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Media Analyses

Times Interview Omits Arafat’s Praise for Suicide Killer of 21

The New York Times on July 8 published a long interview with Yasir Arafat, detailing the Palestinian leader’s insistence that he had lived up to the recent US-brokered cease fire agreement calling on him to stop violence and incitement against Israelis. While the article did note some criticism of Arafat by outgoing US Ambassador Martin Indyk, it entirely ignored Arafat’s recent praise for the Tel-Aviv suicide bomber who in June killed 21 young Israelis.

According to a German television report Mr Arafat, in a condolence letter to the family of the suicide bomber, praised the bomber as a “noble soul” who “turned his body into bombs,” and who was “the model of manhood and sacrifice for the sake of Allah and the homeland.” Arafat reportedly also termed the bombing itself a “heroic martyrdom.” (MEMRI, Special Dispatch 237)

While the Times chose to ignore the German report of Mr. Arafat’s praise for the suicide bombing, it chose to highlight Mr. Arafat’s interview with a German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine, in which he was said to have condemned “all violent and terror acts in Israel and the occupied territories and all injuries, Palestinian or Israeli.”

Why was one German report fit to print and the other not? Why has the Times consistently underplayed Palestinian incitement to violence? Why did the Times ignore the call for more suicide bombings by the Arafat-appointed Mufti of Palestine just one week before the Tel-Aviv bombing? Why in October did the Times characterize a PA television broadcast as saying merely that “Whether Likud or Labor, Jews are Jews,” when in fact the broadcast had called for all Jews to be “butchered and killed”?

Enquiring minds want to know.


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