The kidnapping of the BBC’s Gaza correspondent, Alan Johnston, has seriously harmed Palestinian interests and has only one beneficiary, Israel.
On 12 March 2007 Alan Johnston, the British Broadcasting Corporation’s correspondent in the occupied Gaza Strip, went missing. According to a BBCreport, Alan Johnston’s car was found abandoned in Gaza City shortly after he left his office to drive home. It quoted a Palestinian police source as saying that four gunmen were seen in the vicinity of where Johnston’s car was found.
Although to date no one has claimed responsibility for Alan Johnston’s disappearance, and no conditions have been set or random demanded for his release, we have little doubt that he has been kidnapped. We give no credence to a report published in the Saudi-financed, London-based newspaper Al-Hayat on 4 April which said that Johnston may have staged his own kidnapping after he had received notice of his dismissal from the BBC. That report, widely quoted by the Israeli press, is highly suspect and does not deserve further comment.
We are no champions of the BBC whose coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is and has always been deeply flawed – superficial, Judaeo-centric and lacking context and historical perspective. In fact, an independentreview commissioned by the corporation’s own board of governors in 2005 concluded that BBC coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “incomplete” and “misleading”, and fails to adequately report the hardships of Palestinians living under occupation.
But that is not to say that the BBC always gets it wrong or that all BBC reporters are ignorant or biased. Indeed, one of the few areas where the BBC has faired better than its Western competitors is in its reporting of the plight of the Palestinian people in occupied Gaza where, for three years, Alan Johnston has done a heroic job in bringing the misery of Gazans to the eyes and ears of the world.
Alan Johnston has been one of a handful of Western reporters who have given the English-speaking world a taste of what it is like to live under the shadow of the racist, Zionist entity. His kidnapping is a crime in every sense of that word. It is a crime against an honest and courageous reporter, and it is a crime against the oppressed people of Palestine.
We cannot even begin to understand why Alan Johnston has been kidnapped. But there is only one beneficiary of this crime: Israel. Alan Johnston’s kidnapping has diverted attention away from Israel’s continuing settlement activities and human rights abuses in the occupied territories, and it has been a public relations disaster for the Palstinians.
Without a doubt, whoever kidnapped Alan Johnson is, in effect if not in actual fact, an agent or a collaborator of Israel. Whoever kidnapped him and an enemy of the Palestinian people.
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