Saturday, October 31, 2009

Debusmann shills for J Street, Walt and Mearsheimer

In a column appearing yesterday, Reuters' Bernd Debusmann promotes the new political lobby group J Street as an alternative to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and parrots the discredited claims of "political scientists" Walt and Mearsheimer to prop up his contention that support for Israel in the US Congress is due to AIPAC's "stranglehold":

Thanks largely to the enormous influence of AIPAC, which calls itself "America's pro-Israel lobby," criticism of Israel has been rare in Congress;

Debusmann's evidence for his assertion is...? [Silence] After all, it couldn't possibly be that the overwhelming support for Israel in the representative political body of the US is due to the overwhelming support for Israel in the US body politic? Nah, that would be just too facile for Debusmann's "analysis".

Debusmann then goes on to parrot another popular canard:

debate of U.S. policies towards the largest recipient [Israel] of U.S. economic and military aid even rarer.

According to the US Census Bureau, Israel placed tenth in US foreign economic aid in 2006 (the most recent year reporting), behind Iraq, Egypt and Jordan amongst others. Nice try, Bernd.

Israel was second in military assistance behind Iraq and of the approximately $2.3 billion provided, by law more than 70% of that money must be spent in the US, used to purchase military equipment from American firms and thus, directly benefiting the US economy.

For comparison, Egypt received almost $1.3 billion in arms from the US, and Saudi Arabia (which recycles just a small portion of the over $50 billion in petrodollars it collects from American consumers annually) will be spending over $2 billion on US weapons systems this year while it also benefits from de facto American defense guarantees. Debusmann has no comment on the power of the Arab lobby in the US.

Debusmann then tries to paint J Street as even-handed in its positions on the Middle East conflict:

J Street reacted to last December's Israeli attack on Gaza by criticising Hamas for raining rockets on Israeli civilians and Israel for punishing 1.5 million Gazans for the actions of extremists.

Here is what J Street actually wrote at the time:

Neither Israelis nor Palestinians have a monopoly on right or wrong. While there is nothing “right” in raining rockets on Israeli families or dispatching suicide bombers, there is nothing “right” in punishing a million and a half already-suffering Gazans for the actions of the extremists among them. And there is nothing to be gained from debating which injustice is greater or came first.

It was this absurd amorality, the incapacity or unwillingness on the part of J Street to distinguish between Palestinian efforts to murder Israeli civilians and Israeli actions to put a stop to those efforts that Rabbi Eric Yoffie was responding to when he called J Street "morally deficient".

Debusmann goes on to tout J Street as having successfully put to rest any doubt about their appeal to a select audience:

Still, the mood at J Street was upbeat. One of the reasons: an attendance that convincingly ended arguments whether there was an appetite for a left-wing organisation that shuns the reflexive Israel-right-or-wrong attitude of the established lobbies.

We would not disagree that J Street will have little difficulty attracting many (though not all) left-wing acolytes who, like the organization's Directors, are proponents of moral relativism. Unfortunately for J Street and Reuters, that list no longer includes others with the power to advance their anti-Israel agenda.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

More broken boilerplate

In a post on October 23, we noted how Reuters' Alistair Lyon paints Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as intemperate and intransigent in his negotiating position while the Palestinian position is presented as rational and reasonable. That view is obviously so entrenched at Reuters, they decide to recycle it today:

Netanyahu has, with evident distaste, bowed to U.S. pressure to talk of negotiating the creation of a Palestinian state, but only if it is demilitarized and if Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Here's a video of Netanyahu speaking at Bar Ilan University on June 14, 2009 where he called for a Palestinian state (begin 8:27):

The spitting and nausea is obvious, yes?

Now compare with PA President Mahmoud Abbas speaking to the Palestinian Youth Parliament on April 27, 2009:

Cool and conciliatory, yes?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reuters watches Kareem the bird, changes the channel on Farfur the mouse

Reuters' Joseph Nasr reports on the Palestinian version of Sesame Street airing in the West Bank:

The Shara'a Simsim version of the popular television programme teaches Palestinian children they can achieve their dream of an independent Palestinian state through tolerance, education and national pride -- and not anti-Israeli violence.

Although the television show ostensibly carries a message of personal responsibility for the Palestinians, Nasr can't resist taking a dig at Israel:

The show's Palestinian producers chose to make no reference to symbols of the Israeli occupation such as the West Bank barrier and the network of Israeli army checkpoints, which Palestinians say are sources of hardship.

And despite the message of "tolerance", no Israelis appear in the show. One would think that inclusion of characters who are Jewish and sympathetic would encourage Palestinian children to reconcile to the idea of peaceful coexistence with Israel but the Palestinian producers apparently feel otherwise.

Only in passing does Nasr mention children's television produced by Hamas:

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas has its own children's programme which has been criticized for urging kids to fight Israel.

Anyone who has watched the vile antisemitism and incitement to commit suicide and murder which is an integral part of Hamas programming for children in the Gaza strip will find Nasr's characterization a bit of an understatement.

Reuters as mouthpiece for Amnesty International

In a video appearing on the Reuters website, correspondent Gabriella Podimane promotes a new calumny report by Amnesty International accusing Israel of failing to provide enough water to Palestinians living in the West Bank (also Judea and Samaria). The first item of note is the headline above the video:

Video: Claim Israel curbs Palestinian water

Well yes, to the extent that there are specific agreements in place between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on water supply and sewage, there are "curbs" (a check or restraint according to our Merriam Webster dictionary). Nothing nefarious here, particularly as the linked response from the Israeli Foreign Ministry points out that the Palestinians have effective access to nearly 50 million cubic meters of water -- twice the amount allocated in the agreement between the parties.

But let's move beyond the headline into the video itself and Reuters mendacious anti-Israel propaganda.

Podimane begins:

Palestinians collect their daily water supply in the occupied Gaza strip.

Incredible. Israel withdraws every soldier, every last Jewish resident, every trace of an Israeli presence in Gaza in 2005 -- well, except for the greenhouses subsequently looted by the Palestinians -- and Reuters is still robotically referring to the territory as "occupied".


But these people are used to severe water shortages.

As are Israelis. Due to limited resources, several years of drought, rapid population growth, and water exports to Jordan, Israelis too are suffering from a water shortage. For example, the Israeli Water Authority indicates that Israeli access to water is currently 149 cubic meters per person per year, down from about 500 cubic meters per person per year in 1967. (During this same period, Palestinian per capita consumption has risen from 86 cubic meters to 105 cubic meters per year).

The Water Authority also reports:

The Palestinians, on the other hand, have significantly violated their commitments under the water agreement, specifically regarding important issues such as illegal drilling (they have drilled over 250 wells without the authorization of the joint water commission) and handling of sewage (The Palestinians are not constructing sewage treatment plants, despite their obligation to do so. Rather, they allow the sewage to flow unheeded into streams, polluting both the environment and groundwater).

None of this is mentioned by Reuters.

To further illustrate the water constraints under which Israel operates and the corresponding consumption limitations both Israelis and Palestinian Arabs are subject to, consider this UNESCO academic study (freely available online) which compares "water footprints" around the world. For the period studied, 1997 - 2001, the average national water footprint per capita in Israel was approximately 30% lower than that in Russia, 40% below levels in the US.

This is clearly a problem which affects all peoples in the Middle East and which Israel has been trying to improve via desalination (which the Palestinians have rejected for political reasons) and water imports.

Reuters is quick to parrot a contentious report from Amnesty International but AWOL when it comes to basic fact-checking.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Stack that deck!

In the first line of a story appearing today, the racists at Reuters tell us:

Israeli authorities demolished two Palestinian homes near Arab East Jerusalem on Tuesday, ignoring international concern about the practice.

Reuters frequently deploys the racially-loaded fiction, "Arab East Jerusalem", in an effort to demarcate the area and assign title to the Arabs. And by adopting the Arab historical narrative associated with the land, Reuters offers succor to the Palestinians in their claim to all of Israel as Arab territory.

Reuters then goes on to cite the Head of the UN Human Rights Council as calling for a halt to house demolitions in "East Jerusalem". This is the UN body "responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe", constituted by exemplary states like Jordan where Palestinian Arabs have been stripped of their residency and Jews are forbidden to own property, as well as Saudi Arabia where Jews are banned.

Reuters also quotes Adnan al-Husseini (identified as the Palestinian-appointed "governor of Jerusalem" but actually the PA adviser on Jerusalem affairs) insisting that the UN Security Council intervene to stop these "criminal actions". This, from someone who demands that the Western Wall of the Jewish Temple be under Muslim control -- obviously a thoughtful and authoritative source on matters of international law.

Finally, in a prominent example of the propaganda techniques of card stacking and appeal to pity, Reuters reports:

Statistics in a U.N. report published in May showed that 1,500 demolition orders issued by the Jerusalem municipality were pending for Palestinian dwellings built without permits. The report said that if the orders were implemented, about 9,000 Palestinians would be displaced.

What Reuters does not report is that over the last few years, Palestinian Arabs have built 6,000 homes in Jerusalem without permits and that as per a study at the time, the majority of illegal structures demolished between 1995 and 2001 were in the Jewish sector.

Just the usual oversight, we're sure.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Reuters, the illusionists

See if you can catch this masterful sleight of hand by Mohammed Assadi & Company...

Reuters quotes Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat speaking to Voice of Palestine radio:

The gap is still wide and Israel does not give a single sign of meeting its obligations under the road map, halting settlement activities and resuming negotiations where they left off.

I do not see any possibility for restarting peace talks in the near future, he said, in an assessment echoed by Israeli government officials.

Voila! The Palestinians blame Israel for the lack of peace talks -- and Israel agrees. There is no mention of the Israeli position (and de facto reality) that peace talks are suspended solely because the Palestinians have rejected them.

Having cited the Palestinian position that Israel has failed to meet its commitments under the Road Map and then making it appear as if Israel concurs, Reuters seeks to eliminate any lingering doubt in the mind of the reader by citing (in one-sided fashion) the Road Map:

The U.S.-backed peace "road map" of 2003, which charts a course to Palestinian statehood, commits Israel to halting settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

Reuters makes no mention of Palestinian obligations under the Road Map until the 7th paragraph:

Israel also accuses Palestinians of failing to meet their road map commitments to curb violence and incitement against Israel, notably by Hamas Islamists who control the Gaza Strip.

Incidentally, note how in his statement to Voice of Palestine radio, Saeb Erekat (no stranger to ruse de guerre, bald-faced lies, and malicious propaganda) deliberately conflates "resuming negotiations where they left off" with Israel's responsibilities under the Road Map as if Israel is compelled by the latter to comply with the former.

An adroit maneuver ably assisted by the illusionists at Reuters.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lies, damned lies, and Reuters reporting

In a story appearing today on the latest violent clashes between Palestinians and Israelis at the Temple Mount/al-Aqsa mosque compound, Reuters reverts to its traditional bias and selective reporting by omitting any mention of the incipient cause of the violence like Arab Muslim clerics inciting Muslims to "defend Jerusalem against Jewish conquest" (Haaretz) or Muslim youth "gathering rocks to throw and pouring oil onto the ground to hinder the access of security forces and the visitors" (Jerusalem Post).

Reuters correspondents and their editors do however, repeat one of their favorite canards about the cause of the last intifada:

A visit to the mosque compound nine years ago by Israeli right-wing leader Ariel Sharon was credited with sparking an Intifada, or uprising, by Palestinians. Five years of violence killed several thousand people and wrecked efforts toward peace.

Note the use of the weasel words "was credited" by Reuters' writers to evade responsibility for promulgating the slander themselves. As we have previously noted, Palestinian officials have acknowledged that the intifada was planned months in advance and not due to Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount. Here is what PA Communications Minister Imad Al-Faluji said in 2001:

"The Al-Aqsa Intifada emphasizes these principles and axioms. Whoever thinks that the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is wrong, even if this visit was the straw that broke the back of the Palestinian people. This Intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat's return from the Camp David negotiations, where he turned the table upside down on President Clinton. [Arafat] remained steadfast and challenged [Clinton]. He rejected the American terms and he did it in the heart of the US."

Apparently, even a public Palestinian admission of culpability is not enough to shake Reuters off its anti-Israel agenda.

Reuters then goes on to deploy another of its favorite fallacies:

Palestinian officials have complained that Israel is tightening its grip on the Old City and Arab East Jerusalem.

As demonstrated, "Arab East Jerusalem" is both a fiction and racially-loaded term which rewards the Arab Legion for their efforts to kill and ethnically cleanse all Jews from the eastern portion of Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967. The Arabs of course, refer to the area this way because it asserts their territorial claims.

Reuters of course, accommodates them.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Reuters on trial for aggravated bias in the first degree

Reuters "special correspondent" Alistair Lyon offers us his "analysis" on why President Obama's efforts to forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians has floundered. Lyon's editorial (Reuters would be less subject to opprobrium if it labeled its opinion pieces as what they really are) is riddled with falsehoods, unsupported assertions, errors of omission, cheap propaganda tactics, and egregious bias.

Exhibit I:

Skeptics point to a rightwing Israeli cabinet more focused on threats from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas than on making peace with Palestinians mired in rivalry between Islamist militants ruling the Gaza Strip and their Fatah foes in the West Bank.

How facile and convenient to have anonymous "skeptics" blame Israel for failing to engage the Palestinians in peacemaking. Much more difficult to abide by the Reuters Handbook of Journalism which affirms:

Good analysis is supported by the established facts or available data and rests on the use of named sources and the writer’s expertise.

Exhibit II:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has, with evident distaste, bowed to U.S. pressure to talk of negotiating the creation of a Palestinian state, but only if it is demilitarized and if Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Palestinians see this demand as prejudicing the claims to return or compensation of refugees displaced in the 1948 war over Israel's creation, and as undermining the status of Israeli Arabs who make up a fifth of its population.

Note how Netanyahu is characterized as begrudging and unwilling to compromise except under duress; his negotiating position left to twist in the wind. There is no explanation for example, of why Netanyahu considers it important that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, i.e., to permanently end the conflict on the basis of two states for two peoples -- a Jewish state and a Palestinian Arab state. By contrast, Palestinian rejection of Netanyahu's position is presented uncritically and indeed, rationalized on their behalf.

Exhibit III:

They, [the Palestinians] and many Arabs, are also aggrieved that Obama now asks only for Israeli restraint on expanding settlements, which are illegal under international law and threaten the viability of any Palestinian state, instead of the freeze he earlier sought.

Lyon's first assertion with respect to the legality of settlements is unsupported and actually false. His second assertion (settlements "threaten the viability of any Palestinian state") is also unsupported and in view of the fact that built-up settlements comprise less than 2% of the disputed territories, utterly ludicrous.

Exhibit IV:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose credibility has been strained by his own policy zigzags and vulnerability to U.S. pressure, rules out renewed negotiations before an Israeli settlement freeze, as mandated in a 2003 U.S.-backed peace plan.

Lyon omits any mention of Palestinian obligations in the same plan.

Exhibit V:

The Israeli government doesn't really want a settlement on the basis that most of the international community could support, let alone the Palestinians.

That's a quote from James Dobbins, director of the Center for International Security and Defense Policy at the RAND Corporation. What Lyon doesn't tell us is that Dobbins also signed a letter to President Bush in 2007 calling for "genuine dialogue" with the terrorist group Hamas. An unbiased source, we're certain.

Exhibit VI:

That goal [peace] has eluded several U.S. presidents and countless other mediators, even though conventional wisdom holds that the inevitable outlines of a two-state solution are now well-known.

Lyon goes from quoting anonymous "skeptics" earlier to "conventional wisdom" here. As a journalist, he's on a very slippery slope and sliding fast.

All in all, a transparent piece of one-sided propaganda masquerading as independent analysis.

Guilty as charged.

Reuters persists with racist reference

Reuters' Dan Williams and his editor Diana Abdallah tell us:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has made a resumption of peace negotiations with Israel conditional on a construction freeze in settlements in the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from Jordan in a 1967 war.

As Reuters correspondents continue to refer to the fictitious "Arab East Jerusalem", we'll continue to remind them of their racism and bias in violation of the Reuters Trust Principles.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Reuters: armchair shrink to the Palestinians

In a story today suggesting that Israel and the Palestinians may be close to resuming peace talks, Allyn Fisher-Ilan of Reuters reports notes divines that:

"Many Palestinians felt humiliated when Obama last month called for Israeli restraint on settlements rather than repeat his call for a freeze."

We wonder if Reuters correspondents can spare us the transparent appeal to pity or similarly share with us, how Israelis likely felt when Obama insisted they not build in their capital.

A study in deceit, part V

In our previous installment, we noted how Reuters accepts at face-value and conveys as indisputable truth, the Palestinian view that Jewish settlements in the West Bank (also Judea and Samaria) prevent the formation of a Palestinian state.  This, despite the fact that the presence of dozens of predominantly Arab/Muslim communities in what is today Israel did not prevent the formation of a Jewish state, and a historical record which reflects no proclivity on the part of the Palestinian Arabs for peaceful coexistence with a Jewish state -- even at a time when there were no settlements.

Reuters' Helen Long continues misinforming her audience:    

Whether their [Jewish settlement] construction is frozen or just restrained seems too fine a point for Palestinians to whom the fenced-off, red-roofed towns all over the West Bank are immovable facts on the ground that have been part of their lives for years.

A listener here would likely have the image of thousands of sprawling tract house communities traversing the West Bank when the reality of course, is that built-up Jewish settlements are contained within 2% of the disputed territories.

Reuters then segues to an interview with another Palestinian worker whose perspective Long paraphrases this way:

The idea that Israel will eventually leave the West Bank is wishful thinking.

Here's the actual (translated) quote by the Palestinian:

These are fanciful dreams about the Jews ever leaving.  The Jews will never leave.  What was taken by force will only be won back by force

Note that for this Palestinian as for many others like him, the issue is not -- as Reuters falsely characterizes it -- one of Israel leaving the West Bank but rather whether Jews are to live in the West Bank, or be forced out.  Just as they were forced out -- or more precisely, ethnically cleansed -- from the area after the Arab Legion invaded and conquered the territories in the 1948 war.

Though Reuters assiduously attempts to frame Palestinian Arab rejectionism and violence as a piece of "a yearning for an independent Palestinian homeland" and resistance to foreign "occupation", it is the ugly truth of Palestinian racism and antisemitism which reveals itself in Reuters otherwise carefully crafted presentation.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A study in deceit, part IV

Continuing with our examination of the Reuters video, "Palestinians build settler homes", following narrator Helen Long's serial false assertions, errors of omission, and pro-Palestinian bias, (this within the first 30 seconds of the video), we are introduced to one of the Palestinian laborers: Abu Said. Reuters translates Abu's sentiments for us:

These settlements prevent the formation of a Palestinian state. These settlements are a hurdle in the way of peace. There will never be peace while these settlements exist.

Assuming an accurate translation (perhaps a gamble where Reuters interpreters are involved), we now discover where Reuters gets its notion, averred at the top of the video, that "the building of new Jewish homes in the West Bank has long been a stumbling block to peace". You see, the Palestinians say so, and so it is -- for Reuters.

Abu appears not to ponder and Reuters does not question why Jewish communities in the West Bank "prevent the formation of a Palestinian state" while nearly exclusive Arab/Muslim communities throughout Israel -- dozens of them home to hundreds of thousands of Arab "settlers" -- like Umm al-Fahm and Tira did not prevent the formation of a Jewish state (although of course, not for a lack of trying).

Abu also seems unaware -- and Reuters willingly obliges his naivete -- that between 1964 when the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded, and the end of the war in 1967 when Israel liberated the West Bank from Jordanian occupation, there were no Jewish settlements (and no Jews) in the territory and yet there was no call by Yasser Arafat or other Palestinian leaders for a Palestinian state in the West Bank.

There was only this call:

The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which are substitutes for the total liberation of Palestine and reject all proposals aiming at the liquidation of the Palestinian problem, or its internationalization.

Part V to follow.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Turkish TV airs blood libel propaganda; Reuters buys the popcorn

State-run TRT 1 television in Turkey recently aired a new fictional series dramatizing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Amongst other horrendous scenes is one of an Israeli soldier deliberately shooting a baby being held up by his father. Though Reuters' Sangwon Yoon acknowledges that Israeli newspapers, academics, and politicians are appalled by the incitement and antisemitism betrayed by the show, Reuters embeds an 11-minute YouTube clip for its AxisMundi Jerusalem audience.

We eagerly await Reuters next feature attraction, The Eternal Jew.

Off to a good start!

That's a quote from the Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, with which Reuters leads a story on today's nuclear powwow between Iran and Russia, the US, and France. Er, strike that; Iran has refused to negotiate with France as the former claims the latter "has failed to deliver nuclear materials in the past".

And to demonstrate the seriousness with which it views the talks, Iran sent only "a lower-level technical delegation" to Vienna. Oh by the way, did we mention that Iran issued an ultimatum prior to the meeting that it would purify uranium to yield the 150-300 kg of material it needs for its nuclear reactor "if the Vienna talks do not bring about Iran's desired result." Then there's this vote of confidence:

Tehran has also denied Western accounts that it had tentatively agreed to major aspects of the proposal in Geneva.

And finally, this from Iran's nuclear energy agency spokesman, Ali Shirzadian:

We will never abandon our right (to enrich).

One has to hand it to Reuters: they actually report all of the above while spinning it madly to appear that all is well.

If it wasn't so deadly serious, it might be amusing.

A study in deceit, part III

In our second installment of "A study in deceit", we noted how Reuters both adopts and deploys the term "occupied" territories to arbitrarily assign ownership of the land in the West Bank (also Judea and Samaria) to the Palestinian Arabs when in fact, the territory remains formally unallocated to any nation or people and a portion of the land is privately owned by Jews having been purchased from its previous Arab owners or in some cases, the Ottoman authorities.

In the case of the story presented in the Reuters' video, the narrator takes care not to identify the featured community, saying only:

Many of the settlements like this one [panoramic footage of community] near Bethlehem are built by Palestinian workers.

As the community goes unnamed, the video does not enable us to assess the history of ownership of the land; however, the companion article appearing on Reuters' website on the same day refers to the settlement of Elazar which is part of the community of Gush Etzion. As we noted previously, Gush Etzion was founded in the modern era in 1927 by a group of Yemenite Jews and re-established several times following violent attacks and destruction at the hands of neighboring Arabs.

Thus, it may be that the community featured sits not only on land formally unallocated per international law, but on land as well which was acquired nearly a century ago; land that has been cultivated, developed and redeveloped over the last 80 years not by Palestinian Arabs -- but by Jews.

A possibility Reuters conspicuously fails to mention.

Part IV to follow.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A study in deceit, part II

In part I of "A study in deceit", we demonstrated the fallacy of Reuters assertion in the opening moments of its video that, "the building of new Jewish homes in the West Bank has long been a stumbling block to peace". In the very next line of her report, Helen Long suggests:

Palestinian leaders say there can be no resumption of talks until Israel stops building on occupied land. Something successive Israeli governments have refused to do.

Almost too swift and artful to notice, Long goes directly from paraphrasing Palestinian leaders in the first sentence to adopting their narrative as fact in the second sentence. The problem being of course, that the characterization of land in the West Bank as "occupied" is at best, tendentious, and the assertion that successive Israeli governments have refused to stop building in these areas is simply false.

On the first point, the formal legal definition of "occupied territory" with respect to sovereign rights and responsibilities is drawn from the Geneva Conventions which apply solely to land won in war with a sovereign state -- not territory which, as in the case of the remnant of the Palestine Mandate, has yet to be allocated to any nation.

Moreover, as we demonstrated in our post "Misplaced Authority", the UN-adopted Mandate for Palestine (still formally in effect) does not prohibit -- indeed, actually encourages -- Jewish settlement in all areas of the original Mandate including what is today commonly referred to as the West Bank.

Finally, while the Palestinian Authority has decreed death to anyone selling land or homes in the West Bank to Jews, a significant proportion of land where Jews have settled has in fact, been purchased from private (Arab) owners. Apparently, Reuters considers this too, "occupied" land.

On the second point regarding Israel's alleged intransigence on settlements, Reuters ignores periods when Israel either unilaterally dismantled settlements (as in Gaza under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon), temporarily froze settlement-building (as in 1978 under a previous Likud government) or offered to dismantle settlements (as in 2000 under Ehud Barak). None of these concessions brought peace to Israel.

Part III to follow.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A study in deceit, part I

In late September, we commented on a story Reuters ran about Palestinians working on a building site in the Jewish community of Beitar Illit. We recently came across a companion video Reuters produced at the time which ostensibly includes footage of the same community and interviews with the Palestinian laborers.

The 1 minute 48 second video parallels the storyline of the original article but provides additional insights into just how mendacious Reuters is in its reporting on the Middle East conflict.

Helen Long of Reuters begins by averring that,

The building of new Jewish homes in the West Bank has long been a stumbling block to peace.

This assertion has been recited in hypnotic fashion so frequently by Reuters and other Palestinian advocates, it is now accepted as an article of faith but let's stop the action here for a moment and consider whether it is actually consistent with the historical record.

Quite apart from the fact that Jews have been building and living in the area commonly known as the "West Bank" (also, Judea and Samaria) for centuries*, one need only look at the period from 1949 to 1967 to see that Long's assertion is patently false. For during this 18-year period, Jordan ruled the entirety of the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem -- Jews were ethnically cleansed and settlements were prohibited -- and yet the Arabs refused to make peace with Israel.

Even if one assumes that Long is referring specifically to the Palestinian Arabs, the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded in 1964, three years prior to the war which left Israel victorious and made it possible for Jews to return to the West Bank and Old Jerusalem. Thus, it could not be (then non-existent) Jewish settlements the Palestinians were intent on violently expelling, but rather a Jewish sovereign anywhere in the region.

Ironically, as recently as 1993 when the Oslo Accords were signed between Israel and the PLO, Yassir Arafat did not demand a halt to, or dismantling of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Contrary to popular mythology, the Accords contain no ban on settlements.

Part II to follow.

*Photo of the remains of the Jewish fortress Beitar, destroyed circa 2nd century AD, 6 miles from Beitar Illat

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Does Reuters read the news?

But we must also tell the truth in its entirety: within this homeland lives a large Palestinian community. We do not want to rule over them, we do not want to govern their lives, we do not want to impose either our flag or our culture on them. In my vision of peace, in this small land of ours, two peoples live freely, side-by-side, in amity and mutual respect. Each will have its own flag, its own national anthem, its own government. Neither will threaten the security or survival of the other.

That's a direct quote from Binyamin Netanyahu's speech at Bar Ilan University on June 14, 2009. Millions watched or listened to it live; millions of others read the transcript the same evening.

Apparently, Reuters was catching some winks.

In a story today about the UN Human Rights Council meeting to consider the Goldstone report on the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza earlier this year, Reuters' Laura MacInnis writes:

"The text calls for the U.N. General Assembly to consider the Goldstone report and for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to review Israel's adherence to it. That would keep up pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who Washington is trying to convince to commit to a "two-state solution" that previous Israeli governments have signed up to."

While they're getting some kip, will someone please order a subscription to The Daily Telegraph for Reuters?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just just peace

In a story today on a rare public appearance and speech by PA President Mahmoud Abbas before his constituency, Reuters' Douglas Hamilton is apparently disheartened that Abbas has not done more for the Palestinian Arabs:

"But Abbas may have left it very late. During his tenure there has been no progress toward a just peace with Israel and the creation of a Palestinian state."

Well, no progress aside from the extraordinary offer made to Abbas by former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert. From the linked WaPo article:

In our meeting Wednesday, Abbas acknowledged that Olmert had shown him a map proposing a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank -- though he complained that the Israeli leader refused to give him a copy of the plan. He confirmed that Olmert "accepted the principle" of the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees -- something no previous Israeli prime minister had done -- and offered to resettle thousands in Israel. In all, Olmert's peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of Bush or Bill Clinton; it's almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further. Abbas turned it down. "The gaps were wide," he said.

We agree that Abbas may have left it very late; we're just curious how Douglas Hamilton would define a "just peace" and what place his characterization has in a "take no side" news story.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Heller dessert topping

Following the numerous errors of commission and errors of omission which went into his cake-baking effort earlier today, Reuters' Jeffrey Heller seeks to ice his cake with a report on Binyamin Netanyahu's policy speech at the opening session of the Israeli parliament.

After quoting Netanyahu as saying:

"There is no alternative to Palestinian leaders showing courage by recognizing the Jewish state. This has been and remains the true key to peace",

Heller retorts on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs with:

"He [Netanyahu] made no mention of a main issue holding up a return to talks on Palestinian statehood -- building in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank that Palestinians say must stop in accordance with a 2003 peace "road map."

While Heller takes note of that which he believes was conspicuously missing from Netanyahu's comments, we take note of what was conspicuously missing from Heller's editorial, namely, that the Palestinian Arabs have failed to meet their commitments under the same Road Map plan. As a reminder, the Road Map stipulates that at the outset of Phase I:

All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel,


Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.

Not only has the above not occurred but at its most recent party congress, PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party officially endorsed the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades as the "military wing" of the party. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is a terrorist group designated as such by the US, Europe, and Canada.

Heller also continues to insist (on behalf of the Palestinians) that Jewish settlement-building is "holding up" peace talks but as we noted the obvious here, the decision on whether or not to return to negotiations rests entirely with Mahmoud Abbas. No one and no thing is preventing him from doing so.

Reuters bakes a cake with a recipe for trouble

Reuters' Jeffrey Heller serves up a report today on a statement by Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu at the latter's weekly cabinet meeting. Netanyahu referred to recent violence at the Temple Mount/al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem and issued an appeal to Israeli Arabs to not be provoked by lies that Israel intends to dig under the Temple Mount.

In his story, Heller refers to the violence but exclusively within the context of Palestinians confronting Israeli police. There is for example, this line:

"Tensions in Jerusalem have risen over the past few weeks after Israeli police and Palestinian protesters clashed near al-Aqsa in the walled Old City on the eve of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur late last month."

And this line:

"In last month's violence, small groups of Palestinian stone-throwers confronted Israeli forces, and Israel banned the Israeli Arab head of a fundamentalist Islamist movement from Jerusalem, saying he was inciting violence."

Nowhere in his story, does Heller indicate that immediately antecedent to clashes with police, these same Palestinian Arabs had taken to stoning Jews who had come to tour the Temple Mount. One might think this tidbit essential to fully assimilating the cause and implications of the clashes but for Heller and Reuters, it is discardable scrap.

Heller does add to the mix, the spicy canard that the last Palestinian intifada (violent uprising) resulted from Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount in 2000. A canard we debunked here.

And of course, it wouldn't be a "Heller" cake if for good measure, the correspondent neglected to toss in the stale and rancid filler "Arab East Jerusalem" which we have discussed here and here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Take no side, tell all sides*

Following the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama, Reuters hits the pavement to gauge sentiment in the Middle East from Gaza to Iran. Though mixed overall, opinion is decidedly negative in Gaza with featured responses like this quote from Jehad Al-Rayes:

"He does not deserve anything. He deserves to be brought to trial just like the Jews on charges of war crimes. He backs Israel and whoever backs Israel is a partner in the crime."

We would have liked to compare this view with that of an Israeli but alas, Reuters doesn't interview any.

*From Reuters Handbook of Journalism.

Beautifying Hamas

Reuters correspondents fancy that beauty is in the eye and with a bit of concealer and rouge, even the most horrific terrorist can be made presentable.

In "Gaza militants say Hamas stops their rocket fire", Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams want us to know that Hamas has been enforcing law and order in Gaza, preventing other terror groups from firing rockets at Israeli civilian communities to otherwise "avenge Israeli fire on Gaza and to show solidarity with Palestinian protests over a contested Jerusalem shrine".

Not only that, but Hamas police have even blocked Islamic Jihad street rallies and arrested members from IJ. All very respectable for Hamas which is "deeply conservative" in Reuters' parlance but willing to enter into a "long-term truce with Israel". There are even unnamed Israeli defense officials who "have credited Hamas" with the "tapering off" of rocket attacks from Gaza.

Quite a makeover.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We needed a laugh...

Hamas has banned women from riding motorcycles and scooters in Gaza. Spokesman Ehab Al-Ghsain told Reuters:

"We have taken a series of decisions to limit accidents and avoid loss of lives."

There is of course, the irony of Hamas reportedly being concerned with public safety, but what got us smiling was this line:

"In a decision which would raise eyebrows in Rome or Rio de Janeiro, the Interior Ministry said it was banning women from riding two-wheelers or being pillion passengers to limit accidents and to "protect community values."

Must have been the comparison between Gaza and Rome.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The media is the message

In our post Reuters needs a GPS, we highlighted Reuters fabrication of the fictitious city of "Arab East Jerusalem" for propaganda purposes. Reuters is also well-known for publishing photos that are doctored, staged, and dubiously void of content.

It is this last piece of journalistic malfeasance that is most often practiced by Reuters and egregious, i.e., employing photos that omit essential content, thereby advancing Reuters editors' own (biased) perspective while depriving its audience of the necessary information to draw considered conclusions on the conflict.

Note for example, how this series of photos appearing in a Reuters' story about recent violence perpetrated by Palestinians against Jewish worshippers in Jerusalem contains only images of, 1) an Israeli soldier firing tear gas, 2) an Israeli soldier aiming his rifle, 3) an Israeli soldier holding a Palestinian youngster in a headlock, and 4) Israeli police apparently whisking away a Palestinian described as being suspected of stabbing an Israeli soldier.

No photos of course, of Palestinians throwing rocks (or the wheelbarrow loaded with those rocks); no photos of Palestinian violence directed at Jewish worshippers on the Temple Mount; and no photos of the Israeli policeman stabbed in the neck by the Palestinian pictured.

Yet another illustration of the one-sided match always on the tube at the Reuters Middle East network.

The dream-weavers at Reuters

In an effort to affix blame to Israel for the years of horrendous bloodshed otherwise known as the Palestinian "intifada", Reuters' writers frequently assert that Palestinian violence occurred as a spontaneous response to Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount/al-Aqsa mosque compound in September of 2000. Douglas Hamilton today writes:

"He [Mohammad Dahlan] compared the week's events to violence that erupted after Israeli right-winger Ariel Sharon visited the site in 2000, triggering a Palestinian uprising against Israel."

Quite apart from the puerile reference to Sharon as a "right-winger", Hamilton is again misrepresenting the historical facts behind the cause of the intifada. Here's what PA Communications Minister, Imad Al-Faluji said in March 2001:

"The Al-Aqsa Intifada emphasizes these principles and axioms. Whoever thinks that the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, is wrong, even if this visit was the straw that broke the back of the Palestinian people. This Intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat's return from the Camp David negotiations, where he turned the table upside down on President Clinton. [Arafat] remained steadfast and challenged [Clinton]. He rejected the American terms and he did it in the heart of the US."

A direct quote from an authoritative Palestinian source. Yet Reuters' writers persist in spinning a yarn at every opportunity. Irresponsible, unprofessional, and unethical journalism pure and simple. A clear violation of Reuters Trust Principles as well as the tenets of its Handbook of Journalism. Where is Dean Wright? Where is David Schlesinger?

For shame.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Reuters needs a GPS

The cartographers at Reuters are at it again and would like us to know that:

"Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in a 1967 war and annexed it as part of its capital in a move never recognized internationally. Palestinians want the city as capital of a future state."

Perhaps Reuters can refer its readers to a single authoritative map which delineates the "city" of "Arab East Jerusalem".

Even the Palestinian National Authority is a bit lost.

First draft

Over the weekend, Reuters looked at the possibility of a third Palestinian Intifada and penned this analysis:

JERUSALEM -- Palestinians have refused to restart peace talks with Israel even as they riot and stone Jewish worshippers at Jerusalem’s holy sites, but for all the mounting fear in Israel, talk of a Third Intifada seems premature to most Palestinians.

A week after Israeli forces clashed with hundreds of Arabs who were incited to violence by Muslim leaders who commanded them to “defend the al-Aqsa mosque”, there were riots again on Sunday and tension will remain high this week during holidays that draw Jewish worshippers to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

After the violence the previous Sunday, Israeli leaders accused Palestinians of trying to sink U.S. President Barack Obama's efforts to relaunch peace talks and compared the riots to those that followed a visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000 by soon-to-be Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Those riots quickly evolved into the Intifada, a violent uprising which Yassir Arafat and senior Palestinian officials had been planning for months.

However, analysts and officials in the disputed territories and Jerusalem cited a number of factors likely to curb renewed violence in the near term, despite Palestinian hostility directed at new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jews who have the gall choose to live in the disputed territories.

"There is a state of disengagement between the people and its political leadership so the Palestinians are not ready to commit suicide as they did before," said Zakaria al-Qaq of al-Quds University.

"At the same time there is a build-up of anger that is waiting for the spark. No one can predict when the spark will come. But it could take years yet." Factors mentioned include disillusionment that due to the Israeli security barrier, Palestinians have been unable to improve on the over 7,000 Israelis murdered and maimed during the years of the uprising while Israel’s need to protect its citizens has meant a reduction in access to the Israeli job market for Palestinians.

The schism that has seen Islamist Hamas seize the Gaza Strip and being suppressed in the disputed territories by new, Western-trained security forces loyal to Holocaust-denier and Munich massacre mastermind Mahmoud Abbas is also likely to limit organized violence from the disputed territories against Israel. Shucks!

While Netanyahu has limited options in pressing Abbas for a peace deal, few see him turning to an acceptance of the kind of suicide bombings and other attacks seen under Abbas’ late predecessor Yasser Arafat.

Well-planned riots among mobs incited by Muslim leaders may be more likely. Mohammad Dahlan, a senior figure in the “young terrorists” block of Abbas's Fatah party and former terrorism facilitator, said he was wary that a new uprising would only harm Palestinians: "If Netanyahu believes he wants to maintain a Jewish sovereign in the Middle East, to allow Jews to live in the disputed territories and then expect peace from us, then this will not be acceptable," Dahlan told Reuters.

"We may resort to popular action or civil action. We have an open mind on all legitimate methods permitted by international law, Human Rights Watch, and Richard Goldstone. But we won't push the Palestinian people into a disaster."

Political analyst George Giacaman of Birzeit University in the disputed territories said: "If there is no meaningful political track on a specific timeline, a political vacuum will be created. "This will be filled by deadly violence of some kind."

Israeli police hauled away terrorists-in-training, some only in their early teens, after they threw stones and bottles at Jewish worshippers in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday. But the new generation, successors to the young men who spearheaded the Molotov cocktail-throwing of the First Intifada of the late 1980s and to the gunmen of nearly a decade ago, seem divided.

"Israel is fueling tensions that will explode later," said Raed Abed, a 17-year-old student in the second holiest city for Jews, Hebron. "No one can predict what will happen."

But his schoolmate Husam Sameh forecast no explosions for now: "Enough of fighting. We need to live in peace for awhile. We cannot fight Israel now. We are so weak," he said. "Still, the question is whether the Palestinians are ready for peace."

Analyst Hani Masri said well-planned and incited demonstrations that turn into riots like those this past week in Jerusalem may become more common. But he said: "The wariness among the people about deploying deadly force is greater than before, following the huge losses they suffered in the Second Intifada. "Israel has responded to the Second Intifada by building the security barrier and to avoid making suicidal concessions. Palestinians should not give them this excuse again."

Samir Awad, a political science professor at Birzeit University, said: "It would be a mistake to expect a popular wave of protest. I cannot see it happening. "But if Jews insist on living in homes they own in Jerusalem, we may expect clashes arising from religious and patriotic emotion."
Yup, that was just parody -- albeit nearer to reality than Reuters actual "analysis" here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A tale of two tales

Compare this line:

"Israeli police shut a compound housing Islam's third holiest site..."

with this line:

"Israeli security forces had beefed up security as Jews attended prayers for the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles holiday at the Western Wall, a remnant of an ancient temple seen as Judaism's holiest site..."

and you get an idea of the lengths to which Reuters' writers will go to to avoid being even-handed in their reporting on the Middle East conflict.

Both lines are drawn from a story today on new violence at the Temple Mount/al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem. Note how Reuters' writers simply, declaratively, characterize the mosque as "Islam's third holiest site" while tying themselves into knots to avoid the same straightforward reporting when referring to the Temple Mount.

Judaism's holiest site is the Temple Mount itself -- not the Western Wall -- where Jewish worshipers must now be escorted by police to protect them from Arab stonethrowers, and "an ancient temple" (in Reuters' parlance) actually refers to the Jewish Temple built on the Mount and destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

As we pointed out in our previous post on the matter, these distinctions are not simply semantic; they are at the core of the conflict between the Jews of Israel and the Muslim Arabs. And Reuters writers and editors well understand this. Yet, they repeatedly revert to form by employing language clearly intended to assign ownership ("Arab East Jerusalem") and unquestioned religious significance ("Islam's third holiest site") where Arab/Muslim claims are involved while undermining the claims of Jews to ownership ("annexed as part of its capital in a move not recognized internationally") and religious significance ("seen as Judaism's holiest site").

R-MEW scoops Reuters

Well, it took a story from the New York Times for Reuters to finally get around to reporting that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has concluded that "Iran has acquired sufficient information to be able to design and produce a workable” atom bomb.

Of course, we reported on this development as an update to our post "The Elephant in the Room" on September 18 following the original disclosure in an article by the Associated Press the same day.

We imagine that Reuters must have been waiting for one of the two Mohamed elBaradeis to get around to endorsing the IAEA conclusion but regrettably, that elBaradei appears to be on holiday in Iran while the other, less confrontational elBaradei apparently "cannot make any judgment at all" on the evidence.

Ah, the dilemmas of a Reuters' managing editor!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Iran speaks; Reuters parrots

Peruse almost any Reuters story on the Iranian nuclear program and you will spot something along the lines of what Parisa Hafezi writes here:

"The West suspects the Islamic state is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists it needs the nuclear technology to generate power to meet booming domestic demand."

Now, we know that Reuters correspondents are not investigative reporters -- aye, we know that too well. But given its position as the world's largest international news agency and a staff of over 100 Middle East correspondents, writers, and editors, one would think that Reuters could take a more informed and critical view of Iran's repeated and hollow defense that it is only pursuing a nuclear program to generate electricity.

For example, it required only about five minutes for us to do an internet search and locate the following informative graphic comparing Iran's electricity generation with consumption between 1984 and 2006.

One can see that while electricity consumption has been rising over this period, electricity generation has been increasing at an even faster pace such that the gap between production and demand has actually been widening in favor of production. This, absent any nuclear power generating stations in the country.

So while on the surface it may be true that Iranian demand for electrical power is growing, it is an incomplete truth and patently misleading to suggest (or uncritically parrot) that this is the reason Iran is intent on pursuing a nuclear program.

If it's the weekend, there must be a football match

Once again, Reuters writers resort to banal labeling of, natch, only Israeli leaders. In a report today which cites Egyptian President Mubarak urging Israel to enter into "final status" negotiations with the Palestinians, Reuters' Alastair Sharp writes:

"Netanyahu, a right-winger who took office in March, has made clear he does not wish to repeat any such offers that Olmert may have made."

No similar tagging (in fact, no political tagging at all) is attached to either Mubarak or PA President Mahmoud Abbas, both of whom are mentioned several times in the story. Yet, Abbas' status as a political reactionary is plain to see with his refusal to enter into peace negotiations with Israel failing an end to all building in the disputed territories (including the eastern portion of Jerusalem) and apparently, a new demand that:

"Israel must honor agreements on borders and Jerusalem that he [Abbas] says its previous government made in talks last year."

Oh my; intransigence and further demands from that political "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas.

In future, Reuters may wish to think about leveling the playing field in their match reporting.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Credit where credit is due

The mission of Reuters-Middle East Watch (R-MEW) is, as stated under our banner, to expose errors, bias, and propaganda in Reuters Middle East reporting. In just over a month that we have been on-line, we have examined more than 40 Reuters or Reuters partner articles published on its various websites. We have been critical when Reuters' writers and editors err on the basic facts, cherry pick or omit essential information, incorporate inaccurate or inflammatory material, slant their stories to portray one side in a favorable light while demonizing the other, and employ crude propaganda techniques to influence their audience.

We also want to acknowledge Reuters' writers and editors when they publish what we consider a reasonably balanced story. " Israel, Palestinians buoyed by video-prisoner swap" by Douglas Hamilton is one such example. The reporting is still flawed; Hamilton indicates for example, that the swap consisted of Israel receiving a video of Gilad Shalit in exchange for the release of Palestinian women "serving jail terms under two years". In fact, the jail terms reflect the time remaining of the original sentences and Hamilton does not mention that most of the twenty women were imprisoned for attempted murder. This missing information would certainly provide readers with a fuller picture of the severity of the crimes and the lopsided nature of the exchange. On the whole however, Hamilton's story is, as we say, reasonably balanced and certainly an improvement over many previous efforts.

We look forward to further quality gains.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Reuters quotes one Mohamed ElBaradei, ignores the other

In a "TIMELINE" appearing today on its website, Reuters provides a history tracing important political developments in Iran's nuclear program over the last two years. In its only reference to the Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, Reuters writes:

"September 2 - Mohamed ElBaradei, outgoing director-general of the IAEA says Iran is not going to produce a nuclear weapon any time soon and the threat posed has been exaggerated."

Now, we admit that ElBaradei holds compelling views on the matter. In May of 2006 for example, he argued that Iran was not an immediate nuclear threat. Yet by June of 2008, he had indicated that by expelling IAEA inspectors, Iran could build a nuclear bomb in six months to one year. Then, in September 2008, ElBaradei stated that he could not "read minds" as to whether Iran would build a nuclear weapon. Yet in June 2009, ElBaradei admitted to feeling that Iran would like to have nuclear weapons, " send a message to their neighbors, to the rest of the world: don’t mess with us". This was followed by his quote in September of 2009 -- paraphrased by Reuters above -- that the Iranian nuclear threat was "hyped".

Indeed, compelling views -- depending on which Mohamed ElBaradei we are to believe: the expert who sees Iran as a regional threat capable of and intent on producing nuclear weapons in a matter of months, or the expert who thinks otherwise.

As chief of the UN watchdog responsible for assessing Iran's nuclear program, we recognize that Mohamed ElBaradei's views on the matter are vitally important and highly newsworthy. We simply wonder why, in a piece devoted to providing its readership with a history of salient events associated with Iran's nuclear program, Reuters chose to quote only one of the two Mohamed ElBaradeis.