An Associated Press story on Saturday (text below) reveals the sleight of hand in its reporting. This was as close to a press release for the Palestinians as I ever seen by the AP. But no surprise - the AP has a special relationship with the Palestinians which biases their reporting, as I will explain below. First, four points about the article:
1. The headline and story suggest a unanimity of Palestinian "anger" over the bombing, an assessment that the reporter could not possibly have ascertained.
2. The AP maintains the charade that there is universal Palestinian anger over the attack by uncritically reporting the nonsensical comment by Abbas that even "the prisoners" (i.e., Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons) were "outraged" by the attack.
3. The height of the reporter's lunacy is the paragraph starting with "If a Palestinian group were found to be responsible..." IF? Who are to we believe carried this out? An invisible suicide bomber beamed into Tel Aviv from Beirut? Moreover, Islamic Jihad released a video claiming responsibility for the attack.
4. Finally and not least, see the last paragraph. In order to show Palestinian "moderation" this time, the reporter cites the absence of celebrations as previously occurring in "dozens of other suicide bombings." Excuse me, but when did AP substantively report these celebrations in the past?
For years, it has been a dirty little secret that the Associated Press reporting from the West Bank and Gaza has been intellectually and professionally corrupt. The AP has been guilty of committing scores of DanRather-gates for years. As Andrew Cochran noted here on January 18, the AP's Muhammad Daraghmeh also works for the official PA news organ, as have numerous other so-called "journalists" whose obvious biases are never disclosed by the mainstream press. Will someone finally wake up?
Palestinians Angry Over Tel Aviv Attack
By MOHAMMED BALLAS
February 26, 2005
The Associated Press
JENIN, West Bank (AP) - Palestinians expressed anger Saturday at an overnight suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and threatened a fragile truce, a departure from former times when they welcomed attacks on their Israeli foes.
Official condemnations and denials were followed by public anger toward the perpetrators as Israeli blamed Syria and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for the attack. The Palestinians pointed fingers at the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah. Syria denied the allegations.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas convened his top security chiefs directly after the bombing and issued a strong statement pledging to track down and punish the culprits. The three main Palestinian militant groups - including Islamic Jihad - initially denied involvement. A branch of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in the West Bank city of Nablus, even condemned the attack.
"We will not allow anyone to sabotage our national goals, aspirations and ambitions," Abbas said Saturday in the West Bank town of Ramallah. "All Palestinian factions, including the prisoners, were outraged by this operation. I emphasize that there is another party that wants to sabotage the peace process."
Palestinians, weary after four years of violence, welcomed an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire declaration at a Mideast summit in Egypt on Feb. 8, and many accused Hezbollah of intentionally trying to destroy the truce.
"If Hezbollah was behind this attack, I as a Palestinian tell them, 'Deal with your own problems and stay out of ours,"' said Akram Abu Sbaa, 38, of Jenin.
Another Jenin resident, Bashar Jalloudi, 40, said Hezbollah's alleged involvement in the Tel Aviv bombing would only hurt Palestinian interests at a time of relative calm.
"Where was Hezbollah when we were being killed and our homes were being demolished? They were standing on the sidelines watching with their hands tied," Jalloudi said.
Friday night's bombing, carried out by an attacker from the West Bank town of Tulkarem, killed four people and wounded about 50 others.
If a Palestinian group is found responsible, it could derail the cease-fire and put tremendous pressure on Abbas to crack down, as Israel has demanded. If an outside group was involved, Israel is likely to give him more leeway.
Israel blamed Syria and Islamic Jihad. Palestinian security officials said Hezbollah was to blame. Both Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah receive backing from Damascus.
In contrast to the dozens of previous suicide bombings, no celebrations were held in the West Bank on Saturday and militant groups didn't hang the customary posters of congratulations at the bomber's home.
Cross-posted at Counterterrorism Blog.