Overview of Guardian coverage of Israel: April 30th to May 27th 2012.

Last month we published a review of the Guardian’s coverage of events in Israel during April, highlighting the subjects it chose to address and – no less important – those it did not. Several readers suggested that this should become a regular exercise, so here is a breakdown of the subjects tackled during the period from April 30th to May 27th 2012. 

During that four-week period, 58 articles appeared on the ‘Israel’ page of the World News section on the Guardian’s website. Two of those actually appear twice, so in fact we are addressing 56 articles, eleven of which also appeared on the ‘Israel’ page of ‘Comment is Free’

Three items dealt with the subject of boycotts against Israeli targets whilst three others were obituaries. One article pertained to literature and one other was a video report in Jon Ronson’s series about ‘astroturfing’. 

Six articles dealt with the Iranian nuclear issue and two pertained to the subject of the British government’s reaction to a hypothetical Israeli military strike on Iran. 

Two articles speculating about early elections in Israel were followed by five articles about the Kadima party’s joining the coalition government. 

One article contained archive material concerning the Manchester Guardian’s coverage of Israel’s declaration of Independence in 1948 whilst four items dealt with the subject of events on Nakba Day 2012. Five articles were published on the subject of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike whilst a further four dealt with subjects which can be classified as carrying a theme of ‘Israeli authorities against Palestinians’. 

Two articles were connected to the subject of the Olympics – one concerning the IOC refusal to mark the Munich terror attack and the other about disabled Palestinian Olympians. Two items related to the Israeli TV series ‘Hatufim’ – one of which still carries the spelling mistake “Israeil” in its by-line. 

Four articles (three of which appeared on the same day) were about the subject of illegal migrants in Israel, one dealt with the subject of the Mavi Marmara flotilla and potential compensation arrangements and two articles can be classified as relating to ‘settlements’ or ‘settlers’. 

Six items appearing on the ‘Israel’ page have little if any connection to Israel, including one about the Hamas clamp-down on the ‘Palfest’ event in Gaza, one about Palestinian Authority actions against Palestinian journalists, one about human rights in Bahrain and another concerning Egypt and Saudi Arabia

So what did the Guardian choose not to report during the same period of time? A partial list includes the following: 

On April 30th a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip fell near the town of Sderot. (source)

On May 1st shots were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli soldiers engaged in routine activities on the Israeli side of the border fence. During the week May 2nd to May 8th, two rockets and one mortar fired from Gaza hit the western Negev.(source)

On May 3rd, two Palestinians carrying knives and explosives were arrested at Tapuach Junction. Later the same night, a Palestinian carrying a knife tried to infiltrate the village of Elon Moreh. 

On May 7th, Israeli soldiers thwarted an attempt to smuggle weapons through the Kalandia checkpoint. On the same day, a Palestinian carrying three pipe bombs was apprehended near Tapuach Junction. 

During the week May 9th to May 15th, one rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit the western Negev. On May 10th Egyptian security forces apprehended three vehicles containing weapons – including 40 anti-tank missiles – being smuggled from Libya. (source)

Also on May 10th, two Palestinians carrying pipe bombs and fire bombs were arrested by the Border Police near Tapuach Junction. 

On May 20th a Palestinian tried to stab a soldier at a roadblock. During the preceding month, three Israeli civilians were wounded in stabbing attacks. Information concerning the apprehension of a Ramallah area based terror cell which planned to abduct Israeli civilians was made public, including details of attempted kidnappings: 

“During March 2012 the cell tried to abduct an Israeli several times:

  • The afternoon of March 11, 2012: Members of the cell attacked an Israeli driver on the road between the village of Rantis and Kiryat Sefer (northeast of Ramallah), near Beit Arieh. They blocked the car and tried to drag the driver out, but he escaped.
  • March 12, 2012: Members of the cell attacked an Israeli woman driving along the road to the village of Ma’ale Lavonah in southern Samaria. They blocked the car and used various blunt objects in an attempt to shatter the front windshield. The driver escaped in her car.
  • The night of March 15, 2012: Cell operatives attacked an Israeli woman driving with her infant daughter from Givat Assaf (north of Ramallah) to Beit El. They blocked the car and shattered the front windshield but fled when another Israeli vehicle approached.
  • During March the cell tried to abduct Israeli civilian hitchhikers from the gas station at the village of Mishor Adumim, east of Jerusalem. They stopped their car and one of the Israelis almost got in, but a friend prevented him.”


In addition, incidents of rock-throwing at Israeli vehicles continued throughout the month. 

As we saw in the previous review, the Guardian’s coverage of Israel goes out of its way to avoid any mention of the daily threats posed to Israeli civilians. Whilst Guardian readers world-wide may now be familiar with the TV drama ‘Hatufim’ the paper does not inform them about real-life attempts to kidnap Israelis. The same readers now know all about the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, but little or nothing about the type of ongoing terror activities which lead to the arrests of Palestinians.  Whilst the subject of building in towns and villages beyond the ‘green line’ is covered, an attempt by an armed Palestinian to infiltrate one of those villages is ignored. 

Once again, the Israel-related news which Guardian editors elect to avoid telling their readers is no less significant than the stories they do choose to tell.  

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