Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reuters rooting for war between Israel and the Palestinians

War is good for business.  At least in the media industry.  Just ask Reuters correspondent Dan Williams, who maintains a personal social network called "MideastWarWatch".  Or disgraced former Jerusalem Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald who, before he was sent packing to a desk job in London, penned an hysterical piece of agitprop seeking to stir up trouble and lamenting the public's waning interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Reuters continues in that vein with a story today, written anonymously but in the unmistakable hand of kingpin propagandist Tom Perry.  Edited by Macdonald and current Jerusalem Bureau Chief Crispian Balmer, one can sense the author's wistful yearning for a new Palestinian terror war, and the disappointment that it may not materialize:
(Reuters) - Calls for Palestinian protests to back a diplomatic push for statehood at the United Nations next month have put Israel on guard; the peace process in deep crisis, some see a violent September, inspired by the Arab Spring.
Yet to many, a sustained Intifada, or uprising, appears unlikely, at least for now. To ordinary Palestinians, the significance of U.N. maneuvers in New York is hard to fathom, their leaders in the West Bank are wary of violence with Israel and their national movement remains weakened by a deep schism.
"There might be some protests," said Zakaria al-Qaq, a Palestinian political analyst. "But not with the size that the Palestinian leadership expects because the people feel they are marginalized. There is a great lack of confidence."
Marwan al-Barghouti, a charismatic leader in the last two Intifadas and now jailed for life in Israel, was among the first to call for protests to add popular weight to President Mahmoud Abbas's bid to secure a U.N. seat for a new state of Palestine.
With memories of protests on its borders this spring still fresh, Israel is deploying extra forces in preparation for trouble. In the opinion of Avigdor Lieberman, the far-right foreign minister, the Palestinians are planning violence.
In Jalazone, a refugee camp a short drive from the center of Ramallah, Mohammed Nakhla, 23 years old and unemployed, believes the failure of diplomacy means more confrontation is inevitable.
"There's no alternative," he said. "You need to resist."
With faith in the peace process non-existent -- Abbas himself says talks have hit a dead end -- observers have for some time warned of a vacuum that could be filled by turmoil.
Mahmoud al-Aloul, a veteran in the Fatah party led by Abbas, confidently expects widespread protests in support of the U.N. bid. "It is a declaration of a loss of hope," Aloul told Reuters. "This will lead to a continuous escalation.
"They will be peaceful protests. But will they stay peaceful? This will depend on how the Israelis act."
Yet to many Palestinian analysts, the idea of an imminent outbreak of widespread insurrection, similar to those that are reshaping the rest of the Arab world, seems fanciful.
Some question whether Abbas is even serious in calling for the protests. He has long been opposed to violence and may fear that protests will spiral out of control.
Threaded throughout the story are a series of carefully contrived propaganda devices intended to sanitize Palestinian violence and demonize Israel.  A terror war aimed at civilians is merely an "uprising".  Marwan al-Baghouti, convicted on five counts of murder for a terror attack at a seafood restaurant in Tel Aviv, is a "charismatic" leader.  The Israeli foreign minister is "far right".  Arab violence is only and always a need to "resist".  Palestinian protests may turn violent depending on "how the Israelis act".  And of course, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who told interviewers as recently as 2008 that Palestinians may once again launch violent attacks when the time is right, is described, risibly, as being "long opposed to violence".

But mostly, the writer reveals his own melancholy that a reporting opportunity with violent confrontations may simply not be in the cards:
Yet if the experience of May and June is anything to go by, the participation will not be large. Protests called to mark major anniversaries in the conflict with Israel failed to galvanize large numbers in the Palestinian territories.
More attention focused on Israel's northern frontiers, where thousands of refugees gathered. Some crossed the frontline from Syria, delighting Palestinians and giving Israel's heavily armed troops the problem of dealing with unarmed mass protests.
The head of the Israeli army, looking ahead to next month, has said he does not see "strong energy" among the Palestinians. Unlike foreign minister Lieberman, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says he expects events to unfold quietly.
On the ground, there are few signs of preparation. Headlines in Palestinian papers focus more on protests against the high cost of living and on the uprising in Syria than on any thoughts about Palestinians' own possible demonstrations in September.
Since Perry, Macdonald, and Balmer obviously thirst for stories about Arab violence targeting Jews eating dinner or riding on buses, perhaps they can focus on the latest example of that today.

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