Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Reuters' doors of perception

Today is the one-year anniversary of the last Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials who had been attempting to negotiate a final settlement of the conflict between the parties.  It didn't go well.  Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad cancelled a scheduled joint press conference with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and stormed out of the meeting because Ayalon wanted the official summary to refer to "two states for two peoples". 

A few days later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to extend Israel's unilateral 10-month settlement freeze in the territories and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas terminated peace talks.

The Palestinians have refused to return to the negotiating table ever since.

Of course, one would never know any of these historical facts reading Reuters anamorphic account of events:
Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed a year ago after Israel refused to extend a moratorium on new settlements in areas the Palestinians want for a future state.
Note how Reuters correspondents Matt Spetalnick and John Irish place blame solely on Israel.  The Palestinians apparently had no hand in the cessation of peace talks which simply "collapsed" (passive voice) following Israel's decision not to renew the building freeze.

But the optics become even more distorted when Spetalnick and Irish bend reality to absolve the Palestinians of their intransigence:
It would also raise pressure on Israel, which despite its offer of direct peace talks has not made any of the concessions that the Palestinians say would make such talks possible.
Israel has offered direct peace talks but only concessions on her part "would make such talks possible".  Again, the passive voice is employed to discharge the Palestinians of any responsibility for their utter rejection of negotiations.

Somewhere in a cemetery in England, George Orwell is rolling over.  But Aldous Huxley is having a good ole laugh.

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