstein grossly distorts Hebron violence

The raw bias in Linda Gradstein’s 3PM Eastern Time news spot about an incident in which three Israelis were killed today near Hebron, is scarcely believable. It is not yet clear if the three Israelis killed in an apparent Palestinian ambush were occupation soldiers or settlers.

Gradstein stated that the city of Hebron has been a “focus of violence” recently, but then only listed incidents in which Palestinians killed Israelis. She said that Palestinians killed an Israeli settler last week, and that in November, Palestinians killed 12 Israeli soldiers.

Why did Gradstein make absolutely no mention of the massive amounts of Israeli violence against Palestinians, including routine killing and wounding of civilians, rampages and shootings by settlers, and the demolition of Palestinian homes?

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza reported that on January 12, a settler killed a Palestinian civilian. According to the report,

“at approximately 09:00, Hazem ‘Adnan Fannoun, 35, from Hebron, was traveling in his private car on his way from Beit Kahel village, northwest of Hebron, to the town. He stopped his car 50m away from a bridge established on the bypass road (35) and went towards a sand barrier to pee. Soon, an Israeli car stopped approximately 30m away from him. An Israeli settler got out of the car, fired at Fannoun and then escaped. Fannoun tried to reach his car, but could not. A number of Palestinians ran to him and drove him to the hospital, but he succumbed to his wound before arrival. According to Palestinian medical sources, Fannoun was shot by a live bullet that entered the right side and settled in the chest, causing an acute hemorrhage. According to eyewitnesses, no weapons were found near him, contrary to the Israeli claims.” (PCHR, 16 January)

And on Monday evening, 30 December 2002, according to PCHR, Israeli soldiers kidnapped ‘Omran Abu Hamdia, 18, from Hebron, and beat him to death.

PCHR said, “According to information available to PCHR, at approximately 20:15, while Abu Hamdia was with a number of neighbors in front of his house, an Israeli military jeep arrived at the area. The jeep stopped and Israeli soldiers got out of it. They checked the identity cards of the people in the area and ordered some of them to leave. Then, they took Hamdia in the jeep to the south of the city. In the jeep, Israeli soldiers violently beat him and then pushed him out of the jeep onto the road, approximately 1500m away from his house. His neighbors and other people started searching for him. Nearly 15 minutes later, they found him on the road near Shahin fuel station. They tried to evacuate him to hospital in a civilian car, but he died on the way. According to medical sources, the victim was severely beaten. He was bleeding from the nose, the ears and the mouth, which indicates that he suffered from an internal hemorrhage in the brain. There were also signs of beatings on the hands and the head.” (PCHR, 2 January 2002)

These are just two examples from dozens! PCHR also reported that:

“This week, Israeli settlers from settlements in Hebron attacked Palestinian civilians and their property, especially in the old town, the center of the town and Wadi al-Baqa’a and al-Bweira neighborhoods. These attacks took place before the eyes of Israeli forces and police. Six Palestinian civilians were wounded, including two who were in serious condition, windows and doors of 25 houses were destroyed, more than 10 cars were destroyed or damaged and areas of agricultural land and water sources were damaged.” (PCHR, January 23)

PCHR stated that on January 19, Israeli forces in Hebron opened fire indiscriminately to enforce a curfew, wounding seven civilians.

On January 20, “Israeli occupying forces moved into Wadi al-Karem neighborhood in the west of Hebron. They surrounded the house of Mohammed Yusri al-Shweiki, 52. They forced the 14 residents of the 360-square-meter, 2-story house out and destroyed it.”

(Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories 16-22 January, 2003)

Which part of the Occupied Territories has not been a “focus of violence” against Palestinians? Over the past three months, more than 150 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli occupation forces which have also been systematically destroying homes in almost every place?

Gradstein’s ignorance of these events, most of which were reported by other media, is shocking. Her definition of “violence” as being exclusively targeted at Israelis displays an unprofessionalism and partisanship that should embarass NPR.


Ali Abunimah