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July 03, 2008

Washington Post transforms terrorists to 'fighters'

The Washington Post (Gazan Rockets Threaten Truce," June 25) continues to refer to those attacking non-combatants as "fighters" rather than as terrorists -- at least in reporting Palestinian assaults against Israelis. "Fighter" -- ghetto fighter, World War II resistance fighter, 1956 Hungarian freedom fighter, anti-Taliban fighters in Afghanistan -- often carries positive connotations. Post word choice gives the impression that Palestinian terrorists are something else, legitimate combatants, and their indiscriminate attacks something other than terrorism. Such usage is both inacccurate and tendentious.

Four days into the cease-fire, Palestinian terrorists fired a mortar shell into Israel. The attack received no Post coverage. On June 24, Israeli troops in the West Bank killed an armed Islamic Jihad commander; four explosive devices were found near his body. Terrorists then launched several rockets from the Gaza Strip into the Israeli town of Sderot.

Post Jerusalem Bureau Chief Griff Witte and stringer Samuel Sockol reported that "Israel has said it needs freedom to operate in the West Bank in order to prevent a Hamas takeover." No doubt Israel opposes expansion of Hamas rule from the Strip into the West Bank. But Post word choice omits the fact that the Israeli-Hamas truce does not apply to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) in the first place, and that Israel has said it needs freedom to operate there to prevent terrorist attacks against Jews in the territories and inside Israel. The sharp decline in terrorist attacks after Israel's large-scale military return to the West Bank in 2002, and later construction of the security barrier, suggests that insistence on freedom to operate in the terrtories is well-grounded.

Regardless, The Post's language allows readers to infer wrongly that Israeli actions in the West Bank justified Islamic Jihad's breaking of the truce in Gaza. -- Adam Grodman, research intern.

Posted by ER at July 3, 2008 02:01 PM


very bad

Posted by: Anonymous at May 1, 2009 12:03 AM

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