The death of Hamas-affiliated Palestinian terrorist Bassam as-Sayeh, 47, in an Israeli hospital last Sunday received a considerable amount of attention from Arabic-language Western media outlets, which are often quite eager to amplify Palestinian Authority propaganda when dealing with such matters.
Having learned that as-Sayeh died of cancer, the outlets (AFP on Sep. 9, Independent Arabia on Sep. 9 and Sky News Arabia on Sep. 8) uncritically quoted Palestinian officials who leveled allegations at “the Occupation” (i.e, Israel) for “medical negligence”, “withholding treatment” and engaging in a “slow-motion execution” – though without providing any evidence of such conduct.
Even more telling was the fact that all three outlets ignored as-Sayeh’s conviction in an Israeli court for a series of terrorist acts, the most significant being his role in the murder of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin in October 2015.
The Itamar couple was gunned down in front of their four children while driving the family car, and As-Sayeh was found responsible for funding and authorizing the attack. While AFP and Independent Arabia mentioned his involvement as merely an Israeli accusation used to justify his “arrest” (thus omitting his conviction), Sky News Arabia – a venture between UK-based Sky News and UAE-based Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp – ignored his connection to the attack altogether:
“As-Sayeh was arrested in 2015, having been accused of participation in the shooting deaths of two Israeli settlers near the settlement of Itamar […]. The Israeli prosecution demanded that as-Sayeh be sentenced to life in prison.”
“Four years after the arrest of Bassam as-Sayeh under the accusation of killing two settlers near the city of Nablus, the latter has died after a long suffering from blood and bone cancer, [which lasted] since 2011.”
Ironically, the most decisive confirmation of as-Sayeh’s involvement in the Henkins’ murder appears in Hamas’ response, which was indirectly quoted by Independent Arabia:
“The ‘Izz ad-Deen al-Qassam battalions, the military wing of Hamas movement, has stated that Bassam as-Sayeh was one of its field leaders, and one of those who committed the ‘Itamar attack’ in October 2015.”
Research and writing by CAMERA Arabic. Edited by UK Media Watch.
(This post was corrected on September 18 as it originally mistakenly said that al-Sayeh died in an Israeli prison. In fact, he died in an Israeli hospital.)