Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

A very wise man once observed that as one gets older, time moves ahead at an ever-increasing pace.  Regrettably, we've reached that stage in life where we can confirm this as true; 2009 felt like half a year packed with two years of newsworthy events.  We expect that 2010 will bring more of the same,  particularly in the Middle East.  This means that Reuters correspondents will be busy in the New Year -- as will we.

Have a safe and happy holiday and we'll see you in 2010.

Reuters latest "FACTBOX" riddled with inaccuracies, propaganda

Yes, it's time for another FALLACYBOX "FACTBOX" from Reuters which fancies anything it writes under this presumptuous banner will go unchallenged.  This time, the topic is Israel-Palestinian peace talks which Reuters asserts have been "stalled since a three-week Gaza war in which 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed".  Reuters is suggesting here that the war (and by implication Israel) is to blame for the failure (or suspension) of negotiations between the parties and injects one of its many boilerplate references to the disparate number of casualties to drive home its point.  

In reality of course, peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians were effectively dead months prior to the war following PA President Abbas' rejection of Israeli PM Olmert's offer of 97 percent of the "West Bank" (also, Judea and Samaria) and the right of return for thousands of Palestinians to Israel because in Abbas' words, "the [negotiating] gaps were wide".  

The Palestinians also wanted the Quartet to issue a formal statement that a Palestinian state be "set up on 1967-occupied lands with East Jerusalem as its capital" and to "present this statement to the new U.S. administration to pursue the peace process from there", which of course, did not occur.

Reuters then writes:
Peace talks never resumed after the war Israel said it launched to stop rocket fire by militants from the Islamist Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Here, Reuters attempts to disparage the obvious casus belli for the war by framing it as "Israel said" while substituting their own sanitized term "militants" for Israel's clearly stated reference to "terrorists". 

While Reuters labors to report Israel's objectives in simple declarative fashion, the agency has no similar difficulty conveying putative Palestinian goals: 
At issue in the dispute is a Palestinian quest for statehood in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war, with a capital in Jerusalem...
Following 40+ years of Palestinian rejectionism on this point, including the most recent rejection by Abbas noted above, one would think Reuters would be somewhat more circumspect in reporting this as fact.

Reuters continues:
[Jerusalem] a city Israel sees as its capital and has widened to include east Jerusalem and West Bank land, moves never recognized internationally.
This is a bit like saying the UK has widened London to include Buckingham Palace.  The eastern portion of Jerusalem encompasses the Old City of Jerusalem and thus, is Jerusalem.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reuters now seeking the "Penelope" award for journalism

On Tuesday, we noted Reuters parroting of Iranian state media claims of "tens of thousands" of pro-government demonstrators in the streets.  Today (Wednesday) -- with the Iranian regime providing free metro tickets and refreshments for its supporters -- most news agencies operating in the country are reporting tens of thousands of pro-government demonstrators.  Not to be outdone, Reuters is reporting a turnout of "hundreds of thousands".  We couldn't help but be reminded of Penelope from Saturday Night Live:

Jeffrey Heller's new-found respect for the Israeli Supreme Court

In previous posts, we noted how Reuters correspondents seek to question the equity of Israel's justice system and belittle the authority of Israel's Supreme Court when it comes to legal decisions they don't like, e.g., restoring property in Jerusalem to Jews who have proven Title.  Correspondents like Jeffrey Heller do this for example, by failing to attribute rulings to the Israeli Supreme Court or Israeli High Court, instead alluding with vagueness to orders by "an Israeli court" (indeterminate; subordinate) and offering no detail on the Court's rulings which would contextualize decisions.

In a story today on the decision by the Israeli Supreme Court to open Highway 443 to Palestinian traffic, Jeffrey Heller discovers a new-found respect for Israel's Supreme Court, referring to it by name and quoting the Chief Justice:
Israel's Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Highway 443, which cuts through the occupied West Bank and links Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, must be open to Palestinian traffic banned since 2002 by the military after attacks on Israeli vehicles.

"Freedom of movement is a basic human right and every effort must be made to implement it in territory held by Israel," Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch said in a ruling in favor of Palestinian villages, located along the highway, that brought the suit.
Apparently for Reuters, the law is an ass only when it disagrees.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reuters seeking the Walter Duranty award for journalism

Here are a few excerpts from a Reuters story on "pro-government" rallies in Iran:
* Tens of thousands of pro-government supporters rally
Tens of thousands of government supporters rallied across Iran on Tuesday to call for the punishment of opposition leaders for fomenting unrest after June's disputed presidential poll, state media reported
Tens of thousands of people chanted "We are ready to sacrifice our lives for our Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei)", state television reported, saying the nationwide demonstrations had taken place spontaneously
Followed by this tidbit:
The scale of the pro-government demonstrations could not be independently verified because of restrictions on the foreign media's movements
So let's be clear: Iran's state media, i.e., the propaganda arm of a ruthless totalitarian regime under threat from a popular revolt, claims that "tens of thousands" of people are rallying spontaneously in support of the government and Reuters -- which cannot verify the claim because its correspondents are banned from reporting on events within the country -- obliges the regime by broadcasting its propaganda far and wide.

From the same story:
The powerful Revolutionary Guards on Tuesday issued a statement accusing the foreign media and enemies of the revolution of joining hands to harm Iran's establishment.
Our guess is that the Revolutionary Guards offered Reuters a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Jeffrey Heller busted

In a story appearing this morning, Reuters correspondent Jeffrey Heller, who goes many a sleepless night when Jews choose to live beyond the 1949 armistice lines, reports that Israel has announced plans to build new homes in the communities of Pisgat Zeev, Neve Yaakov and Har Homa.  Notwithstanding the fact that much of the land upon which these communities were built has only ever been owned by Jews (in many cases purchased prior to 1948), Heller asserts as fact, the area to be part of the "occupied West Bank" while affording Israel just a claim: 
Israel announced plans on Monday to build nearly 700 new homes for Jews in areas of the occupied West Bank it considers part of Jerusalem, a city it has excluded from a limited moratorium on settlement construction.
As we've previously noted, the term "West Bank" was fabricated by Jordan following the 1948 war and its ethnic cleansing of Jews living in and around Jerusalem.  Israel's name for the area is "Judea and Samaria", a reference to the region dating back centuries, which Heller omits in violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism:
We must be on alert for language that could imply support for one side of a conflict, sympathy for a point of view, or an ethnocentric vantage point. We should, for example, provide the dual names of disputed territories
Consistent with UN Security Council Resolution 242, the territory in question is de jure, disputed.  By their own code of ethics, Reuters correspondents are obliged to refer to the area by its dual names: "West Bank" and "Judea and Samaria".  Get with the program, Jeffrey.

UPDATE 12/31/09: Welcome readers.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hezbollah says: "Polly wanna cracker"; Reuters says: "Polly wanna cracker"

In its reporting on the Middle East conflict, Reuters frequently parrots Arab rhetoric, providing no criticism, no analysis, and no balance.  This is not only lousy journalism, it's also a violation of Reuters' own code spelled out in its Handbook:
We must be on alert for language that could imply support for one side of a conflict, sympathy for a point of view, or an ethnocentric vantage point. We should, for example, provide the dual names of disputed territories [uh-huh, how often does Reuters refer to the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria as such?]. We must not parrot any loaded expressions used by our sources, except in quotes and official titles.
In a story today about Hezbollah calling on Egypt to cease construction of the subterranean wall it is building along the Gaza border, Reuters correspondent Mariam Karouny parrots Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.  Here's the Nasrallah quote first:
We call on the government in Egypt and the leadership to stop the wall and flooding the tunnels and to end the siege otherwise it should be condemned by all Arabs and the Muslims [italics, ours].
And here's Karouny:
Tensions between Egypt, a predominantly Sunni country, and Hezbollah, a Shi'ite group backed by Iran, have been running high since last year when Nasrallah accused Cairo of complicity with Israel in its siege of the Gaza strip [italics, ours].
Note the reiteration (sans quotation marks) of the very loaded expression, "siege".  Our desktop dictionary defines "siege" as "the act or process of surrounding and attacking a fortified place in such a way as to isolate it from help and supplies".  Now, here's the latest report on the help and supplies -- food, fuel, desalination systems, and medical care -- provided by Israel to the Palestinians in Gaza:
Since the end of the IDF operation in Gaza (18 Jan 2009), 668,393 tons of aid and 100,645,680 liters of fuel have been delivered to the Gaza Strip.
On Dec. 21, 2009, six advanced water desalination systems were transferred to the Gaza Strip... The systems are planned to supply good quality drinking water to 40,000 citizens, and were installed as part of a sewage water treatment project in the northern Gaza Strip, which is coordinated by the Gaza CLA in collaboration with the international bodies working in the Gaza Strip and the relevant Palestinian authorities.
In 2009, ten thousand patients and their escorts were able to leave the Gaza Strip in order to receive medical treatment within Israel and the Judea and Samaria region.
 Ahem, quite a "siege".

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Palestinian Arabs hysterical when Israel defends its people; Reuters provides the bullhorn

If we were betting men, we would have offered odds that following the murder of Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai by the terrorist group Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (Fatah) on Thursday, any Israeli retribution would be pounced upon by the Palestinian Arabs as an example of Israel "seeking to torpedo peace talks" and that Reuters would do its part to broadcast this notion. Our bet would have paid off handsomely.

In an overnight raid, the Israeli Defense Forces killed three members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades suspected of involvement in the attack on Chai.  Within hours, Reuters had assembled a story of over 500 words complete with a photo of the mobbed funerals and the usual hysterical whining from Palestinian officials:

"This grave Israeli escalation shows Israel is not interested in peace and is trying to explode the situation," Nabil Abu Rdainah, a top aide to Abbas, told Reuters.

Note that following the killing of Rabbi Chai, Reuters only found ink to run a story of 185 words with a clinical photo of the van Chai was driving and a dry, paraphrased response from Israeli officials:
Gil said the military had been removing checkpoints from West Bank roads to ease travel restrictions on Palestinians, but would consider putting new ones in place if they would prevent similar attacks in the future.
This raises the interesting question of whether Reuters, like some other media companies, publishes sensationalized stories to sell content.  If such were the case, we might expect to see comparable examples following violent incidents on both sides of the conflict which, as demonstrated, does not occur.  In this respect, Reuters one-sided emotive reporting appears to be more politically-motivated than commercially-driven.  This would be consistent with a story appearing in the Makor Rishon newspaper (Hebrew) on October 25th, 2002 which reported:
Last week, a senior person from the Reuters News Agency appeared before a group of Canadian philanthropists from the United Fund. Reuters was created by the British and it reports along the ideological lines and the world view of Great Britain even after the fall of the British Empire.

The representative of Reuters admitted for the first time that Reuters has taken a specific political line whereby the territories of Yesha [the West Bank and Gaza Strip] are considered Palestinian Lands. He admitted also that the Reuters News Agency forbids its reporters to refer to Palestinian terrorists as terrorists, in spite of the fact that such people in other locations merit the term terrorists in Reuters reports.

For example, the perpetrators of the bombing in Bali, Indonesia were defined by Reuters as terrorists. In contrast, the perpetrators of the car bomb this week that blew up the bus at Karkur Junction and that killed 14 Israelis and wounded tens of others were called teenagers. As if a few teenagers executed a little prank.
This would explain quite a bit.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Reuters: one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter

Reuters global news editor Stephen Jukes once (in)famously wrote (scroll down):
We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist.
A long-standing complaint against Reuters is that the news agency refuses to characterize violent attacks aimed at civilians as terrorism or that the word "terrorist" may appear in a story but only in scare quotes.  Reuters can also occasionally be caught characterizing as terrorists some groups which target civilians and not others, depending we suppose, on whether in the view of the writer, the group's political aims are palatable.

For example, in a story from May of this year about civilians fleeing the fighting between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers, Reuters correspondent C. Bryson Hull writes:
Sri Lanka again ruled out any truce and said troops were only using small arms while trying to free civilians. It applauded the council's recognition of its right to combat terrorism on its own soil... The Tigers, on U.S., EU, Canadian and Indian terrorist lists, have vowed no surrender in their fight for a separate nation for Sri Lankan minority Tamils, which began in the 1970s and erupted into full-scale civil war in 1983.
Note the use of the words terrorism and terrorist sans quotation marks and the specific mention of listing of the Tigers as a terrorist group by the US, EU, Canada and India.

Now compare that treatment with this:
Hai was the first Israeli fatality in a Palestinian militant attack in the West Bank since April,
excerpted from a Reuters story today about the shooting death of Meir Avshalom Hai while driving his car near Nablus.

Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ori Lewis not only fastidiously exclude use of any variation of the word terrorist, but fail also to explain to readers that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which took credit for the attack, is similarly designated as a terrorist group by the US, EU, and Canada.

We think a refresher course on the Reuters Handbook of Journalism is in order:
Reuters would not be Reuters without freedom from bias. We are a “stateless” news service that welcomes diversity into our newsrooms but asks all staff to park their nationality and politics at the door. This neutrality is a hallmark of our news brand and allows us to work on all sides of an issue, conflict or dispute without any agenda other than accurate, fair reporting.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The other news

In last week's installment of "The other news", we cited an article in Palestine Today reporting on Palestinian snipers firing at Egyptian security forces associated with the subterranean wall Egypt is building along its border with Gaza.  ANSAmed reports that on December 21:
in Rafah (south of Gaza) some 700 people joined a demonstration staged in this portion of Palestinian territory controlled by Hamas Islamic radicals to protest against the underground steel barrier planned by Egypt along the only section of the Gaza Strip border that is foreign to Israel. The protesters gathered in front of the so-called Saladins Door, near the Egyptian border, but not in front of the main Rafah pass. The crowd included local residents, local Hamas activists and even one of the movements spokespersons who arrived from Gaza City, Sami Abu Zahri, who requested a halt to work in progress and the dismantling of the section of the barrier that has already been built. During the gathering people chanted slogans inviting Egypt not to choke the people of Gaza and to help the Palestinian people, while others carried signs saying Stop the siege or Enough walls and invoked Arab solidarity
Apparently, Erika Solomon of Reuters was too busy doing her Christmas shopping in Bethlehem to attend the party at Saladin's Door or to notice the very unfestive wall on the Egypt-Gaza border.

                                                      Photos courtesy of Elder of Ziyon

Reuters runs interference for Iran

In October, we noted how Reuters correspondents frequently parrot the Iranian line that the country is pursuing a nuclear program to generate power "to meet booming domestic demand" for electricity.  We demonstrated the, shall we say, implausibility of this notion based on the accelerating gap between electricity generation and electricity consumption in Iran over the last 20 years.

Lately, Reuters has put a new spin on Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology:
Iran says its uranium enrichment program is solely aimed at generating electricity so it can export more gas and oil.
Of course, having the ability to generate more power domestically via nuclear reactors would free up more gas and oil for export but the former (demonstrably specious) argument is really about being able to satisfy the consumption needs of a growing population whereas the latter argument is about increasing export revenues and thus, more difficult to discredit.

We await the next round of apologetics when Iran and Reuters will undoubtedly tell us that the theocracy is seeking nuclear power to fuel its space program.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reuters recycles Palestinian propaganda on Bethlehem

Recycling a message issued three weeks ago by correspondent Erika Solomon, Reuters runs a story today castigating Israel for the security barrier in the city of Bethlehem.  In her previous story, Solomon interviews a "tourist" (actually a professional fund-raiser and political activist for the Palestinians) who denigrates the barrier as "an indicator of how many steps back we've taken [in the peace process]".

In the rehashed material today, Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh -- with help from Solomon and Douglas Hamilton -- writes:
In a message to remind the world of the barrier's existence, the Palestine Liberation Organisation said the wall symbolizes a "Christmas without hope" for the ancient city, where normal life is fragmented and stifled by Israel's security measures.

This is rich.  Reuters quotes the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) lamenting for a Christmas holiday and blaming Israel for "fragmenting" and "stifling" normal life.  Might this be the same PLO formerly led by that infamous Christmas elf Yasser Arafat, responsible for ordering hundreds of terrorist attacks in Israel and abroad killing and maiming thousands of people?

Or perhaps Reuters is referring to the PLO which, in its other guise as the Palestinian Authority, governs much of Judea and Samaria ("West Bank") and has been allowing the systematic persecution of Christians in Bethlehem and the disputed territories since taking control in 1994.

Reuters quotes Samir Hazboun, head of Bethlehem's Chamber of Commerce and Industry:
How can we promote Bethlehem as a holy tourism site while it is surrounded by an ugly concrete wall?
We have some free Christmas decorative advice for Hazboun: hang mistletoe.

UPDATE Christmas Eve: In a poignant editorial appearing in today's Wall Street Journal, Daniel Schwammenthal offers us further insight into the suffering of Christians at the hands of Muslims in Gaza and yes, Bethlehem:
But even here in Jesus' birthplace, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Christians live on a knife's edge. Mr. Khoury tells me that Muslims often stand in front of the gate of the Bible College and read from the Quran to intimidate Christian students. Other Muslims like to roll out their prayer rugs right in Manger Square... Christians have only recently begun to talk about how Muslim gangs simply come and take possession of Christian-owned land while the Palestinian security services, almost exclusively staffed by Muslims, stand by. Mr. Qumsieh's own home was firebombed three years ago. The perpetrators were never caught.
Ah yes, it's those Israeli security measures which are"stifling" normal life in the Holy Land.

RMEW having an impact

In our posts yesterday, More broken boilerplate and Reuters: Israeli "right-wingers" outnumber Israeli "left-wingers" 115-3, we noted Reuters recurring and ridiculous assertion that 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs living in Gaza are dependent on food aid as well as Reuters' obvious fetish for referring to Israelis as "right-wingers".

In a story today about Israel's response to Hamas with respect to negotiations on prisoners, Reuters begins the process of unwinding a bit of their mendacious propaganda.

Compare this:
The United Nations and Western powers hope a swap will lead to a relaxation of Israel's blockade of Gaza, where 1.5 million Palestinians are dependent on food aid and smuggled goods... For Netanyahu, a right-winger whose tough dealing with militants has been a centerpiece of his political career, the release of prisoners responsible for the deaths of Israelis poses a particular dilemma.  (Nidal al-Mughrabi; Tue Dec 22, 2009 2:29pm EST)
With this:
The United Nations and Western powers hope a swap will lead to a relaxation of Israel's blockade of Gaza, many of whose 1.5 million Palestinians depend on food aid and smuggled goods... For Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a rightist who has long cultivated "tough on terror" credentials, the release of senior Hamas prisoners poses a particular dilemma.  (Nidal al-Mughrabi; Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:16am EST)

Although the corrections/changes were not made in a transparent manner which in itself, is a violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, at least they were made.  A small victory for truth in journalism.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Douglas Hamilton lets the mask slip

In a story yesterday about a debate on the Middle East conflict sponsored by a Russian think-tank, Reuters' Douglas Hamilton explains:
Hamas rejects peace with Israel and is now in control of the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, pledged to continue armed struggle to liberate all Palestinian lands.
Hamilton is presumably paraphrasing Hamas but rather than employ language along the lines of, "... to liberate what they consider all Palestinian lands" (language which Reuters fastidiously includes whenever paraphrasing Israeli claims), Hamilton lets the mask slip and delivers the Hamas message unequivocally.

Apparently for Hamilton as for Hamas, "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free".

More broken boilerplate

The most recent anti-Israel propaganda to be boilerplated and perpetually recycled by Reuters is this:
The United Nations and Western powers hope a swap will open the way to a relaxation of Israel's blockade of Gaza, where 1.5 million Palestinians are dependent on food aid and smuggled goods.
A ludicrous suggestion here, that 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs living in Gaza are dependent on food aid and smuggled goods.  Not only is this notion patently false, we thought it would be interesting to have a look at the actual economic statistics for "blockaded" Gaza.  Although the strip is impoverished by Western standards, we wonder how many people (or Reuters correspondents) know that per capita GDP in Gaza is actually higher than India, Pakistan, Vietnam, the US Marshall Islands, and double that of resource-rich Ghana.

An interesting tidbit the automatons at Reuters are apparently unable or unwilling to disclose.

Reuters: Israeli "right-wingers" outnumber Israeli "left-wingers" 115 - 3

From April 2006 through March of 2009, the Israeli government was led by the Kadima party with Labour holding the second largest number of seats in the Israeli Knesset.  For the last nine months, the Likud party has been in power with Labour again, in the coalition.  Now, we don't know of any rational journalist who would consider politicians in the Labour party "right-wing" and very few would characterize the Kadima party as such.  Only politicians from Likud and other smaller parties like Yisrael Beiteinu are generally referred to this way in the media.  So let's be clear: Israel has been led by a "right-wing" party for just 9 of the last 44 months.  Moreover, leftist politicians, journalists, and powerful NGOs have remained a vocal minority in Israel during this time.

Now let's see how Reuters views things.  With article archives going back to early 2007, entering the term "Israeli right-winger" on the Reuters website search engine produces 115 results.  Entering "Israeli left-winger" yields 3.

We think those figures reveal much more about Reuters bias than they do about Israeli society.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

For Reuters, the UN is your friend -- except when it blames the Arabs for murder

Reuters correspondents are seemingly enamored with the United Nations.  At least when one or another of its scores of departments, committees, subsidiary bodies, agencies, or related organizations seeks to excoriate Israel for alleged violations of international law.  On the other hand, when it comes to accusations by the United Nations of breaches of UN resolutions by Arab states or, as in the case of assassinated Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, complicity in murder, Reuters is more likely to give the UN the cold shoulder.

In today's story about Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters correspondents Marwan Makdessi and Nadim Ladki write:
Hariri's "March 14" alliance has accused Syria of assassinating his politician father, Rafik al-Hariri, in February 2005. They also blamed Damascus for attacking and killing other politicians and journalists.  Syria denies the allegations. A special court based in The Hague has yet to indict anyone for the Hariri killing.

Note how gingerly Reuters treats the accusation, failing even to mention that a UN report in 2005 specifically found Syrian officials complicit in the Hariri assassination.  It's just hearsay you see, obviously not worthy of inclusion in the story.

Makdessi and Ladki then report:
Hezbollah, which fought a war against Israel in 2006, is the only armed group in Lebanon. It is considered a terrorist group by Washington but Hariri's government has said it is a legitimate force whose aim is to end Israeli occupation of some Lebanese territory.
Here again, Reuters fails to mention an essential UN finding: that the territory in question -- the Shebaa Farms area -- is not Lebanese.  By omitting this essential information, Reuters encourages its readers to accept the Hariri government's assertion as true and thereby perpetuates Hezbollah propaganda.

Reuters can be quite a fair weather friend when you distract from its agenda.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Perfect timing

In a story on the threat by a German mediator that he will quit if Israel and Hamas do not reach a deal soon on a prisoner exchange, Reuters correspondents Alexander Dziadosz and Ori Lewis suggest:
The United Nations and Western powers hope a succesful swap will open the way to a relaxation of Israel's blockade of Gaza, where 1.5 million Palestinians are dependent on food aid and smuggled goods for daily survival.
Reuters' timing is impeccable as we just ran a story (below) from Palestine Today about Palestinian snipers taking pot shots at Egyptian security forces due to their apparent displeasure with a 7-mile-long subterranean steel wall Egypt is constructing under the Gaza border to prevent smuggling.  In their story, Dziadosz and Lewis cite only "Israel's blockade" -- no mention of Egypt.

Note also, how Dziadosz and Lewis imply that all 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza are dependent on food aid (and smuggled goods).  Apparently, they haven't seen the pics from the market.

The other news

With Reuters correspondents perennially focused on the Israel-Palestinian conflict and violent incidents on the border between Gaza and Israel, it is sometimes easy to forget that Gaza also shares a border (and wall) with Egypt and that that border can be just as dangerous.  Translated from the original Arabic, the Palestine Today news agency reports:
Egyptian security sources said Egyptian security forces came under fire by Palestinian militants for the second time in three days, without the reported casualties among the soldiers.  According to security sources the shots were aimed at Egyptian soldiers fired from a sniper rifle from a high place on the Palestinian side neighborhood Brahmins border area with Egypt.
This is the second incident, which have been targeted by snipers from the Palestinian side of the border forces of Egypt, particularly after the target equipment for installation of the steel wall for three days and suffered five gunshot drilling machine caused the holes, while continuing to drilling equipment and installation of corrugated iron on the Egyptian side of its work under the state of security alert large Security Egyptian-Palestinian border and strengthen the border with more troops and armored vehicles.
The "steel wall" referred to is a 7-mile-long subterranean wall Egypt is building along the border with Gaza to prevent Palestinian smuggling.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Alistair Lyon tries his hand at the Reuters "FACTBOX" format

Reuters "Special Correspondent" Alistair Lyon, who gave us love for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and enmity for Israel, seeks now to alert us to the uncertainties and potential dangers lurking in the Middle East for 2010.

Employing the risible Reuters "FACTBOX" format, Lyon suggests:
Prospects for progress toward peace look bleak, with a weak and divided Palestinian leadership, a hardline rightwing Israeli government and few signs of decisive United States involvement.
The use of pejorative name calling ("hardline rightwing") is a well-recognized propaganda technique intended to instill in the mind of the reader the scorn the writer holds for the subject.  By the same token, Lyon wants his audience to view the Palestinian leadership as "weak".  We wonder if Lyon noticed the Hamas rally on Monday:

True to form, Lyon then blames Israel for the risk of war with Hamas and Hezbollah:
Israel may have bought respite from direct attack from Hamas and Hezbollah with devastating assaults on the Gaza Strip nearly a year ago and Lebanon in 2006, but the risk of violence is high given Palestinian frustration and Israeli settler activity.
Ah yes, Palestinians are "frustrated" while Israeli setters are "active".  The risk of war couldn't possibly have anything to do with the Hamas Mission:
For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails.
Or the sentiments of Hezbollah's leader:
If [Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.
Or the 40,000+ rockets the group now has aimed at Israel in violation of UNSC resolution 1701.

Nah, all of this would be mere speculation as compared to Lyon's "facts".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Can Tom Perry tell the truth?

In one of his "Analysis" pieces -- aka an op-ed -- on PA President Mahmoud Abbas, Reuters' Tom Perry mendaciously suggests:
Abbas has reiterated his opposition to any form of violence -- a stance which puts him at odds with the Hamas Islamist movement and some members of his own Fatah party... For, Abbas, 74, more armed action by the Palestinians is a non-starter.
"Reiterated his opposition to violence"?  "Armed action a non-starter"?  We wonder if Perry is referring to Abbas' rallying cry on the 42nd anniversary of the founding of Fatah:
We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation.
Or perhaps Perry is characterizing the Fatah platform endorsed by Abbas and adopted at the party Congress in August which reaffirmed the Fatah Constitution:
Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine. (Article 17)
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.  (Article 19)
Nah, Perry must be referring to the new and improved Mahmoud Abbas, seen here calmly reconciled to a Jewish state:

Perry suggests:
When he [Abbas] took over after Yasser Arafat's death in 2004, one of his first steps was to rein in militants still fighting the second Intifada, or uprising.
Apparently, that was before Abbas signed a law approving the payment of stipends to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

But despite Abbas having "hit a dead end" in peace talks with Israel, Perry quotes Palestinian political analyst Hani Masri:
I don't think there will ever be a president as moderate as Abu Mazen.
We think Masri and Perry may have inadvertently stumbled upon the truth here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tom Perry chooses his words carefully

In previous posts here and here, we noted how Reuters correspondent Tom Perry misrepresents the facts on the Middle East conflict and sanitizes Palestinian Arab efforts to murder Israelis.

In a story today with the headline, "Abbas gives terms for resuming stalled peace talks", Perry writes:
Unlike Abbas and the PLO, who are ready to negotiate a treaty with Israel, Hamas remains committed to armed struggle against the Jewish state (italics, ours).
Quite apart from the unsupported and dubious assertion that Abbas and the PLO are keen to negotiate a peace settlement with Israel, note how Perry adopts the euphemistic language of the early Marxist revolutionaries, subsequent "liberation" movements like the ANC in South Africa and IRA in Northern Ireland to characterize the nature and aims of Hamas.  In fact, from its Charter, here is what Hamas is committed to:
This is the Charter of the Islamic Resistance (Hamas) which will reveal its face, unveil its identity, state its position, clarify its purpose, discuss its hopes, call for support to its cause and reinforcement, and for joining its ranks. For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails. Thus we shall perceive them approaching in the horizon, and this will be known before long: “Allah has decreed: Lo! I very shall conquer, I and my messenger, lo! Allah is strong, almighty.”
And their rationale:
Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.
And to be clear on Hamas' somewhat more extensive objectives than suggested by Perry's guileful use of the term "armed struggle", a reminder: 
But even if the links have become distant from each other, and even if the obstacles erected by those who revolve in the Zionist orbit, aiming at obstructing the road before the Jihad fighters, have rendered the pursuance of Jihad impossible; nevertheless, the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!
Oh yes, "armed struggle".

Monday, December 14, 2009

More broken boilerplate

Residing somewhere on the Reuters Middle East server, lies a word processing file saved as anti-Israelpropaganda.docx -- or so we imagine.  It's the only way to explain the pernicious boilerplate appearing in scores of Reuters' stories, like for example, this:     
Ideological divides run deep in Israel, especially over the future of some 500,000 Jews who live among 2.7 million Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas captured in a 1967 war which Palestinians want for a viable future state.
Now, we understand the value of boilerplate for a writer under pressure to meet a daily deadline.  We just think Reuters ought to inspect the veracity of that boilerplate before repeating it and selling it on to hundreds of other news publications.  For the reality is, a large majority of Israelis support settlement construction in the disputed territories 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.  Moreover, 85 percent of Israelis oppose dividing Jerusalem in exchange for peace with the Palestinians.

Not much of an "ideological divide" there.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More photos Reuters won't show you

Continuing with our series of photos which Reuters will never publish, the magazine Palestine Today reminds us of the relentless incitement to violence seen in Gaza with pics of a well-attended rally and apparent award ceremony orchestrated by the Islamic Jihad on behalf of Palestinian "martyrs".  Note the toddlers in the audience.

Reuters ever the apologists for Arab terror

Allyn Fisher-Ilan of Reuters reports:
A Jewish settler woman was stabbed and wounded on a roadside in the occupied West Bank in what Israeli police said on Sunday was an attack by a Palestinian militant. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the assault late on Saturday night near the city of Bethlehem and a settlement bloc known as Gush Etzion, which occurred after a mosque was vandalised elsewhere in the West Bank.
First, note what has become a pejorative characterization, "settler woman", to describe the victim.  This represents the first step in Reuters' efforts to justify the terror act.  After all, as a "settler", she obviously had it coming to her.  (We suppose Fisher-Ilan was being generous in not referring to the woman as a virulent settler woman).

Secondly, in reporting the location of the attack, note the reference to "the occupied West Bank".  This is the next step in Reuters' defense of attempted murder: tag the scene of the crime as a place where, in Reuters' view, the victim had no right to be (a bus stop at the Gush Etzion junction).  Yes, if only the Jews would cease in their provocative acts, i.e.,  agree to be ethnically cleansed from their homes in the territories, all would be well.

Next comes Reuters' attempt to sanitize the nature of the attack by misquoting sources: Israeli officials did not refer to the perpetrator as a Palestinian "militant" but rather, as a terror operative.  When it comes to serving as apologists for Arab terror, writers for Reuters can be relied upon to deliberately distort the Israeli perspective, in violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism.

Finally, note Fisher-Ilan's suggestion that the terror attack "occurred after a mosque was vandalised elsewhere in the West Bank."  Yes, three days after.  For Reuters, murderous Arab violence is always viewed as a direct (and reasonable) response to Jewish provocation.

Friday, December 11, 2009

This is news?

With apparent alarm, Ori Lewis of Reuters reports:
The population of Jewish settlements in the West Bank could grow by 10,000 in the coming year despite a declared "freeze" on Israeli building in the occupied territory, an Israeli cabinet minister said.

Well, yes.  As the building freeze agreed by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called for the well-publicized completion of 3,000 housing units already approved and in some stage of completion, one might expect that with an average family size of 3.7 people, the Jewish population in the territories would increase by about 10,000.

We wonder why Reuters is not calling attention to (illegal) Arab building in the territories.

Then, there are those anonymous "critics" again:
Despite settler protests, some Israeli critics of Netanyahu's gesture have called the freeze a sham.
Reuters still citing the radical fringe, we see.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oh-oh, Reuters is interpreting surveys again

Reuters correspondents are notoriously inept at accurately conveying the results of polls taken by various think tanks on issues pertaining to the Middle East conflict.  Or perhaps they're just notoriously skilled at card stacking.  In either event, the media giant can be relied upon to play up those poll results which bolster its own worldview and downplay or ignore those results which undermine the same.

Reuters reports today on a poll by the New America Foundation (NAF) where 1,000 Israelis were asked a series of questions about the conflict, their feelings towards key players like Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and their views on a variety of possible outcomes surrounding the peace process.

Reuters leads with:
U.S. President Barack Obama has a higher approval rating among Israelis than is widely believed, undercutting arguments he has lost Israeli public support for new peace efforts, a poll said on Thursday.
Given that other polls indicate only 4% -- 6% of the Israeli public see Obama's policies as pro-Israel, almost any improvement over figures in the cellar would be applauded by the pro-Obama crowd.  But there are serious problems associated with both the NAF survey methodology and the way Reuters reports the results.

First off, while the NAF survey doesn't tell us how they selected their respondents, we do know that of 1,000 people interviewed, 160 were Israeli Arabs.  This demographic group is likely to have a very different perspective on US Middle East policy than that of Israeli Jews.  Yet sentiments of the former are conflated with sentiments of the latter, almost certainly skewing putative support for Obama upward.

Secondly, while the NAF poll suggests that 41% of Israelis rate their feelings toward Obama as "warm", 55% say that he does not support Israel, 54% say that he does not share their values, and 43% say that he is naive.  Not exactly the vote of confidence Reuters suggests in their lead.  So we see that while a portion of the Israeli public may generally like Obama (in a warm and fuzzy way), they clearly do not identify with him nor do they believe that he can be relied upon to protect Israeli lives and interests.  Thus, while Israelis may show "support and solid backing for a possible future U.S.-brokered peace deal with the Palestinians", it ain't with Obama at the helm.

Futher, Reuters fails to mention that 55% of Israeli respondents don't believe that Fatah is capable of enforcing a peace agreement if one were signed and -- get this -- 82% of Jewish Israelis think it likely that, "the Palestinians will not be able to control the extremists on their side who will continue to launch attacks on Israel".  Ouch!  We can certainly understand why Reuters would omit those unpleasantries.

Reuters continues to liken Jewish settlers to disease

In a previous post, we noted Reuters use of the word virulence -- an obvious allusion to disease -- to describe Jewish settlers.  Here's how Reuters captions a photo of the Jewish settlement of Maskiot appearing on its AlertNet website yesterday:
Jewish settlers walk in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maskiot in this May 18, 2009 file photo. Perched on a grassy slope on the western Jordan Valley, Maskiot overlooks Jordan from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, home to 2.5 million Palestinians who oppose the presence of settlers who have spread among them over the past 30 years.
Can one imagine Reuters ever deploying similarly odious language to describe Arab populations within Israel?  For example:
Arab settlers walk in the Israeli Arab settlement of Umm al-Fahm in this May 18, 2009 file photo. Perched on a grassy slope on a mountain ridge, Umm al-Fahm overlooks the Menashe Region from Arab-occupied Israel, home to 6 million Jews who oppose the presence of Arabs who have spread among them over the past 30 years.
Somehow, we don't think we'll be seeing that rhetoric anytime soon on Reuters' website.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Reuters assumes its readers are blind or stupid

Writers and editors for Reuters frequently bend themselves out of shape to heap blame on Israel even when it is pitifully obvious that the Palestinians or Arab states are due the criticism.

In a story today drawn from an article appearing in the newspaper Ha'aretz, Reuters reports that Egypt is building an underground wall to block Palestinian smuggling tunnels.  Reuters writes:
Israeli daily Haaretz reported Egypt was installing an underground metal wall about 20 to 30 metres (70-100 feet) deep along the short border strip where Palestinians have dug a warren of tunnels to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

As in nearly all of its other stories on Palestinian smuggling tunnels, Reuters refers only to the "Israeli blockade" of Gaza.  While the last paragraph of the story indicates that Egypt "controls" the southern border of the strip, there is no explicit mention of the obvious: Egypt is blockading Gaza.  To admit this would be to admit that, 1) there is an alternative route (other than from Israel) for goods to pass into Gaza, and 2) Egypt frequently prohibits the entry of those goods.  Either of these admissions would distract from the Reuters anti-Israel narrative, i.e, Israel is responsible for what hardship exists in Gaza.

Can't have that.

Douglas Hamilton cites Israel-hating radical leftist in "FACTBOX"

In our previous post, we noted Reuters' use of its "FACTBOX" format to further its Palestinian advocacy agenda under the guise of providing its audience with the facts on Jewish settlements.

Douglas Hamilton surpasses himself in another "FACTBOX" appearing today entitled, "Where does the Middle East peace process stand?"  Quoting an anonymous "Israeli left-wing commentator" on the raison d'etre of the settlement freeze announced by Israel, Hamilton writes:
[the commentator] says the freeze is a masquerade to appease U.S. President Barak Obama and put the onus for the stalled peace process on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The commentator cited by Hamilton is none other than Gideon Levy, writer for the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz.  How do we know this?  Well, another Reuters correspondent, Allyn Fisher-Ilan, parroted the same suggestion by Levy in a story on Sunday.

For those unfamiliar with Levy, Spiegel Magazine describes him as Israel's "most radical [leftist] commentator" and reports that:
With the beginning of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000 and the accompanying suicide attacks in Israeli cities... Subscribers [to Ha'aretz] began to abandon the paper in droves. The most common reason given by readers who canceled their subscriptions was one journalist, Gideon Levy
For a newspaper with a nearly exclusive leftist readership, Levy's output was clearly too odious for even the most extreme elements in Israeli society.  And from a Levy story appearing in Ha'aretz in 2004, here's an illustration of why:
At the same time, their state [Israel] continues to strengthen the settlements, which are the major obstacle to the attainment of peace with the Palestinians, which alone can put an end to the firing of rockets at Sderot.

Note that Levy is attempting to justify the thousands of rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza into Israeli border communities -- a situation which continues to this day despite the removal of every single settlement from Gaza in 2005.   Not only is Levy's stance morally reprehensible, it has been proven dead wrong.

Yet for Douglas Hamilton and Reuters, amongst all the genuine experts whose views on the Middle East conflict could have been cited, it is the "wisdom" of Gideon Levy which merits inclusion in a "FACTBOX".

Remind us again of Reuters self-proclaimed "freedom from bias".

For Reuters, facts just twist the truth around

In November, Reuters published one of its infamous "FACTBOX" series on Jewish settlements loaded with falsehoods, unsupported assertions, and logical fallacies.  Concomitant with a story by Tom Perry which we will examine in another post, Reuters reruns the "FACTBOX" today with adjustments which drive the material deeper into the realm of pro-Palestinian propaganda and demonstrates Reuters' willful disregard for the truth.

In November for example, Reuters suggested:
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.
At the time, we noted the unsupported reference to "international findings" and demonstrated that contrary to Reuters' assertion, Jewish communities in the territories are entirely legal as per League of Nations and United Nations resolutions.

In today's edition, Reuters goes further:
Israel dismisses international findings that the communities it has been building since the 1980s in the West Bank, on Palestinian land occupied by the Israeli military since 1967, constitute a violation of international law.
The territory is now not only inappropriately referred to as "occupied", it has been magically transformed into "Palestinian land".  As in the case of Jerusalem, Reuters fancies itself Arbiter of final status issues between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, ignores Jewish rights to the land, and awards Title to the Arabs.  All under the guise of offering its readers the "facts".

Breathtaking journalistic integrity!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Reuters Fisher-Ilan alludes to Jewish settlers as disease

In its Handbook of Journalism, Reuters prescribes a rigorous set of reporting standards for its correspondents.  The code is laudable for its attempt to encourage journalists to, as Reuters puts it, "fulfil the highest aspirations of our profession – to search for and report the truth, fairly, honestly and unfailingly".

Regrettably, as evidenced on our site, Reuters correspondents frequently fail spectacularly in this mission.

In a story yesterday about Jewish settlers protesting against the construction freeze called by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Allyn Fisher-Ilan strikes a cynical pose with respect to both the raison d'etre of the freeze and its longevity:
For some skeptics, the virulence of the settlers' response may only bolster Netanyahu's argument to U.S. President Barack Obama that he is taking domestic political risks for the sake of making peace -- and that he dare not make greater concessions.
Note Fisher-Ilan's use of the word virulence to describe the behavior of Jewish settlers.  Our desktop dictionary defines virulence as "the quality or state of being virulent", with virulent defined as "actively poisonous; intensely noxious".  The term is a derivation of course, of the word virus.  Now, there are a multitude of adjectives Fisher-Ilan could have selected to describe the disobedient (and at times criminal) behavior of Jewish settlers in response to the building freeze, but she specifically chose an extremely provocative and dehumanizing term bringing to mind the action of a dangerous microbe.

By comparison, we cannot recall and could not find in an online search, Reuters' use of the word virulence to describe the behavior of Palestinian Arabs during even the most horrific and widespread episodes of violence against Israeli civilians.  Adjectives like resistance -- a word the Arabs use to describe and rationalize their violent acts -- are extremely common in Reuters' stories however.  Ironically, the word resistance also refers to the human body's ability to defend against disease.

Are we making too much of a single word?  If it were just this instance of indecorous language, perhaps we could be accused of being too harsh on Reuters.  Judged by the weight of corroborative evidence appearing elsewhere on our site however, we believe this to be another illustration of extreme prejudice on the part of Reuters writers and editors and a violation of both their Handbook of Journalism and the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

More photos Reuters won't show you

In a previous post, we linked to the Palestine Today website bringing you scenes of Palestinian life in Gaza which Reuters with their 70+ journalists in the area (the number appears to have declined recently -- must be the recession in the publishing industry) never seem to witness.

Here are some new pics of "starving" and "impoverished" Palestinians returning to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with a few goodies and catching a ride home in the local Mercedes Benz taxis:

Friday, December 4, 2009

The other news

On Tuesday, we highlighted a Reuters story where writer Erika Solomon sees the glass half-empty with respect to economic gains in Bethlehem since Binyamin Netanyahu became Israeli Prime Minister.  On a visit to the cities of Nablus and Hebron, Tom Gross sees things a bit differently:
As I sat in the plush office of Ahmad Aweidah, the suave British-educated banker who heads the Palestinian Securities Exchange, he told me that the Nablus stock market was the second best-performing in the world so far in 2009, after Shanghai. (Aweidah's office looks directly across from the palatial residence of Palestinian billionaire Munib al-Masri, the wealthiest man in the West Bank.)  Later I met Bashir al-Shakah, director of Nablus's gleaming new cinema, where four of the latest Hollywood hits were playing that day. Most movies were sold out, he noted, proudly adding that the venue had already hosted a film festival since it opened in June.  Wandering around downtown Nablus the shops and restaurants I saw were full. There were plenty of expensive cars on the streets. Indeed I counted considerably more BMWs and Mercedes than I've seen, for example, in downtown Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
The shops and restaurants were also full when I visited Hebron recently, and I was surprised to see villas comparable in size to those on the Cote d'Azur or Bel Air had sprung up on the hills around the city. Life is even better in Ramallah, where it is difficult to get a table in a good restaurant. New apartment buildings, banks, brokerage firms, luxury car dealerships and health clubs are to be seen. In Qalqilya, another West Bank city that was previously a hotbed of terrorists and bomb-makers, the first ever strawberry crop is being harvested in time to cash in on the lucrative Christmas markets in Europe. Local Palestinian farmers have been trained by Israeli agriculture experts and Israel supplied them with irrigation equipment and pesticides.
Cheer up, Erika; life is good.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Douglas Hamilton demonizes Israel for same residency policy in effect across Europe

There's a war raging in the Middle East but it's only rarely a shooting war between the Arabs and Israel.  Most of the time, it's a propaganda war being waged by news agencies like Reuters against Israel.  Our site is devoted to exposing this rabid propaganda and calling attention to Reuters' serial violations of its own Handbook of Journalism and the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

In a notable example of anti-Israel propaganda, Reuters' correspondent Douglas Hamilton, citing an Israeli "rights group", writes that:
Israel stripped Palestinians of Jerusalem residency status last year at a faster rate than at any time in the history of the Jewish state
The reason for this "stripping" of residency?  Well, it is only in the 17th paragraph of a 19-paragraph story that Hamilton finally discloses:
Palestinians in East Jerusalem have permanent resident status but Israeli law says it may be revoked if they spend more than seven consecutive years outside Israel, or take foreign residence or citizenship.
Oh, how demonic!  Permanent residency status may be revoked if an individual (the law does not discriminate between Arab and Jew) lives abroad for more than seven consecutive years or receives foreign residency.  We're sure the irony is lost on Doug Hamilton that many countries on his home continent of Europe have similar or much more draconian policies when it comes to terminating the residency of those who leave the state for an extended period.  In France for example, it's two years.

Hamilton exploits this bit of melodrama to launch a hatchet job on Israeli policies in Jerusalem replete with the usual mischaracterizations, errors of omission, and pernicious canards.  For example, Hamilton writes:
The United Nations, the United States and the European have criticized Israel's policies in Jerusalem, which include the eviction of Palestinians from homes whose ownership they cannot prove...
Hamilton attempts to paint these evictions as nefarious acts but of course, the reason these Palestinian Arabs "cannot prove" ownership of the homes from which they have been evicted (a marginal number) is because ownership has been definitively proven before the Israel Supreme Court by Jewish families with Title to the properties going back generations.  For Hamilton and Reuters, justice in a liberal democracy is anathema if it conflicts with their pro-Palestinian agenda.

In a nearly hysterical pitch, Hamilton parrots Palestinian claims:
The Palestinians say Israel's aim is to get rid of as many Palestinian residents as possible from East Jerusalem, to reduce their presence in its eastern districts and undermine the claim to half of the Holy City as capital of their future state.
And Hamilton cites a Haaretz article which ostensibly quotes an EU report which purportedly claims:
the Israeli-run municipality was depriving Palestinians of needed building permits...
Note that Hamilton is feeding readers a completely unsubstantiated third-hand claim while failing to provide any balance from an Israeli perspective.  For example, just two weeks ago, the paper Arutz Sheva reported:
The Jerusalem Municipality is plowing ahead with plans for construction of more than 5,000 housing units in Arab neighborhoods. These include the following:
  • A master plan for the Tel Adasa neighborhood in northern Jerusalem, where 2,000 new housing units are planned.
  • A master plan for the Arab a-Sawahara area for a new housing compound with 2,500 units that is currently being prepared for discussion at the local council and district council levels.
  • A master plan for the Dir el-Amud and Al-Muntar areas in Beit Safafa in southeastern Jerusalem, currently in advanced planning stages.
  • A construction plan for 172 housing units and public buildings at the Jabal Mukabar neighborhood, which has completed the mandatory waiting period and will soon come up for additional discussion and approval in the district council.
If Israel is trying to "get rid of as many Palestinian residents as possible from East Jerusalem", she's obviously doing a lousy job of it.  For Reuters however, facts are an inconvenient thing.

Facts are simple and facts are straight
Facts are lazy and facts are late
Facts all come with points of view
Facts don't do what I want them to
Facts just twist the truth around
Facts are living turned inside out
Facts are getting the best of them 

-- lyrics from "Crosseyed and Painless", Talking Heads

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reuters dissembles for the Saudis

International sanctions have apparently not dented Iran's hopes of joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) by 2017.  However, there's one small catch: WTO rules require member states to abandon any boycotts they maintain against fellow member states.  And Israel, which Iran refuses to refer to by name (when not threatening her with obliteration), is a member of the WTO.  So when reporters asked the Iranian Commerce Minister whether Iran would be willing to drop its boycott of Israel to gain admittance into the WTO, he "declined to say".

Reuters then asserts:
Saudi Arabia dropped its boycott of Israel when it joined the WTO in 2005.
In fact, while the Saudis may have agreed to drop their boycott of Israel, it is more restrictive than ever:
A review of US Commerce Department data conducted by the Post found that the number of boycott-related and restrictive trade-practice requests received by American companies from Saudi Arabia has increased in each of the past two years, rising from 42 in 2006 to 65 in 2007 to 74 in 2008, signifying a jump of more than 76 percent.  The bulk of these requests were related to the companies' or products' relationship to Israel. Typically, Saudi officials ask foreign suppliers to affirm that any goods exported to the desert kingdom are not manufactured in Israel and do not contain any Israeli-made components... The Commerce Department figures reflect only those requests that have been officially reported to the US government.
Reuters really ought to catch up with the news.