Tel Aviv Fallout

HonestReporting is closely following the claim of responsibility by members of Arafat-affiliated Fatah, specifically the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, for this week’s double-suicide bombing in Tel Aviv.

The Palestinian Authority made an arrest in connection with the murders, but it’s not what you might think. PA security forces arrested al Jazeera’s Gaza correspondent, Seif al Din Shahin, whose report on the Fatah claim of responsibility led to charges of “inflicting damage to the interests and reputation of the Palestinian people and their struggle.” (The PA later claimed that it held the reporter for “failing to reveal a source” — not exactly legitimate grounds for arrest.) Witnesses said that 20 members of PA General Intelligence raided the offices of the Qatari TV station to arrest Shahin, the Jerusalem Post reports, and that PA security officials said Shahin was arrested on direct instructions from Arafat’s headquarters. Shahin was released after 18 hours.

Another Palestinian journalist in the Gaza Strip said PA security officials warned him and his colleagues that they, too, would be arrested if they reported on the Fatah claim of responsibility. “They told us that the Mossad was behind the Fatah statements claiming responsibility for the Tel Aviv explosions and that any journalist who reports this will be severely punished,” said the journalist.

This brings to mind the PA response to street celebrations on September 11, 2001. To prevent the world from seeing these incriminating images, armed Palestinians — some in uniform — trapped photojournalists inside a Nablus hotel while festivities continued in the streets. One cameraman on assignment for Associated Press Television News was summoned to a Palestinian Authority security office, and threatened by Arafat’s cabinet secretary, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, that if the footage is broadcast, the PA “cannot guarantee the life” of the cameraman.

The PA’s intimidation of journalists is an repeating phenomenon. Last year, Newsweek’s bureau chief in Israel, Joshua Hammer, conducted an interview with Palestinian leaders in Gaza — who then kidnapped him. How can a journalist report honestly if his life is being threatened? This explains in large part why the media is biased.

Meanwhile, the French group Reporters Without Borders issued a statement this week criticizing the PA for detaining the journalist, and then hypocritically praising the PA for “actively combating organisations that sow terror and death in Israel.”

Reporters Without Borders conveniently offers no proof of the PA “combating terror.” Recall that in November, Reporters Without Borders ranked the Palestinian Authority as having more respect than Israel for freedom of the press.. Did Israel ever arrest or kidnap a journalist for publishing the facts?!

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Even though many of the Tel Aviv casualties were foreigners, and even though the attack occurred in Israel proper, describes all 23 dead as “Israeli settlers.”

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And in an unconfirmed report, gives a shocking example of BBC bias:

“The shameful Orla Guerin excelled herself on tonight’s BBC News. Reporting on the murder of 22 people by Palestinian terrorists, she concluded her report thus: ‘But for the Palestinians it never stops; 50 of them killed by the army each week’. So grotesquely biased is Ms Guerin that she is unable even to report on a clear, straightforward example of Palestinian terror without finding a way of including dubious — at best — Palestinian propaganda and insinuating that it Israelis are only getting their just deserts.”

HonestReporting encourages members to monitor your local media to see how they are reporting issues surrounding the Tel Aviv bombing.

==== CAIR Hits Hard ====

Columnist Bill Cotterell of the Tallahassee Democrat has been suspended without pay for a week because of an email he wrote supporting Israel’s right to defend itself. Cotterell was responding to an email complaint about a political cartoon that Arabs found offensive.

The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) flooded the Tallahassee Democrat with emails, forcing an apology from Executive Editor John Winn Miller, as well as Cotterell’s suspension.

See the controversial cartoon:

Read an AP report about the incident:

==== CLONING BIAS ====

The Raelian cloning cult has a website that is filled with anti-Israel material, including an online petition claiming that in Jenin, the Israelis “coldly executed over 1000 Palestinians, most of whom were women and children, and then buried them in the ruins to make it look as if it was an accidental death.”

Of course the actual number of dead Palestinians was closer to 50, and the claim that Israel “coldly executed” them is patently false.