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October 06, 2005

AFP's Remedial 'Road Map' Reporting

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Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat falsely claims that the "road map" requires Israel to release Palestinian prisoners

Since Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat's credibility took a good hit with his Jenin "massacre" fabrications in 2002, you would think that journalists carefully fact-check any of his claims, right? Wrong.

In an article on the wire today, entitled "Palestinians want results from Mideast summit: Erakat," an unidentified AFP journalist reports a false allegation by Erakat without challenge:

The commitments made by both sides to the largely moribund internationally drafted Middle East roadmap peace plan would feature prominently, [Erakat] said.

“As far as we are concerned, the commitments unique to the Palestinian Authority are monopoly of arms, pursuing the electoral process and halting anti-Israeli violence,” he said.

“As for Israelis, they must also stop violence against the Palestinians, end settlement activity, release prisoners and not take any steps to hinder the Palestinian legislative elections," on January 25, Erakat added.

In fact, the "road map" says nothing at all about Palestinian prisoners.

Shortly after the Quartet's Middle East "road map" was released in the spring of 2003, CAMERA faulted journalists for falsely reporting that the document required Israel to release Palestinian prisoners.

Two years later--plenty of time for Middle East correspondents to study up on the multilateral agreement--and the AFP is still getting it wrong. Does the"road map" learning curve have the same longevity as the "Erekat credibility" learning curve?

Updated: In response to CAMERA communication with AFP, editors commendably set the record straight in subsequent stories.

Posted by TS at October 6, 2005 06:54 AM

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