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Media Analyses

Thumbs Down to Hassan Fattah

To Associated Press reporter Hassan Fattah for his Feb. 25 tribute to terrorist Abdallah al-Saba entitled “Islamic Jihad leader killed in house demolition hailed as hero.”

Fattah’s news story reads more like a eulogy, praising Saba outright while omitting critical context for the subject’s death until midway through the article.

In the fifth paragraph, Fattah notes that “Saba’s house was targeted for demolition... after one of his sons, Mousab, attacked Israeli soldiers guarding an industrial park.” As a side note, we learn that Saba had “an explosives belt strapped to his body” and that “he was preparing to dive onto Israeli troops” or “to explode a nearby tank.”

The main “news” that opens the piece is that “a new chapter in Palestinian lore was being spun” and that this “longtime Islamic militant chose to fight and die rather than give in to Israeli wrecking crews.”

But choosing “to fight and die” is not what Saba did. From early in his life, we learn in the article’s second-to-last paragraph, Saba had participated in Islamic Jihad, an internationally acknowledged terrorist group, “spent nine years in Israeli prisons,” though we never learn for what, and was well known “for his staunch opposition to peace with Israel.”

"It is certain he will become a myth,” Fattah quotes a local in the article’s closing words, “He was the first person to resist.”

The writer not only misrepresents Saba’s life and death, but also the nature of Israeli military actions in general. Fattah writes that “Israel has repeatedly blown up the homes of suspected militants...to deter them from attacking Israelis,” but that Saba “resist[ed].” “There’s going to be a million other Abdallahs ready to do the same,” concludes Saba’s sister.

This far-reaching Palestinian commitment to terror, confirmed by the “thousands who came from across the Gaza Strip for the funeral procession” of a known criminal, is thereby transformed into “the legend of Abdallah Saba,” to quote the author’s own words.

The opinion-laden language and prejudiced ordering of critical facts in this article is not worthy of a serious news outlet.


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