Sharon Hints Israel Might Alter Route of West Bank
Barrier, New York Times, Greg Myre, Jan. 19, 2004.
Israel reconsiders path for security barrier;
Thousands of Palestinians would face hardship, Baltimore Sun,
Associated Press dispatch, January 19.
Sharon to reject world court role; But flexibility
likely on barrier, Washington Times, Matthew Tostevin, Reuters,
Barrier route may change; Israeli prime minister cites
hardships for Palestinians as well as legal problems, Richmond
Times-Dispatch, Associated Press, January 19.
Israel may reroute security barrier in the West
Bank, USA Today, by Smita Nordwall with wire reports, January 19.
The first four were full news stories, the last a
three-paragraph news brief.
Meanwhile, at the Washington Post...
The January 19th edition of the
Postcarried no story about Prime Minister Ariel Sharons statement
in a meeting with four senior cabinet members the day before that Israel might
change the route of its planned security barrier in the disputed West Bank
(Judea and Samaria). Sharon said Israel would reconsider because of hardships
the planned route might cause Palestinian Arabs.
Post readers did not learn that, according to Sharon,
if Israel did modify the path of the barrier it would do so for humanitarian
reasons, not in response to a scheduled February 23rd hearing by the
International Court of Justice or to a case before the Israeli Supreme Court.
But the Posts January 19th issue did
carry another widely-covered story Sharon Defends Envoy, Attack on
Art Appropriate. The paper ran an eight-paragraph AP story
about Zvi Mazel, Israels ambassador to Sweden, who vandalized an art
exhibit featuring a Palestinian suicide bomber. Mazel claimed the work
When News About Palestinians is Not News
Following initial reports on the January 14th
attack by a female terrorist that murdered four Israelis at Erez checkpoint
between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the Washington Times published
Female bomber atones for adultery; Purifies self with suicide
attack, on page one, January 20.
Suicide attacks get personal; Women: Palestinian
groups are using female bombers, who arouse less suspicion and have different
motives from men, ran on page A-2 of the January 21st edition
of the Baltimore Sun.
Raeem Raiyshi, the 22-year-old mother of two, from a middle
class Gaza family with business interests in Israel, committed the Erez attack.
She became the seventh female suicide bomber out of 136 such attackers since
the Palestinian Arabs terror war against Israel began in September 2000.
Israels largest circulation daily, Yediot Ahronot, reported on
January 18ththat Raiyshis husband, a member of the terrorist
Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), forced her to stage the attack to redeem
family honor, and that her lover, also of Hamas, supplied the bomb.
As of January 21st, the Washington Post
had not published its own follow-up on the story.
Whats the problem?
As noted in CAMERAs Washington Post-Watch earlier this
month, one criticism of the papers coverage of Arab-Israeli news is that
it too often seems skewed by covering what Israelis do to Palestinians
in particular actions or policy that can be portrayed as harsh while
downplaying or ignoring what Palestinians do to Israelis. Actions by Israel
regarding West Bank and Gaza Strip Arabs that might appear thoughtful or
positive vanish altogether. Statements, actions, and social aspects that might
reflect negatively on Palestinian Arabs tend to be downplayed or ignore.
Omission of the January 19th report on
reconsideration of the security barriers route, considered newsworthy by
many other dailies, and lack of follow-up on the Raiyshi story, fit the