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July 4, 2019 4:23 am

Media Fails to Report the Arrest of Bahrain Palestinian Workshop Participant

avatar by Hadar Sela

Opinion

Jared Kushner, senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, addresses the Bahrain “Peace to Prosperity” summit in Manama, Bahrain. Photo: Screenshot.

While BBC coverage of last week’s economic workshop in Bahrain made much of the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s boycott of the event, audiences were not informed that a number of Palestinian businessmen did attend the conference. Neither, of course, did audiences learn what happened once those participants returned home.

Palestinian Authority security forces released Hebron businessman Saleh Abu Mayaleh late on Saturday night, after he had been detained upon his return from the economic conference in Bahrain.

According to Palestinian reports, the decision to release the businessman at 10:45 p.m. followed a threatening letter from the US Embassy. …

Palestinian sources said that the businessman, identified as 49-year-old Saleh Abu Mayaleh from Hebron, was arrested by the PA General Intelligence Service headed by Gen. Majed Faraj.

Ashraf Jabari, another businessman from Hebron who attended the workshop as a representative of The Palestinian Business Network, told The Jerusalem Post that Abu Mayaleh was arrested near his home on Friday, a day after he and the other Palestinians who attended the workshop returned home. According to 45-year-old Jabari, a total of 15 Palestinian businessmen attended.

Jabari told the Post that PA security forces raided the homes of three other Palestinian businessmen in an attempt to arrest them as well.

“The Palestinian security forces did not find them,” Jabari said. “They searched their homes and confiscated security cameras and documents. They told the families of the businessmen that they are wanted for participating in the Bahrain workshop.” Sources in Hebron said that PA intelligence officers raided and searched the home of businessman Ashraf Ghanmen, but he fled his home shortly before officers arrived.

Mr. Ghanmen gave an interview (in Hebrew and Arabic) with an Israeli radio station, and also (in English) with The Jerusalem Post:

“I’m afraid for my life,” Ghanem said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. “I can’t go back to my home.” …

“I’m now staying in a safe place,” Ghanem said. “I didn’t flee to Israel. I can’t move around because the Palestinian security forces took all my documents. I don’t have any money because they also took my credit cards. They even confiscated the security cameras from my home and searched the homes of my brothers.”

Ghanem said he had received threats from the PA security forces and Fatah officials in Hebron before he went to Bahrain.

“They told me I would be killed if I went to the economic conference in Bahrain,” he added. “In spite of the threats, I decided to go because I didn’t do anything wrong. Palestinian law does not ban anyone from participating in a conference.”

Obviously, that story does not fit into the BBC’s framing of the Bahrain conference — and neither does another one that was reported by MEMRI:

A video posted online on June 26, 2019, features a statement made by a group of armed and masked Fatah members from the town of Yamoun, in the West Bank. The men warn against “interacting and cooperating with the leaders of the Zionist entity” especially in its “economic enterprises.” They continued to say that they will strike with “an iron fist the necks of anyone” who sells out the Palestinian rights and anyone who participates in the Bahrain workshop. Those who attend the workshop have “opened the gates of Hell on themselves.” The Fatah members evoke the memory of the Black September organization and pledge that “Fatah’s gun is certainly capable of roaming the capitals of the world once again, in order to hunt down every single traitor and collaborator, and those engaged in normalization [of relations with Israel].” The Fatah members warn the “treacherous scoundrels among the Arab rulers” from cooperation with Israel as well.

While the BBC gave generous coverage to PA and PLO talking points throughout its coverage of the Bahrain conference — not least their claim to aspire to a “two-state solution” — the BBC has to date completely ignored those threats of violence and the PA’s intimidation of Palestinian citizens.

Hadar Sela is the Managing Editor of BBC Watch – an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

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