Latest on snatched Israeli teens

The (true) latest news on the situation - and some real bloopers from mainstream media
by ANT KATZ | Jun 16, 2014
With: and Reuters

While it is an extremely dastardly act which in no way deserves mirth, the terrorist kidnapping of Eyal Yifrach, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, a dual Israeli-American citizen, has led to some problematic reporting in mainstream media.

Here, we roundup some of the worst cases so far as quoted verbatim from that have appeared in The Guardian, CNN, Sky News and the Christian Science Monitor.


According to the Guardian...

The Guardian’s initial coverage succeeded in dehumanizing the three Israeli teens:

Israeli security forces have launched a mass search of the Hebron hills after three teenage settlers, one believed to be a US citizen, were reported missing amid fears they may have been kidnapped by a Palestinian group.

In The Guardian’s worldview, far better to portray Yifrach, Shaar and Frenkel as “settlers” and political actors rather than Israeli kids trying to get home from class. This emphasis excuses the actions of Palestinian terrorists and attempts to ‘understand’ why they should wish to carry out a kidnapping, which now becomes the fault of the victims rather than the terrorists.

A later report included the following, which HonestReporting, after contacting The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont, was able to get amended:

As pointed out to Beaumont, the three teenagers did not live in “settlements in the southern West Bank.” Both Yifrach who hails from Elad near Petah Tikva, and Frenkel who lives inNof Ayalon near Modi’in, do not live in settlements. Shaar lives in the settlement of Talmon, which is not, however, located in the southern area of the West Bank.

The inaccurate line has now been removed.


According to CNN…

CNN, meanwhile, felt it necessary to add the following closing paragraphs in order to (unnecessarily) stress the centrality of settlements in the story:

The deployment of military assets to search for the teens, and the swift presumption of kidnapping, are a reflection of the tensions that exist between Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank.

The expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank has been a lasting point of contention in the region.

It has altered the map of the Palestinian territories, making it more difficult to draw a contiguous Palestinian state as part of any peace agreement, according to critics.

The highly contentious issue of Israeli construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek for a future state, has hurt peace efforts.


According to Sky News…

Sky News made sure to stress the “illegality” of the entire area of Gush Etzion:

The trio, one of whom is understood to be a US citizen, are students at a Yeshiva, or religious school, in Gush Etzion, a Jewish settlement bloc in the West Bank, deemed illegal under international law.

A correct assessment of the status of Gush Etzion would have stated that this is but one interpretation of international law and certainly not one accepted by Israel.


According to CSM…

The Christian Science Monitor takes an altogether different angle on the story and asks “Why were kidnapped Israeli teens hitchhiking in the West Bank?”

No one is questioning why they were hitchhiking late at night on a highway frequented by many Palestinians.

Shouldn’t the CSM be questioning the morality of kidnapping rather than focusing on hitchhiking? Not if you read this paragraph from the article:

With Israel’s track record of releasing Palestinian prisoners for kidnapped soldiers, such as the swap of 1,027 prisoners for Sgt. Gilad Shalit in 2011, many Palestinians advocate the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers or civilians asbargaining chips for justice.

“Bargaining chips for justice”?! There is no justice in swapping Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli jails for kidnapped Israelis coming home from school.

The (true) latest news…

THE LATEST FROM REUTERS: Israel said on Sunday that Hamas militants had abducted three Israeli teenagers in the occupied West Bank, warning of "serious consequences" as it pressed on with a search and detained dozens of Palestinians.

The two 16-year-olds and a third man aged 19, seminary students in a Jewish settlement bloc, disappeared on Thursday.

"These teenagers were kidnapped and the kidnapping was carried out by Hamas members," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters, referring to the Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip.

There has been no public claim of responsibility. Asked about Netanyahu's charge, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri stopped short of a clear denial or confirmation the group was involved.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who had mediated peace talks that Netanyahu called off after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to a power-sharing deal with Hamas in April, gave qualified backing to the prime minister's allegation.

"We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas’ involvement," Kerry said in a statement.

"As we gather this information, we reiterate our position that Hamas is a terrorist organisation known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past."

Since the three teenagers vanished, apparently while hitchhiking, the Israeli army has carried out house-to-house searches, round-ups and interrogations in the Palestinian city of Hebron and outlying villages.

Israeli troops used explosives to force their way into a Hebron home belonging to a Hamas-linked family after occupants did not admit them, said Palestinian witnesses, who also heard gunfire during the incident. They said two people inside were hurt and, along with a third man, were taken away by soldiers.

The army declined to comment, citing operational secrecy.

Earlier, the army said it had detained around 80 suspects overnight and would escalate the dragnet. Palestinian officials put the number seized by Israel so far at more than 100, including at least seven Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament and several people recently freed from Israeli jails.



Israel identified the seminary students as Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Sha'er and Naftali Frankel, who also holds U.S. citizenship. In their last communication, one of the three managed to phone police on Thursday night to report that they were being kidnapped, according to an Israeli security official. Israel says it does not know if the three are alive or dead.

"Naftali, your dad and mom and siblings love you endlessly, and you should know that the people of Israel are turning the world upside down to bring you home," Frankel's mother, Rachel, said in a televised statement outside the family home.

Thousands of Jews flocked to the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem on Sunday evening to pray for the teenagers' return.

Gilad Erdan, a minister in Netanyahu's security cabinet, told Israel's Channel 2 television that Abbas's security forces were "willingly" helping search for the teenagers. Palestinian authorities acknowledged the cooperation, drawing Hamas censure.

Erdan played down, however, the role of a Palestinian administration which Netanyahu wants world powers to pressure into dissolving the Abbas-Hamas pact. Recovering the teenagers and dealing with their captors would be "almost entirely based on the Israeli military and security services," Erdan said.

In broadcast remarks at a cabinet session held at Israeli military headquarters in Tel Aviv, where he has been overseeing recovery efforts, Netanyahu warned of "serious consequences". Speaking later in English, he pledged: "Israel will act against the kidnappers and their terrorist sponsors and comrades".

Dismissing Netanyahu's "stupid comments", Hamas's Abu Zuhri suggested the Israeli leader was trying to draw it into disclosing whether it was behind the teenagers' disappearance.

Palestinian militants have said they want to kidnap Israelis to win concessions from the Israeli government, and the current incident coincides with a hunger strike by some 300 Palestinian prisoners protesting against detention without trial.

More than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners were freed in 2011 in exchange for the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held captive in the Gaza Strip for more than five years.

Netanyahu said Abbas's alliance with Hamas had emboldened militants in the West Bank, where the U.S.-supported Palestinian leader's Fatah movement has held sway, and demanded he do "all that is necessary" to resolve the crisis. Kerry said Washington "encouraged full cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security services. We understand that cooperation is ongoing."


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