Coverage of Gaza checkpoint bombing

Some noteworthy coverage of the horrific mother suicide-bomber:

* The Oregonian:

In a certain sense, a suicide bomber’s sex is irrelevant. Male or female, they’re all reprehensible and tragic figures — primarily because of the victims they create and secondarily because of the perversion of humanity that these acts represent. But when the Palestinian terror masters send out young mothers so parts of their bodies can, as Al-Reyashi herself put it, “fly all over,” they know they’re trafficking in a different kind of terror. And so do we….
It’s a strange kind of mother’s love that abandons two young children. But, then, it’s a strange kind of love of country that’s founded on suicide attacks.

* Joel Greenberg of the Chicago Tribune focused on one aspect of Riyashi that was overlooked by everyone focusing on the mother-bomber angle: Riyashi’s family was unusually outspoken against the bombing and angry at Hamas:

Taysir Shamalah, a cousin who works as a lifeguard with Reem al- Riyashi’s husband, dismissed claims by Hamas that the suicide mission was an act of religious sacrifice.
“There’s not a bit of religion in it, and the faith doesn’t say this,” Shamallah said. “A mother with children should bring them up.”

* Even Chris McGreal of The Guardian has a similar report about the family of Iyad al-Masri being very angry with Islamic Jihad for sending him to die.

* But then there’s this headline, from Newsday: ‘Mother Turns Martyr’
Wouldn’t a more appropriate headline have been ‘Mother Turns Suicide-Murderer’?

UPDATE: How’s this for an thickening plot – JPost has a Yediot Achronot report that the suicide bomber had cheated on her husband with another Hamas terrorist, and the act was ‘punishment’ for her adultery:

IDF sources said that the investigation has already revealed that Al-Reyashi’s husband, an activist in the Hamas organization, not only knew about his wife’s plans in advance, but even encouraged her to carry out the suicide attack. And that the person who recruited Reem to carry out the suicide attack and equipped her with the explosive belt was none other than the lover with whom she cheated on her husband. The Sunday Times reported Sunday that the husband drove his wife to Erez Crossing.

January 18, 2004 16:25 By Category : Backspin

Outrageous comparison of the day

Courtesy NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman:

The Bush team destroyed the Iraqi regime in three weeks and has not persuaded Israel to give up one settlement in three years.


January 18, 2004 15:16 By Category : Backspin

Swedish art installation

On Friday Israel’s ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, wrecked an art installation at Stockholm’s Museum of National Antiquities that glorified the Palestinian terrorist responsible for the attack on Haifa’s Maxim restaurant. Lest there be any doubt about the intention of the artist’s work — here’s the accompanying text, which stood alongside the sea of blood:

‘Snow White and the Madness of Truth’

Once upon a time in the middle of winter
For the June 12 deaths of her brother, and her cousin
and three drops of blood fell
She was also a woman
as white as snow, as red as blood, and her hair was as black as ebony
Seemingly innocent with universal non-violent character, less suspicious of intentions
and the red looked beautiful upon the white
The murderer will yet pay the price and we will not be the only ones who are crying
like a weed in her heart until she had no peace day and night
Hanadi Jaradat was a 29-year-old lawyer
I will run away into the wild forest, and never come home again
Before the engagement took place, he was killed in an encounter with the Israeli security forces
and she ran over sharp stones and through thorns
She said: Your blood will not have been shed in vain
and was about to pierce Snow White’s innocent heart
She was hospitalized, prostrate with grief, after witnessing the shootings
The wild beasts will soon have devoured you
After his death, she became the breadwinner and she devoted herself solely to that goal
”Yes”, said Snow White, “with all my heart”
Weeping bitterly, she added: “If our nation cannot realize its dream and the goals of the victims, and live in freedom and dignity, then let the whole world be erased”
Run away, then, you poor child
She secretly crossed into Israel, charged into a Haifa restaurant, shot a security guard, blew herself up and murdered 19 innocent civilians
as white as snow, as red as blood, and her hair was as black as ebony
And many people are indeed crying: the Zer Aviv family, the Almog family, and all the relatives and friends of the dead and the wounded
and the red looked beautiful upon the white


Amish Tech Support says:

The proper response by the Israeli government is to offer a subsidy to a Swedish artist to create an “artistic” tribute to Mijailo Mijailovic.

And regarding free speech/censorship matters:

Israel Radio reported that the genocide exhibit included 20 pieces of art from artists around the world. Three works were selected from Israel, all of which presented the conflict from a Palestinian point-of-view, while a pro-Israel piece of art was excluded following diplomatic pressure from Syria.

January 18, 2004 12:58 By Category : Backspin

Brian Whitaker Rules

Guardian Mideast editor Brian Whitaker is outraged by Robert Kilroy-Silks’ article:

Where racism is concerned, therefore, freedom of speech has to be tempered by restraint. But whatever applies to one racial group has to apply to them all. It is no good having one rule for blacks, Jews and the Irish, and another rule – or none at all – for the Arabs.

Jerusalem Post Editor-in-chief Bret Stephens has a response, based on Whitaker’s own utter lack of restraint in demonizing Israel and Israelis:

An archival search of the Guardian’s Web site lists 711 of Whitaker’s articles. I trolled through the first 240. I did not find a single article about suicide bombings against Israelis, except tangentially. Israeli victims of terror – the murdered, the bereaved, the maimed – escape his notice. There is hardly anything about everyday Israeli life beyond the conflict: not a word about our domestic politics, our high-tech industry, our cultural scene. He is astonished to discover that blacks serve in the Israeli army, having been apparently unaware of the existence of Ethiopian Jewry.

All in all, I did not read a single sentence of his that could be seen as remotely sympathetic to Israel or Israelis…His characterization of Israelis is every bit as one-sided and caricatured as Kilroy-Silk’s is of Arabs. Indeed, it is infinitely more so.


January 18, 2004 12:13 By Category : Backspin

BBC’s new recruiting pool

Al-Jazeera’s editor-in-chief has quit because he got a ‘tempting offer’ from none other than the BBC.

As we indicated in last week’s communique, BBC corporate policy recently demonstrated yet again, through the removal of Robert Kilroy-Silk while tolerating Tom Paulin, its utter disregard for journalistic neutrality. This latest act of recruiting from jihad-friendly al-Jazeera only reinforces the point – BBC is predisposed to view the Mideast through the framework of radical Islam.

Meanwhile, Kilroy-Silk has quit.

January 18, 2004 11:17 By Category : Backspin

Worth Reading Today

* From JPost: ‘IDF Evacuates Palestinian Families After Gaza Floods’

IDF forces assisted in evacuating three Palestinian families after their homes were flooded near the Kissufim crossing in Gaza after heavy rains on Tuesday.
Lt.-Col. Ya’acov Shalomov, head of the district coordinating office in the south Gaza district, said the area where the homes were flooded is known for its constant terrorist activity, where bombs and shooting attacks are daily occurrences.
“Tuesday’s assistance was purely humanitarian, despite the dangers involved,” he said.

* Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom says the world must oust Syria from Lebanon:

The Syrian army has occupied Lebanon since 1976. “A million Syrians work in Lebanon and the thriving Lebanese narcotics industry is intended solely for the purposes of the Syrian Ba’ath people,” Shalom said.

* Bradley Burston of Haaretz on ‘The Damage Suicide Bombings Do to Palestinians’:

Nothing has done more to tarnish the image of the Palestinian national movement than suicide bombings. Nothing has done more to align Palestinians in the foreign – especially the American – mind with the likes of al-Qaeda. Nothing has done more to alienate Israelis from the Palestinian cause. Nothing has done more to fortify the argument that with suicide bombings, Palestinians make no distinction between Tel Aviv and Tel Romeida [in Hebron] – nor between Israeli soldiers, settlers, or leftist bleeding-hearts – and that their true goal is the eradication of the entirety of the Jewish state and the annihilation or exile of its non-Arab inhabitants.

* Haaretz has an interview with Prof. Jeremy Rabkin of Cornell on the judgement of the security fence at The Hague. Says Rabkin:

“It is important to view this as a political challenge and not as a legal challenge. The only reason Israel has to fear such a procedure is that it would cause it negative headlines in the international press.”

January 15, 2004 20:35 By Category : Backspin

Improvement in Reuters terminology

Reuters, the recipient of the 2003 Dishonest Reporting ‘Award’, frequently misrepresents Hamas’ ultimate aim of destroying Israel by using the following descriptive phrase:

The military wing of the Islamic militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement faxed to Reuters. Hamas has spearheaded a 28-month-old Palestinian militant uprising against Israel for a state in Gaza and the West Bank. (2.15.03 – emphasis added)

From this, the typical reader likely identifies with Hamas’ ‘freedom fight’. But Reuters coverage of yesterday’s suicide bombing at the Erez checkpoint in Gaza showed noticeable improvement:

Sworn to Israel’s destruction, Hamas has spearheaded a Palestinian uprising that erupted in the West Bank and Gaza in September 2000.

We’ve seen this change in terminology more than once from Reuters lately. It seems letters of protest, demanding accurate description of Hamas’ goals, are working.

January 15, 2004 10:16 By Category : Backspin

German coverage of Gaza attack

Yesterday a female Hamas suicide bomber killed four Israelis at the Erez Checkpoint.
Here’s the headline from Deutsche Welle (Germany’s international radio):

Mother of two kills herself at security check

One might think the Israeli security check was so harsh, she simply took her own life!

(Hat tip: Davids Medienkritik)

January 15, 2004 8:53 By Category : Backspin

Kelley on Israeli ‘vigilantees’

Now that reporter Jack Kelley is leaving USA Today (after the paper found Kelley fabricated sources in at least one story, and Kelley attempted a cover-up), we are really wondering about this story of Kelley’s – from 9/4/01:

Israeli Extremists Take Revenge on Palestinians

The critique of this story in IMRA notes that none of the purported vigilantees described by Kelley could be found.

January 14, 2004 12:59 By Category : Backspin

Palestinian journalists pledge loyalty

Palestinian reporters, including some employed by the international media, gathered at the Ramallah Muqata to pledge loyalty to Yasser Arafat by reading speeches and poetry in his honor:

Some 100 Palestinian journalists converged on the presidential headquarters in Ramallah on Tuesday – not to interview Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, but to pledge allegiance to him.

The journalists, who included representatives of international new organizations, did not trouble Arafat with any difficult questions.

Three of the journalists who attended said no one dared to ask Arafat about recent attacks on Palestinian correspondents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Instead, they read poetry and delivered emotional speeches in his honor before they lined up to have their pictures taken alongside their leader.

We’d like to know which Western news services had people in their employ participating.

January 14, 2004 12:30 By Category : Backspin