CNN Terms Palestinian Sniper and Accused Killer a “Political Party Member”

  Hussein Abayat
  CNN: “Political party” member

Reporting on Israel’s missile attack on a PLO militia commander, CNN deceived viewers by characterizing the man merely as a member of a “political party,” despite the fact that he was thought responsible for killing three Israeli soldiers, and for nightly sniper fire at an Israeli neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Anchor Lynne Russell reported that “Three people were killed when Israeli Apache helicopters launched missiles at a van near Bethlehem today. The vehicle was carrying members of the Fatah party, the political party associated with Yasir Arafat.” (CNN Headline News, November 9, 2000)

While the report referred to a new Israeli policy “targeting ringleaders” behind violence, it misleadingly gave no hint that the target, Hussein Abayat, was killed in retaliation for personally leading attacks against Israelis. Even neighbors admitted that Abayat had regularly engaged in such attacks:

“Let’s tell the truth . . .,” said Issam Sha’ir, 40, a construction worker who lives nearby. “Hussein is a martyr. He was firing on the Israeli camp every night.” (Boston Globe, November 10, 2000)

According to the Israeli government Abayat was directly involved and responsible for the following attacks:

  1. October 2, 2000 near Beit Sahur, in which Corp. Max Hazan was killed;

  2. October 17, 2000 in Gilo, a neighborhood of Jerusalem, in which an Israeli Border Policeman was shot in the heart. He survived but suffered brain damage;

  3. November 1, 2000 near Al Khader, in which Lt. David Khen Cohen and Sergeant Shlomo Adishina were killed. Adishina was a convert to Judaism from Nigeria.

CNN should not let any agenda or bias get in the way of accurate and fair reporting.


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