A Guardian article by Middle East correspondent Bethan McKernan does a good job of reporting on the Palestinian Authority security personnel’s extra-judicial killing of Palestinian dissident Nizar Banat, and its aftermath. The piece (“Nizar Banat’s death highlights brutality of the Palestinian Authority”, Aug. 31) focuses on the PA’s culpability in his death and their consistent and often brutal crackdown on dissent – which is notable given how infrequently the Guardian covers human rights abuses by Palestinian leaders.
However, the article also includes this curious observation:
Distracted by the latest war in Gaza and a new government, Banat’s killing was barely noticed by Israel or the rest of the world.
First, Israel’s war against Hamas ended on May 21st and the new government was sworn in on June 13th. Banat was killed on June 24th. So, it’s unclear in what way either event is relevant. Moreover, McKernan’s claim that the killing was “barely noticed by Israel or the rest of the world” is simply not true.
But, did “the rest of the world” notice it?
Yes, they did.
Wire services, such as Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France Press published multiple articles on the killing and the subsequent Palestinian protests. Major US news outlets, such as the NY Times, the Washington Post, NBC News, ABC News, Fox News and CNN covered it as well.
In fact, far from being “barely noticed”, a Google search turned up more 266,000 hits for “Nizar Banat” – which included articles published internationally at outlets as divergent as the German DW and the Qatar-based al-Jazeera.
In fact, as we noted in a post at the time, it was the Guardian who “barely noticed” Banat’s murder.
Until this recent piece by McKernan, they only published one stand-alone article on the incident, on June 28th, four days after his death. This sparing coverage of the PA killing and crackdown on protests is especially notable given that (in addition to McKernan) they have a permanent Jerusalem correspondent with access to the Palestinian territories, and considering that they obsessively report on every alleged human rights abuse by Israel’s government or the IDF.
Perhaps McKernan’s claim that Banat’s death was “barely noticed in Israel or the rest of the world” was just a throw-away line used to suggest her Guardian piece deserves special credit for drawing attention to the injustice. But, either way, it’s a claim she doesn’t appear to have researched.