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July 30, 2006

Backwards Reporting in NYT's "2 Steps Back"

Helene Cooper's analytical skills took an interesting turn on Friday with her New York Times news analysis "2 Steps Back: Rice’s Careful Diplomacy Falters Under Renewed Assertiveness by the U.S." At first, she correctly reported on the status of Shebaa Farms, stating:

Still to be determined is the makeup of the international force and what will be done about Lebanese demands that Israel withdraw from Shebaa Farms, which the United Nations has ruled is officially part of Syria but which Hezbollah claims as part of Lebanon.

So far, so good. But then, this:

Middle East analysts and diplomats say that if the United States can broker a deal that gives Shebaa Farms back to the government of Lebanon. . .

If Shebaa Farms was never Lebanese, but rather was Syrian, how can Israel give it back to the government of Lebanon?

Cooper's colleagues at the International Herald Tribune also had some backwards reporting on Shebaa Farms recently. On Wednesday, Dan Bilefsky and Jad Mauawad provide a confused, internally contradictory description of the territory. Initially, they report a false Hezbollah claim as fact

In exchange, Hezbollah also wants the release of Lebanese prisoners in Israel and the withdrawal of Israel from a small Lebanese hamlet it still occupies.

Then, contradicting themselves, they go on to report correctly on the status of Shebaa Farms:

Sinoira said, “There should be a comprehensive solution, that liberates all Lebanese land,�? referring to a border hamlet known as the Shebaa Farms, which Lebanon claims but the United Nations considers part of the Israeli-occupied Syrian land.

Hezbollah has used the ongoing Israeli occupation of the Shebaa Farms to justify its status as a resistance movement and its insistence on keeping its weapons as a deterrent against Israel.

Posted by TS at July 30, 2006 06:50 AM


Good Snapshot remarks !

But the main point is that Israel has nothing to do with Shabaa farm area. It was all UN, France, US decision whether or whether not to conclude that area to the Lebanese!

The other point is that Lebanon was part of the 1559 resolution and accepted it as such. The Hizballah is just a terror group with political party and has nothing to do legally with the Lebanese foreign politics issues and actions.
Lebanon government has all responsibility for what ever happened between Lebanese fractions and Israel.

Posted by: Abe Bird at August 2, 2006 01:23 AM

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