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February 20, 2018

The Media Ignores Foiled Plot to Assassinate Israel’s Defense Minister

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman

Israeli authorities foiled a plot to assassinate Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, the Shin Bet security service said on Feb. 18, 2018. The Shin Bet’s remarks went widely underreported by major U.S. news outlets.

The Times of Israel reported that Israel’s domestic security agency, the Shin Bet, had arrested members of two different Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) cells ("Shin Bet Says it Thwarted Plot to Assassinate Defense Minister, February 18). One cell had planned to murder Liberman via roadside bombs. The other planned “shooting attacks against IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians in the Etzion Bloc of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria],” correspondent Tamar Pileggi said.

Six PIJ operatives were arrested in connection to the first plot. PIJ is a U.S.-designated terrorist group. As CAMERA noted in its 2016 backgrounder on the organization, PIJ receives extensive support from the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Shin Bet named Awad Mahmoud al-Asakra and Muhammad Ali Ibrahim al-Askara, both Bethlehem-area natives, as ringleaders of the cells. Both men had previously been convicted for plotting other terror attacks. The plan to murder Liberman was foiled “in the very early stages of planning,” the Shin Bet said.

The Times of Israel reported:

“The Shin Bet investigation also revealed that members of both cells were motivated by the Palestinian Authority’s benefits package awarded to the families of terrorists killed or jailed for carrying out attacks against Israeli targets.”

The paper also noted that Shin Bet’s announcement came on the heels of increased tensions “along the Gaza border,” including the wounding of four IDF soldiers by an improvised explosive device (IED) that same weekend.

Yet, most major U.S. news outlets failed to provide original reporting on the foiled PIJ plots. A Lexis-Nexis search of The Washington Post, USA Today, The Baltimore Sun, and Politico, among other newspapers, showed zero coverage of the Shin Bet’s remarks. By contrast, The Jerusalem Post, Ynet News, Ha’aretz, and Reuters all reported on the incident.

Liberman has been the subject of considerable media attention. The Washington Post, The New York Times, and USA Today have published profiles—often critical—of Israel’s defense minister. But they couldn’t devote column space to plans for his assassination.

Posted by SD at February 20, 2018 12:00 PM


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