Monday, May 3, 2010

Reuters still refuses to come clean on Palestinian rejectionism

In dozens of stories published over the last year, Reuters correspondents have reported that negotiations between Israel under the Olmert government and the Palestinians broke off as a result of the Gaza war in early 2009. We've noted repeatedly that direct talks between the parties effectively ended months earlier following 1) PA President Abbas' rejection of Olmert's offer of a Palestinian state to include 100 percent of Gaza, the equivalent of 97 percent of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), contiguity between the two Palestinian territories, sovereignty over sections of Jerusalem and a limited "right of return" for Palestinian refugees to Israel proper, 2) the Palestinians' unsuccessful bid to coerce the Quartet to impose even better terms, and 3) imminent national elections in Israel.

In a story appearing today, Jeffrey Heller inches toward the truth by acknowledging:
There have been no direct talks for the past 18 months, a period that has included Israel's Gaza war, election of a right-wing Israeli government and entrenched rule in the Gaza Strip by Hamas Islamists opposed to the U.S. peace efforts.
Note the reference to "18 months" of no talks, taking us back to early November of 2008, a date well prior to the Gaza war and thus, consistent with our previous observation.

While Heller's piece now reflects an accurate chronology, his allusion to various (peripheral) factors associated with the termination of peace talks fails to identify the one obvious, dominant factor: Abbas' rejection of Olmert's peace offer.  In fact, across the dozens of stories noted above, Reuters has been completely mum on this significant event.  Why?  We can only speculate but find it entirely consistent with the agency's modus operandi (as noted in our post immediately below) of refusing to hold the Palestinians to account for their own intransigent behavior.  By downplaying or ignoring Israeli attempts at reconciliation and settlement of the conflict, Reuters never has to report on Palestinian rejectionism.  And that seems to be the Golden Rule at Reuters Middle East Bureau.

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