To Associated Press’ Joseph Coleman for his fair and accurate Aug. 5 report about the Palestinian demand that Israel release prisoners (“Palestinian lawmaker calls for U.S. intervention after summit plan collapses”).
Unlike many other reporters, who characterize Israel’s refusal to release thousands of Palestinian prisoners as unfair or objectionable, Coleman does not cast Israel’s action in setting free hundreds of prisoners in a negative light. And, clarifying an important point often lost in news reports, he explicitly states in the third paragraph: “Israel is not required under the road map to free prisoners. . .”
Furthermore, while journalists too often focus on Israel’s alleged failures to fulfill peace agreements, while glossing over Palestinian compliance (or lack thereof), Coleman is forthright about both sides’ record: “Both sides have not carried out obligations: For example, the Palestinians have not moved to disarm militants, and Israel has not frozen construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza and dismantled scores of unauthorized posts. Israeli troops also remain in control of most West Bank towns.”
In addition, Coleman is careful to state the reasons for Israel’s resistance to certain “road map” measures, noting that the plan also requires steps from the Palestinians which they refuse to take: “Israel has resisted quick movement on the peace plan, demanding that Palestinian forces dismantle militant group and confiscate illegal weapons as required under the road map. Palestinians argue a confrontation with the militants could lead to a civil war.”
He continues: “Israel on Monday rolled back a commitment to withdraw from two more West Bank towns after gunmen ambushed an Israeli car the night before, wounding four Israelis. Israel said the transfers would not go ahead until the Palestinians take action against the shooters.”
Coleman even provides unusual detail about the extent of the Palestinian failure to curb terrorist actions. He reports: “A senior Israel security official said Tuesday that there have been 178 attacks since June 29, including 118 gunfire incidents. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said many of the recent attacks carried out by Al Aqsa militants were funded and directed by Iran.”