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.

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