[News] International media ignore Israel’s abduction of Palestinian teens

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jun 17 17:34:55 EDT 2014

  International media ignore Israel’s abduction of Palestinian teens

Submitted by Amena Saleem on Tue, 06/17/2014

In the first ten days of June, seventeen teenage boys were abducted in 
the occupied West Bank. The youngest was thirteen, the oldest seventeen.

Some were dragged at gunpoint from their homes and family in the middle 
of the night; others were seized from the streets in broad daylight.

All of the abductions were documented by the Palestinian Monitoring 
Group <http://www.nad-plo.org/dailyreports.php>. None were reported by 
the international media. No Western politicians called for the release 
of the boys.

On 12 June, three more teenage boys went missing 
in the West Bank. Their disappearance sparked worldwide media coverage, 
cries of terrorism and demands for their release by the US Secretary of 
State and the UK Foreign Secretary.

Those three are Israeli. The seventeen others are Palestinian.

And, if the case of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilad_Shalit>, taken by Palestinian forces 
in Gaza in 2006 and released in 2011, is any indication, Western 
interest in the case of these three Israelis will not wane until they 
are found.

    Black hole

Conversely, the seventeen Palestinian boys seized by heavily armed 
Israeli soldiers will disappear into the same silent black hole as all 
the other Palestinian children 
<http://www.dci-palestine.org/theme/child-protection> taken on an almost 
daily basis by the occupation forces.

Some will be detained for days, weeks, or months, beaten, interrogated 
and then released. Others, however young, will find themselves put 
through Israel’s military courts and jailed, often on the basis of 
coerced confessions 

According to the rights group Addameer, there are currently 
approximately two hundred Palestinian children being held in Israeli 
jails <http://addameer.org/>. Some of those children will suffer periods 
in solitary confinement; all are at risk of physical abuse amounting to 

If their plight is anything to go by, the seventeen Palestinian 
youngsters taken by the Israeli army at the beginning of June will merit 
not a word spoken or written about them by the same journalists now 
eager to tell the world about the disappearance of three Israeli teenagers.

If children and teenagers disappear in the West Bank as a result of the 
occupation, it should be reported, whether those youngsters are 
Palestinian or Israeli. But, in the highly selective Western media 
reporting on Israel’s occupation, Israeli suffering always trumps that 
of Palestinians.

Since the disappearance of the three Israelis last week, the Palestinian 
town of Hebron has been held under siege 
by the Israeli army, up to 1,000 soldiers 
<http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.599264> have been going 
door to door in towns and refugee camps across the West Bank searching 
and ransacking civilian homes, two hundred Palestinians 
have been taken into detention, a twenty-year-old Palestinian has been 
shot dead <http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=705075>, and 
the Israeli government has been threatening the forcible transfer of 
some West Bank Palestinians to Gaza for supporting Hamas.

This is the degree of control that Israel exerts over Palestinian lives. 
But that control seems to be so accepted, or ignored, by Western media 
that there has been next to no comment on Israel’s actions, and the 
illegality of them, over the last five days. The sole focus is on the 
Israeli teenagers, with scarce journalistic attention left over for the 
collective punishment being meted out to thousands of Palestinians by a 
country which calls itself democratic.

    No Palestinian mothers

The case illustrates starkly the difference in the attitude of Western 
media towards Israelis and Palestinians, an attitude exemplified by the BBC.

BBC news bulletins have carried regular updates on the missing Israelis, 
and backed them up with online stories. In one online article, headlined 
“Israel accuses Hamas of abducting missing teenagers 
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27855994>”/ an embedded 
video features the mother of one of the Israelis talking about her wish 
for his safe return.

While BBC audiences have been made well aware of his situation and that 
of his two friends, they remain in the dark about the Palestinian 
children and teenagers regularly abducted by Israeli soldiers.

BBC reporting also shields them from the frequency with which 
Palestinian children and youth are killed by Israeli forces.

There were no BBC reports 
on the killing of 14-year-old Yussef Shawamreh, shot in the back and hip 
while gathering thistles in March, or of 18-year-old Saji Darwish, shot 
in the head as he tended his goats that same month. The killing of 
seven-year-old Ali al-Awwar 
in an Israeli missile strike on Gaza last week also fails to warrant a 
report. There are no embedded video interviews with the mothers of 
Yussef, Saji or Ali, mourning the permanent loss of their sons.

In response to questioning by Palestine Solidarity Campaign 
<http://www.palestinecampaign.org/> about the failure to report on the 
killing of Palestinian children by Israeli forces, the BBC responded: 
“There is no mandate to report every killing 
Would BBC editors have felt the same way if seven-year-old and 
fourteen-year-old Israeli children had been killed by Palestinians?

    Media’s cloak of silence

The last few days have highlighted the extremely narrow framework, not 
just of the BBC’s reporting on the occupation, but of the Western 
mainstream media as a whole.

More than 5,000 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli jails, where 
torture has been documented by organizations including Amnesty 
Approximately two hundred are incarcerated without ever having been 
charged or tried for a crime, for indefinite periods of time, under a 
system known as administrative detention, according to Addameer 
<http://addameer.org/>. And more than two hundred have been on hunger 
strike since April in protest of Israel’s use of administrative 
detention. The BBC’s response to the mass hunger strike, now in its 
second month, and Israel’s attempts to rush through legislation 
allowing force-feeding, has been silence.

The same silence cloaks house demolitions (15,000 Palestinian homes 
demolished by Israel 
since 1993), the destruction of entire communities, with Palestinian 
villages being bulldozed 
both in the West Bank and within present-day Israel, the killing of 
Palestinian children (1,405 killed by Israel since 2000 
<http://www.dci-palestine.org/content/child-fatalities>), the denial of 
sufficient water for drinking, washing, cooking to Palestinians in both 
Gaza and the West Bank, and the true effects of the siege on Gaza which 
denies Palestinians everything from essential medicines to electricity 

The list goes on and on. How many consumers of mainstream news reports 
in the West know any of this? How many know that Israel’s apartheid wall 
in the West Bank is more than twice as high and four times as long 
as the Berlin Wall that we all in the West were taught to loathe? How 
many know that the Palestinians had their country seized from them in 
1948, that Israel was created on that stolen land, and the total lack of 
justice or reparations since then, coupled with ongoing brutal military 
occupation, has led to this present situation?

The number will be as limited as the mainstream news reporting that 
keeps them in the dark. Their lack of knowledge will display in a total 
lack of understanding of Israel’s occupation and its devastating impact 
on every aspect of Palestinian life.

These are the audiences created by Western mainstream journalists, with 
the kind of selective reporting we’ve witnessed this week, audiences 
whose ignorance can only be to the detriment of Palestinians and to the 
benefit of Israel.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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