During the evening of June 5, the Israel Defense Forces carried out an operation in the town of Jenin in Judea/Samaria during which “massive gunfire” was directed at IDF soldiers. The CNN report on the operation, coauthored by Abeer Salman and Kareem Damanhoury, serves as an illustration of journalistic malpractice by selectively quoting IDF statements in such a way as to hide the fact that a gun battle was underway.
The CNN piece describes the operation this way: “The IDF said ‘a violent riot was instigated’ during the operation and that ‘the rioters burned tires, hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails and explosive devices at the forces, who responded with riot dispersal means.’ The 16 wounded Palestinians were injured by bullets and shrapnel, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, and all were transferred to the hospital in Jenin.”
This description omits another key statement made by the IDF. As reported by The Times of Israel: “The IDF said clashes broke out, including ‘massive gunfire directed at troops,’ amid the demolition operation. According to Palestinian media reports, a man was killed and several others were injured in an exchange of gunfire with Israeli troops. The military said troops had returned fire at gunmen and rioters who hurled explosives at them” (emphasis added).
Were one to read only the CNN report, one would come away with no clue that the IDF soldiers were engaged in a gun battle, rather than simply a riot.
Notably, the IDF was not the only source CNN could have relied on for this information. As reported by The Jerusalem Post, “Video published by Palestinian media showed Palestinian gunmen exchanged fire with Israeli soldiers.” Some of those videos can be found on social media.
CNN’s story egregiously erased this context and selectively quoted the IDF to reinforce its misleading depiction of events that dramatically understates the level of violence Israeli forces encountered during the operation.
The failure to mention the intense gunfire is a particularly acute example of the Western media’s failure to report on the growing Palestinian violence and instability in parts of Judea/Samaria where the Palestinian Authority is, pursuant to the Oslo Accords, supposed to maintain order and security.
As recently explained by The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh: “First, the Palestinian Authority does not seem to be capable of—or willing—to confront the gunmen, who enjoy the support of the Palestinian public.”
“Second, the gunmen, especially those in the Jenin and Nablus regions, are being armed and funded by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas,” Toameh noted. “The leaders of the two Iranian-backed groups have made no secret of their desire to push Palestinians in the West Bank toward an armed confrontation with Israel. Several Fatah gunmen affiliated with the ruling Fatah faction headed by Mahmoud Abbas have no problem cooperating with Islamic Jihad and Hamas as long as the two groups are willing to offer them money and weapons.”
“Hamas and Islamic Jihad are hoping that the increase in shooting attacks and armed clashes against settlers and IDF soldiers will also contribute to the undermining of the Palestinian Authority’s control of the West Bank,” he concluded.
The failure to report on these developments and trends contributes to an incomplete understanding of events in Judea/Samaria. By reporting only on IDF operations, largely aimed at arresting suspected terrorists, without explaining the context in which these operations are taking place, audiences are left with only part of the story.
David M. Litman is a media and education research analyst at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).
This article was originally published by CAMERA.