Meeting Suspicion

Prime Ministers Sharon and Abbas meet today, and a summit meeting with President Bush is pegged for next Wednesday in Jordan. How quickly things turn — just one week ago Israelis were reeling from five Palestinian terror attacks and negotiations with an impotent Abu Mazen seemed distant; now Sharon and his cabinet have endorsed the road map and stand poised to bargain yet again in the hope for increased Israeli security.

Many journalists were caught off guard by this pivot — noting it favorably, but then reverting to knee-jerk, anti-Israel cynicism. Newsday claimed that “Sharon contradicted his own remarks – and the road map’s basic premise – by failing to address the provocative and volatile issue of Jewish settlements.”

The actual “basic premise” of Stage One of the road map is “Ending Terror and Violence, Normalizing Palestinian Life, and Building Palestinian Institutions.” Newsday is entitled to their opinion, and factual mistakes happen, but here Newsday intentionally misrepresents the road map’s emphasis on uprooting terror in an unethical attempt to bolster their editorial position on settlement policy.

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Though recognizing the possibility that Sharon is sincere, most media outlets lent credence to the accusation that Sharon, “a crafty politician who knows how to buy time” (L.A. Times) may merely be conniving a “ploy to deflect international pressure” (Associated Press).

Where’s the media suspicion for Abu Mazen’s sincerity? After all, he has yet to bang down the door of a single Hamas member or to sideline the meddling Arafat — his key international mandates.

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While the road map is Israel’s diplomatic push for security, the physical front for security is under construction in northern Israel — the first, 80 mile section of a planned 230-mile security fence has reached completion after nearly a year of work. IDF check posts along the fence will continue to permit passage of legal visitors and workers, but the barrier will prevent West Bank terrorists from stealthily crossing into Israel on murder missions.

The media have largely refused to acknowledge the fence’s security role, condemning Israel with comparisons to zoo keeping and apartheid:

The International Herald Tribune published an op-ed calling the fence “a cage for Palestinians… the prison” that shamelessly robs Palestinians of their “original homeland.”

No Israeli perspective is brought, nor mention of the territories’ status (Hebron, Nablus, Shiloh, Bethlehem, Jericho, etc.) as the cradle of Jewish civilization, 2,000 years before Mohammed was born.

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— BBC television on Sunday evening aired a program whose very title, “Behind the Fence,” reveals a highly biased, pro-Palestinian perspective on the “wall of apartheid” (as the security fence was referred to in BBC promotion). The show’s noxious effect upon its British audience — at peak viewing time — may be found on the BBC feedback page, where one viewer writes: “When I hear and see the way [Israelis] treat their neighbours I feel they treat others as they were treated in Nazi Germany. And, against all my natural emotions I am aware of growing hatred for them – the Israelis.”

Comments to BBC 2’s “Correspondent” (under whose auspices the program ran):

The program’s writer and producer, Inigo Gilmore, is the influential Israel correspondent for The Sunday Telegraph (and also writes for USA Today). Gilmore’s BBC program certainly calls this journalist’s objectivity into question. Comments regarding Gilmore may be sent to The Telegraph’s editors, Topaz Amoore and Dominic Lawson:


This week, Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based satellite news agency that broadcast post-9/11 interviews with Osama bin Laden, fired its veteran chief executive for collaborating with Saddam Hussein’s intelligence services.

Al-Jazeera’s reports are in increasing demand, however, in the West. In January, BBC granted al-Jazeera its seal of approval by signing an official news-exchange agreement. Many U.S. cable companies transmit the station, and Canadian cable providers are hoping to add al-Jazeera soon.

Al-Jazeera broke all standards of media decency by broadcasting pictures of tortured American POWs in March. Now the popular pro-Palestinian web site ElectronicIntifada has one-upped al-Jazeera with a posting of anti-Israeli filth that hides behind the shield of satire to vilify the “miserable occupying bastards.”

Imagine the uproar if were to publish anti-Palestinian material of this nature.