Monday, March 29, 2010

Reuters recycles broken boilerplate, tired canards

Dan Williams of Reuters picks up on an interview published by Maariv with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman where the latter notes that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had supported Israeli efforts to defeat Hamas in the Gaza war last year:
Over the past year, I witnessed (Abbas) at his best. In Operation Cast Lead, (he) called us personally, applied pressure and demanded that we topple Hamas and remove it from power," he told Israel's Maariv daily.
We have noted the same in previous posts citing an article which originally appeared in Time Magazine in February of 2009.  Thus, there is really nothing new in the recognition or report that Abbas sided with, and likely provided strategic support to, the Israelis in their battle against Hamas.

Williams constructs his story with a slew of tired canards and what we refer to as "broken boilerplate", that is material drawn from Reuters capacious word processing files on the Middle East conflict which is fundamentally flawed or biased.  For example, Williams writes:
Israel launched its three-week Gaza offensive on Dec. 27, 2008 with the stated aim of stopping rocket attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian factions. Such attacks have tapered off since, though there has been sporadic cross-border violence.
The Israeli effort to put an end to over 8,000 rocket and mortar attacks from Hamas-controlled Gaza over many years is habitually characterized by Reuters as an "offensive" so as to portray Israel as the aggressor and reader skepticism of Israeli motives is further encouraged by cynically referring to the "stated aim" of the military operation.  Williams also suggests that the rocket attacks have "tapered off" with only "sporadic" violence since the war but as we have noted previously, there have actually been several hundred rocket and mortar attacks aimed at Israeli communities over the last year including one that killed a greenhouse worker just 10 days ago.

Williams repeats another popular Reuters canard:
The war's Palestinian toll -- 1,400 dead, mostly non-combatants, while Israel lost 10 troops and three civilians -- drew fierce censure abroad and stalled negotiations between Abbas and then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a centrist.
As we've noted each time Reuters publishes this rubbish, negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority actually went into hibernation months prior to the war following Abbas' refusal of Olmert's extraordinary peace offer, the Quartet's rejection of Abbas' demand for a Palestinian state on the 1949 Armistice Lines with its capital in Jerusalem, and imminent elections in Israel.

Finally, Williams blames Israel for the latest Palestinian obduracy:
Hopes of starting indirect talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas were dashed this month by the announcement of a new Jewish settlement project on occupied land where Palestinians seek a state. The project, slated for an area of the West Bank that Israel annexed to Jerusalem, also drew U.S. questions about Netanyahu's seriousness about peacemaking. That dispute remains unresolved.
The Palestinians of course, had agreed to enter into so-called proximity talks -- even after Israel had indicated that building would continue in and around Jerusalem -- and then reneged on their commitment following the Obama administration's public turnabout on the issue.  For Reuters however, the Palestinians are never accountable for their own actions.

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