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March 02, 1990 - Image 41

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-03-02

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The Intifada
You Don't
See On TV


Network crews have received threats.


early one-third of
all Palestinians
killed last year in
the West Bank and
Gaza were murdered by
fellow-Palestinians. Palesti-
nian death squads roam the
West Bank and Gaza, tortur-
ing and executing not only
"collaborators," but also
political rivals, moderates,
criminals and women they
consider promiscuous. The
annual human rights report
the State Department
scheduled for release today
might be expected to mention
these facts. It does not. While
the report devotes some 13
detailed pages to Israeli
human rights abuses, it can
spare just four paragraphs for
Palestinian human rights
Perhaps the State Depart-
ment has been watching too
much television. It is from
television that most Ameri-

Mr. Emerson, formerly an
editor at U.S. News & World
Report, is the author of
"Secret Warriors: Inside the
Covert Military Operations of
the Reagan Era." (Putnam,
1988). Reprinted with
permission of The Wall Street
Journal. Copyright © 1990,
Dow Jones & Co., Inc. All
rights reserved.

cans get their image of the in-
tifada. And the U.S. networks
have been complicit in a
massive deception about the
West Bank conflict.
U.S. reporters have ac-
quiesced in Palestinian con-
trol over what gets filmed.
"Fundamentalist groups
never allowed us in certain
areas in Gaza," says Amos
Aynor, an Israeli crewman
who has worked for CBS. Tali
Goder, an Israeli cameraman
who has also worked for U.S.
networks, is even more blunt:
"Every time a crew came to
film the Palestinians, the rule
was 'Once you are here, you
will cover what we want. You
will not dig too much.' We
know that if we aim the
camera at the wrong scene,
we'll be dead."
These apprehensions are
not unrealistic. A November
CBS story about death
squads in the Arab town of
Nablus was one of the few
television pieces to show the
reign of terror imposed by
Palestinian gangs. Soon after-
ward, Israeli troops raided the
casbah, killing several gang
members and capturing
others alive. The Israeli Army
passed a warning to CBS
bureau chief, Michael Rosen-
baum, that radical Pales-

tinians had issued a death
threat against the CBS crew.
CBS did not report the
If reports of threats by
Palestinian gangs against a
network's own crew are not
newsworthy, it is perhaps un-
surprising that other sorts of
Palestinian violence have
been ignored. Since the begin-
ning of the uprising in
December 1987, more than
175 Palestinians have been
killed by fellow Palestinians.
More than 25 have been
burnt to death; another 20
have been strangled, lynched
or suffocated; and others have
been decapitated, dismem-
bered and otherwise muti-
lated. More recently, the ears
of "collaborators" have been,
cut off. Israeli soldiers have
killed 25 Palestinians in Gaza
since September; Palestinian
gangs have killed 47 Palesti-
nians, according to Israeli
military sources.
Israeli officials admit that
one-third of the Palestinians
killed by other Palestinians
have assisted the authorities;
the rest are people considered
"impure" by the leaderships
of the West Bank gangs or are
people who have merely done
business with Jews. In Oc-
tober, a Palestinian father of

seven was knifed to death in
Jericho for "collaboration!'
He had sold floral decorations
to religious Jews building a
ritual sukkah.
"Death sentences" are
kangaroo court killings by
Palestinian gangs made up of
classical juvenile delinquents
and social outcasts who have
suddenly found a legitimate
way to kill. Homosexuals are
frequent targets. Women who
wear "too much" makeup or
short skirts have been raped
or burned with acid, if not
killed outright. Yet in the
more than 150 stories filed by
U.S. networks from the West
Bank last year, only half a
dozen focused on the in-
ternecine killing of Pales-
tinians by other Palestinians.
Amnesty International
found the killing of Pales-
tinians by other Palestinians
so disturbing that in Novem-
ber it issued a strong condem-
nation of the "killing of al-
leged collaborators!' noting
that many had been "inter-
rogated and tortured" by
"special squads of Pales-
tinians." Furthermore, Am-
nest said, "Palestinian
leaders have endorsed or
failed to condemn the killing
of collaborators."
Documents intercepted by

Israeli intelligence — and
whose authenticity has been
confirmed by Palestinians
themselves — indicate that
the Palestine Liberation
Organization approves and
directs the killings of other
While Palestinian political
terror on the West Bank fails
to make the news, utter
fabrications about Israeli
brutality are reported un-
critically. At the beginning of
the intifada, for instance, the
U.S. networks were called to
el-Mokkasad hospital in
Jerusalem to film a dying
15-year old Palestinian boy
named Rami el Aluk. His
Palestinian doctor showed the
boy hooked up to life-support
tubes, and claimed that he
had been savagely beaten by
Israeli troops.
The networks gave the
story wide publicity. On Feb.
8, 1988, Peter Jennings in-
troduced ABC's piece by an-
nouncing, "In the Middle
East today, United Nations of-
ficials say that the Israelis
have beaten another Palesti-
nian to death in the occupied
territories." CBS said the boy
had "received a blow to his
head," and then quoted his
doctor: "I think he will die
soon." NBC reported on a



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