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Monday, June 21, 2010



June 15, 2010
NYT more clueless and biased than Al Jazeera

Leo Rennert

In its June 15 edition, the New York Times carries an article by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner about a roadside shooting attack on Israeli policemen in the West Bank that killed one officer and injured two ("Israeli Policeman Killed In West Bank Shooting" page A9).

Two questions arise with regard to such an incident: Who did it? Could it have been prevented?

As to who did it, Kershner professes ignorance: "No group had claimed responsibility by Monday evening," she reports.

Not so. As early as 1:29 PM, Mecca time, 10:25 AM, GMT, 5:29 AM, New York time, June 14, Al-Jazeera posted the following dispatch: "The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, (WHO ARE PAID OUT OF PA FUNDS) the military wing of the Fatah political party, has claimed responsibility for the attack."

In the same vein, Ma'an, the Palestinian news agency, filed a report at 7:54 PM, local time, June 14, that "a group within the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for opening fire at an Israeli patrol car in Hebron."

But even as other media also cited Al-Aqsa Martrys Brigades as the attacker, there were no fingerprints of this group -- the terrorist wing of Mahmoud Abbas's political party -- in Kershner's article.

Kershner and the Times, in their eagerness to portray Abbas as a worthy, reliable peace partner, seem to have a great avesion against publishing anything that might tarnish his image.

As to the second question -- might the attack have been prevented -- Kershner again is loath to assign direct or indirect responsibility to anyone connected with Abbas's regime.

"The West Bank has seen only sporadic violence in recent months," she writes in her second paragraph, "but tensions have risen in the region following Israel's deadly raid on a flotilla bound for Gaza two weeks ago."

So, the first suspect to pop into Kershner's mind is actually Israel!

Further down in her story, she does acknowledge that in February, an Israeli soldier was stabbed to death by a Palestinian police officer in the West Bank, and in March of last year, two Israeli policemen were killed by gunmen who opned fire on their car in the West Bank. Plus last December, an "Israeli resident" (he was a rabbi) of a West Bank settlement was shot to death on a road near his home.

But in Kersner's view, these are signs of progress, not warnings that something may be amiss in the West Bank in terms of protecting Isreli lives.

For example, she writes approvingly that Israel has been easing movement for Palestinians by removing security checkpoints "as newly trained Palestinian security forces loyal to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, began to assume a more active role."

In Kershner's view, what matters is to make life more pleasant to the Palestinians. She's pleased with the removal of roadblocks, but never connects the dots that there's a dark side to this coin -- that opening up highways and roadways to unimpeded traffic makes it easier for terrorists to reach their targets and destinations.

In sharp contrast, Al-Jazeera shows no such timidity and hesitation. In its June 14 dispath, the Arabic network reported that conservative political parties in Israel "blamed the attack on the government's recent moves to dismantle checkpoints in the West Bank."

Al-Jazeera quotes a Knesset member from a right-wing party as declaring that "opening roadblocks encourages terror."

And, on its own, Al-Jazeera adds that the attack took place "about nine kilometers from the Dahariya checkpoint, which was dismantled by Israeli authorities three weeks ago."

Imagine that -- Al-Jazeera connecting the dots, while Kershner and the Times avert their eyes from clues staring them in the face!

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