Sunday, November 29, 2009

Reuters blames Israel for Islamic terrorism on all fronts

Reuters publishes op-eds which -- though this is difficult to believe -- are more heavily biased and laden with propaganda than their usual "news" stories.  The media giant labels these op-eds "Analysis" so when you see that word emblazoned at the top of Reuters' webpage, it's generally advisable to prepare for the most extreme examples of one-sided claptrap a writer can possibly dream up.

Alistair Lyon, whose recent stories we have commented on here, here, and here now shifts his propaganda machine to Jordan where he leads with:
Jordanians share Palestinian despondency on peace
Ah yes, everyone is despondent that there is no peace in the Middle East except it seems, the Israelis.  (We cannot recall the last time Reuters did a story where they interviewed ordinary run-of-the-mill Israelis in Tel Aviv or Haifa about their aspirations for the region.  Must be challenging for one of Reuters' 100+ correspondents in the area to get to the coast).

Lyon runs through the litany of standard Reuters boilerplate banalities to portray that Arab "despondency".  There's despair:
Outside the West Bank and Gaza Strip, despair at the failure of years of U.S.-led Middle East peacemaking...
And feelings of futility:
Even those who once backed the "peace process" now view it as futile.
And of course, the ubiquitous Arab humiliation:
President Barack Obama's failure to secure his own demand that Israel stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is seen here as a humiliating sign...
And desperation:
Jordanian politicians acknowledge that such a move is likely to be doomed to failure but sympathise with the desperation...
And according to Nawaf Tell, a Foreign Ministry official heading the Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan:
"The frustration, the disappointment, was biggest with Jordan."
Well of course it was, since Jordan sits on land representing 78% of the original Palestine Mandate and has a population which is 60-70% Palestinian Arab.  You can bet that Jordanian government officials, who clearly do not want more Palestinians in their 89,000 square kilometers of territory (Israel possesses 22,000 sq km), will be disappointed in any outcome that prevents them from expelling the Palestinian Arabs that currently reside in the country.

And since:
"The Palestinians are cornered," said Taher al-Masri, a former Jordanian prime minister of Palestinian origin...
And according to Reuters' Lyon:
Israel has no interest in trading land for peace, only in endless negotiations that will buy it more time to tighten its grip on East Jerusalem and the West Bank...
There must also be the perennial Arab threat of violence:
"But with this Israeli government it is difficult. It is the perfect recipe for violence and deadlock in the peace process."
And the completely unsupported assertion that:
Perceived injustice to the Palestinians also fuels Islamic militancy as far away as Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Because after all, there is just so much evidence that the Pashtuns in Afghanistan fighting to overthrow the Karzai government are doing so on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs.

And finally, the utterly absurd conclusion:
"Every Arab leader has been telling the world, start with the Palestinian question and even terrorism can be contained."
Since it is common knowledge that Islamic jihad only dates back to 1967 when Israel recovered the territories from Jordan.

Why is this thing unlike the other?

In previous posts, we note Reuters repeated use of the racist misnomer "Arab East Jerusalem" to describe the eastern portion of the city.  The term originated over the period 1949 -- 1967 following the Arab Legion's conquest of the area and accompanying ethnic cleansing of thousands of Jews living there.  Today, approximately 42% of the population of the eastern part of the city is Jewish, yet Reuters continues to refer to the area with an inaccurate, anachronistic, and racist tag in a transparent effort to assign Title to the Arabs.

In a story on protests by secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews over the question of whether Israeli businesses should be allowed to open on the Jewish sabbath, Reuters writes:
Police said there was no violence as hundreds marched in the predominantly Jewish western part of Jerusalem...

Note the different treatment: there are significantly more Jews living in the eastern part of Jerusalem than there are Arabs living in the western part of Jerusalem yet Reuters refers to the former as "Arab East Jerusalem" and the latter as the "predominantly Jewish western part of Jerusalem".

Paging Dean Wright, we believe you have a problem

Photos published in Life Magazine in 1948 of Jewish Jerusalem
prior to, and following ethnic cleansing by the Arab Legion.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Photos Reuters will never show you

In previous posts, we have noted how Reuters cynically deploys photos which support the media company's Palestinian advocacy agenda; specifically, photos intended to elicit pity, photos which omit essential content or context, and photos that are incongruous with their capitions.

One of the recurring themes in Reuters reporting on the Middle East conflict is the hardship faced by Gazans purportedly due to the war with Israel in January and the ongoing embargo on certain products due to Israeli concerns that Palestinian terror groups will co-opt these for war materiel.  Readers are often treated to photos and stories of food shortages, closed businesses, and general deprivation.

Thanks to the Palestine Today website, we thought you might enjoy a few current scenes of "deprived" Gaza which Reuters (with their 100+ reporters and photographers in the area) have apparently missed .

In addition to the obvious abundance of food, clothes, and shoppers, note the use of items like digital scales, microwave ovens, and commercial refrigerators.

Friday, November 27, 2009

"Latest News Pictures"

Our lead above is how Reuters identifies current news photos on its website.  Reuters is well-known for employing photographs as a propaganda tool and captions which are incongruous with the accompanying photo.  Here, Reuters features a photograph of children playing in Gaza with the caption:
Palestinian children play in front of houses, destroyed during the three-week offensive Israel launched last December, on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha in the northern Gaza Strip November 27, 2009. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha to mark the end of the haj by slaughtering sheep, goats, cows and camels to commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail on God's command.
Note the non sequitur in the first sentence and the incongruity between the photo and the newsworthy subject of the caption which is the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.  The Gaza war took place nearly a year ago and is entirely unrelated to the topical portion of the caption.  Yet Reuters writers and editors deliberately conflate the two in an effort to sustain attention on the war and thus, advance their Palestinian advocacy agenda.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have much to be thankful for this year.  Amongst other blessings, we have a well-received new blog and the opportunity to serve the community.  To the entire family of media watchers, all the best on this Thanksgiving.

After stabbing two Jews, Palestinian terrorist is shot by Israeli soldier; Reuters refers to "gun attack"

If a Reuters ombudsman like Dean Wright would like to know why the public no longer trusts media organizations like Reuters to report the news accurately, he can check out this story appearing on the Reuters website today.  Correspondents Haitham Tamimi and Dan Williams report on an incident involving the knifing of two Jews in the community of Kiryat Arba near Hebron and lead with this headline: 
Three hurt in knife, gun attack at WBank settlement
Got that?  The shooting of an assailant who has just stabbed two people is characterized as a "gun attack" and conflated with the knifing.

Tamimi and Williams add:
Kiryat Arba abuts the Palestinian city of Hebron.
For those who may not be aware, Hebron is regarded by Jews as their second holiest city next to Jerusalem.  Further, the city remains formally unallocated to any people as per international law.  But  of course for Reuters, it's a "Palestinian" city.

Yes Mr. Wright, many of us do take a dim view of media. 

Photo of members of the Slonim family, murdered by Arabs in the 1929 Hebron massacre

Reuters downplays extent of antisemitism in Venezuela

In September, we noted a Reuters' story about Hugh Chavez and his accusation at the time that Israel was attempting to "exterminate" the Palestinians.  Reuters presents Chavez' risible claim sans any of the contempt it typically reserves for statements by Israeli officials.

Yesterday, Reuters correspondents Frank Jack Daniel and Andrew Cawthorne reported on Chavez' latest outburst where, during a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former referred to Israel as "a murderous arm of the Yankee empire".  Daniel and Cawthorne note that Chavez was lauded by Muslims for his previous accusations against Israel and that:
His fierce speeches against Israel are taken by some supporters as a green light for anti-Semitism and walls in Caracas are often daubed with anti-Jewish slogans.
For a clearer perspective on the abuse, threats, and violence the Venezuelan Jewish community is suffering as a result of Chavez' rabid antisemitism, we link here to a lengthy article in the Boston Review.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Anatomy of a lie

Reuters' correspondents like Jeffrey Heller have been writing on the Middle East conflict for years.  Their technique and boilerplate have been honed to perpetuate particular myths that form a part of the Reuters' advocacy agenda consistent with the Arab agenda.  Take for example, the following logical fallacy: 

1) Jerusalem is part of the "West Bank".
2) The West Bank is "occupied" land.
3) "Occupied" land is synonymous with Palestinian land.
4) Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian land.

This fallacy is a form of begging the question/circular reasoning where the conclusion, while following logically, is based on faulty premises intended to lead inexorably to the conclusion (implicitly embedded in the premises) which the writer wishes the reader to reach.

Here is how Heller constructs his logical fallacy in a story appearing on the Reuters website today.  He begins by telling us that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu intends to announce a formal plan to limit settlement construction for 10 months:
Netanyahu's offer will exclude areas of the West Bank that Israel annexed to its Jerusalem municipality after capturing the territory in a 1967 war, the sources said.
Note how Heller slyly slips in his first faulty premise, i.e., areas annexed to Jerusalem constitute a part of the West Bank.  In fact, Jewish communities formally annexed by Israel, like Gilo for example, are geographically adjacent to the western part of Jerusalem and sit atop land purchased by Jews prior to WWII.  Indeed, this land was owned by Jews even before the Jordanians labeled the area the "West Bank" following their invasion and ethnic cleansing of Jewish communities in 1948.

Heller then proceeds with his second faulty premise, i.e., the West Bank is occupied land:
That would fall short of a Palestinian demand that Netanyahu freeze settlement on all occupied land before peace negotiations, suspended since December, can resume.
As we noted here, the term "occupied" is drawn from the Fourth Geneva Convention which applies only to land formerly part of a sovereign state and contracting party to the Conventions -- neither of which pertains to the West Bank.

The third faulty premise, i.e., "occupied" land is synonymous with Palestinian land, is introduced in the form of a quote by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, cited by Heller fully and uncritically:
We do not believe we can restart the negotiations with them [Israel] while they are continuing building in our territories, Abbas said. [italics, ours]
Note the absence of scare quotes -- frequently employed by Reuters correspondents to express their skepticism or disdain for Israeli positions -- around Abbas' assertion of the territories as Palestinian.  In other words, Reuters plainly accepts Abbas' assertion that the territories belong to the Palestinian Arabs.  In reality, as per international law, the territories remain formally unallocated.

Having guilefully embedded three false premises, Heller leads the reader to the only "logical" conclusion: Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian land.  If there were any doubt, Heller pastes in a bit of standard Reuters' boilerplate:
Some 500,000 Jews live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem alongside 2.7 million Palestinians. The settlements, Palestinians fear, could deny them a viable state.
Mission accomplished, Jeffrey.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The other news

Continuing with our series of news of the Middle East conflict which Reuters does not report (despite its 100+ correspondents, editors, and photographers in the region), Egyptian police seized a pick-up truck yesterday laden with a ton of explosives and destined for the Gaza smuggling tunnels.  According to the linked AP article, police also found and destroyed four tunnels in Rafah.

Reuters, which almost never misses an opportunity to broadcast Israeli efforts to curtail the transportation of weapons into Gaza, was apparently too preoccupied with Iraqi depression over a ban on the national soccer team to notice events in Egypt.

Priorities, priorities.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jordan suffering public mismanagement and record debt levels; Reuters blames Israel

Reuters reports today that King Abdullah of Jordan has dissolved Parliament and called for early elections.  According to Reuters, no official reason was given for the decision but the Jordanian assembly "had been accused of inept handling of legislation".  Specifically:
Many politicians have accused Prime Minister Nader Dahabi's government of mismanagement as it grappled with the impact of the global downturn on the aid-dependent economy and a rise in public debt to record levels.
And who does Reuters insinuate is ultimately to blame for these difficulties?  Well of course, Israel:
King Abdullah had been counting on a new U.S. drive for Middle East peace, and the stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian relations is casting a shadow on a country a majority of whose six million citizens are of Palestinian origin.
A couple of weeks ago, Reuters was blaming Israel for the stark living conditions facing Gazans this winter.  Today, it's Jordan's political and economic crisis.

Sources tell us that Israel is also responsible for the firing of Katyusha rockets from Lebanon, Saudi attacks on Shiite rebels in Yemen, and although Reuters has yet to report on the phenomenon, turning day into night.  Details at 11.

Sporadic skewed reporting

Reuters correspondents love to play down Palestinian terror attacks (when reported at all) and their favorite Orwellian adjective to minimize describe rocket attacks from Gaza -- over 250 of which have been launched since the war ended in January -- is "sporadic".  On Saturday, Israel responded to one of these attacks and true to form, Reuters seeks to downplay Palestinian efforts to murder Israeli civilians:
The [Israeli] attacks occurred one day after Hamas said it had reached an agreement with smaller armed groups in the territory to halt sporadic rocket fire toward Israel, which often responds with air strikes.
And, a few paragraphs down, again:
The Israeli military usually responds to sporadic rocket attacks by launching air strikes against tunnels under the Egyptian border used to smuggle goods and weapons into Gaza.
Since Reuters rarely reports on the effects of these "sporadic" rocket attacks, we think a reminder is in order:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Reuters Tom Perry hits bottom, keeps digging

Earlier this week, we noted the serial misrepresentations, obfuscations, canards, logical fallacies, and patent propaganda deployed by Reuters' correspondent Tom Perry in an effort to makeover Palestinian terrorist mastermind Marwan Barghouti and to justify Arab violence.  In another story appearing on the Reuters website on Wednesday, Perry targets a New York state Assemblyman as well as American Jews for their interest in purchasing homes in the community of Nof Zion.

Here's Perry describing the visit to Israel by Assemblyman Dov Hikind:
He urged fellow American Jews to buy homes on occupied land rather than in traditional U.S. vacation spots...
... Palestinians, whose leaders declared this week's Israeli government approval for more settlement building near Jerusalem a killer blow to peace, reject Hikind's description of Nof Zion as "Israel", as it lies on occupied land they want for a state.
Beyond the use of uncited, inflammatory language to characterize Palestinian Arab reaction to Israel's decision to build in the Jerusalem suburb of Gilo, note how Perry also puts words in Hikind's mouth.  Hikind did not of course, refer to Nof Zion as being on "occupied land" and improbably would ever do so because in fact, the community is built on land that either remains unallocated as per international law since being surrendered by the Ottoman Empire or, as in a minority of cases, land that has been purchased from its previous Arab owners.

UPDATE 11/23/09: As Maurice Ostroff notes in today's Jerusalem Post, Gilo is built on land purchased by Jews prior to WWII and there is no suggestion that it belongs to the Arabs.

Perry then mendaciously asserts:
Hikind's active participation in the settlement policy that has seen Israel move close to a tenth of its Jewish population onto land captured from the Arabs in the 1967 war...
No one has "seen" Israel "move" its population onto captured land because Israel has not moved anyone.  As Perry himself admits, homes built in the disputed territories have been purchased by a significant number of immigrants from outside of Israel as well as by Israelis themselves freely choosing to live there -- just as people come to independent decisions to live elsewhere in the world.

Perry calls attention to:
... financial support from Americans, some benefiting from U.S. tax relief on charity, is a significant source of funding for West Bank settlements,
but makes no mention of the millions of dollars coming from US taxpayer-funded organizations like US AID that subsidize and support illegal Arab building in Jerusalem and the disputed territories ("West Bank").

In an effort to portray Jews who choose to live in the disputed territories as interlopers, Perry then gets confused:
Yet Palestinians in the city feel that is exactly what Israel and its international supporters are trying to do, displacing today's inhabitants with foreign-born Jews who claim an ancestral and religious right to land going back 2,000 years.
Recall just above, Perry was claiming that Israel had "moved" its population into the "settlements"; here he reverses himself and characterizes the community as composed of "foreign-born Jews".  (Over 70% of Israelis are native-born).  Penning propaganda can be bewildering.

Perry then attempts to make a case based on one-sided anecdotes that Palestinian Arabs are discriminated against by the Israeli building authorities:
Arabs complain that they are denied permission to build for growing families.

"The difference between us is clear," Darry said. "There are plans to build 900 housing units in Gilo, in order to accommodate their so-called population growth, while our growth is not taken into account, and we have to make-do with what we have. I have no idea where the Palestinians should go."
No line space is provided by Perry to allow for an Israeli perspective on these allegations including for example, this study by human rights lawyer Justus Reid Weiner which notes that the Jerusalem building authority, "has authorized more than 36,000 permits for new housing units in the Arab sector, more than enough to meet the needs of Arab residents through legal construction until 2020".

Perry finishes with an oft-repeated Reuters' canard:
Other Arabs in the city make complaints, endorsed by the United Nations and world powers, that they are unfairly evicted by courts from homes where ownership is in dispute, while Arabs have little chance of recovering property occupied by Jews.
As we noted here, eviction orders are typically handed down by the Israel Supreme Court following lower court decisions which can take years to wind their way through the system.  Even Palestinian advocates have great difficulty accusing the leftist High Court of unfairly favoring Israeli interests.  And the United Nations and "world powers" have never "endorsed" Arab complaints alleging inequity in the Israeli legal system.  Rather, they have issued pleas for the Israeli government to supersede Israeli law in deference to what they consider a higher priority: blocking Jews from living in the eastern portion of Jerusalem.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reuters does touch-up job on Marwan Barghouti and Fatah

In May of 2004, Marwan Barghouti, leader of the Tanzim terrorist organization (a branch of Palestinian President Abbas' Fatah party) was convicted on 5 counts of murder by an Israeli civilian court.  Among the atrocities organized and/or funded by Barghouti was an attack on a seafood market restaurant in Tel Aviv.  Here's how the incident is recounted in Barghouti's indictment: 

At that same time, the Restaurant was completely packed with dozens of diners. Hasouna [Barghouti's operative] arrived at the "Maariv House Bridge" located on the aforementioned street opposite the Restaurant and began shooting at the diners with the intention of willfully causing the deaths of many of them. Near this time Hasouna threw hand grenades into the Restaurant that, miraculously, did not explode. Immediately thereafter Hasouna approached the Restaurant and stabbed those Restaurant diners who got in his way, with the goal of willfully causing the deaths of many of the diners. 

Barghouti was sentenced to five life sentences for murder and another 40 years for attempted murder.

Here's how Tom Perry describes Barghouti in a story appearing today on the Reuters website:
Still popular and articulate despite five years behind bars, the 50-year-old activist is seen by some as a Palestinian Nelson Mandela, the man who could galvanize a drifting and divided national movement if only he were set free by Israel.
Uh-huh, an "activist" -- Nelson Mandela even.

Perry then goes on to completely misrepresent the official positions and rhetoric of Barghouti's (and Abbas') Fatah party: 
Fatah leaders at the movement's congress this summer suggested civil disobedience rather than organized violence.
As reported by Tom Gross, here's what actually transpired at the Fatah congress:
Among its resolutions of recent days, the Fatah assembly on Sunday approved a political platform that emphasized the Palestinians’ right “to resist occupation in all forms including armed struggle” (i.e. suicide bombings). A report by Reuters added that President Abbas personally insisted on this.
Perhaps Perry ought to review some of Reuters' previous news stories on the event.

Perry finishes with a revealing and ominous admission:
Barghouti did not say what sort of action he had in mind.
Hmmm, a bit of a contradiction from the story headline:
Palestinian leader wants popular, diplomatic action 
Time for a rewrite.

The "other" news

As the world's largest international multimedia news agency (according to its website), Reuters employs or contracts with well over 100 correspondents, photographers, writers, and editors reporting on the Middle East conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.  Day after day, we read stories on the Reuters website reporting on stalled peace talks due to Jewish settlements, humiliated Palestinians forced to build Jewish settlements to make a living, Jews who incite Arab violence by having the impudence to visit the Temple Mount (in the Jewish settlement of Jerusalem), and Jewish settlements expanded in violation of the Road Map.  Incidentally, did we mention Jewish settlements?

We sometimes wonder if the army of Reuters Middle East correspondents, photographers, writers, and editors have anything else on their minds besides Jewish settlements and how these purportedly prevent that long sought-after peace Palestinians are always pursuing.

Far be it for us as lowly academics to dictate the news agenda of the-world's-largest-international-multimedia-news-agency; however, we wonder if Reuters' readers might be interested in how the Palestinian leadership in Gaza is treating human rights groups, aid foundations, the media, and local businesses.  Since Reuters doesn't see fit to report on any of these incidents (nor any others which might reflect badly on the Palestinians generally) we thought we would begin a series of weekly reports on the other news, i.e., that which Reuters blacks out.

Thanks to the Elder of Ziyon website for links to the above stories which can be difficult to locate due to self-censorship by the major news wire services.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh no; another Reuters "FACTBOX"!

Following Israel's announcement that it intends to build additional homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, housing authority officials writers at Reuters publish one of their fallacious "FACTBOX" series on Jewish communities beyond the Green Line (the armistice line following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war).  As usual, the "factbox" is anything but -- containing a host of falsehoods, unsupported assertions, bandwagon propaganda, and the logical fallacy of appeal to authority.  Reuters begins with its first "fact":
Israel dismisses international findings that the communities it has been building since the 1980s in the West Bank, on land occupied by the Israeli military since 1967, constitute a violation of international law.

Note the vague reference to "international findings"; no authority is identified because in reality, no body with the power to decide on international law has found Jewish communities beyond the Green Line to "constitute a violation of international law".  As we have demonstrated, these communities are, in fact, entirely legal in keeping with United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Reuters then goes on to conflate Jews living in communities in Judea and Samaria (also, the "West Bank") with Jews living in Jerusalem:
Some 200,000 of the half million settlers live in East Jerusalem and adjoining areas of the West Bank that Israel annexed to its Jerusalem municipality in a move not recognized by world powers.
Jews of course, lived in and around Jerusalem for over 3,000 years until they were ethnically cleansed by the Arab Legion in 1948 but for Reuters, they were, are, and always will be "settlers".

Reuters not only lumps together as settlers all Jews living beyond the 1949 Armistice lines, it attempts to pigeonhole them for choosing to live in these areas:
Many settlers living in enclaves nearest to the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem cite cheaper housing costs as a motive. Others see themselves as pioneers exercising a biblical right of Jews to lands they call Judea and Samaria.
For Reuters, it couldn't possibly be the case that Jews are living in these communities to be closer to family members or to work or that they are simply exercising their rights according to international law.  It must be due to government incentives or religious fervor.

Then there is the padded Palestinian population figure to give weight to Arab claims to territory beyond the Green Line:
The Palestinians, who number some 3 million in the West Bank and East Jerusalem...
As demonstrated here, the number of Arabs living in these areas has almost certainly been inflated by Palestinian authorities in an effort to build a case for a separate Palestinian state and to boost foreign aid. 

Reuters then trots out a complete falsehood:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition is backed by pro-settler parties who want to keep much of the West Bank under any peace deal.
In fact, the current Israeli government is composed of and supported by political parties which favor a two-state solution where the Palestinian Arabs could be expected to receive between 90% and 97% of territory comprising what is commonly referred to as the West Bank.  Political parties which oppose ceding land to the Palestinians generally also oppose Natanyahu.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Classic Reuters

In an appeal to pity and what can also be viewed as an anticipatory effort to justify Arab violence, Reuters' Tom Perry pens a piece discussing Palestinian melancholy and "desperation" in their purported efforts to achieve statehood.  Perry writes:
The risk of violence could turn into near-certainty in time, some Palestinian analysts add, even if there are at present few signs of an appetite for a third Intifada, or uprising, among Palestinians who have lived under Israeli occupation since 1967.
Reuters correspondents frequently serve as apologists for Arab violence and here, Perry is paving the way for precisely that outcome.

Perry quotes one of those "Palestinian analysts":
"Either there is a resumption of negotiations, which requires an American initiative, or there will be a political vacuum, which is dangerous because it will most likely be filled at some point by conflict," said George Giacaman, a political science professor at Birzeit University near Ramallah.
Perry fails to explain here that the only thing preventing a resumption of negotiations is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' utter refusal to accept them.

Perry continues:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out more than a partial limitation on settlement building in areas of the occupied West Bank not annexed to its Jerusalem municipality.
Actually, Netanyahu has said that Israel has "no intention of building new settlements or of expropriating additional land for existing settlements" (June 14, 2009).

Perry then does comedy:
Abbas, who has built his career around negotiating peace, remains committed to the "two-state solution" at the core of the 20-year-old peace process.
As we noted here, Abbas has built his career around many things but they have had little to do with "negotiating peace".

Perry quotes Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as saying that Israel has "a Mickey Mouse state" in mind for the Palestinians and then suggests:
It would deny them not only an army -- an idea they might accept -- but also a viable, contiguous territory, due to settlements.
We wonder how Perry knows what the Palestinians "might accept" and also note that as Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank) compose less than 2% of available land, Perry's assertion that these would "deny" the Palestinians a viable, contiguous territory is simply ludicrous.

Perry then obfuscates history and geography:
Officials are making increasing references to an alternative -- that Palestinians be citizens of a single state governing all the territory from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, or all of what was British-ruled Palestine from 1917 to 1948.
The territory from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean represents only 22% of British-ruled Palestine.  The other 78% consists of what is today Arab Jordan.  This is clearly not an oversight by Reuters which does not wish to remind its readers that despite the promise of a Jewish national home and "close settlement by Jews on the land" across the entire Palestine Mandate, the British subsequently lopped off the vast majority of the territory (in 1922), handing it to the Hashemite Arabs as a gift for their support in the war against the Ottoman Empire.  At four times the geographical size of Israel, Jordan today has a population which is roughly 70% Palestinian Arab.  Jews are banned from owning property.

Perry then argues ("the argument runs") that:
without a Palestinian state... Jewish statehood would entail South African-style apartheid in which Jews rule over a disenfranchised Arab majority in the occupied territories.
The suggestion that one state composed of Jews and Arabs would result in "South African-style apartheid" is of course, a classic example of the logical fallacy/propaganda technique of the false dilemma.  Indeed, there is evidence that the number of Arabs residing in the territories has been significantly overstated and that a single state consisting of Israel plus Judea and Samaria (West Bank) would retain a Jewish majority for the foreseeable future.

Perry concludes with another canard:
Alarmingly for international powers looking with concern at the way the six-decade-old conflict destabilizes the world's main oil-producing region, the way ahead is shrouded in fog.
In fact, other than the five-month Arab oil embargo in the 1970s following the Yom Kippur war, the Arab-Israeli conflict has had little effect on the flow of oil.  For countries like Saudi Arabia where oil accounts for 90% of export earnings and 45% of GDP, there is little choice but to keep pumping whether or not the Palestinians get their state.

Reuters' Solomon receives handoff, runs for endzone carrying only a cherry pie

Following a series of stories featuring shoddy research and transparent anti-Israel propaganda, Reuters' correspondent Erika Solomon took a two-month hiatus.  She returns to the pages of Reuters AxisMundi Jerusalem website with more creative distortions and cherry-picking in a story on Hamas suggesting that:
both Israeli and Palestinian populations are looking to see Hamas step up to the plate in negotiations.
Solomon's "evidence" for this notion is a poll conducted by the "Israel Dialogue Institute" which Reuters originally cited here but to which it did not link.  (Solomon does not provide a link either).  Of course, absent the original survey data and methodology, readers are unable to judge the credibility or accuracy of the poll results.  Nor are we are able to assess Reuters' fidelity in communicating the results.  And given Reuters' record of misinforming on survey data in the past, we are left with only hearsay from Reuters suggesting that:
over half of the Israeli public wants to see Hamas brought into negotiations if it recognized Israel

This purported figure is based on respondents' support of a plan discussed last week by Israeli Minister Shaul Mofaz to dialogue with Hamas if the terrorist group were to meet the three conditions set forth by the Quartet, i.e., renounce violence, recognize Israel, and accept all previous agreements negotiated with the Palestinian Authority.  As these terms are the same as those officially endorsed by the government of Israel, it is not surprising that a majority of Israelis might support them as well.

Solomon then leaps from the above to this assertion (in a stand-alone paragraph):
Even more surprising is that among supporters of Likud, Israel’s right-wing political party, 53% of the public approved of negotiating with Hamas.
Note how Solomon omits the very specific conditions under which Israelis purportedly indicated they would agree to negotiations with Hamas.  We know, a trifling detail.

The point of Solomon's piece, headlined with her odious longing "O Hamas where art thou?", appears to be that Hamas is in the ascendancy and can simply wait until the Palestinian Authority collapses and/or elections bring them to power in the West Bank.  But her premise that Israelis are shifting toward an acceptance of Hamas as currently constituted is pure fabrication.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Reuters runs interference for Palestinians

In a story appearing on its website this morning, Reuters reports that Israeli Environment Minister Gilad Erdan told Israel radio that if the Palestinians were to unilaterally declare a state, Israel:
should also consider ... passing a law to annex some of the settlements
For the Palestinian mercenaries advocates at Reuters, this suggestion amounts to a declaration of war by Israel so they assemble an army of 5 writers and an editor to defend and advise the Palestinian Arabs.

While talk of unilateral actions on both sides could easily be avoided were PA President Mahmoud Abbas to accept Israel's offer of unconditional negotiations, he has steadfastly refused.  Reuters however, cannot bear to acknowledge Palestinian intransigence so their correspondents twist themselves into knots in an effort to relieve the Palestinians of responsibility:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said negotiations cannot resume until Israel halts settlement expansion.
There's that prickly "cannot" again -- a bit like insisting one cannot pay his taxes because the local IRS office is too far away.  For Reuters, the Palestinians are never accountable for their own behavior.

Reuters is then good enough to advise the Palestinians on how they might go about achieving statehood:
Recent examples suggest they might take the same route as Israel's founders in 1947 and simply seek U.N. support for a resolution calling for statehood, which is what East Timor did to become the first new state of the 21st century in 2002.
We wonder: if the Palestinians chose this route and in response, Israel annexed the settlements around Jerusalem and chased the remaining Arabs off the land as the Arab Legion did to the Jews living in Jerusalem in 1948, would Reuters spend the next 60 years referring to the area as "Jewish East Jerusalem" (as they currently refer to the area with the racist epithet "Arab East Jerusalem")?  Somehow, we think not.

As an alternative path to statehood, Reuters suggests:
Or they might declare independence without going to the U.N. as Kosovo did when it became the world's newest state in 2008, knowing it could not win Security Council endorsement because of a threatened Russian veto, but would receive quick recognition by most NATO and European Union governments.
Reuters fails to inform its readers that the Palestinians declared a state over twenty years ago but owing to the fact that they did not control the territory they claimed (some of the land was actually in Israel proper), the effort went nowhere.  Moreover, and with great irony, the Palestinians relied on UN resolution 181 to affirm their "state" which they had always rejected as it provided the legal basis for the state of Israel.

Apparently, neither the Palestinians nor Reuters believe that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why is this thing unlike the other?

In a piece commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Douglas Hamilton reminisces on his euphoria the night the wall came down.  In the final paragraph of his story, Hamilton writes:
Now I work in Jerusalem, in another place scarred by fences and fortifications, by deep mistrust and by a forbidding wall, which is even taller than Berlin's. No one expects it to come down any time soon. But I hope it does not stand for 28 years.
As an experienced Reuters reporter living and working in Israel, Hamilton undoubtedly knows that 97% of the length of the Israeli security fence to which he refers is chain-link fence, significantly less odious than the Berlin Wall.

And he undoubtedly understands that whereas the Berlin Wall was built to prevent a people from escaping the ravages of a fascist ideological system employing oppression and terror, the Israeli security fence has been built to protect a people from the ravages of another fascist ideological system employing oppression and terror.

We too, hope it does not have to stand for 28 years.

Friday, November 13, 2009

An economy of words; an abundance of lies

In a news brief appearing this morning, Reuters reports on an incident occurring near a Gaza border crossing which led to the shooting death of a Palestinian by the Israel Defense Forces. In a story of only 255 words, the media company manages to embed a misleading assertion, a mischaracterization, one very odd almost certain factual error, and a single sentence containing a gross understatement, a red herring, and a one-sided false account.  First, the misleading assertion and mischaracterization:

The fatality was the first since August along the tense border of the coastal territory ruled by Hamas Islamists that has remained largely quiet since an Israeli offensive that ended in January.

We're not sure how Reuters would define "largely quiet"; however, as of October 14th 2009, Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups had launched more than 250 rockets and mortars into Israel following the end of the Gaza war in January.  Reuters correspondents obviously have a very high tolerance for rockets -- particularly when they're landing on Israelis.

Reuters consistently mischaracterizes the war in Gaza as an "Israeli offensive", omitting any mention of the more than 3,000 rockets and mortars launched by Palestinian terror groups toward Israeli civilian communities in 2008 alone.

Next comes a very odd factual error:

Hamas police described those shot at on Friday as youths who had gone to the area near a Gaza border fence with Israel to hunt for dogs

Hunt for dogs??  We'll reserve further comment on this likely gaffe until Reuters inevitably updates its story.

Finally, following a report of a Palestinian Arab attempting to stab an Israeli policeman with a knife, there is this sentence of 34 words containing a gross understatement, a red herring, and a one-sided false account:

There were no reported injuries in the incident in Jerusalem, where tensions have led to sporadic protests in the past few weeks by Palestinians accusing Israel of allowing Jewish nationalists access to the holysite.

Sporadic "protests" in Reuters' parlance actually refers to Palestinian Arabs throwing rocks and mortar bricks at French and Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, as we noted here.  The entire statement represents a red herring as the Palestinian riots of over a month ago are wholly unrelated to the knifing incident today -- except to the extent that Palestinian violence directed at Jews is routine.  And Reuters offers only a Palestinian account of the cause of the earlier violence ("allowing Jewish nationalists access to the holysite"), an account which is false.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Does Jeffrey Heller dream of electric settlements?

Jeffrey Heller is a Middle East correspondent and editor for Reuters.  According to the bio on Reuters' "Journalist Profiles" website, Heller:

joined Reuters from United Press International in Tel Aviv in 1984 and transferred to London in 1987. He returned to the Middle East in 1992 as a senior sub-editor on the Middle East and Africa desk before taking up a post as correspondent, Jerusalem a year later. He is currently editor-in-charge in the Jerusalem bureau.

Inputting the search terms, "Reuters Jeffrey Heller Jewish settlement" to the Google search engine yields 105,000 results.  Substituting "Israeli" for "Jewish" in the above search yields another 87,200 results.  That's a total of nearly 200,000 references during Heller's approximately 20 year stint reporting for Reuters on all matters Israeli.  Over 26 references, on average, per day.

Now, we understand that Reuters is, along with Associated Press, one of the two largest news agencies in the world and consequently, its articles are purchased and published by scores of other media organizations and cited by many others online.  Thus, a simple search on Google contains many iterations of the same story.

Still, given his obvious obsession with Jews living on land granted them per international law and resolutions, we wonder how Heller sleeps at night.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ahmadinejad speaks; Reuters swoons

When we last visited Reuters' "special correspondent" Alistair Lyon, he was busy serving up the usual share of falsehoods, unsupported assertions, errors of omission, and egregious bias that have become Reuters' stock-in-trade in its Middle East reporting. Today, Lyon offers readers a puff piece on Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following the latter's news conference in Istanbul. Lyon begins with tribute for Ahmadinejad's oratory style:

He expounds his views with rhetorical flourishes, jabs at his foes and occasional flashes of humor.

Perhaps Lyon got his file on Ahmadinejad mixed up with the file on Ahmad Rashad.  Lyon continues:

Belying his often-demonized image, the Iranian leader evoked universal values, not just Islamic ones, to call for a new world order based on friendship and solidarity.

Uh-huh. A call for "friendship and solidarity", like perhaps:

The oppressors and tyrants are responsible for all the difficulties and problems currently faced by the nations, and the only way to establish justice is through popular uprising and determined resistance in the face of these oppressors."

-- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, August 25, 2007

And "universal values", like perhaps the stoning and hanging of young women for "crimes against chastity":

Lyon moves on to paint a folksy portrait of Ahmadinejad as someone focused on social and developmental issues:

Ahmadinejad, son of a blacksmith from the provincial town of Arad, argued that money spent by world powers on nuclear arms would not "heal wounds," build schools or develop economies.

Because after all, Iran has certainly demonstrated its commitment to top flight medical care, quality education, and a vibrant economy.

No mention by Lyon of Ahmadinejad's unintentionally hilarious comment at the press conference that:

Religious people of different sects respect each other.

Oh yes, we've noticed that.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Reuters warns of "grim Gaza winter". You know who gets the blame

In an appeal to pity, Reuters' Nidal al-Mughrabi interviews Maxwell Gaylard, UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories. Al-Mughrabi cites UN figures on the number of Palestinian homes destroyed or damaged during the Gaza war in January and then paraphrases Gaylard as urging Israel to allow in to the territory steel, cement and other raw materials earmarked for various UN building projects. As a response to Israeli concerns that these materials will be used for military purposes by Hamas, Gaylard is quoted as saying:

We can account for all the materials that can go into those projects.

Reuters fails to provide readers with any context for Israeli concerns by, for example, reporting on documented cases of Hamas stealing food and blankets and cement and other construction materials from the UN in the past.

We have little doubt that Palestinians are facing hardship as a result of property damage sustained during the Gaza war. A genuine and unbiased news story however, would balance an interview with a UN official sympathetic to the Palestinians with countervailing testimony from the Israeli perspective so as to fully inform its readers and enable them to draw their own conclusions as to who ultimately, is accountable for that hardship.

The alternative, manufactured by Reuters, is simply propaganda intended to play on emotions and lead the reader to a preordained verdict -- with Israel the guilty party.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reuters' doors of perception

In a story appearing on their website today, Reuters characterizes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, respectively:

A moderate supported by the West, Abbas accused Washington of retreating from its demand for a freeze on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank before peace talks resume.

Israeli officials say Netanyahu wants to avoid interfering in Palestinian politics. But some commentators say the right-wing Israeli may be deliberately ignoring Abbas's threat, seeing it as just another bid to press Israel to halt settlement construction.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, himself a settler heading an ultranationalist party, said he did not take Abbas's threat seriously.

Note the skewed political tagging of the three leaders and see our post just below about Mahmoud Abbas for a sense of Reuters' altered perception of reality.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Reuters publishes "FACTBOX" on Mahmoud Abbas; omits a few salient facts

When an individual, country, or event has been making recent news, Reuters will often publish what it headlines as a "FACTBOX" providing what it deems as important biographical and/or background info on the subject. With President Mahmoud Abbas threatening to quit his leadership role in the Palestinian Authority, Reuters seeks to enlighten us with "key facts" on Abbas' early life, political career, and accomplishments. We learn for example, that:

Also known by his nickname Abu Mazen, Abbas, 74, is a veteran of the Palestinian struggle for statehood.

The notion of Palestinian "struggle" has little to do of course, with the desire for statehood but is actually an Arab Muslim euphemism for the effort to exterminate the Jewish people:

Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.

-- Fatah Constitution

Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realised.

-- Hamas Charter

And "nickname" in Reuters' parlance is a euphemism for a nom de guerre, which together with the effort to eradicate a Jewish national presence in the Middle East more accurately encapsulates Abbas' lifetime endeavors including:

1) writing a doctoral thesis denying the Holocaust and claiming collaboration between Zionists and the Nazis,
2) financing of the Palestinian terrorist attack and murder of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics,
3) refusing, as per his obligations under the RoadMap, to end incitement against Israel and Jews,
4) calling for the continuation of armed violence against Israel until the Palestinians get everything they want.

None of this very pertinent information is provided by Reuters in its sanitized bio of Abbas.

By contrast, here's how Reuters characterizes Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman with the same "FACTBOX" format:

Israel's next foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has rung alarm bells abroad with his policy toward Israel's Arab citizens

Lieberman, leader of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu party...

The Soviet-born ultranationalist...

He questions the loyalties of Israel's Arab citizens and his anti-Arab rhetoric has won a large following beyond his Russian-speaking base. He once suggested Egypt's Aswan Dam might be bombed and last year he said the president of Israel's Arab peace partner could "go to hell".

Note the scaremongering, negative stereotyping, and inclusion of misleading and out-of-context quotations which Reuters scrupulously avoids in its comparatively glowing portrait of Abbas.

We think Reuters ought to spend some time reflecting on the transparent bias in its biographical reporting and in the spirit of journalistic integrity, consider conforming to the rules and regulations spelled out in its own Handbook of Journalism.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Israel Supreme Court rules in favor of Jew; Palestinian advocates at Reuters hysterical

Following years of appeals and legal delays, the Israel Supreme Court finally awarded Yehya Gureish (a Yemen-born Jew) possession of his home in Jerusalem. There's only one problem: an Arab family had been squatting there and pursuant to a court order, has now been evicted. And you know what that means: shrieks of "ethnic cleansing!" from the Palestinian advocates at Reuters. Parroting Palestinian claims, Reuters' Douglas Hamilton writes the eviction is part of:

... a systematic campaign to drive them [Arabs] out and strengthen Israel's hold on all of Jerusalem.

And of course, to buttress Reuters' self-appointed legal authority to decide who has sovereignty over the eastern portion of the city, Hamilton employs the racist characterization, "Arab East Jerusalem".

As for the Jews who live in eastern Jerusalem or whose families have roots there from over a century ago -- before being subjected to genuine ethnic cleansing by the Arab Legion in 1948 (see photos) -- well, for Reuters they are clearly interlopers "settlers" who have no rights.

Hamilton then goes on to parrot another canard, that "Palestinians have little chance of winning property cases in Israeli courts", and "a fair hearing is impossible to obtain". Hamilton should read the news more often.

So we wonder, does a Mizrahi (Semitic) Jew who holds legitimate title to property located in eastern Jerusalem which has been in his family for generations have the right to possession of his home? If not, why not? Because he is Israeli? Because he is Jewish? If the former, would he be entitled to his property if he renounced his Israeli citizenship? If the latter, would he be entitled to his property if he converted to Islam?

We're sure Douglas Hamilton and the legal scholars at Reuters have the answers.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Man bites dog; Reuters suggests it's an epidemic

This is one for the journalism textbooks. In a story on the arrest of Ya'acov Teitel for alleged murder and hate crime attacks, Reuters' Ori Lewis and Alastair Macdonald craft a piece of propaganda worthy of the finest work of Joseph Goebbels.

The first item of note is their use of the word "terrorist" in the headline, bullet points, and lead paragraph. This, from a media organization which eschews at almost any cost, the use of the same term when describing Palestinian Arabs who have murdered Jewish civilians.

Let's compare for example, the Teitel story with this Reuters' story from July of 2008 on the Palestinian construction worker who used a bulldozer to kill 3 Israelis and injure 40 in Jerusalem. In that act of Arab violence, more people were murdered and wounded in a single day than the number of victims attributed to Teitel over 12 years. Yet, the word "terrorist" does not appear once in the earlier Reuters' story -- with or without quotation marks.

Next to be noted in the Lewis and Macdonald story is the glaring omission of Teitel's hate crimes directed at Jewish homosexuals and Messianic Jews (Jews for Jesus). The writers refer only to attacks on "Israeli leftists". Why the omission? Well, as non-political violence aimed at Jews, the former attacks underscore Teitel's criminal pathology as centered around a wide range of complex religious and moral issues as well as political issues. This clearly distracts from the facile message Lewis and Macdonald are desperate to convey, i.e., "how far settlers may go to stop Israel trading land for peace with Palestinians".

Lewis and Macdonald attempt to generalize Teitel's criminality to the entire community of Jewish settlers by citing the two most sensational incidents amongst the few cases of Jewish extremist violence over the last 40 years: the assassination of Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin by Yigal Amir and the killing of 29 Arabs by Baruch Goldstein in 1995. No mention of course, of the thousands of Arab terrorist attacks on Jews over the same period.

And in crafting their op-ed masquerading as news, Lewis and Macdonald fastidiously employ the voices of others to make their points for them:

So concluded many Israelis...

Analysts were quick to compare...


Former Israeli secret service agents warned...

Note the use of sweeping and anonymous sources, a violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism.

In the spirit of a Tom Clancy novel, Lewis and Macdonald cite one of those sweeping, anonymous sources to offer readers the intrigue of an imagined violent revolt by Jewish settlers against government moves to relocate them:

Former Israeli secret service agents warned of a "Jewish Underground", dormant and ready, out in the wilder edges of the West Bank hilltops, that has the weaponry to make good on hardliners' threats to resist with violence any move by Israel's government to end its 41 years of military occupation, or even to evict settlers from some of their fringe "outposts".

No mention of the tortured and brutal government evacuation of 8,000 Jewish settlers from Gaza in 2005 which was met with only non-violent resistance.

Having tarred with the same brush the entire community of Jewish settlers, Lewis and Macdonald grant an opportunity (in the second to last paragraph) for "SETTLERS' DEFENCE":

Danny Dayan said: "Any person of conscience ... must rise up in indignation against such acts -- and against any despicable attempt to use them to gain political capital by blaming an entire community."

A revealing contrast to the response of a Hamas spokesman following the Palestinian bulldozer attack cited by Reuters in the 2008 article above:

There is a continued aggression against our people in the West Bank and Jerusalem and so it is natural that our people there will respond to such aggression.

And following the same incident, this quote from Palestinian Islamic Jihad:

The Jerusalem Brigades bless the heroic operation in Jerusalem as the natural reaction to the crimes of the occupation.

One would think a comparison of the two mindsets -- Arab and Jewish -- following heinous acts of violence would be of value to an understanding of the conflict. But apparently, not Reuters.

Finally, Lewis and Macdonald deliberately obfuscate Israeli public opinion on Jewish settlements:

Netanyahu, however, highlights the strength of opinion among settlers as a limit on what concessions he can offer -- even when many among the majority of Israelis who do not live on occupied land express little sympathy for hardline colonists.

In fact, a large majority of Israelis support settlement construction and two-thirds either oppose any evacuation of Jewish settlements in a final peace deal or say only a small number of communities should be dismantled.

Nice try, Reuters.

Monday, November 2, 2009

For Reuters, Israel = omnipotence; Palestinians = impotence

One of the great myths associated with the Middle East conflict as perpetuated by the mainstream media led by Reuters, is that Israel is the recalcitrant party dictating the rules and the Palestinian Arabs (who are simply yearning for self-determination according to the conventional wisdom) are at the mercy of Israel's obduracy.

Reuters demonstrates its devotion to this narrative with a story on Arab reaction to US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's comment yesterday that a complete settlement freeze should not be a prerequisite to a return to peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Reuters' correspondents Andrew Quinn and Christian Lowe write:

Palestinians have accused Washington of pressuring them to accommodate Israeli intransigence, effectively shutting the door to future talks.

Note the absence of quotation marks around the characterization of Israel as intransigent, a characterization which is repeated in the next paragraph with a direct quote from Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah. In other words, Reuters has adopted and is asserting on behalf of the Palestinians, the notion of Israeli intransigence and that Israel is therefore responsible for the lack of peace talks.

The Palestinians on the other hand, are portrayed by Reuters as powerless to affect their destiny:

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said Arab states shared the Palestinian position that resuming negotiations was futile without a halt on settlement expansion.


...there is no hope of negotiations on the horizon, Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdainah said on Sunday.

The poor Palestinians are always unaccountable and inert; events simply overtake them. The obvious truth that they (the Palestinians) are the intransigent party, that they could agree to accept Israel's offer of negotiations sans preconditions while limited building in the disputed territories continues (as has always been the case in the past) apparently does not occur to Reuters.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Obama backs off settlement freeze demand; Reuters redoubles its efforts to advance Arab interests

Reuters correspondents have been pounding the table over Jewish settlements for years, particularly so in their reporting since President Obama made a settlement freeze a cornerstone of his Middle East policy. Yesterday, after months of arm-twisting which has failed to bow Israel and similarly failing to persuade the Arab states to proffer any good-faith gestures toward Israel, Obama and his Secretary of State apparently reconsidered their absolutist demand for a complete halt to settlement activity.

Reuters reacts by misstating Israel's position and mischaracterizing the status of Jerusalem:

Hillary Clinton turned U.S. pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday when she endorsed Israel's view that its expansion of settlements on occupied land should not be a bar to resuming peace talks.

Actually, Israel has committed to not expand settlements; i.e., to limit construction to homes already approved.

A spokesman for Abbas, who faces intense domestic pressure from Hamas Islamists who say he is selling out, insisted that he would not resume suspended negotiations as long as Israel went on building in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Note how Reuters' Quinn and Macdonald deliberately conflate the West Bank (also Judea and Samaria) and Jerusalem, characterizing the two as "occupied". The reality of course, is very different. Here's what Arthur J. Goldberg, US representative to the United Nations in 1967 and framer of UN Resolution 242 (ending the Arab-Israeli war) told the New York Times in 1980:

Resolution 242 in no way refers to Jerusalem, and this omission was deliberate. I wanted to make clear that Jerusalem was a discrete matter, not linked to the West Bank.

In a number of speeches at the U.N. in 1967, I repeatedly stated that the armistice lines fixed after 1948 were intended to be temporary. This, of course, was particularly true of Jerusalem. At no time in these many speeches did I refer to East Jerusalem as occupied territory.

But Reuters correspondents know better.

Quinn and Macdonald continue with their fabrications:

Six decades after Israel was established in 1948, four [decades] since it occupied the remaining Arab lands of what was British-ruled Palestine and nearly 20 years since the first glimmerings of a peace process, a final agreement on core conflicts over borders, refugees and control of Jerusalem remains stubbornly elusive.

Uh-huh. "Arab lands". By whose edict? The disposition of British-ruled Palestine was governed by the Mandate for Palestine which, as we have previously noted called for:

...close settlement by Jews, on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.

78% of original Palestine -- what is today Jordan -- was lopped off and handed to the Arabs by Britain; the remainder was to serve as a national home for the Jews. In other words, the remaining 22% of the Palestine Mandate represents not "Arab lands" but, by international accord, Jewish lands.

Wake up call for Reuters: that the Palestinian Arab population not residing in Jordan (70% of the population in Jordan is Palestinian) has repeatedly been offered -- and violently refused -- a share of the land with the Jews, does not make it theirs.