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Celebration of Terror

Celebration of Terror

When Palestinians celebrate terror attacks, the media is strong-armed into suppressing its coverage. Here's why.


It's been a tough year for Israel in the media. A slew of accusations were leveled against the Jewish state: "excessive force," "escalation," and "indiscriminate killings." It almost seems as if media coverage of the conflict was inherently skewed.

In many cases it is.

Foreign journalists aren't free to just walk into Gaza and start snapping pictures. As a result, Israeli media expert Ehud Ya'ari says that 95 percent of the photos and videos coming out of the territories are provided by Palestinian freelancers. These crews obviously identify emotionally and politically with the intifada and, in the best case, simply don't dare film anything that could embarrass the Palestinian Authority.

95 percent of the photos and videos coming out of the territories are provided by Palestinian freelancers.

The problem was never more evident than in these days following the terror attacks on New York and Washington. Upon hearing the news, Palestinians in Beirut, Nablus and eastern Jerusalem exploded in street celebrations -- rejoicing, dancing and handing out candies.

Then, to prevent the world from seeing these incriminating images, armed Palestinians -- some in uniform -- trapped photojournalists inside a Nablus hotel while festivities continued in the streets. One cameraman on assignment for Associated Press Television News was summoned to a Palestinian Authority security office and told that his video footage must not be aired. Ahmed Abdel Rahman, Arafat's cabinet secretary, threatened that if the footage is broadcast, the PA "cannot guarantee the life" of the cameraman.

Other networks said that the PA threatened to revoke their entry permits into Palestinian Autonomous areas.

At the moment that freedom was under attack in America, this different strain of terror was at work in the West Bank. The tactics were different, but the goal was the same: assail the bastions of freedom.

At the moment that freedom was under attack in America, a different strain of terror was at work in the West Bank.

The scene was repeated three days after the attacks, when 1,500 Palestinians demonstrated in Gaza by waving posters of Osama bin Laden. Again, Palestinian police detained foreign journalists and confiscated videotape, film and other camera equipment.

In protest, the Foreign Press Association (FPA), representing hundreds of mainstream journalists in Israel, declared:

"The FPA expresses deep concern over the harassment of journalists by the Palestinian Authority as police forces and armed gunmen tried to prevent photo and video coverage of Tuesday's rally in Nablus where hundreds of Palestinians celebrated the terror attacks in N.Y. and Washington. We strongly condemn... Palestinian officials who made no effort to counter the threats, control the situation, or to guarantee the safety of the journalists and the freedom of the press."

None of this is new. Freedom House, the human rights group, reports: "Under a 1995 Palestinian press law, journalists may be fined and jailed, and newspapers closed, for publishing 'secret information' on Palestinian security forces or news that might harm national unity or incite violence."

The threat is real. In November 2000, the Palestinian Journalists' Union published a letter in the Palestinian daily "Al Hayat," condemning the Associated Press for its portrayal of the "struggle of the Palestinians," and threatening that if AP did not change its coverage, the Palestinian Journalists' Union would adopt "all necessary measures against AP staffers."

How can a journalist report honestly if his life is threatened?

How can a journalist report honestly if his life is threatened?

All this evokes haunting memories of the Palestinian reign of terror in West Beirut, where a half-dozen journalists were killed by the PLO.

No wonder so many news agencies have complied with Palestinian demands to censor the celebration scenes -- as they have undoubtedly done on other occasions throughout the past year.

But let us be clear: We must not capitulate. When terror strikes at freedom, the proper response is to strengthen freedom. Join a media watch group. Demand that news agencies publicize these images. By doing so, it will send a message to all terrorist thugs that, despite violence and intimidation, freedom will surely prevail.


September 22, 2001

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Visitor Comments: 12

(12) Anonymous, November 26, 2001 12:00 AM

Not fools..

The free world is no fool to the biased reporting that is seen in the press. Those who show the truth in media may risk their very life in doing so, but preserve their integrity by portraying the truth. The Arabs who show their true nature by celebrating the death of innocence, will reap what they sew.

(11) Fred Le Vine, October 9, 2001 12:00 AM


These people do not want to tell the truth about the facts of life

(10) Ed Frias, September 29, 2001 12:00 AM

Amira Hass the real liar of the media

Well the meeting took place, between Arafat and Shimon Peres. They agreed on a ceasefire. On the very first day of the "ceasefire", the PLO sent out some stormtroopers from Rafiah in the Gaza Strip through a tunnel and these placed a bomb on the wall of an Israeli military installation, trying to murder the soldiers, wounding three. In response, Israel kills four of the perpetrators.

In the Hebrew Palestinian newspaper Haaretz, The radical leftist Amira Hass, sums up the set of events as "a gross violation of the ceasefire by Israel". Not in an Op-Ed but in the news report. Huh? The PLO trying to murder some nice Israelis is NOT a violation of the "ceasefire"? Nope, because remember ceasefires apply only to Israel. Israel is supposed to Let Palestinians murder them and not fire back, according to Amira Hass. I'm sure Bin Laden is praying George W Bush thinks like Amira Hass.

Friends, I fear we have yet another of those famous human rights abuses
of the po' Palestinians by Israel. You see, what with the Palestinians cheering on bin Laden, calling on Iraq to kill all the Jews, with daily PLO atrocities and murders, with Palestinian setting up exibitions" used for "art" celebrating the suicide bombings of Jewish children, complete with body parts tossed about. How could anyone live with these Arabs.

Haaretz regularly runs anti-American propaganda, and was solidly behind
all those "anti-globalization" circus members who trashed Seattle and other
fine cities. Haaretz continues to show its opposition to any US moves to attack
terrorism, and is printing assorted letters about how evil and imperialistic
the US is and so Israel should refuse to support the US aggression against

(9) Stanley Lamb, September 26, 2001 12:00 AM

right on - It's the only way.

I appreciate your article. If the press doesn't report the truth, all is lost. As was said in American's youth - "The pen is mightier than the sword." And it proved to be so. Of course it takes all of us standing for what is right to make it work. God bless!

(8) Jill Montes, September 26, 2001 12:00 AM

Didn't know

I didn't know how far the PA went in supressing news that puts them in a bad light. I live in the US and the only clip we saw of the Palestinians was the one clip of the children, and a few others, celebrating. In the beginning of Aug. our local newspaper had a very intense letter to the editor debate. It started with George Will's article about the Sbarro bombing. Someone wrote a letter practically defending the terrorism in Israel using the old "Moral equalance" argument. I wrote and refuted him. From then on we had letters from both sides for about 3 weeks. (This was before the attack on the WTC) After the attack and after comments on the Palestinan celebrating, we actually had someone suggest that it was a film clip from some other time and not REALLY showing the Palestinans celebrating. Some people will deny the truth when it is right in their face.

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