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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776
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What the Media Won’t Tell You About Palestinian Prisoners

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Photo Credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/FLASH90



Ammar played an important role in resisting the occupation forces, at a time when most people were disenchanted with the occupation’s false promises of peace. Before his arrest, Ammar worked with Mohannad El-Taher, Ayman Halawa, and Mahmoud Abu Hannood. This was the group of Al-Qassam leaders who carried the burden of maintaining the resistance before Al-Aqsa Intifada, and escalated the resistance during the first 2 years of the Intifada.

In 1997, five martyrdom operations resulted 27 Israelis killed and 300 injured as a reaction against the Zionist daily arrest and crimes against the Palestinian people. The operations were also a price paid by the occupation for the imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians in occupation jails. Ammar was in the operation room that oversaw the operations. [emphasis added]

Downplaying the Severity of the Violent Acts

On Oct. 20, 2011, AP ran a photo caption about Hamuda Saleh, released in the first stage of the Shalit deal, which grossly understated his terror acts and which severely exaggerated his prison sentence. The original caption stated that “he was sentenced to multiple life sentences for being part of the ‘Ezz Al-Din Al Qassam’ militia, the military wing of Hamas.” After CAMERA’s intervention, AP added that according to the prison service he had been convicted for 22 years for “premeditated murder, membership in an unrecognized organization, planting a bomb and shooting at people.”

Hamuda Saleh was also featured in a filmed BBC Arabic report on April 16, 2013, together with another former prisoner released in the Shalit deal, Nader Abu Turki. In that report no mention whatsoever was made of the two men’s crimes.

Nader Abu Turki from Hebron was a senior Hamas operative who was arrested in November 2002 and convicted of conspiracy to murder, stone-throwing, planting bombs and membership of the military wing of Hamas, for which he was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

In a Dec. 18, 2011 report about the second stage of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, Ethan Bronner, then the Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times, understated the violent crime of released prisoner Izzedine Abu Sneineh, writing that he was arrested “for throwing stones and hanging Palestinian flags from telephone poles.”

CAMERA prompted the following correction (Dec. 21, 2011):

. . . .the article misstated Israeli charges against one of the freed prisoners, Izzedine Abu Sneineh, who had been arrested three years ago at age 15. Israel had accused him of weapons training, attempted murder and possession of explosives — not throwing stones and hanging Palestinian flags from telephone poles.

On NPR’s Aug. 6, 2003 “All Things Considered,” Julie McCarthy also wrongly reported that prisoner Ahmad Gnamat was held for years for throwing stones, when in fact he had produced explosives. Following communication from CAMERA, NPR corrected on Aug. 14:

In an August 6th story on the Israeli release of Palestinian prisoners, we mistakenly described one of the freed men as having served five years in prison for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. In fact, he was sentenced for involvement in Hamas and producing explosives.

Biased, Misleading Terminology: ‘Political Prisoners’

Taking the lead from radical NGO’s, such as Addameer and some pro-Palestinian and Palestinian Authority sites which refer to Palestinian prisoners convicted of violent acts including murder and attempted murder as “political prisoners,” a limited number of mainstream publications are beginning to adopt the egregious misnomer.

The euphemism, which distorts the clear meaning of a term which is widely understood as referring to those who are imprisoned merely for their dissenting political beliefs, has appeared in the Guardian and BBC.

For example, the June 3, 2013 edition of The Observer (a sister publication of the Guardian) included the following passages in a report by Simon Goodley in the “Business Agenda” page:

. . . campaigners will make their way to the AGM of security specialists G4S this week, where they will voice concerns on issues as varied as: the death of asylum seeker Jimmy Mubenga while under G4S guard (a decision on whether or not to prosecute will be made soon); charges for security to the Olympic Games (the same margin as usual, says G4S) ; and the group’s service contract with an Israeli jail that holds political prisoners. (Emphasis added.)

Harriet Sherwood’s April 9, 2013 report, about efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, discussed concessions demanded of Israel by Mahmoud Abbas before he will agree to resume negotiations:

CAMERA

About the Author: CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, is the foremost media-monitoring, research and membership organization promoting accurate, balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East. CAMERA holds the media accountable with proven effect, and is responsible for thousands of published corrections and countless other improvements. Its analyses can be read online at camera.org, on Facebook at CAMERAorg, and on Twitter at @CAMERAorg.


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