Point-blank: US bias

Mohamed Salmawy
Saturday 27 May 2023

There may be nothing more indicative of the bias and lack of objectivity in US mainstream media than the case of Khader Adnan, the Palestinian political activist and political detainee who died in the Ramla maximum security prison after an 87-day hunger strike in protest of his detention without trial.


The Israeli occupation authorities had refused to put him under medical observation as is generally the case with prisoners who go on hunger strike.

For more than a week since his death was reported in the Arab press on 2 May, I scoured the US press for some coverage of the circumstances surrounding his death. I found little more than brief news items. I would have thought that at least the New York Times and Washington Post, ever vigilant over human rights in the Arab region, would give extensive coverage to Adnan’s case which features an entire gamut of human rights abuses of the sort that fill these newspapers’ columns when it comes to our Arab countries.

In addition to the refusal of the Israeli authorities to give the detainee proper medical care which is just one of the human rights violations Israel committed this was the sixth time he had been imprisoned under Israel’s policy of administrative detention. This is Israel’s tool for arbitrarily rounding up suspected political activists opposed to the occupation, which is another human rights violation. It is also a means to hold detainees for indefinite periods without filing charges.

Adnan was a member of the Palestinian Islamist Jihad (PIJ), but there is no evidence suggesting that he had ever resorted to violence or committed a crime punishable by law. Nevertheless he was held on the pretext of “preventive detention” which, in the framework of the administrative detention policy practised by Israel, is a means to avoid due process a fourth rights violation. It took no more than a warrant issued by a military court to place Adnan under preventive detention. He had never seen, nor would he ever see, a normal judicial process.

You would be mistaken to think that the rights violations stopped here. International human rights law also covers the body of the deceased and the right of his relatives to receive it so that they can bury it according to the rites of their faith. However, the Israeli authorities have refused to hand over Adnan’s body to his wife.

In fact, right in front of me as I write this, is a statement by an Israeli security official that appeared in the Israeli press saying that the Israeli authorities would not release his body because they planned to use it as a bargaining chip to secure the release of Israeli POWs in Gaza. Yet the US press mentioned nothing of these human rights violations, a subject that Washington generally utilises to its own political ends.

A version of this article appears in print in the 25 May, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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