Sunday, May 1, 2011

The "human rights" racketeers

One of the Reuters websites we follow is called AlertNet, trumpeted by Reuters as "the world's humanitarian news site".  Reuters publishes stories here written by its own correspondents, freelance journalists and the public relations departments of a myriad of international NGOs that specialize in everything from providing food assistance to "conflict resolution/monitoring" to "advocacy/lobbying/campaigning".  Publishing rights on AlertNet are free and unfettered for contributing members.

In a story published last month entitled "'Humanitarian vulnerability' of East Jerusalem Palestinians rising - UN", Reuters correspondent Megan Rowling constructs a carefully contrived propaganda piece featuring a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) accusing Israel of policies and practices which put Arabs living in the eastern portion of Jerusalem at risk:
"Although Palestinians are remaining in the city [Jerusalem], in the long term, failure to address these 'push factors' risks undermining the Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem," the report says.

East Jerusalem has traditionally been the hub for Palestinian social, economic and religious activity, and access to the city from across the Palestinian territories is essential to maintain Palestinian life there, said Maxwell Gaylard, the U.N. humanitarian and resident coordinator for the Palestinian territories, in a statement.

"As the occupying power, Israel is responsible under international humanitarian and human rights law for ensuring that the humanitarian needs of people under its occupation are met, including in East Jerusalem, and that Palestinian residents are able to exercise their human rights, including the right to freedom of movement, work, housing, health, education, and to be free from discrimination, among others," the report concludes.
It's fascinating that notwithstanding these "push factors" allegedly "undermining the Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem", the Arab population in Jerusalem has more than quadrupled since Israel liberated the city from Jordanian occupation in 1967.  Apparently, the free health care, education, access, and housing policies established by successive Israeli governments since that time, have not prevented the Palestinian Arab community from growing and prospering.

But frankly, we wouldn't expect the UN humanitarian and resident coordinator for the Palestinian territories, Maxwell Gaylard, to participate in the production of an accurate or candid report on the impact of Israeli policies on Palestinian living conditions.  After all, this is the same fellow who, in an effort to demonize Israel last year, overtly lied about the infant mortality rate in Gaza:
"The decline in infant mortality, which has occurred steadily over recent decades, has stalled in the last few years."

With its institutionalized anti-Israel agenda, and under the guise of advancing human rights, Reuters continues to uncritically parrot this reprehensible character and his wholly partisan committee at the UN.

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