Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ori Lewis forgets a little something

Reuters correspondent Ori Lewis is quick to mock Israel's concern that passengers on the flotilla expected to depart for Gaza in the coming days are seeking a violent confrontation; he refers to the "European MPs, a former CIA analyst, a 75-year [old] Holocaust survivor, professors and authors" who will be aboard.  

Lewis is not as proficient however, at reporting who is organizing, funding, and training the crew for the flotilla mission:
Hamas leader from Holland Amin Abu Rashid has been seen in recent days training with a Gaza-bound flotilla crew in Greece, according to a report by Dutch newspaper De Telegraafon Thursday.

Rashid, described as the "brain" behind the flotilla, helped arrange the purchasing of the Dutch boat expected to be used in the expedition, De Telegraaf reported.

Rashid also allegedly organized the majority of the funding for the flotilla, the report said. 
Some might think this revelation material to a story on a convoy masquerading as an "aid flotilla" and attempting to violate a legal sea blockade.

Not so Reuters.

Reuters again whitewashes Muslim Brotherhood

Since the downfall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February, Reuters has been systematically whitewashing the doctrine and history of the Muslim Brotherhood so as to make the group more palatable to naive Western audiences.  In a Reuters story published today in the The Jerusalem Post, that pattern continues:
WASHINGTON - The United States has decided to resume formal contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, a senior US official said on Wednesday, in a step that reflects the Islamist group's growing political weight but that is almost certain to upset Israel and its US backers.

"The political landscape in Egypt has changed, and is changing," said the senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It is in our interests to engage with all of the parties that are competing for parliament or the presidency."

The official sought to portray the shift as a subtle evolution rather than a dramatic change in Washington's stance toward the Brotherhood, a group founded in 1928 that seeks to promote its conservative vision of Islam in society [...]
There is no US legal prohibition against dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood itself, which long ago renounced violence as a means to achieve political change in Egypt and which is not regarded by Washington as a foreign terrorist organization.
But other sympathetic groups, such as Hamas, which identifies the Brotherhood as its spiritual guide, have not disavowed violence against the state of Israel
That "conservative" vision is driven by the Brotherhood's motto:

Allah is our objective.  The Prophet is our leader.  The Qur'an is our law.  Jihad is our way.  Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. 

And although the Brotherhood pays lip service to non-violence when hobnobbing with Western officials and the media, its leaders continue to preach exterminatory hatred for Jews and homosexuals and fund Islamic terror groups dedicated to that mission.

Moreover, Hamas is not simply a "spiritual" protege of the Muslim Brotherhood, it is the Muslim Brotherhood. 

UPDATE 9:05 AM: The native version of this story has now appeared on the Reuters website, authored by Arshad Mohammed and edited by disgraced former Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Alastair Macdonald.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Kuwaiti who will never be interviewed by Reuters

Card stacking is a propaganda device whereby only one side of a story is presented or only individuals with views friendly to those of the writer are interviewed or quoted so as to lead the unwitting audience to adopt the writer's own views on an issue.  Reuters correspondents regularly engage in this manipulative technique.

One individual we expect never to see interviewed or quoted by Reuters is Kuwaiti writer Abdullah Al-Hadlaq.  Here's his latest editorial on the Middle East peace process:

International agreements dealing with peace in the Middle East must be respected
The Palestinian side is flaunting UNSC Resolutions 242, 338 and 1850 and the Road Map to Peace, all of which call for agreed solutions for disputes to be reached by direct talks, rejecting unilateral acts that undermine internationally accepted parameters for reaching peace, and defining basic principles for bilateral peace-making.
The Palestinians strive to obtain premature recognition for a “Palestinian State” this September despite the danger of derailing the peace talks, which is implicit in a unilateral declaration.
International agreements dealing with peace in the Middle East must be respected.
Israel indeed upholds them, as well as the principle of direct negotiations as being the only way to solve the dispute, while the Palestinians have long since abandoned direct peace talks, and now act unilaterally, trying to impose a fait accompli on Israel, using international pressure.
The Palestinians want to realize their dream of obtaining international legitimacy (which should be based on finding the agreed solution so necessary for peace) through the forcible imposition of an international diktat on Israel . A unilateral declaration will not conclude the conflict but only make matters worse, making it more intense instead of ending it. The Palestinians seem to have lost their keen interest in negotiation aimed at a reaching a deal, and now only want to act unilaterally in ways that will never solve key problems in the current impasse – which can only be tackled through direct talks between the parties concerned. Continued Palestinian obstinacy just complicates the conflict.
As the Palestinians press on unilaterally for premature recognition of their ”State”, they ignore Israel’s right to exist peacefully as the state of the Jewish people, recognized and living within its borders. The division of the Palestinians themselves between the Palestinian Authority that controls only parts of the West Bank, and the terrorist Hamas movement (loyal to the Persians of Iran) that holds the Gaza Strip negates legal criteria for the establishment of a state in form and character. Added to which, the Palestinian Authority has no authority over the Gaza Strip (which as noted is dominated by Hamas), the recent conciliation agreement between the warring factions notwithstanding.
Premature recognition of a Palestinian State means recognition of a terrorist entity – because Hamas openly intends to destroy Israel and wipe it off the map. Hamas rejects the terms of the international community for its own recognition that would make Hamas into a legal and accepted player in the region. These terms are: recognizing the right of Israel to exist, acceptance of existing international agreements, and an end to violence.
We must not forget that the international community still defines Hamas as a terrorist organization which is banned in Europe and the USA. How then can a terrorist body become the model for a Palestinian state?
Israel has for a long time made strategic concessions for peace, proving her desire for peaceful negotiations. She gave up Sinai in exchange for a peace treaty with Egypt, and withdrew from Gaza and South Lebanon. But the response she earned in the latter cases of Gaza and South Lebanon was a hail of rockets and barrages of artillery. Her towns and villages in the north and south of the country were attacked and many civilians were killed.
That should serve to warn of the dangers she faces from the terrorists of Hizballah and Hamas, and underlines the need for peace through solutions that will answer the needs and interests of all parties to the conflict.
Clearly, a premature recognition of a Palestinian state will negate the negotiating process and shatter the lofty idea of a modus vivendi attained through dialogue.
All those who hope for real peace in the region must reject these reckless unilateral Palestinian moves that block the negotiation process. The Palestinians must be made to understand that the only way to a permanent peace treaty will be through direct talks.
Hat tip: Israpundit

Monday, June 27, 2011

Reuters sanitizes Syrian occupation, domination of Lebanon

In an op-ed masquerading as "Analysis" about Hezbollah preparing for war against Israel to divert attention away from Bashar al-Assad's murder of over 1,300 Syrian citizens, Reuters correspondent Mariam Karouny shows us again why Reuters cannot be trusted to report the news or recount history accurately:
"This is a battle for existence for the group [Hezbollah] and it is time to return the favor (of Syria's support). It will do that by fending off some of the international pressure," he [a Lebanese official] added.
The militant group, established nearly 30 years ago to confront Israel's occupation of south Lebanon, fought an inconclusive 34-day war with Israel in 2006.
Hezbollah and Syria have both denied that the group has sent fighters to support a military crackdown on the wave of protests against Assad's rule.
Karouny wants readers to believe that Hezbollah was created and exists today solely to "confront" Israel's "occupation" of South Lebanon -- an occupation that ended 11 years ago.  At the same time, she sanitizes Syria's brutal commandeering and three-decade occupation of Lebanon, which in many ways, continues today via Syria's sponsorship of Hezbollah:
Syria, which borders Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Jordan, has regional influence because of its alliance with Iran and its continued role in Lebanon, despite ending a 29-year military presence there in 2005. It also has an influence in Iraq.
Note that, for Reuters, when an Arab country is occupying another sovereign, it is merely maintaining a "military presence".  When an Arab country is controlling the political affairs of another sovereign via the use of tanks, terror and assassinations, it is simply playing a "role" there.

So, here is what Karouny won't tell her readers about Syria's "military presence" and "continued role" in Lebanon:
On June 1, 1976, 12,000 regular Syrian troops crossed the border; by September the number reached approximately 25,000 men. Their presence in the northern Akkar region, in the eastern Bekka, at Sofar in the central mountain area and near Sidon on the coast, demonstrated that Syrian policing policy was assuming the form of a comprehensive military domination. By November, 6,000 Syrian troops had virtually taken over West Beirut.
Operating however transparently under the name and guise of the Arab Deterrent Force authorized by the Riyadh Summit in October 1976, Syrian troops acted to disarm some Lebanese militias at the same time that the national army of Lebanon disintegrated to the diminutive size of 3,000 troops. By 1977, the number of Syrian troops exceeded 30,000, with over 200 tanks. After fighting the Palestinian and other leftist forces, Druzes and Sunnis in particular, the Syrian army then confronted the Christian Lebanese Forces. Indeed, if Syria was to control and pacify Lebanon, it would of necessity need to reduce the core Christian community that gave Lebanon its special national distinction. For three months, during “the 100 Days War” in mid-1978, Syria bombarded Christian East Beirut, specifically Ashrafiyya, which led to the flight of 300,000 people; at this time Syrian forces were also capturing Batroun and Besharre areas in the heart of the mountain area. A flood of Christian refugees and the execution of many Lebanese civilians were the direct result at this stage of the intensification and extension of Syria’s ruthless conquest of Lebanon.
In the 1980s, Syria further expanded its military control in the areas of Zahle, Aley, Nabatiyeh, and Jezzine, prior to the ultimate military capture of the presidential palace at Ba’abda, southeast of Beirut on October 13, 1990. In that final confrontation Syrian forces defeated Lebanese Army units under the command of General Michel Aoun, who had failed in his self-declared “war of liberation”. Syrian military occupation of Lebanon, therefore, incorporated the entire country with the exception of the southern “security zone” under the control of the Israeli Army (IDF) and its Southern Lebanese Army (SLA) ally. One reliable source suggests that the Syrians were responsible for the deaths of approximately 100,000 Lebanese and the flight of about a half a million people from the country.
Syria continues to dominate all aspects of political life and decision-making in Lebanon via military coercion and sponsorship of its terror-proxy Hezbollah, but you would never know that reading Reuters.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Allyn Fisher-Ilan forgets a little something

In a story on the approaching fifth anniversary of the kidnapping and imprisonment of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by the terrorist group Hamas, Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan writes blankly:
He has not had any visits from the International Commission of the Red Cross.
Aw, the Red Cross must be otherwise engaged visiting Hamas prisoners held in Israel for murdering Jewish civilians.

Actually of course, the reason the ICRC has not visited Shalit is not for want of trying but because Hamas refuses to respect international law and allow any humanitarian organization to visit him or verify his health and holding conditions.  This information is material to the story but Fisher-Ilan willfully withholds it from readers.

Carry on Allyn; carry on.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Reuters back from its summer break

Apologies for our absence over the last few weeks; we've been traveling and attending academic conferences.  Reuters Jerusalem Bureau has also been mostly quiet through this period; many correspondents typically take their European-style month-long holiday break over the summer.

After nearly two years and six-hundred posts highlighting Reuters systematic and shameless bias in its Middle East storytelling, we would like to be able to report that the largest "news" agency in the world has taken serious steps to correct its patently unprofessional and unethical behavior but alas, as contextually-challenged correspondent Maayan Lubell demonstrates, such is not the case. 

In a snarky feature story, masquerading as news, about groups touring Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), Lubell digs deep into the rubbish bin of Reuters broken boilerplate to portray Jews who live in the region and the foreigners who visit as uncompromising religious fanatics:
The tour took the group through several small settlements, some of them built without official permission by settlers who see themselves as pioneers exercising their claim to a Biblical birthright to the land.
Sitting round a wooden table eating a rustic meal of goat cheese, yoghurt and eggs, Daniel and Catherine Lippert from Belgium gave their impressions of their Israeli hosts in an organic dairy farm near the settlement of Itamar.
"The media portrays the settlers as crazy, violent obstacles to peace and we want to tell everyone at home what we saw," Catherine said.
The tour group's members defined themselves as former Christians who believe Jesus is the saviour but also abide by some Jewish ritual laws.
"We love Israel and pray together every Sabbath on Skype," said Simone Van Goethem, from Belgium.
Daniel Lippert said he and his wife come to Israel two or three times a year, but this was their first visit to the West Bank. "We donated money to Havat Gilad last year because it is the right thing to do," Daniel said. "God promised the land to the Jews. The Palestinians should become Israeli citizens or leave." [...]
About 300,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, occupied by Israel in a 1967 war and home to 2.5 million Palestinians. The World Court has ruled the settlements illegal.
Lubell peddles the false notion that Jews who have chosen to live in Judea and Samaria are doing so in violation of international law but as we've noted several times, the 2004 ruling by the utopian-sounding "World Court" is strictly advisory and non-binding.  As such, it is irrelevant.

Notwithstanding Reuters many attempts to spuriously define Jewish communities in the area as "illegal", the only authoritative and never-abrogated body of law governing rights to the land which remains of the original Palestine Mandate fully permits and endorses Jewish settlement there:
The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
This reality is inconvenient for an ideologically-driven panel of writers who advocate for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the region, so, in violation of their corporate governance Charter and Handbook of guiding ethical principles, Reuters correspondents perennially ignore it and focus instead, on nugatory legal opinions while mocking the religious convictions of Jews who choose to exercise their rights in international law and the Christians who support them.

At the same time, cheap propagandists like Lubell conspicuously fail to disclose to readers that the Palestinian Arabs also wish to "tighten grip on land" because many fervently believe "God promised the land" -- to the Muslims.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Egypt reneges on natural gas contract with Israel; Reuters characterizes as "renegotiation"

Israel has been getting 45 percent of its natural gas from Egypt since the two countries signed a 20-year contract in 2005.  In April, gas deliveries were halted after saboteurs blew up an Egyptian pipeline in the Sinai.  First, here's how Reuters characterizes that sabotage:  
Israel received natural gas from Egypt under a 20-year deal signed in 2005, but flows were halted when an armed gang attacked a metering station in North Sinai on April 27.
Does this read like an accurate account of a pipeline bombing?  Just askin'.

Reuters then goes on to report that Egypt is "reviewing the timetable for resuming gas exports to Israel" and wants to "negotiate more flexible contracts" with foreign gas buyers:
In an apparent reference to Egypt's efforts to renegotiate gas terms, [Petroleum Minister Abdullah] Ghorab said on Thursday he favoured flexible contracts and pricing formulas to allow a "fair and sustainable relationship between sellers and buyers".
"This was exactly our understanding in Egypt of how this relation should be when we got into a renegotiation process for revising Egyptian export gas prices for our long-time contracts that have been accomplished a long time ago under completely different world market conditions," Ghorab said.
"Mutual understanding and a positive response from all parties (should) help in achieving stable long-term supplies that satisfy the interests of all parties", he added.
Isn't that special?  The Egyptian authorities want to "renegotiate" terms stipulated in a 20-year contract with new "flexible pricing formulas".  And they expect the Israelis to show "mutual understanding and a positive response".

Now, if we were penning this story for Reuters, we would simply note that Egypt is in breach of its contractual commitment to deliver natural gas to Israel and is looking to renege on the terms of that contract.  We would certainly get the perspective of an Israeli government official so as to fulfill our ethical duty to "take no side; tell all sides".

We would report that the most powerful political party in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, has called for Egypt to end gas supplies to Israel (and for war with the Jewish state).

We might even point out to our readers that cutting off the supply of an essential resource to a country, in this case natural gas to Israel, could be construed as an act of war and is actually reminiscient in some respects of Egypt's blockade of the Suez Canal and Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping in July of 1956 -- which did in fact, precipitate a war.

We would disclose all of these material aspects of the story so as to fully inform our readers and enable them to understand the background and implications of Egypt's actions. 

But then, we don't work for Reuters.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Ahmadinejad has repeatedly forecast the imminent disappearance of the Jewish state"

That's how Reuters "paraphrases" calls for the eradication of Israel and genocide of its Jewish inhabitants.  So let's be clear on what Ahmadinejad has actually said on the matter:
"As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map." -- October 26, 2005
"Whether you like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation." -- April 14, 2006
"With God's help, the countdown button for the destruction of the Zionist regime has been pushed by the hands of the children of Lebanon and Palestine . . . By God's will, we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future." --  June 3, 2007
"I have heard some say the idea of Greater Israel has expired….I say that the idea of lesser Israel has expired, too." -- September 18, 2008
"The Zionist regime wants to establish its base upon the ruins of the civilizations of the region...The uniform shout of the Iranian nation is forever 'Death to Israel.'" -- October 10, 2009
"If the Zionist regime wants to repeat its past mistakes, this will constitute its demise and annihilation…With Allah's help the new Middle East will be a Middle East without Zionists and Imperialists." -- February 25, 2010
Then, there's Reuters' sanitized characterization again:
"Ahmadinejad has repeatedly forecast the imminent disappearance of the Jewish state."
One might think the agency was referring to a weather report.

Reuters certain of Israel's nuclear weapons program; not so sure of Syria

Reuters correspondents Fredrik Dahl and Sylvia Westall are never certain of Arab or Iranian nuclear weapons programs:
Western states are pressing ahead with a drive to report Syria to the U.N. Security Council over suspected nuclear activity, despite misgivings among some other countries and a last-ditch bid by Damascus to thwart the move.
But never in doubt of Israel's: 
Syria, an ally of Iran, denies harboring a nuclear weapons program and says the IAEA should focus on Israel instead because of its undeclared nuclear arsenal.
And when did you stop beating your husband, Sylvia?