Once again, National Public Radio has focused lopsided
coverage on Palestinian civilians unintentionally killed during an Israeli
incursion into Gaza, minimizing the responsibility of Palestinian gunmen in
deliberately endangering their own civilians, while giving only perfunctory
coverage to Israeli civilians targeted for death by an Arab suicide bomber.
*** First, on May 4, anchorwoman Liane Hansen introduced a
report with Peter Kenyon by setting up a false symmetry:
. . . even as the
[road map] plan was being made public last week, more blood was spilled on both
sides. Israeli civilians were killed in Tel Aviv, and Palestinian civilians
were killed in the Gaza Strip.
Mahmoud Abbas' first speech as Palestinian prime minister, in which he called
for an end to violence, missiles from an Israeli helicopter killed two
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Hours after the release of the road map,
Israeli blood and body parts were again spattered across a Tel Aviv sidewalk as
a suicide bomber killed himself and three others at a bar along the city's
The contrived balance, however, ends here. The
remainder of the report focuses on the Palestinian deaths in Gaza, including
that of a two-year-old boy, with not a word about the suicide bombing until
Kenyon's closing statement. Kenyon's emotive coverage of the Palestinian deaths
which included both fighters and civilians despite the fact that NPR
framed the story only in terms of civilians killed included touching
commentary from relatives of those killed a cousin and the grieving
father of the little boy.
Ismael, the cousin of the three Abu Hin brothers, Hamas
members who were targeted by Israel, stressed the innocence of the Gaza
innocent children, they were scared. Believe me, many children were, I mean,
crying out of fear.
The two-year-old's father is quoted:
The blood was
everywhere. His mother screamed. I run in. I carried him. I was just carrying
him, seeing the blood, seeing the hole in his head, and I was knowing this is
**** The report also covers the funeral procession for 12 of
the Palestinians killed in the incursion. In contrast, NPR never covered, in
this report or any other, the funerals for the three Israelis killed at a Tel
Aviv nightclub. (NPR said those murders were the work of Hamas and the Al Aqsa
Martyrs Brigades, the latter termed a militant offshoot of Arafat's
Fatah faction though the group is designated a terrorist organization by
the State Department.) Nor did NPR include, here or elsewhere, comments from
the relatives of slain Israelis about the innocence and suffering of their
In describing the fighting scene where Israeli soldiers
battled it out with the Abu Hin brothers, Kenyon observes that
shockingly, there's even a large splotch [of blood] on the ceiling.
In contrast, when Linda Gradstein reported on the wreckage from the Tel Aviv
bombing in a April 30 report, her language was matter of fact, and did not note
that the devastation was shocking.
*** In her introduction to the report, Liane Hansen says:
NPR's Peter Kenyon has this report on the recent violence and its effect
on hopes for the latest peace effort. However, only Palestinian opinions
are included on how the latest violence will effect peace efforts. Not a single
Israeli was asked about the ongoing Palestinian terrorism against civilians, or
if they are hopeful that Abu Mazen would make a concerted effort to dismantle
the terrorist infrastructure and the pervasive incitement that foments the
*** Kenyon obscures Palestinian responsibility for exposing
civilians to danger. He reports that family members here agree and
confirm that the [Israeli] soldiers asked the brothers to surrender peacefully,
but they were determined to fight to the death. He does not convey what,
for example, a Boston Globe story (excerpts below) did about how Israel
tried to protect civilians and how the Abu Hin brothers and other gunmen
deliberately fought among women and children, placing them in the middle of a
Also, while NPR suggests Israeli use of heavy firepower, the
Globe gives context by reporting the involvement of heavily armed
Palestinians and the discovery of a weapons cache.
BOSTON GLOBE, May 2:
The battle in Gaza
City began about 2 a.m. yesterday, when Israeli forces moved into the poor,
crowded Shajaya neighborhood and encircled a block of 20 houses inhabited by
the Abu Hin clan. Israeli military sources and Palestinian witnesses said the
soldiers called for Abu Hin and his brothers to surrender. When they refused
and began firing, the Israelis called for women, children, and noncombatants to
Simultaneously, calls issued
from mosques around the city for armed men to support the Abu Hin clan against
the Israelis. As noncombatants were leaving the Abu Hin block, scores of
Palestinians armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons arrived
and began fighting with the Israelis, making further evacuation of
noncombatants impossible, according to Samir Hito, a reporter for the
Palestinian newspaper Al Hayat al Jadeeda...
An Israeli military source,
speaking on condition of anonymity, said that large amounts of weapons,
ammunition, and explosives were found in the house where the Abu Hin brothers
made their last stand.
The transcripts appear below.
NPR May 4, 2003
Weekend Edition Sunday (12:00 PM EST)
LIANE HANSEN, host: Secretary of State Powell plans to
return to the Middle East later this month. He'll visit Jerusalem and Ramallah
for talks with Israelis and Palestinians on the road map for peace. But even as
the plan was being made public last week, more blood was spilled on both sides.
Israeli civilians were killed in Tel Aviv, and Palestinian civilians were
killed in the Gaza Strip. NPR's Peter Kenyon has this report on the recent
violence and its effect on hopes for the latest peace effort.
PETER KENYON reporting: Hours before Mahmoud Abbas' first
speech as Palestinian prime minister, in which he called for and end to
violence, missiles from an Israeli helicopter killed two Palestinians in the
Gaza Strip. Hours after the release of the road map, Israeli blood and body
parts were again spattered across a Tel Aviv sidewalk as a suicide bomber
killed himself and three others at a bar along the city's seafront.
KENYON: The Israeli army's response focused on this street
in Soja Iya in the eastern Gaza Strip, where an earth-mover was cleaning up
rubble on Friday. Mofat Sahd , who lost a cousin in the incursion, says he
heard sounds from the street around 2 that morning, and came down to see
Israeli military jeeps heading toward the Abu Hin family's house down the
MOFAT SAHD: (translated) Then there were cross-fire
shootings on both sides and one hour later, tanks did arrive. Two jeeps were
tailing--crashed because of the rubble and because of heavy shooting around and
then the helicopters start to appear. And from that moment, the war started in
KENYON: The army says the three wanted Abu Hin brothers,
Yusef, Mahmud and Ayman, were members of the Hamas military wing. Family
members here agree and confirm that the soldiers asked the brothers to
surrender peacefully, but they were determined to fight to the death.
In this second-story room, the destruction suggests the use
of massive firepower. Windows and doors are blown out by tank shells. In one
corner, flowers have been placed over a large pool of blood. More blood is
spattered on the walls, up a large armoire. Shockingly, there's even a large
splotch on the ceiling. A 25-year-old cousin named Ismael says everyone
expected the brothers to fight, but no one anticipated that a huge gun battle
would rage all morning and into the afternoon.
ISMAEL: Believe me, even I didn't go to the toilet. I sit
at home, I mean, pissing in the basket. Believe me, I'm not being killed.
Innocent people, innocent children, they were scared. Believe me, many children
were, I mean, crying out of fear.
KENYON: Another major battle was taking place out on the
streets, and that's where most of the civilians appear to have died. On another
street blocks from the Abu Hin house, Ahmed Ayad was calling his four children
to stay away from the windows because Israeli snipers were firing from one of
the tallest buildings in the neighborhood. And his wife had just taken their
two-year-old boy Amer into the bedroom when he heard her scream as an M-16
bullet crashed into one side of the child's skull and out the other.
AHMED AYAD: (translated) The blood was everywhere. His
mother screamed. I run in. I carried him. I was just carrying him, seeing the
blood, seeing the hole in his head, and I was knowing this is the end.
KENYON: Ayad was an iron worker in Israel before the
intifada. He wants peace so he can support his family again. But he says if
this is how Israel responds to the road map for peace and the new Palestinian
government, the future holds nothing but more tears and bloodshed.
(Sound of funeral procession)
KENYON: At Friday's raucous funeral procession for the 12
Palestinians killed in the Soja Iyaa incursion, Hamas and Al Aqsa Brigade
leaders swore never to disarm. Hamas' aging founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, said
the Palestinian people have no faith in their new prime minister, Mahmoud
SHEIKH AHMED YASSIN, Hamas leader: (speaking Arabic)
KENYON: "This new government is the face of Israel and
America,' said Yassin. 'It will not succeed and the road map will also fail,
just like the Mitchell plan, the Oslo Accords and other such plans.'
The new Palestinian prime minister is expected to seek a
ceasefire with Hamas and the other factions rather than a forced disarmament. A
senior Palestinian intelligence officer in Gaza City says if illegal weapons
are displayed on the street, they will be seized, but there will be no attempt
to go house to house to confiscate weapons. But even that relatively
non-confrontational course angers many Gazans. Mahmoud Al-Shia says Abbas has
MAHMOUD AL-SHIA: And to know the only thing which is
respectful for him to do, to resign; unless we'll understand him that he's
going to implement the policy which Israel try to limit yesterday; he is going
to continue it. If he doesn't want to continue it, the best thing for our
support to resign.
KENYON: These are the images that accompanied the release
of the road map last week: Israeli families sobbing at the funerals of the Tel
Aviv bombing victims and Ahmed Ayad carrying his dying baby boy down a Gaza
street. These are the images Secretary of State Powell will be asking people to
look beyond as he struggles to get another peace effort off the ground. Peter
Kenyon, NPR News, Gaza.
NPR April 30, 2003
Morning Edition (10:00 AM EST)
BOB EDWARDS, host:
A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up today at the
entrance to a popular pub in Tel Aviv next door to the American Embassy. Three
patrons were killed, 35 wounded in the attack. Two Palestinian organizations
have claimed responsibility. NPR's Linda Gradstein reports from Tel Aviv.
LINDA GRADSTEIN: Keyboard player Barry Gilbert was on the
small stage at the back of Mike's Place, absorbed in the blues number he was
playing for the pub's open mike night.
BARRY GILBERT (musician): About halfway through the song, I
just saw a big orange flash, sort of like a lot of light coming towards me, so
I just ducked basically, and I felt a blast, and then the place was covered in
smoke. Everybody started to just scream, and I ran outside to see what was
going on. There was a lot of people lying on the floor very, very badly
GRADSTEIN: One of those badly injured was the security
guard, who prevented the bomber's entry into the pub. Two others injured in the
attack were tourists, one from the US and one from France. Mike's Place
attracted a regular clientele of young Israelis and expatriate Brits and
Americans who liked jazz. Many of the customers knew each other.
(Sound of sweeping)
GRADSTEIN: As soon as the wounded had been taken to
hospitals, cleaning crews began sweeping up the debris of the explosion. The
blast blew the white metal doors at the entrance apart, shattering the windows
and leaving the entrance a pile of twisted metal struts. The neighboring US
Embassy, separated from the pub by a black metal fence, was not damaged.
Several hours after the explosion, co-owner Asaf Ganzman stood in shock,
surveying the wreckage of his bar.
ASAF GANZMAN (co-owner, Mike's Place): We were doing pretty
well, and we had security, and we felt pretty safe next to the American
Embassy. We felt extra safe because even the people in the American Embassy
told us that they're allowed to go only to like a few hundred meters from the
embassy because that's safe, and this is one of the places. But I guess nowhere
GRADSTEIN: Israeli police spokesman Gil Kleiman said the
security forces receive constant warnings of planned suicide bombings and
cannot stop all of them.
GIL KLEIMAN (Israeli Police Spokesman): We have had, as
you've known, a lot of successes, and we've been saying this for three years.
This is not something that's new, that there is no hermetic ability to seal the
country, especially Tel Aviv, a beachfront area, and across from the beach,
pubs. There's no way to do that. People were here for a jazz and blues night, a
young crowd in their 20s. There's no way you can close all that down.
GRADSTEIN: Two Palestinian organizations, Hamas and the Al
Aqsa Martyr Brigades, said they planned the attack jointly to avenge the death
of an Al Aqsa member recently killed in Nablus by Israeli troops. The Al Aqsa
Brigades, a militant offshoot from Arafat's Fatah movement, said the bombing
was meant as a message to the new Palestinian government, headed by Prime
Minister Mahmoud Abbas, that nobody can disarm the resistance movements without
a political solution. Hours earlier in a speech to the Palestinian Legislature,
Abbas had called for an end to terrorism and pledged to collect illegal
weapons. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman David Saranga, says the suicide
bombing is a challenge to Abbas' new government.
DAVID SARANGA (Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman): We don't
think the Palestinian Authority can talk peace during the day and not combat
terrorism during the night. The international community will judge the new
government of the Palestinian Authority according to performance and not
according to declarations.
GRADSTEIN: Palestinian Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat said
the Palestinian Authority condemns the death of all civilians, Israelis and
Palestinians. Linda Gradstein, NPR News, Tel Aviv.