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Uncorrected

AP

Error (Associated Press, Paul Garwood, 2/3/05): But in the wake of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Nov. 11 death, Mubarak–like millions across the region–recognized an opportunity for an end to the cycle of Palestinian-Israeli bloodshed sparked by Sharon’s September 2000 visit to a revered Muslim shrine in Jerusalem.

Fact: The contention that Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount (Judaism’s most sacred site, in addition to being a Muslim shrine) sparked the intifada–passed off in this news article as fact–is contradicted by earlier AP coverage. A March 2, 2001 article from Sidon, Lebanon begins: “A Palestinian Cabinet minister said Friday that the 5-month-old uprising against Israel was planned after peace failed in July, contradicting contentions it was a spontaneous outburst by Palestinians. Communications Minister Imad Falouji said during a PLO rally that it was a mistake to think the uprising, in which more than 400 people have been killed, was sparked by Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in late September” (“Palestinian Cabinet minister says Palestinian uprising was planned”).



Error (Associated Press, Paul Garwood and Maggie Michael, 12/30/03): Kuwait expelled hundreds [of Palestinians] because Arafat sided with Saddam Hussein after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

Fact: The number of Palestinians expelled from Kuwait during the first Gulf War was in the hundreds of thousands, not the hundreds. According to an Aug. 12, 2003 AP report, “About 450,000 Palestinians lived in Kuwait before the invasion. Most were expelled or pressured to leave after the U.S.-led 1991 Gulf War liberated Kuwait” (“In reversal, Palestinian prime minister condemns Iraqi invasion of Kuwait,” Diana Elias). A May 30, 2001 BBC report corroborates this much higher figure: “About 450,000 Palestinians lived in Kuwait before the Iraqi invasion [in 1990] ... the Palestinian community has dwindled to around 9,000” (“Angry Welcome for Palestinian in Kuwait”).



Error (Associated Press, Ibrahim Barzak, 10/15/03): But in the bloody conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, there has been an unofficial policy of “hands off” the Americans, though 49 Americans, many with dual citizenship, have been caught in the crossfire in the past three years of fighting.

Fact: As of Oct. 17, 2003, approximately 85 Americans have been killed or wounded in Israel and the disputed territories since September 2000. (The breakdown is 38 killed and 47 wounded.) Of the 47 U.S. citizens killed, none were “caught in the crossfire.” With the exception of Rachel Corrie, accidentally killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, all those killed were targeted by Palestinian terrorists and were non-combatants–riding buses, eating pizza, drinking coffee, and driving in their cars.



Error (AP, Gavin Rabinowitz, 10/5/03): . . . a blanket closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. . . confined some 3 million Palestinians to their homes in advance of the Jewish holiday.

Fact: The closure barred Palestinians from entering Israel; it did not confine people “to their homes.” AP photographs taken during this period show Palestinians attending mass rallies in Ramallah and Gaza, Palestinians waiting at an Israeli checkpoint near Ramallah, Palestinians milling about the destroyed home of suicide bomber Hanadi Jaradat in Jenin, and taxis waiting in line in Gaza.



Error (Associated Press, Jason Keyser, 9/8/03): He [Ahmed Qureia] was the head of the Palestinian team in talks that led to the breakthrough 1993 Oslo peace accords, which gave birth to the concept of  “land for peace”–Israel would return occupied lands in the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinian control in exchange for peace and security.

Fact: The Oslo accords did not “give birth” to the idea of “land-for-peace.” U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, passed shortly after the end of the 1967 war, stipulated Israeli withdrawal from some, but not all, of the territory gained in this war, in return for “secure and recognized boundaries.” This, and not Oslo, was the first expression of a joint Israeli-Arab policy of territorial compromise in the context of the Mideast conflict.



Error (Associated Press, 9/3/03): It [the Sept. 3 attack on Hezbollah positions in south Lebanon] was the first Israeli air raid since Aug. 10, when shells fired by Hezbollah killed a 16-year-old Israeli and wounded five people, including an infant. That shelling, part of volleys fired by the guerrillas to counter Israeli reconnaissance flights over Lebanon. .  .

Fact: As AP, had earlier reported, the Lebanese claim that Hezbollah fired on Aug. 10 to counter Israeli reconnaissance flights over Lebanon is in dispute. Israelis, for their part, state that Hezbollah aimed low, targeting the Israeli town, and deny that any Israeli flights were in Lebanese territory that day. Thus, AP’s Peter Enav accurately reported on Aug. 10: “A senior Israeli security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said three 57 mm anti-tank shells were fired at the town of Shlomi, near the Israeli-Lebanese border. The militant group Hezbollah said in Lebanon that it had fired anti-aircraft shells at Israeli jets flying over southern Lebanon. Israeli security officials denied aircraft were in the area Sunday.”



Error (Associated Press, Hussein Dakroub, 5/30/03): While the United States lists Hezbollah as a terrorist group, Lebanon regards it as a political party fighting Israeli occupation of a tiny piece of land in south Lebanon.

Fact: “A tiny piece of land in south Lebanon” under Israeli occupation is presumably a reference to a region called Chebaa Farms. However, in its June 16, 2000 report of the Secretary-General (S/2000/590), the United Nations ruled that Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanese territory. According to the United Nations, Chebaa Farms is Golan Heights land which Israel conquered from Syria in the 1967 war, and thus is not part of Lebanon at all. In multiple past articles, Dakroub had correctly covered the status of Chebaa Farms. (See, for example, April 15, 2001 and April 22, 2001).



Error (Associated Press, Ravi Nessman, 5/25/03): The road map incorporates a previous proposal by Saudi Arabia that envisions Israeli withdrawal from territory it captured in the 1967 Mideast war–the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and east Jerusalem–and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem, all anathema to the Israeli right.

Fact: The Saudi plan is only one of many diplomatic initiatives which the “road map” mentions. The plan does not prioritize the Saudi plan over other diplomatic initiatives. In the road map’s introduction, the Saudi initiative is cited after UNSCR 242, for example, which does not stipulate that Israel must withdraw from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and east Jerusalem. In Phase III, the “road map” again calls for a settlement based on U.N. Resolution 242, but does not again refer to the Saudi plan.



Error (Associated Press, photo caption, 11/5/01): A Palestinian girl, taking part in an anti-Israeli demonstration Monday, Nov. 5, 2001, in front of the United Nations House in downtown Beirut, carries a stone and a painting based on the killing of 12-year-old Palestinian boy Mohammed Jamal Aldura and his father Jamal Aldura in Sept. 2000 at the beginning of the latest Intefadeh. The writing on the painting reads "we will not kneel." Some 150 young Palestinian students demonstrated in support of the Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza.

Fact: While Mohammed Jamal Aldura was killed in crossfire in Gaza on Sept. 30, 2000, his father is alive and has been interviewed several times since.