Sunday, February 28, 2010

First draft (repost)

In honor of the Jewish holiday of Purim and as this story is as topical today as it was four months ago, we repost one of our favorite lampoons of a Reuters piece:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Palestinians stone tourists at Temple Mount; Reuters blames Israel

Christian and Jewish visitors touring the Temple Mount in Jerusalem today were stoned by Palestinians.  While Reuters cites an Israeli police spokesman for clinical details of the confrontation, Allyn Fisher-Ilan and Tom Perry give full voice to the Palestinians to disseminate their agitprop:
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel of exacerbating tensions on purpose to undermine U.S. efforts to broker a resumption of peace talks.  "The message is very, very clear: they are trying to sabotage all efforts to revive peace," he told Reuters... Mohammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, said in a statement Israeli authorities would bear responsibility for the consequences of what he described as the "storming" of the site by "extremist groups".
Got that?  Palestinians stone non-Muslim visitors to Judaism's holiest shrine and Palestinian officials, aided and abetted by Reuters, vilify Israel.

Fisher-Ilan and Perry then employ the logical fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore on account of this) to peddle a canard that has long since been debunked:
The second Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, erupted in 2000 after a visit by then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the compound, known by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif.
As we noted here, even the Palestinians admit that the bloody war they waged against Israeli civilians (also known as the "intifada") was planned months ahead of Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount.

For Reuters however, as the rooster triggers the sunrise, Israel is always to blame for Arab violence.

More broken boilerplate

Another day, another unarmed African migrant killed by Egyptian police while trying to cross the Sinai border with Israel.  And you know what that means... boilerplate apologetics from Reuters on behalf of Egypt and the insinuation that Israel is to blame for trigger-happy border police:
The man was shot in the stomach and leg on Saturday night by guards stationed on the border. He had refused orders to stop while attempting to cross barbed wire marking the sensitive frontier, the source said... The Sinai border is a major transit route for African migrants and refugees seeking work or asylum in Israel. Egypt has come under pressure from Israel to staunch the flow, while rights groups complain about the methods of the border police... Security forces say they only fire at migrants after repeated orders to stop are disregarded and that smugglers who ferry migrants to the border sometimes fire on security forces.
One can only imagine Reuters offering the same journalistic cover to Israeli security forces operating on the border with Gaza when armed Palestinian terrorists attempt to infiltrate.  Actually, we can't even imagine it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The other news

Over the last few weeks, Reuters has been running deceptively-worded stories suggesting that bellicose statements from Iran, Syria and Lebanon are simply "warnings" to Israel not to launch military strikes against them.  As we noted here, these stories represent a transparent attempt by Reuters to paint Israel as the belligerent in the region and to portray the Arab and Islamic states as rational and reasonable actors fending off aggression.

As war rhetoric from the terror troika heats up, Reuters' flimsy editorial position is becoming increasingly risible but that doesn't prevent the agency from continued efforts to sanitize or to simply ignore palpable threats of genocide.  At a joint news conference:
The presidents of Iran and Syria on Thursday ridiculed U.S. policy in the region and pledged to create a Middle East "without Zionists," combining a slap at recent U.S. overtures and a threat to Israel with an endorsement of one of the region's defining alliances... Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust denier, spoke of Israel's eventual "demise and annihilation" and said the countries of the region could create a future "without Zionists and without colonialists."  
Those quotes are from a story appearing in the Washington Post.  Reuters correspondents, who covered the same news conference here, apparently had their translating earpieces switched off at the time.

Reuters' editorial slant on this issue becomes easier to fathom when one considers that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's view of "Zionists and colonialists" is shared by Reuters Bureau Chief, Alastair Macdonald.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Another Orwellian inversion

As Palestinian Arabs burn tires and stone Israelis in the town of Hebron, Reuters correspondent Ali Sawafta trumpets the immortal words of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad:
Israel won't drag Palestinians to violence... This is what we call a quiet revolution
Perhaps Fayyad ought to have his chauffeur pull his limo over, snap on a crash helmet, and take a look around the next time he travels to Hebron to pray at the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

In one respect, Fayyad's words ring true: the Palestinians prove time and again they need no external impetus to violence.

Note that Reuters' Sawafta has no difficulty quoting Fayyad in toto:
We will not be dragged to violence by the terrorism of the settlers, and the terrorism of the settlement project [italics, ours]
whereas similar references to "terrorism" are routinely expunged (a violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism) or placed in scarequotes when Reuters is citing Israeli sources discussing Palestinian violence.

Sawafta also refers to Hebron as being in the "West Bank" without mentioning Israel's name for the territory, Judea and Samaria (another violation of the Reuters Handbook).  This is of course, to side with the Arabs by assigning title to them prior to final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians (a third violation of the Reuters Handbook).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reuters corrects error; hopes no one notices

In a prior post, we noted Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi erred when he reported that:
Iran says its support for Hamas is diplomatic only.
As documented in our post at the time and as reported by the Associated Press, Iran has, in fact, admitted to bankrolling Hamas.

In violation of its Handbook of Journalism, Reuters fails to correct this error openly but in a story appearing today about Hamas arms trafficker Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, Reuters' al-Mughrabi is careful not to repeat the same mistake:
Both Hamas and Iran have acknowledged Tehran's financial support for the group [Hamas]...
Amusingly however, al-Mughrabi apparently now wishes readers to believe that Iranian financial support for Hamas may be for other than weapons:
... while stopping short of confirming Israel's belief that this includes bankrolling arms smuggled to the Gaza Strip.
Yes, we understand that Hamas has recently agreed to purchase on installment, Persian rugs for the mansion Ismail Haniyeh will be building in Gaza.

The myth of the two-state solution

Erika Solomon of Reuters reports on Israel's efforts to call attention to ongoing Palestinian incitement to violence, a violation of the latter's obligations under the Road Map peace plan.  Solomon writes:
Fatah, the dominant force behind the Palestinian Authority, calls its legislative body the "Revolutionary Council." Its charter still does not recognize Israel, even as its leaders promote a two-state solution and peace with the Jewish state.
On its surface, this statement appears relatively even-handed but is Solomon's assertion that Fatah's leaders "promote a two-state solution and peace with the Jewish state" actually true?

At a celebration to honor Yasser Arafat's memory in 2007, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas:
urged a throng of 50,000 Palestinians to re-aim their guns at the “occupation” (i.e., Israel) instead of turning them on each other: “Fatah,” he promised, “will not give up our principles and we have said that rifles should be directed against the occupation.... We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation....”
Those "principles" Abbas insists Fatah will never surrender call for:
armed struggle until the Zionist entity is wiped out and Palestine is liberated.
Not exactly the two-state Shangri-La to which Solomon suggests the Palestinian leadership is committed.

In 2008, Abbas:
revealed that his current feint at negotiations with Israel is — like his mentor Arafat’s similar tactics — a strategic pause at best. He explained to a Jordanian newspaper that he was not pursuing “the armed struggle” at “this present juncture” only “because we can’t succeed in it.” He was quick to add, though, that “maybe in the future things will be different.”
More recently, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared that any peace settlement with the Palestinian Arabs must entail acceptance by the Palestinians of Israel as a Jewish state.  Here's a video clip of Abbas' position on the matter:

Given the Charters of Fatah and the PLO as well as Mahmoud Abbas' continuing truculence and refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish sovereign (as called-for in the UN Partition Plan), what basis we wonder, does Erika Solomon have for asserting that Palestinian leaders "promote a two-state solution and peace with the Jewish state"?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yes, we have no bananas

Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi tells readers that fish is in short supply in Gaza due to the Israeli "blockade".

No comment on bananas.

World yawns over Middle East conflict; Reuters panics

In a nearly hysterical op-ed loaded with dire warnings and hyperbole, Reuters Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald frets that the Israel-Palestinian conflict may be losing its audience.  That would obviously be bad for business at Reuters' Middle East bureau so Macdonald launches his arsenal of rhetorical WMDs to recapture our attention:
Here on the ground in this Belgium-size bit of Mediterranean coast a new war is raging, so far of words...
Their [Israelis who do not support "the two-state solution"] critics warn of "rivers of blood" in an "apartheid Israel" made international pariah if the two-state option dies.
Palestinians, too, are sounding more apocalyptic. 
He [Abbas] also warned this week that his people may turn to more violence if they are thwarted.
Yet time for agreement, many officials and diplomats concur, may be running out as frustration breeds radicalism all round.
Along the way, Macdonald reveals his own radical anti-Israel colors referring to Jewish "colonization" of Judea and Samaria and misrepresenting the particulars of previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements ("the partition goal enshrined in the 1993 Oslo accords") as well as getting the basic demography of the region wrong ("Israel controls a whole territory where Arabs may soon outnumber Jews").

But what really seems to panic Macdonald is the loss of global interest in the conflict:
As world attention wanes, perhaps with the lack of televised bloodshed and the glacial pace of U.S. President Barack Obama's efforts to get the sides back to even "proximity talks", Israelis and Palestinians are watching anxiously to see whether the 20-year-old "peace process" will now live, or die.
Well, there's always agitprop to increase circulation.

For Reuters, Palestinians are Arabs; Jews are settlers

In a new fallacious "FACTBOX", Reuters Bureau Chief, Alastair Macdonald, offers us some of the "competing visions" for a settlement to the Middle East conflict.  In a section headlined "Who are the people?", Macdonald writes:
Official data shows Israel's population of 7.51 million comprises 5.66 million Jews and 1.53 million Arabs, plus some foreign residents. Of the Jews, some 500,000 are settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Palestinians account for some 1.5 million Arabs in the Gaza Strip and 2.5 million in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
While Macdonald classifies Palestinians as Arabs, note how he slyly decomposes Israel's Jewish population into Jews and "settlers", the latter being those Jews who live in the West Bank (also, Judea and Samaria) and "East Jerusalem".  That Jews have lived continuously in Jerusalem (including the Old City) for centuries doesn't seem to factor in to Macdonald's rhetorical ploy thinking.

And note that while the Jewish population has risen to over 500,000 in areas where Jews were ethnically cleansed by Jordan between 1948 and 1967, the Arab population in these same areas has grown from less than 500,000 in 1948 to nearly 2.5 million today.  So we wonder: why are recent Jewish arrivals and their children "settlers" while recent Arab arrivals and their children are "Palestinians"?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Selective amnesia

Reuters reports on the arrest of an Egyptian tailor on suspicion of bombing a Jewish synagogue in Cairo "in retaliation for Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza".  Following an historical account of wholly unrelated violence in the 1980s and '90s between the Egyptian government and Islamists, Reuters offers us some background on the Jewish community in Egypt:
Egypt was once home to tens of thousands of Jews, but most left decades ago and only a few dozen live in the Arab state.
Yes, tens of thousands of Jews capriciously packed their bags and left the country.  Thanks to Mitchell Bard's excellent Myths and Facts, here's a synopsis of what actually happened to Egypt's Jews:
Between June and November 1948, bombs set off in the Jewish Quarter of Cairo killed more than 70 Jews and wounded nearly 200.
In 1956, the Egyptian government used the Sinai Campaign as a pretext for expelling almost 25,000 Egyptian Jews and confiscating their property.  Approximately 1,000 more Jews were sent to prisons and detention camps.
On November 23, 1956, a proclamation signed by the Minister of Religious Affairs, and read aloud in mosques throughout Egypt, declared that "all Jews are Zionists and enemies of the state," and promised that they would soon be expelled .  Thousands of Jews were ordered to leave the country.  They were allowed to take only one suitcase and a small sum of cash, and forced to sign declarations "donating" their property to the Egyptian government.  Foreign observers reported that members of Jewish families were taken hostage, apparently to insure that those forced to leave did not speak out against the Egyptian government.
And so on.
A slightly less abbreviated account which may serve to shed some light on the precarious situation for Jews in Arab countries.

The other news

In what can only be described as an extraordinarily important archeological discovery, Dr. Eilat Mazar working under the auspices of the Hebrew University in Israel has unearthed 3,000-year-old stone fortifications outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.  The find offers additional supporting evidence for the biblical account of Solomon's Temple:
If the age of the wall is correct, the finding would be an indication that Jerusalem was home to a strong central government that had the resources and manpower needed to build massive fortifications in the 10th century BCE.  "It's the most significant construction we have from First Temple days in Israel," Mazar said on Monday. "And it means that at that time, the 10th century, in Jerusalem there was a regime capable of carrying out such construction."... "A comparison of this latest finding with city walls and gates from the period of the First Temple, as well as pottery found at the site, enable us to postulate, with a great degree of assurance, that the wall that has been revealed is that which was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem in the latter part of the tenth century BCE," she continued.

Photos of the excavations and pottery jars with the Hebrew inscription "To the King" can be seen here.

Reuters of course, does not cover this story because, we assume, it would distract from the Palestinian Arab narrative of a region which has always been part of the "Arab world".

More migrants killed by Egypt; more apologetics from Reuters

In an update to our post on Sunday about Egyptian police killing unarmed African migrants attempting to cross the Sinai border with Israel, Reuters reports today that another migrant was shot (in the back) and killed with two others wounded.  Continuing in its apologetic vein on behalf of Egypt:
Security forces say they only fire at migrants after repeated orders to stop are disregarded and that smugglers who ferry migrants to the border sometimes fire on security forces
Reuters once again seeks to guilefully shift blame for the Egyptian policy of "shoot to kill" to -- who else? -- Israel:
The Sinai border is a main transit route for African migrants and refugees seeking work or asylum in Israel. Egypt has come under pressure from Israel to staunch the flow, while rights groups complain about the methods of the border police.
Why is Reuters not referring to Egypt's "disproportionate force" on the border?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Reuters desperate to blame Israel for assassination, puts words in mouth of EU

It's unclear if we will ever learn the identities of the nations and actors who participated in the killing of Hamas arms trafficker Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.  Though there is much suspicion that the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad planned and executed the operation, there is also evidence that Palestinians may have been involved.  What we do know for certain, is that there is currently no proof Israeli agents carried out the apparent assassination.

This is obviously very distressing news for Reuters correspondents who, in a stroke of journalistic malfeasance, fabricate their own innuendo and associate it with a statement earlier today by the EU:
BRUSSELS, Feb 22 (Reuters) - The European Union condemned on Monday the use of fraudulent EU passports by the killers of a Palestinian militant in Dubai, showing its discontent with Israel without referring to it directly. [italics, ours]
The story, headlined:
Unhappy with Israel, EU condemns Dubai killing
acknowledges that the EU statement made no mention, directly or indirectly, of Israel.  But that doesn't prevent Reuters from citing anonymous "European diplomats" who apparently whispered into the ears of the agency's correspondents that the statement was "intended as a rebuke to Israel" and then conflating this hearsay with the official statement.

There you have it.  When the existing facts don't support your agenda, you can always manufacture new ones. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Reuters selective reminiscence

In a story on Israel's decision to include two Jewish shrines on its list of heritage sites, Reuters correspondents Joseph Nasr, Tom Perry and Mustafa Abu Ganeyeh recall an incident of horrendous violence at one of the sites, the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, where: 
a Jewish settler shot and killed 29 Muslim worshippers in 1994 before being beaten to death at the scene. Some 400 Jewish settlers live in heavily guarded enclaves in the city, which is also home to some 150,000 Palestinians.
Reuters doesn't explain of course, why Jews residing in Hebron must live with an Israeli garrison to protect them, omitting mention of the massacre of 67 Jewish residents by Arabs in 1929.

For the moppets at Reuters, Middle East history only begins in 1967.

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

UPDATE 2/22/10: In the spirit of peace and reconciliation between Arab and Jew, here is how Palestinians in Hebron reacted to the addition of the Tomb of the Patriarchs to Israel's heritage sites:
Earlier Monday in Hebron, a crowd of Palestinian youths pelted IDF soldiers with stones and empty bottles, drawing tear gas and stun grenades.  Hebron merchants shuttered their stores to protest of Sunday's heritage plan decision, and some 100 youths burned tires and threw stones and bottles at IDF troops in the city.
One can only imagine the editorial response from Reuters if Israeli Jews reacted similarly to Palestinian veneration of Muslim holy sites in Israel.

Egyptian police kill African migrants trying to cross border; let us count the ways Reuters apologizes

When Israeli security forces shoot armed Palestinians who have attacked Israeli border positions or attempted to infiltrate the country from Gaza to conduct military operations, Reuters typically reports on the incident in superficial fashion, focusing on the shooting details with little or no background provided on the long history of attempted infiltrations or acts of terror conducted in this way.  In this story for example, Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan do not even report on the incident which precipitated the shootings, describing only a "confrontation" between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli troops.

In a story appearing on its website today, Reuters reports on the killing by Egyptian police of two African migrants attempting to cross the border between the Sinai Peninsula and Israel.  Following the lede, note the background detail and extraordinary effort on the part of Reuters correspondents to apologize for the killings:
The source said a police patrol ordered them to stop and opened fire when they did not.
Egyptian police have stepped up efforts in recent months to control the border with Israel, after an increase in human trafficking through Egypt.
Egyptian police say the smugglers who ferry migrants to the border region sometimes fire on security forces.
Egypt, which for years tolerated tens of thousands of African migrants on its territory, fears the unfettered flow of migrants at its Sinai border could pose a security threat in an area where Islamist militants sometimes find refuge.
And of course, what would a Reuters story be without an attempt to blame Israel:
Egypt has faced Israeli pressure to halt the flow.
All very good reasons apparently, for Egyptian police to shoot and kill unarmed migrants.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

All the news that's fit to print?

One of the more insidious forms of media bias involves the editorial decision on which stories to carry and which to ignore.  Insidious because the media company can profoundly influence public opinion by drawing attention to certain events, i.e., those that fit the editorial agenda, while disregarding others which are comparably newsworthy but undermine that agenda.  The latter leaves not a trace of bias.

Over the last few weeks, Reuters has run stories on, 1) the Israeli government revoking the residency status of Jerusalem-based Palestinians who have left the country for more than seven consecutive years, 2) a lawsuit filed by the former maid of the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu alleging a salary shortfall and "humiliation" associated with a demand to change clothes during the course of the day, and 3) claims of sexual abuse against an Israeli rabbi.

During that same period, Reuters has chosen not to run stories on, 1) the Jordanian government stripping Palestinian Arabs of their Jordanian citizenship, 2) the purchase of a $4 million property in Gaza by Palestinian leader Ismail Haniyeh, and 3) the suspension of Rafik Husseini, the director of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s bureau, due to alleged sexual and financial misconduct.

Now frankly, we could care less about the tawdry details of a sex scandal involving a high Palestinian official but we wonder, given the wider implications of corruption in the Palestinian Authority and the lethal intimidation employed to silence whistleblowers (the PA executes those convicted of  "collaboration"), is this story any less newsworthy than that of a maid who was asked to change uniforms?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Reuters continues to run interference for Mahmoud Abbas

Reuters continues to peddle the fiction that PA President Mahmoud Abbas:
... broke off negotiations with the previous Israeli government in December 2008 in protest at its offensive in the Gaza Strip
As we've noted several times, Reuters' own stories from the period reveal that the Palestinian Authority had effectively terminated negotiations with Israel in the Fall of 2008 (prior to the Gaza war) following 1) Abbas' refusal of Ehud Olmert's offer of 97% of Judea and Samaria (also, the "West Bank"), 2) an unrequited demand by the PA that the Quartet guarantee that negotiations result in a Palestinian state along the 1949 Armistice Lines including the eastern part of Jerusalem, and 3) imminent elections in Israel.

Far from "protesting" Israel's defensive operation in Gaza, Abbas almost certainly supported and cooperated with Israel in the effort to rid the region of Hamas.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No, actually he was referring to Judea and Samaria

Reuters "Bible" for its correspondents is the Handbook of Journalism.  Prescribing and proscribing on a wide range of content, style, and ethical concerns, here's what the Handbook has to say about articles where disputed territory is discussed:
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. We must not parrot any loaded expressions used by our sources, except in quotes and official titles. Generic references to a specific country as “the homeland” for example, are unwelcome.
Ah, if only Reuters journalists adhered to this sensible policy.

In a story on comments by one of Israeli PM Netanyahu's advisors that surrendering land won in the 1967 war to the Arabs will never sate Islamists or those on the far-left of the political spectrum, Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan quotes the advisor:
"There are still people who say, 'look, if Israel gets up and leaves Judea and Samaria, returns to the 1967 lines, that the world will be on our side'"...
Followed by this "clarification":
... Dermer said, referring to the West Bank, territory captured in a 1967 war.
So Fisher-Ilan is quite scrupulous in providing the Jordanian alias for the territory as a counterweight to Israel's reference to the land, "Judea and Samaria".  But are she and other Reuters journalists as punctilious about including a reference to Judea and Samaria when the term "West Bank" otherwise appears in a story?

Well, here's one rough indicator: a search of the term "West Bank" on the Reuters website produces 12,600 results while the phrase "Judea and Samaria" yields 73.  Not exactly an even-handed treatment consistent with the Reuters Handbook guidelines.

And for those who would argue that the term "West Bank" is seen more frequently in the media because it is more popular around the world, we would suggest that they have reversed cause and effect.

More Orwellian inversion

In our post from last Thursday, we noted how Reuters has been presenting a series of stories of late which attempt to build a case that Israel is banging the drums of war in the Middle East while Iran, Syria, and Lebanon are defensively "warning" Israel off the warpath.  Reuters correspondent Yara Bayoumy (with help from Allyn Fisher-Ilan) continues in that vein with a story on yesterday's video-linked speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.  Note the headline:
Hezbollah warns Israel over future war
Nothing threatening here; just a friendly warning that if Israel hits Beirut, Hezbollah will hit Tel Aviv.  All very defensive, you see.  Bayoumy then goes on to describe the events which led up to the last war between Israel and Hezbollah and the war itself:
Hezbollah fought against Israel in a 34-day war in 2006 after the group captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid.  Some 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, were killed and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, died... Israel pounded Beirut's southern suburbs as well as mainly Shi'ite southern Lebanon where Hezbollah maintains a stronghold and from which Israel withdrew in 2000... Israeli bombing also hit bridges, roads, airport runways, ports, factories, power and water networks, and military installations, and the eastern Bekaa Valley.
Apart from the asymmetrical use of weasel-words to describe the Israelis who "died" (while the Lebanese were "killed"), notice anything missing from Bayoumy's otherwise detailed account? How about the eight Israeli soldiers killed by Hezbollah when the other two soldiers were "captured"?  Or the Katyusha rockets fired by Hezbollah at Israeli border communities at the time of the initial attack.  Or the 4,000 rockets Hezbollah launched at Israeli communities during the course of the war.  The thousands of Israeli homes taking direct hits; the 300,000 residents displaced; and the more than one million Israelis forced to live in bomb shelters for weeks.   Bayoumy is conspicuously silent on these details.

So does Reuters -- with guileful wording and selective omission -- seek to portray Israel as warmonger and the Arab states and terrorist militias as rational actors responding defensively to threats against them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

An unsupported assertion that belies the facts

In a story on US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's Q and A session in Qatar, where Iran was apparently a hot topic, Reuters correspondent Arshad Mohammed asserts:
While Arab states fear the possibility of Iran getting the bomb, and warn that it could spark a regional arms race, they are also uneasy about the possibility that military action by Israel against Iran could profoundly destabilize the region.
Mohammed offers no evidence to support the latter notion and we wonder why, if Arab states like Egypt are so "uneasy" about Israeli military action, they are providing highly visible free passage to Israeli war ships

Monday, February 15, 2010

Would you buy a used car from these people?

After six months and nearly 200 posts critiquing Reuters coverage of the Middle East conflict, it's clear to us and many of our readers that the media mammoth takes a distinctly anti-Israel line in its reporting in violation of the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles, the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, and professional standards and practices for an independent news agency.  One of Reuters most common and egregious techniques to portray Israel in a negative light is the use of biased and questionable information sources for its stories.

In a story appearing today on PA President Mahmoud Abbas' delay in agreeing to resume negotiations with Israel while he waits "for the United States to explain how it might help restart peace talks", Reuters suggests that Israel is in violation of its commitment made in November to freeze new settlement building:
The Israeli lobby group Peace Now, which campaigns against the expansion of settlements and for a two-state solution to the conflict, said on Monday it had evidence building has continued -- sometimes under cover of darkness -- since Netanyahu's declared freeze in 34 settlements, a quarter of the total.
We've not seen Peace Now's "evidence"; however, Reuters may wish to consider whether relying on the representations of a group that routinely errs, lies, and has been convicted of libel due to its false claims does much to enhance Reuters reputation.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Reuters ever the apologists for Palestinian violence

Reuters correspondent Dan Williams reports on a Palestinian Arab shot and killed by Israeli security forces when he (the Palestinian) tried to stab them:
Such incidents have abated as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pursues a U.S.-backed law-and-order and economic revival drive in the West Bank... Many Palestinians remain bitter, however, about the absence of peace talks with Israel that might halt settlement expansion and lead to the creation of a Palestinian state.
If the Palestinians want peace talks, all they have to do is say "yes".

There's always a justification for Arab violence, isn't there?

UPDATE: Arutz Sheva provides further details on the incident:
On Friday evening, IDF soldiers in Hevron saw Faraj brandishing a knife, screaming anti-Israel epithets, and running in the direction of the troops. The soldiers called on him to stop, but Faraj refused to do so – and soldiers opened fire on him before he was able to carry out his attack, seriously injuring him. Local medics took the terrorist to a hospital in the city, where he died from his wounds. After the incident, Arabs began rioting, throwing stones at soldiers and Jewish residents of the city. Troops broke up the riot. 
And in the spirit of reconciliation, here's how the "moderate" Palestinian leadership responded:
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has sent his condolences to the family of Fa'iz Faraj, the terrorist who was killed when he attempted to stab IDF soldiers in Hevron Friday evening. Fayyad called Faraj a "shaheed," a martyr to the cause of Islam. "I feel pain for all those killed by the occupying forces, especially those killed by the occupiers and settler terrorists," Fayyad wrote in his condolence note.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Radical leftist at Reuters provides soapbox for fellow traveler

In a 700+ word breathless interview/op-ed disguised as a news piece, Reuters Allyn Fisher-Ilan rushes into the fray to defend and promote the views of New Israel Fund (NIF) president Naomi Chazan.  Two weeks ago, an investigative study by the Zionist group Im Tirtzu revealed that the Goldstone report on the Gaza war had been seeded with defamatory claims against Israel by political NGOs financed by the NIF.  The Im Tirtzu report and subsequent well-publicized, ill-tempered reaction from Chazan and the NIF has led to widespread panic in the anti-Israel NGO community and of course at their propaganda arm, Reuters.

Fisher-Ilan begins her damage control effort on behalf of Chazan by lumping together the NGOs funded by the NIF under the righteous banner "civil rights groups".  So characterized, they are of course beyond reproach -- precisely the notion Chazan is peddling:
In an interview with Reuters, Chazan said she saw a "very, very dangerous process" under way in Israel, where human rights groups such as hers were increasingly targeted for criticism... "The very pillars of democratic society are being assailed and we have to be very concerned about that," said the former left-wing Meretz party legislator.
Got that?  According to Chazan, and parroted by Fisher-Ilan, "human rights groups" must be above criticism or the foundations of a democratic society are at risk.  Funny, we always had the impression that criticism was an essential component of a democratic society.  Apparently, not when it is the left-wing being criticized.

Fisher-Ilan continues:
Goldstone's report found evidence of war crimes by both Israel and Hamas Islamists in the three-week Israeli offensive in Gaza, in which over 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed... But it put most of the blame on Israel, stoking worldwide criticism of the Jewish state's behaviour in the war. Israel has dismissed the report as biased and supporters are lashing out at left-wing groups who had a role in Goldstone's work.
Yes, Israel has dismissed the Goldstone report as biased for any one of a hundred reasons and as Im Tirtzu has noted, 191 of 207 negative references to the Israeli army and government appearing in the report were supplied by organizations receiving NIF money.  In view of the fact that the NIF bankrolls groups like Adalah which advocates for the return of millions of Palestinian Arab "refugees" to Israel -- neatly eradicating the Jewish state -- supporters of Israel might be on the right track criticizing the NIF for funding this type of anti-Israel activity.

Fisher-Ilan then takes a stab at persuading readers with the bandwagon logical fallacy:
Left-wing activists in Israel and abroad, joined by New York-based Human Rights Watch, have rallied behind Chazan, denouncing the criticism of her and the arrests of peace activists at recent protests as "an affront to democracy."
Er, citing Human Rights Watch may not be the most effective way to make the case for democratic ideals.  And as we noted here, these "peace activists" are anything but.

Then, there's a red herring:
The right wing is well represented in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition.
As is the left-wing.
Right and left-wing Israelis have been arguing for decades for and against withdrawing from occupied Palestinian land for peace.
No.  Israelis have been arguing for and against surrendering unallocated land won in a defensive war to a group of people sworn to their destruction for the promise of peace.

Fisher-Ilan continues with another mischaracterization:
A separate Israeli legislative probe has been launched into funding for non-government groups, seen as targeting human rights organisations in particular.
No.  The probe is intended to expose and monitor those Israeli NGOs of any flavor that receive large sums of money from foreign governments and organizations.
The English-language Jerusalem Post, meanwhile, has cancelled Chazan's biweekly column.
Yes, after she threatened to sue the paper.
Chazan criticised the Israeli government's refusal to cooperate with Goldstone and said Israel should launch its own investigation into the Gaza war
Ah, but it has.

We recommend Allyn have a soothing Chamomile tea and catch up with her horoscope.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Orwellian inversion

In a series of articles over the last two weeks, Reuters reports on saber-rattling by Syria, Lebanon, and Iran against Israel.  Only, Reuters spins the facts a bit differently.  Note the handling of the headlines in the following three stories:
Israel pushing Middle East to war: Syria's Assad
Lebanon warns of "dangerous" situation with Israel
Ahmadinejad warns Israel against any military move
All very "defensive" on behalf of Syria, Lebanon, and Iran, yes?

Then there's this headline:
Netanyahu assures Syria after Israeli FM's threat
Well, at least Netanyahu was assuring after that "threat".

Despite years of transparent, savage calls to annihilate Israel by Syria:
Our forces are now entirely ready not only to repulse the aggression, but to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland. The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united....I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.  (Hafez Assad; 1967)
 Hezbollah in Lebanon:
If they go from Shebaa, we won't stop fighting them. ... Our goal is to liberate the 1948 borders of Palestine, ... The Jews who survive this war of liberation can go back to Germany or wherever they came from.  (Hassan Ezzedin; 2002)
The Iranian regime:
Israel must be wiped off the map (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010...)
Reuters would have us believe that it is Israel which is the aggressor in the region and banging the drums of war.

Reminds us of the handicraft of another media titan.

Reuters creates "nation" of "Palestine"

In a story on the latest threats from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to liquidate Israel, Reuters quotes Ahmadinejad:
"We have reliable information ... that the Zionist regime is after finding a way to compensate for its ridiculous defeats from the people of Gaza and Lebanon's Hezbollah," Ahmadinejad told Syria's Bashar al-Assad, referring to conflicts in 2006 and 2009.
"If the Zionist regime should repeat its mistakes and initiate a military operation, then it must be resisted with full force to put an end to it once and for all."
And then quotes him again:
Ahmadinejad, who has often predicted the imminent demise of the Jewish state, said Iran would remain on the side of regional nations including Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.
Oops!  Our mistake.  There are no quotation marks so apparently, Reuters has unilaterally declared the nation of Palestine.  Mazel Tov!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Israeli soldier killed by PA officer/Fatah member; Reuters suggests killer is a "renegade"

As we have documented a number of times, Fatah -- PA President Mahmoud Abbas' party -- remains committed in word and deed to armed violence if it doesn't get all of its demands met in negotiations with Israel.  So why would Reuters consider the latest Fatah-linked murder of an Israeli an anomaly?
Some Israelis say Abbas's forces cannot be trusted to prevent attacks on Jews, especially by renegade Fatah members [italics, ours]

Kudos to EoZ

The Elder of Ziyon website offers a revealing look at the way Reuters and AP view the same incident.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

For Reuters, the law is an ass only when it disagrees

As we have noted in previous posts, Reuters correspondents are happy to identify and cite the Israeli High/Supreme Court when it is considering or has ruled on a matter which harmonizes with the Reuters political agenda.  By contrast, when Court rulings fail to comport with that agenda, Reuters stories either demote the High Court to subordinate status or omit mention of the Court entirely.

In a story on Palestinian violence in Jerusalem, Allyn Fisher-Ilan and the Reuters team write:
Israeli and Palestinian protesters have squared off on a weekly basis in the past few months during generally peaceful demonstrations staged against Israel's recent seizure of homes inhabited by Palestinians in parts of East Jerusalem.

Watching the bedlam of Palestinian and left-wing protesters scuffling with police, throwing rocks, and spitting on religious Jews in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, one may aptly question Reuters' characterization of the demonstrations as "peaceful".  Beyond this however, is Fisher-Ilan's tendentious use of the term "seizure" to describe the recent eviction of Arab squatters from homes owned by Jews in the community and her failure to mention that the eviction orders came from -- yes, the Israeli Supreme Court.

Just an oversight, we're sure.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Reuters reports on Hamas cash crunch; no mention of leader's $4 million property purchase

Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi reports that Hamas has failed to meet January payroll for its 34,000 Palestinian employees:
A senior official at the Hamas-run Finance Ministry blamed the delay on new "technical procedures" under which cash is distributed at post offices and the newly established Palestinian Islamic National Bank.
Perhaps a peek at the Gaza property records might shed some additional light on the problem:
The report, in the independent Kafiyeh network, claims that Hamas Gaza kingpin Ismail Haniyeh has bought property worth $4 million in Gaza and apparently intends to build there. The purchase is reportedly registered in the name of one of his sons. Haniyeh has reportedly purchased real estate for his family members as well, including an apartment for his wife.
"Technical procedures".

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Reuters sanitizes the International Solidarity Movement

Reuters reports this morning on the arrest by Israeli security forces of two members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) for participation in violent riots and for visa violations.  Correspondents Erika Solomon and Ori Lewis characterize the ISM as having been:
established in 2001 to mobilize international support for Palestinian activism against Israeli occupation... Protesters stage weekly demonstrations in various Palestinian villages against Israel's construction of West Bank walls and fences that have denied them access to their land.
Here's what they don't tell us:
ISM members openly  advocate the "liberation" of Palestinians "by any means necessary," including "legitimate armed struggle."

Led by Palestinians working closely with American recruiters, ISM invites American volunteers to travel to the Palestinian territories and disrupt the actions of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), which is engaged in anti-terror operations in the region. ISM maintains a continual, low-level presence in the territories year-round, punctuated by occasional large, episodic campaigns. At various times, ISM members have temporarily taken over Israeli military checkpoints, interfered with the arrests of Palestinians charged with terrorism, and attempted to prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes containing subterranean tunnels for weapons smuggling.
ISM co-founder Huwaida Arraf has acknowledged that her organization cooperates with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
But one might expect this type of skewed reporting from a media organization that actively encourages violence when Palestinians riot.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reuters in need of remedial math class

In a story on the Hamas "apology" for Israeli civilians killed in rocket attacks, Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi, who frequently fails to get his facts straight, reports that:
Over 500 Israelis were killed in suicide bombings during a Palestinian uprising from 2000.
UPDATE: According to statistics compiled by the left-wing NGO B'tselem, over 1,000 Israelis were killed during the second Palestinian intifada, the vast majority in bombings.

UPDATE 3/16/10: A reader refers us to the website of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs which reports a lesser number of Israelis killed via suicide bombings: 542.  However, the total number of Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorism during the period is reported as 1,185 -- even higher than the B'tselem figure. Thus, it's a distinction without a difference.  By citing only suicide bombings, Reuters is willfully understating the number of Israelis killed during the intifada.

In other news, Reuters is also reporting that there are over 100 days in a year.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The soft bigotry of low expectations

Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan, who has a penchant for vile anti-Israel propaganda and internet astrology, reports on the Israeli High Court's query into the government's policy of subsidizing ultra-Orthodox buses where women are required to sit separately from men.  Previously, we have noted that on issues involving the restoration of Jewish property, Fisher-Ilan fails to identify or credit the High Court for its decisions.  Having now discovered an issue where she apparently sympathizes, Fisher-Ilan happily names and cites the Court and its Arab Justice Salim Joubran:
"What about tolerance, that positive human attribute?" Joubran added. He said there were no such problems in Arab areas where "everyone sits together". 
Except of course, in Israeli government-funded mosques.

We wonder when "feminist" stargazer Fisher-Ilan will get around to reporting on the way Israeli Arab women are treated in their communities and in their homes.

Reuters makes light of Gaza rockets

Reuters has a long, sorry history of downplaying the threat to Israeli civilian communities from rockets and mortars fired by terror groups in Gaza.  In a cynical effort to portray these projectiles as only marginally more dangerous than fireworks, Reuters frequently characterizes them as "homemade" and "crude".

In a story on Israel's decision to delay deployment of its "Iron Dome" missile defense system near Gaza due to economic constraints, correspondent Dan Williams continues in the Reuters tradition:
While the north has gone quiet, sporadic fire still pesters towns inland from Gaza. The rockets are inaccurate and only rarely inflict damage or injury. But each firing triggers a loud alert, sending people rushing to shelters and keeping nerves on edge in towns such as Sderot.
We have already noted Reuters Orwellian reference to the hundreds of rocket attacks emanating from Gaza over the last year as "sporadic" and Williams here seeks to further trivialize the terror and trauma suffered by Israelis by characterizing the rocket fire as something that "pesters".  Moreover, note how Williams slyly suggests that the trauma is caused not by Palestinian missiles but rather, by the Israeli incoming missile alert system.  To ensure more credible reporting, we might suggest Reuters house its correspondents in one of the Israeli border communities.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The other news

Back in December, we commented on a story by Reuters correspondent Douglas Hamilton where he condemns Israel for revoking the permanent residency status of Jerusalem-based Palestinians if they spend more than seven consecutive years outside Israel, or take foreign residence or citizenship.  We have also noted that Jordan has been regularly stripping Palestinian Arabs living in the Kingdom of their citizenship in an effort to rid itself of Palestinians who originally resided in Judea and Samaria (also, the "West Bank").  Whereas Reuters fails to report on this latter trend, AP covers it:
The Jordanian measure rendered the Palestinians "stateless," depriving them of passports, voting rights, education, travel, health care and jobs, said Christoph Wilcke, HRW researcher on Jordan.
Apparently, government-enforced changes to Palestinian legal status are only required reporting for Reuters when it occurs in Israel.  Where is Douglas Hamilton when the Palestinians need him?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

This is rich

Reuters Bureau Chief for Israel and Palestinian Territories, Alastair Macdonald, reports on the Herzliya conference in Israel this week where efforts are underway to "win hearts and minds abroad":
A keynote national security conference this week made clear Israel is considering arming itself with a battery of weapons for a propaganda war against Palestinians and their supporters, who many Israelis fear want to turn the Jewish state into an international pariah reminiscent of apartheid South Africa.
Macdonald well understands the value of such a campaign as he and his organization are in the vanguard of the Palestinian Arab propaganda war against Israel.

More broken boilerplate

As we noted in Sunday's post, Reuters erroneously reports that Iran says its support for Hamas is "diplomatic only" when in fact, the Islamic republic has publicly admitted to bankrolling Hamas.  This error is quickly evolving into broken boilerplate as Reuters correspondents Reza Derakhshi and Fredrik Dahl repeat the canard today:
Israel says Iran bankrolls attempts to ship weapons to Gaza by sea or land. Iran, which does not recognize the Jewish state, says its support for Hamas is diplomatic only.
In the same story, Derakhashi and Dahl slip in a misleading assertion:
The Mossad is believed to have stepped up missions against Hamas, Lebanon's Hezbollah militia and Iran's nuclear project. Among killings attributed to the agency were that of Hezbollah commander Imad Moughniyeh in Damascus two years ago.
Moughniyeh was killed in a car bomb in 2008 and although both Hezbollah and Iran have accused Israel of carrying out the attack, it is far from certain Mossad was responsible:
Blaming Israel for assassinations is almost a reflex in the region, but not everyone is buying that theory of the case. That's particularly true in Beirut, where the machinations of the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis have brought the country to a political standstill, and an outbreak of politically motivated assassinations, mostly by car bomb, has targeted the enemies of Hezbollah. One of Hezbollah's harshest critics in Lebanon, the Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, says he thinks this latest killing, like so many that preceded it, is the work of Syrians. Jumblatt was not alone when he said word of Moughniyeh's death is "good news." Did Moughniyeh displease his Syrian or Iranian patrons? Or was it someone inside Hezbollah, perhaps, who decided it was time to get rid of him? Intelligence reports have indicated that, despite all the bluster that followed the war between Hezbollah and Israel, Tehran was none too pleased with the performance of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah. By some accounts, Nasrallah was demoted after the war. In the new hierarchy, he was left only with political responsibilities, while Moughniyeh became the military chief. Some say Nasrallah himself may be behind the killing. Many regimes throughout the Middle East had reason to want Hezbollah weakened and Moughniyeh dead. Jordan has had long-standing friction with the group, and King Abdullah has worried openly about the emergence of a "Shia crescent" in the region, a scenario that Hezbollah may be helping create with its efforts to dominate Lebanon's political stage. The Saudis and the Egyptians have also been openly critical of Hezbollah, and both governments want to douse the fires of militant Shiism. The possibility that several intelligence services worked together to kill Moughniyeh cannot be discounted.
For the super sleuths at Reuters however, Moughniyeh's death is an open and shut case with Israel as the culprit.

Finally, note the verbatim quote Derakhashi and Dahl draw from the Iranian foreign ministry:
"This is another indication of the existence of state terrorism by the Zionist regime (Israel)"
Reuters has no difficulty parroting an accusation of "terrorism" when the label is slapped on Israel but pointedly expunges it when Israeli authorities use the same term to describe attacks on Jewish civilians: 
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.
Needless to say, the term "militant" was not used by Israel to describe the perpetrator.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Abbas makes demands and misrepresents the facts; Reuters parrots

In a story on the latest demands by PA President Mahmoud Abbas for restarting peace talks with Israel, Reuters correspondent Dave Graham writes:

Abbas said Israel would need to accept its June 1967 borders as the basis for any land swaps.
Graham uncritically paraphrases Abbas in referring to the "1967 borders" but in reality of course, there are no 1967 borders.  There are only armistice lines drawn on a map in green ink in 1949 (hence, the "Green Line") which represent the geographical divide between the Israeli army and the Arab Legion where fighting halted during Israel's War of Independence.  This line served to separate opposing forces until the Jordanian Army attacked Israel in the subsequent 1967 War.  In short, the 1949 armistice lines have never been recognized as an international border.

Graham leaps from uncritically paraphrasing Abbas to uncritically parroting him in the very next sentence:
"These are not preconditions, they are requirements in the road map. If they are not prepared to do that, it means they don't want a political solution," he told the newspaper.
In fact, the Road Map peace plan -- which has long been a dead letter -- does not require Israel "to accept its June 1967 borders" or more accurately, the 1949 armistice lines.  What the Road Map actually stipulates (in Phase III) is this:
Second international conference: Convened by Quartet, in consultation with the parties, at beginning of 2004 to endorse agreement reached on an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and formally to launch a process with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet, leading to a final, permanent status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements; and, to support progress toward a comprehensive Middle East settlement between Israel and Lebanon and Israel and Syria, to be achieved as soon as possible. 
In other words, provisional borders between Israel and a nascent Palestinian state were to be negotiated and agreed between the parties and subsequently endorsed at an international conference hosted by the Quartet at which time the matter of permanent borders would be taken up along with the issues of Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, and progress towards peace agreements between Israel and Lebanon, Israel and Syria.

A reality quite different than the false assertion issued by Abbas and parroted blindly by Reuters.