Prisoner releases are not a part of the road map

July 10, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "Hijacked by the Hudna" (HonestReporting, July 7, 2003)
2. "Near the West Bank" (HonestReporting, July 10, 2003)
3. "Militant journalism" (HonestReporting, July 3, 2003)


[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach extracts from three recent bulletins by "HonestReporting", with summaries by me first. Because this list is for information purposes, not activism, I have removed the email addresses of the media outlets concerned. Fuller dispatches can be found on HonestReporting.com, the media monitoring website based in Israel.

A BEWILDERING AMOUNT OF MISREPORTING

In summary:

1. "Hijacked by the Hudna" (HonestReporting, July 7, 2003). There has (and continues to be) a bewildering amount of misreporting of the "hudna" (the internal Palestinian deal between the Palestinian Authority and the terror groups, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah, amounting to a temporary tactical ceasefire). The Road Map, accepted by both the Palestinian Authority and Israel to international fanfare, says absolutely nothing about release of Palestinian prisoners. Only the hudna which Israel never agreed to demands a prisoner release. Yet the world media have reported Hamas's demands for captured terrorists to be released as if it were a condition of the road map. The New York Times, for example, reported this week: "The release of Palestinian prisoners is just one of many demands placed on both sides under the Mideast peace plan, known as the road map." The Los Angeles Times said: "Along with prisoner releases, the next important element in moving ahead with the 'road map' is the Palestinian demand that Israel withdraw from more of the West Bank." As was the case with consistent misreporting during the period which the Oslo accords were partially implemented, in order to make Israel look bad, the media is simply making up conditions that Israel is not obliged to carry out. Prisoner releases are not a part of the road map.

2. "Near the West Bank" (HonestReporting, July 10, 2003). On Monday, an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber killed a 65-year-old Israeli woman by detonating himself in the kitchen of her home in Moshav Kfar Yavetz (and injured three of her grandchildren in the house. His bomb went off prematurely; he was aiming to blow up a nearly synagogue the following morning, according to investigators.). Moshav Kfar Yavetz is in central Israel. Yet the Associated Press report of the attack was headlined "West Bank House Hit by Apparent Bomb". The New York Times article said: "A powerful explosion tore apart an Israeli home near the West Bank". (The Times adds only later in the article that the "blast occurred in the village of Kfar Yavetz, in central Israel.") Many other media followed suit. By calling Kfar Yavetz only "near the West Bank," the media situates the event within the region they have already deemed controversial, lessening the brutality of a deadly terror attack against random Israeli civilians in their own home. Having accepted the terrorists' twisted claim that the murder of West Bank Israelis is somehow "more justified," the media now expand that supposed justification by referring to central Israeli towns as "near the West Bank."

3. "Militant journalism" (HonestReporting, July 3, 2003). A Washington Post editorial repeatedly calls Palestinian terrorist organizations "militant groups," and then sandwiched among those references refers to "militant Jewish settlers." The editorial claims these two groups constitute "the extremists on both sides." By calling both groups "militants" in the same editorial breath, the Post eliminates this distinction, and implies equivalence between mass civilian murderers and dwellers on a disputed land. Would a Washington Post editorial ever equate a militant environmentalist with Osama bin Laden?

-- Tom Gross


FULL ARTICLES

“HOW HAVE THESE TERROR GROUPS CONVINCED THE MEDIA THAT THEIR OUTRAGEOUS DEMANDS ARE INTEGRAL TO THE ROAD MAP?”

Hijacked by the Hudna
HonestReporting
July 7, 2003

HonestReporting is bewildered by recent media reports that are factually incorrect in describing the road map's most basic points. The background:

A key component of the road map is the uprooting of terror groups. The PA, however, rather than directly confront Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah, cut a deal with them on the side a hudna, or tactical ceasefire.

The hudna between the PA and terror groups sets an outrageous (and under-reported) condition for suspending Palestinian terror: Israel's "release of all prisoners and detainees, Palestinian and Arab... without condition or restriction."

Remarkably, Israel has been willing to release scores of prisoners as a goodwill gesture, and on Sunday the Israeli cabinet approved the release of an additional 300.

The PA's reaction: PA minister Abdel Razek said the PA will stop implementing the road map peace plan and will halt all negotiations with Israel if Israel doesn't release all of the Palestinian prisoners. And Radi Jarai, deputy PA minister, said "there is a hudna that has been announced and Israel has to fulfill its obligations in accordance with this agreement."

Look what's happened: The road map, accepted by both the PA and Israel to international fanfare, has been taken hostage by the hudna, an internal Palestinian deal that Israel never agreed to.

The world media, in surreal fashion, have accepted this shift, allowing Hamas to set the terms for road map progress:

The New York Times reported this week: "The release of Palestinian prisoners is just one of many demands placed on both sides under the Mideast peace plan, known as the road map."

Actually, the road map says absolutely nothing about release of Palestinian prisoners. Only the hudna which Israel never agreed to demands a prisoner release.

[The Times removed this line in a later edition, but the original edition is still in wide circulation for example, on Yahoo News]

Los Angeles Times: "Along with prisoner releases, the next important element in moving ahead with the 'road map' is the Palestinian demand that Israel withdraw from more of the West Bank."

Again, prisoner releases are not a part of the road map. And according to the road map, the PA's obligation to uproot terror is clearly "the next important element."

BBC: "Israeli officials say members of Hamas or Islamic Jihad are not included among those to be freed, a decision which could jeopardise the truce and threaten the entire peace process."

Note the BBC's logic: Israel's refusal to immediately release over 6,000 prisoners (many of whom are convicted murders) jeopardizes the "truce." The BBC would have us believe that Israel, therefore, is the guilty party for the possible failure of the road map.

Stage One of the road map demands that the PA "arrest, disrupt, and restrain" terror groups, eliminating their influence. How have those same terror groups not only wrestled control of the PA's negotiations, but convinced the media that their outrageous demands are actually integral to the roadmap?!

Associated Press twists the truth a complete 180 degrees, presenting the basic tenets of the road map as some kind of Israeli-American subplot:

"Beyond policing the truce, Israel and the United States want the Palestinians to disarm and dismantle extremist groups... "

Israel and the United States? The road map is authored by the Quartet of the US, EU, UN and Russia. Abu Mazen and the PA agreed and committed to these terms. No, it is not just "Israel and the United States [who] want the Palestinians to disarm and dismantle extremist groups."

 

WHERE EXACTLY IS KFAR YAVETZ?

Near the West Bank
HonestReporting
July 10, 2003

On Monday, an Islamic Jihad homicide bomber killed a 65-year-old Israeli woman by detonating himself in the kitchen of her home in Moshav Kfar Yavetz.

The Associated Press report of the attack contained a curious definition of Kfar Yavetz's location: Headlined "West Bank House Hit by Apparent Bomb," the report then shifts the location to "an Israeli village near the West Bank."

Where exactly is Kfar Yavetz? As illustrated on this map, the village is a mile and a half from the Green Line, on the Israeli side:

Is this "near the West Bank"? Yes, but it's also right near Kfar Saba and Netanya. The fact is, approximately 60% of the Israeli populace lives "near the West Bank" -within just 11 miles of the Green Line.

The New York Times article on the attack illustrates this precisely: "A powerful explosion tore apart an Israeli home near the West Bank," the Times reports, adding "[t]he blast occurred in the village of Kfar Yavetz, in central Israel." Note the Times refers to Kfar Yavetz as both "near the West Bank" and "in central Israel"! ABC even headlined their report "Two dead in blast outside Tel Aviv."

By calling Kfar Yavetz only "near the West Bank," the Associated Press situates the event within the region they have already deemed controversial, lessening the brutality of the terror attack against an Israeli citizen in her own home. Having accepted the terrorists' twisted claim that the murder of West Bank Israelis is somehow "more justified," the media now expand that supposed justification by referring to central Israeli towns as "near the West Bank." Apparently, even the AP's headline writer was misled by the article's terminology, which led him to draft the erroneous headline "West Bank House Hit by Apparent Bomb."

***

Never was this problem clearer than on June 17, when ABC's Peter Jennings reported the murder of 7-year old Noam Leibowitz on World News Tonight: "In the Middle East tonight, a young Israeli girl was killed after someone fired on the car she and her family were in near the border between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories."

Catch Jennings' thinly-veiled justification for Noam's murder: Since it occurred "near" the "Palestinian territories" that are "occupied," the ABC viewer can almost understand why "someone" would lash out in frustration.

The close proximity of Palestinian terror hubs to Israeli cites lies at the heart of Israeli security concerns. One could jog from the West Bank to the Mediterranean Sea in little over an hour. Benjamin Netanyahu communicates this point to foreign diplomats by taking them on a helicopter ride from Tel Aviv, flying east toward the West Bank. After a few short minutes, Netanyahu turns to his guest and says: "I'll let you know when we've crossed into the West Bank...We already did."

By referring to Israeli towns victimized by terror as merely "near the West Bank," Associated Press and ABC News not only fail to acknowledge this fundamental Israeli security issue, but also propose a justification for cold-blooded terrorist murder.

 

WOULD A WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL EVER EQUATE A MILITANT ENVIRONMENTALIST WITH OSAMA BIN LADEN?

Militant journalism
HonestReporting
July 3, 2003

HonestReporting has on numerous occasions critiqued the media's widespread use of the term "militant" to describe Palestinian terrorists. A Wednesday Washington Post editorial provides an ideal illustration of the precise problem with the term.

The Post editorial repeatedly calls Palestinian terrorist organizations "militant groups," and then sandwiched among those references refers to "militant Jewish settlers." The editorial claims these two groups constitute "the extremists on both sides."

As noted by James Taranto's weblog, the term "militant" has two separate dictionary definitions:

1) engaged in warfare or combat
2) aggressively active (as in a cause)

A Hamas leader may be (generously) granted the first definition, and some Jewish settlers fit the second definition. But by calling both groups "militants" in the same editorial breath, the Post entirely eliminates this distinction, and implies equivalence between mass civilian murderers and dwellers on a disputed land.

Would a Washington Post editorial ever equate a militant environmentalist with Osama bin Laden?


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.