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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

UPI Cites as Fact Disputed Figures for Arrests in Judea & Samaria

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By: Tamar Sternthal

With every new published item, UPI’s Adam Schrader continues to demonstrate that he is completely unfit to report on Israeli-Palestinian affairs. One of his latest articles, again picked up by McClatchy papers, cites as fact disputed Palestinian figures for the arrest of West Bank Palestinians since Oct. 7, 2023. The June 2 headline states as fact: “Nearly 9000 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank” (screenshot at left). To call UPI’s “nearly 9000” number “disputed” is being kind. At worst, the number is completely bogus.

Schrader repeats a figure close to 9,000 in the article’s second paragraph, stating: “The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, a nonprofit based in Ramallah, said Sunday on social media that a child was among ten people arrested during raids Saturday causing the number of people arrested by Israel [since Oct. 7] to rise to 8,995.”

According to Israeli sources, however, the number of West Bank Palestinians arrested on suspected terror offenses is less than half what Schrader reports.

The Institute for National Security Studies (scroll down to Swords of Iron Real Time Tracker and see slide 5), reported on June 12 that as of June 4, “about 4000” Palestinians from the West Bank and Jerusalem have been detained since Oct. 7. As of this writing — one week after the publication of Schrader’s story — the figure has climbed to “about 4,150” as of June 7, still well less than half what UPI had reported.

In addition, according to the Shin Bet (aka Shabak, or Israeli Security Agency), the total number of West Bank Palestinians arrested for all of 2023 plus 2024 doesn’t even add up to 9000. Shin Bet data indicates that the total number arrested in 2023 is 4584, and monthly reports for this year total 1384 arrests so far (with 424 in January, 259 in February, 261 in March, 235 in April and 205 in May).

Moreover, as Times of Israel reported: “Since [Oct. 7], troops have arrested some 4,000 wanted Palestinians across the West Bank, including more than 1,700 affiliated with Hamas.” (Emphasis added.) The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center also cites 4000 arrests of wanted West Bank Palestinians, including 1700 Hamas members, citing the Israeli military’s Telegram account (June 2, 2024).

Notably, Schrader says not one word about the fact that the figures reportedly include 1,700 Hamas members. Nor does he note that the arrestees are suspected of terror offenses. (The only reference to terror activity is the photo caption which uses scare quotes: “Israeli Police are seen responding to an incident involving a Palestinian ‘terrorist’ accused of planning an attack in Jerusalem.”) Ignoring the terror activity which ballooned in 2023, Schrader only quotes the Palestinian prisoners club citing the arrestees’ alleged innocence:

“This number includes those who were detained from homes, through military barriers, those who were forced to surrender under pressure, and those who were held hostage,” the nonprofit said in its statement.

Why does UPI state disputed Palestinian-provided figures as fact while completely ignoring much lower Israeli figures? Why does Schrader ignore that among the 4000 arrested terror suspects, per Israel’s information, there are 1700 suspected terrorists affiliated with Hamas?

In additional misreporting, Schrader’s first paragraph alleges that since Oct. 7, “thousands of people have been arrested in the West Bank by Israel forces as their homes were destroyed.” (Emphasis added.) Yet, there is zero evidence for the fact that thousands of homes belonging to West Bank arrestees have been destroyed.

To the contrary, according to the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Flash Update #172), just over two dozen homes were demolished for “punitive” reasons, while 149 involved permits violations:

Since 7 October, Israeli authorities demolished 330 Palestinian homes, resulting in the displacement of 1,993 Palestinians, including at least 870 children. Over half were displaced during operations by Israeli forces, mainly in refugee camps in and near Tulkarm and Jenin cities, 38 per cent (760) due to lack-of-permit demolitions, and eight per cent (159) by punitive demolitions. Since 7 October 2023, 149 inhabited homes have been demolished for lacking building permits and 28 on punitive grounds throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

In other words, of the 330 (not nearly 9000) home demolitions carried out since Oct. 7, only a tiny minority were related to arrestees.

Schrader’s entire article is devoted to specious charges alleging Israeli misconduct originating from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, Amnesty International and the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

These questionable allegations include the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society’s claim that the reported arrest of “80 journalists,” among them Rola Husnain, who routinely engages in incitement celebrating the murder of innocent Jewish civilians. “Every Jew on Palestine’s land is a [legitimate] project for killing,” tweeted journalist Husnain.

Schrader does not divulge Husnain’s repeated praise for the killing of Jews.

You don’t need to go as far as calling for mass murder to violate the basic principals of professional journalism. The Code of Ethics of the Society for Professional Journalists exhorts: “Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.” At no point in his grossly skewed article does Schrader turn to any Israeli source or official to respond to the charges against Israel alleging abuses, rape, arbitrary arrests and more.

Schrader is a graduate of the North Texas School of Journalism, which says it aims to “prepare students with ethical values.” The fundamental tenet of ethical journalism, according to SPJ’s code, is to “Seek Truth and Report It.” UPI’s Adam Schrader repeatedly subverts the truth, a huge ethical offense no less than a journalistic one.

(CAMERA.org)

UPDATE: McClatchy Again Pulls Schrader’s Story

In response to communication from CAMERA’s Israel office, McClatchy has commendably removed Schrader’s article from more than two dozen of its news sites, including the Miami Herald, Belleville News Democrat, and News Tribune, marking the fifth time this year it took this step with respect to the UPI reporter’s deeply problematic stories.

Tamar Sternthal is director of CAMERA’s Israel Office. She monitors both U.S. publications and English-language Israeli publications, and heads up CAMERA’s “Haaretz, Lost in Translation” project. Her columns have appeared in numerous American and Israeli publications, including the Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Ynet, Algemeiner, Philadelphia Daily News, St. Petersburg Times, and the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Sternthal is interviewed on radio about the media’s coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict and regularly participates in panels about the media, hosted by universities and think tanks in Israel. Twitter handle: http://twitter.com/TamarSternthal

 

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