Monday, October 4, 2010

The one-armed bandit strikes again

In a story of suspected vandalism to a mosque in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), Reuters correspondent Douglas Hamilton flashes lights and rings bells when Jews are alleged to have engaged in activities deemed threatening to the peace process:
BEIT FAJJAR, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinians accused Jewish settlers of setting fire to a West Bank mosque on Monday, an incident that coincided with U.S. efforts to rescue peace talks halted by a dispute over settlement building...
It was the fourth time since December that a mosque in the occupied West Bank had been vandalised in attacks Palestinians blamed on settlers.
An increase in violence could complicate U.S.-led efforts to prevent the collapse of peace efforts which Washington hopes will resolve all major issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within a year.
The peace drive was plunged into crisis last week when a 10-month Israeli moratorium on housing starts in West Bank settlements expired and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resisted U.S. and international pressure to extend it.
The Palestinian leadership said Saturday the negotiations, which began on September 2, could not resume until Israel halted settlement construction completely...
Commenting on the mosque fire, Mohammad Hussein, the Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem, said settlers aimed to increase tension and "push matters to the edge of the precipice."...
Organizations that monitor human rights in the West Bank say attacks by settlers on Palestinians and their property tend to increase when there is a perceived risk to the settlements...
In April, settlers were accused of spraying graffiti on the walls of a mosque in Hawara and, in December, carpets and Korans were burnt in Yasuf. No charges were brought in the incidents.
While we don't apologize for violence or incitement committed by either of the two belligerents in this conflict, we note that whereas Hamilton and Reuters see fit to expend much line space on Jewish transgressions and obduracy, he and his agency are apparently blind, deaf and dumb to the same on the Palestinian side.  Thus:
In the first week of September, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asserted that he would not make a single concession in negotiations with Israel.  No report by Reuters.
In a documentary broadcast on Palestinian television during the religious holiday of Rosh Hashanah, Jewish worship at the Western Wall in Jerusalem was labeled "sin and filth".  No report by Reuters. 
On September 15th 2010, Palestinians fired nine mortars into Israel, two of which contained phosphorus.  No report by Reuters.
On September 19th 2010, the Palestinian Authority affirmed the death penalty for any Palestinian selling land to a Jew.  No report by Reuters.
On September 22nd 2010, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad rejected the concept of "two states for two peoples".  No report by Reuters.
On September 25th 2010, Arab rioters attacked Jewish residents with a Molotov cocktail, burned down a house, and attempted to set fire to a nearby forest.  No report by Reuters.
Blatant one-sided reporting is a powerful propaganda technique known as card stacking.  It also represents a violation of the Reuters Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism.

Something to think about the next time the one-armed bandit takes your quarter.

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