NBC’s Collection of Mistakes

This week marks the 35th anniversary of the 1967 war, and various publications took note of the date. MSNBC.com posted a lengthy article on Palestinian refugees by Nikole Killion, an international senior assignment editor and field producer for NBC News. The article is replete with errors and distortions.

Killian implies that Jordanian Queen Rania is one of the 2 million Palestinians who “relocated to Jordan after the wars of 1948 and 1967.”

Yet NBC’s suggestion runs contrary to the queen’s biography: “Rania Yasin was born on August 31, 1970, in Kuwait to Palestinian parents. A doctor’s daughter, she grew up in a comfortable home on the West Bank alongside her two siblings. She received a thoroughly Western education, first at the New English School in Kuwait City and then at the American University in Cairo, where she graduated with a business degree. In 1991 she moved to Amman, where her parents had settled after fleeing Kuwait along with hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians following the 1991 Gulf War.”

Like hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Jordan, Rania’s family was driven out of… Kuwait.

The NBC editor’s distortions only get worse. Killion writes: “While Jordan has resisted some of the more radical Palestinian groups, such as the notorious expulsion of resistance fighters during Black September in 1970, arms smuggling into the West Bank continues to be a difficult issue.”

The 1970 fighting Killian refers to was a bloody civil war during which Arafat’s PLO openly challenged the rule of King Hussein. The Jordanian army smashed the PLO and Palestinians camps in Jordan, killing thousands.

According to Killion, as a result of Israel’s victory in 1967, an “estimated 250,000 [Palestinians] were forced to flee into Jordan and other Arab nations.” Killion freely intersperses tales of refugees from 1948 and those from 1967. “Despite the existence of a U.N. resolution that allows (sic) refugees the right to return to their homes, it has become nearly impossible for most Palestinians. Restrictive checkpoints, curfews and security raids have become a way of life in the West Bank and Gaza.”

What do checkpoints have to do with Palestinians who want to return to West Bank towns such as Jenin or Tulkarem, or claim to have come from Netanya, Jaffa or Haifa?

In fact, tens of thousands of Palestinians have already been permitted to return to the West Bank over the last 30 years as part of Israel’s “family reunification” program. Moreover, had Yasser Arafat accepted the Barak peace proposals at Camp David in July 2000, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians would have been able to settle in the Palestinian areas of the West Bank. It needs mentioning also that Palestinian refugee camps — such as the infamous camp in Jenin — are still maintained in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

If you would like to see these mistakes corrected, write to:
NBC News, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

Or email: letters@MSNBC.com


Check out the Jerusalem Post for the op-ed, “Journalism’s Jihad Against Israel” by Sharon Tzur, director of HonestReporting’s parent organization, Media Watch International.

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