Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Reuters staff meeting

One can almost see a Reuters staff meeting in its Jerusalem bureau offices at the start of the work week.  Editor-in-charge Jeffrey Heller is leading the meeting.  Douglas Hamilton, Ali Sawafta, Dan Williams, Tom Perry and Ori Lewis are all present.  Allyn Fisher-Ilan is going to be a bit late as she had to pick up a copy of The National Enquirer to check her horoscope for the day.  White House correspondent Matt Spetalnick is on the video link.  Former Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald sends his regards via a text from Dubai.

The lead topic for today's meeting: how to spin Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' refusal to enter into direct peace talks with Israel so that the Palestinians will not be viewed as intransigent.  The game plan: Hamilton and Sawafta will take the "Abbas is wary of walking into an Israeli trap" angle.  Spetalnick offers to pretend that the Palestinians suspect Israel may be building kindergartens in the disputed territories.  Tom Perry will suggest that Abbas is vulnerable to "domestic criticism" for negotiating with Israeli "right-wingers".  And now we learn that Jeffrey Heller will argue that Abbas is just being prudent as he awaits further concessions from Netanyahu:
Netanyahu promised publicly in Washington to take "concrete steps" within weeks to persuade the Palestinians to upgrade the peace talks.  Palestinians have said they would wait and see what those measure entail before agreeing to direct talks.
Allyn Fisher-Ilan wants to make sure her moon is in the right position before she decides on a strategy.

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