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May 19, 2005

Free Pass for Palestinian Violence

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When Palestinians attack Israelis and Israelis retaliate, it's not uncommon to see journalists unfairly postulate that the Israeli retaliation threatens whatever truce is on at the moment. In this formulation, while the original Palestinian violent incident is apparently not a threat to the truce, the Israeli response is.

A particularly stark example of this phenomenon came today by way a headline in the Centre Daily Times of State College, Pennsylvania. The headline reads: "Israeli airstrike threatens to start wave of violence."

One has to read the first paragraph of the Associated Press story to see just how biased this headline is. It states:

A sharp flare-up of violence Wednesday, including two Palestinian militants killed, an Israeli airstrike against Hamas and the shelling of Jewish settlements, threatens to collapse a truce and derail efforts to restart Mideast peace talks.

In other words, according to this headline writer, the Israeli airstrike and the death of the Palestinians threaten to start a wave of violence, while the Palestinian mortar shellings do not.

(Incidentally, this Ibrahim Barzak story contains an error which has already been corrected in an updated wire story, thanks to CAMERA's prompting. Barzak wrongly blames "Israeli soldiers killing a 22-year-old Hamas militant on the Gaza-Egypt border." But, as the updated story noted, the circumstances of the Hamas man's death are disputed. Why doesn't the Centre Daily update its site to reflect the correction?)

While we're on AP, Jerusalem bureau chief Steven Gutkin did not fair much better on the Palestinian free pass test. In an article today, he wrote:

The fragility of a four-month cease-fire was brought home Wednesday when an Israeli aircraft fired at Hamas militants who launched more than a dozen mortar shells at a Jewish settlement in Gaza.

So, while the dozen Hamas-launched mortar shells apparently did not bring home the fragility of the cease-fire, the (self-defensive) Israeli airstrike did.

Posted by TS at May 19, 2005 04:11 PM