Duck Duck Goose

Dear HonestReporting Member,

An old axiom says: “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck — then it probably is a duck.”

The possible exception to this rule is when Israel says “It’s a duck,” and then some members of the media challenge the conclusion.

This week, Israel has been the subject of media skepticism surrounding 3 incidents:

Jan. 14 – The death of a Fatah terrorist Jan. 12 – The demolition of buildings in Gaza Jan. 3 – The capture of the Karine-A weapons boat

(Thanks to the Jerusalem Post for background info.)


On January 14, Raed Karmi, commander of the Arafat-affiliated Tanzim in Tulkarm, was killed when a bomb exploded near his home. If Israel did have anything to do with his death (and Israel has denied any connection), would this be considered a legitimate act of self-defense, of “stopping the ticking bomb”?

The background: In at least 10 separate shooting sprees, Karmi personally and directly murdered 9 Israelis, and wounding 11 others. Karmi also was involved in directing and sending suicide bombers.

In an interview with the newspaper “Azman Haifa,” Karmi boasted he personally fired the first shots that killed Tel Aviv restaurateurs Motti Dayan and Etgar Zeitouny, who were murdered outside Tulkarm in January 2001.

In an interview with CNN (August 2001), Karmi said, “We train the teenagers to carry out terrorist attacks inside Israeli territory. We train 17- and 18-year-olds to attack settlers [and] kidnap soldiers from inside Israel.”

Note: Karmi was killed as he was walking freely on the streets of Tulkarm. He was not in the custody of Palestinian security officials, even though the PA recently assured European officials that he had been arrested and was in custody.

Check how your local media reports Karmi’s death — and respond to them with the facts.


Ibrahim Barzak of the Associated Press gets our Lead Screed Award for his article on IDF demolitions of some buildings in Gaza, which makes no mention that the IDF has come under fire from these very same locations.

Here are some facts about the demolitions in Gaza:

Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said the operation was in response to daily shooting on IDF positions in the area, and part of the effort to stop arms smuggling from Egypt via an intricate tunnel system. The demolished homes, he said, sat atop entrances to the tunnels.

IDF officer Yisrael Ziv said that the buildings were abandoned, and the Palestinian Authority only brought women and children to the scene after the buildings were demolished as a propaganda trick.

In a similar operation on January 12, IDF soldiers destroyed a tunnel used to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip. The IDF Spokesman said the tunnel was operated by families living close to the border and was dug beneath their properties. Soldiers discovered ladders, ropes, flashlights, shovels, spades, and an intercom system.

Check how your local media reported the demolitions in Gaza — and respond to them with the facts.


Regarding the capture of the Karine-A weapons boat, The New York Times’ James Bennet belittled Israel’s claims: “Israel is a nuclear power and has jet fighters and tanks supplied by the United States. Had the arms shipment gotten through, Israel would have retained overwhelming firepower.”

The Washington Post’s Lee Hockstader also minimized the Palestinian crime: “…[I]ndividual Palestinians — and even some Israelis — mocked the idea that the Palestinians committed an offense in trying to amass a more formidable arsenal.”

With the media’s relative lack of concern over the 250 Jews murdered in the recent violence, why should they worry about the threat of many tons of additional weaponry?

The Times’ Bennet, in another article on the Karine-A capture, skeptically qualifies the facts: “Israel SAID its commandos seized…” (Does Bennet believe that perhaps the ship fell from the sky?)… “That innocent cargo, Israeli military officials SAID, had concealed tons of weapons.” (Does Bennet entertain that the enormous pile of weapons lined up in Eilat was just a charade — trucked in from an Israeli ammo depot?)

The Times uses the qualifier “said” 20 times in this article. Is the entire incident mere hearsay? See the article, “Sharon, Showing Seized Arms, Calls Arafat Bitter Enemy” online at:

Bennet also tries to whitewash the Palestinian smuggling by comparing it to Jewish efforts 60 years ago: “Scoffing at what they see as sanctimony by their leaders, some Israelis have noted that in their own pre-state period, Jews smuggled weapons into Palestine in the hope of creating and defending their own nation.”

The difference, of course, is that in pre-state Israel, the Jews were faced with a united, genocidal Arab mobilization to wipe out the new Jewish State. Today, the Palestinians have signed agreements (at Oslo, Wye River, and Sharm el-Sheikh) pledging to resolving disputes through negotiations, and agreeing to specified limits on weapons the P.A. is entitled to have.

Note that weapons smuggling on ships is part of a PA pattern.

“The Israel Defense Forces said Monday they intercepted a boat containing weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles, off the coast of northern Israel, near Rosh Hanikra… Israeli ships intercepted the 40-ton San Torini and found it loaded with arms… Their plan was to put the arms into barrels and put them into the sea, where they were to be picked up by Palestinians…”

Time magazine documents more illegal PA weapons:

“From the beginning, Israelis say, Arafat’s people have violated the agreements by sneaking in arms. In 1995 Israel agreed to allow Arafat’s men 240 heavy machine guns, in addition to light personal weapons. Now the Israelis say the Palestinians have hundreds more than that, many smuggled in on Arafat’s own helicopters. Surveillance drones that Israel uses to keep tabs on Arafat recorded his aides’ carrying heavy machine
guns off the choppers ‘on dozens of occasions,’ according to a high-ranking Israeli army officer. Israeli security officials say some holders of VIP cards, issued by the Israelis to top Palestinian officials, used their ability to travel with few checks across the bridges from Jordan to smuggle arms, until Israel cracked down during the intifadeh. Tunnels dug 50 ft. below the sandy border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt have also served as conduits for arms. Israeli troops found two such tunnels last week and destroyed them.”

Here are just a few of the so-called commitments outlawing the Palestinian smuggling of weapons:

– “No manufacture, sale, acquisition, importation or introduction of any firearms, ammunition, weapons, explosives, gunpowder or related equipment into the West Bank or Gaza Strip, except for those of the Palestinian Police.” (Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Article IX.3; Interim Agreement, Article XIV)

– “The Palestinian Police will prevent the manufacture of weapons as well as the transfer of weapons to persons not licensed to possess them.” (Interim Agreement, Annex I, Article XI.2)

– “Ensuring an effective legal framework to criminalize any importation, manufacturing or unlicensed sale, acquisition or possession of firearms, ammunition or weapons in areas under Palestinian jurisdiction.” (Wye River Memorandum, Article II.A.2a)

– “Continuation of the program for the collection of illegal weapons, including reports.” (Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, Article 8.b)

Check how your local media reported the Karine-A capture — and respond to them with the facts.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.