NPR coverage of the Wye River negotiations and subsequent
Palestinian-Israeli friction has continued to distort the actions and
obligations of the parties. Israel is held responsible for any difficulties and
delays, while Palestinian violations of the agreements are ignored.
NPR reporters have consistently misrepresented the Wye agreements and
accused Israel of imposing "tough pre-conditions" when Israeli
officials have insisted on Palestinian adherence to the accords.
Benjamin Netanyahu now says a mid-election land transfer is possible but
only if the Palestinians meet his tough pre-conditions. They include seizing
more illegal weapons and reducing the Palestinian police force...
Steve McNally on Morning Edition, December 22, 1998
Netanyahu...went on today to list several issues very aggressively. The
confiscation of illegal weapons in the hands of the Palestinian Authority. The
incitement to violence. The threat to declare a Palestinian state unilaterally.
These aren't new issues, but Netanyahu is insisting now he wants satisfaction on
all of them before he will redeploy Israeli troopsthat is, pull them back
from more territory on the West Bank.
Mike Shuster on Morning Edition, December 15, 1998
The Oslo Accords (whose conditions explicitly remain in force as part
of the Wye Agreement) specifically require the confiscation of illegal weapons
and specify the size of the PA police force. The Wye Agreement contains similar
provisions. However, according to the head of Intelligence for the Israel
Defense Forces, Major General Amos Malka, the Palestinian Authority is not
making efforts to collect illegal arms. Israeli officials also believe the PA
has begun manufacturing illegal weapons and has acquired anti-tank and
anti-aircraft weapons. Nor has the PA submitted to Israel a complete list of
members of the PA police force, as it is required to do. With at least 40,000
men deployed, the PA force is more than 30% larger than permissible under Oslo.
(By way of comparison, that number represents four times as many policemen per
capita as Israel and France have in their forces, and eight times as many as
II. NPR has systematically distorted or omitted the PA's incitement
against Israel. The network has suppressed coverage of PA calls for violence and
war against Israel, its denial of the Holocaust and its teaching of hatred to
Palestinian school children via television and textbooks. When NPR does mention
incitement, instead of reporting the facts directly, it disparages the issue,
stating, for example, that Israel demands an end to what "Israel
calls incitement" or what "it sees as Palestinian
incitement." (emphasis added)
Israeli officials still insist they will not withdraw from one more inch of
West Bank land until the Palestinians meet at least a dozen Israeli demands,
including the confiscation of illegal weapons, and putting an end to
what Israel calls incitement and threats of violence. (emphasis added)
Eric Weiner on All Things Considered, December 15, 1998
Israel wants an end to what it sees as Palestinian incitement to
violence on the West Bank. (emphasis added)
Mike Shuster on Weekend Sunday, December 13, 1998
Examples of anti-Israel rhetoric and propaganda by the PA omitted from NPR's
coverage (according to a search of the Nexis news database):
PA Chairman Yasir Arafat calls for violence, compares Israel to
Our rifles are ready and we are ready to raise them again if anyone tries to
prevent us from praying in holy Jerusalem.... (November 15, 1998)
[T]he struggle against this Satan, the Satan of money, the Satan of
influence, the Satan of discord, the Satan of the robbery which the Government
of Israel is attempting to commit. (June 28, 1998)
are but a few examples of many such statements made by Arafat and other PA
officials and ignored by NPR)
Intensify the revolution and the blessed Intifada...We must burn the ground
under the feet of the invaders. (April 16, 1998)
The Palestinian Authority promotes Holocaust denial
Holocaust denial by the PA has prompted protests by Holocaust scholars and
coverage in the New York Times (July 24, 1998), but NPR has ignored the
[The Jews] invented the shocking story of the gas ovens, where Hitler
allegedly burned them.... [T]hey focused on women, children and old people and
have exploited this to arouse sympathy for themselves when demanding financial
compensation, donations and grants from all over the world. (July 2, 1998, Al-Hayat
Al-Jadeeda, official PA newspaper)
Moderator: It is well-known that every year the Jews exaggerate what
the Nazis did to them...
Palestinian author Hassan al-Agha: [The Jews] have profited materially,
spiritually, politically and economically from the talk about the Nazi killings.
This investment is favorable to them and they view it as a profitable activity
so they inflate the number of victims all the time.... [A]s you know, when it
comes to economics and investments, the Jews have been very experienced ever
since the days of the Merchant of Venice. (August 25, 1997, official PA
PA television and textbooks teach children to hate and urge violence and
- PA television programs for children in which young girls and boys sing
songs extolling suicide bombers and promising to "drench the ground"
with their blood have prompted coverage by other media. CAMERA's President
personally handed Foreign Editor Loren Jenkins a video copy of the PA's "Children's
Club" program containing clips of young children praising violence and
martyrdom. But NPR ignored this story as well.
- A non-government Israeli group, The Center for Monitoring the Impact of
Peace, has surveyed 140 textbooks being used by children in PA-run schools and
has documented a systematic demonizing of Israel and the Jewish people (see the
survey at the web address: www.edume.org). Throughout the PA curriculum, whether
in history, geography or Islamic studies, the theme of Israel's alleged
wickedness is reiterated.
- An eighth grade literary text asks: "What can we do to rescue
Jerusalem and to liberate it from the thieving enemy?"
- An Islamic Education text for seventh graders asks: "Why do Jews hate
Muslim unity and want to cause division among them? Give an example of the evil
attempts of Jews from events happening today."
- A section on Zionism in a tenth grade history book is headed "Zionist
- An Arabic language text for fifth graders instructs its readers: "Know
my son that Palestine is your country...that its pure soil is drenched with the
blood of Martyrs ...Why must we fight the Jews and drive them out of our land?"
- On the maps studied by Palestinian children Israel does not exist. In its
place is the state of Palestine.
III. In issue after issue, NPR promotes the
perspectives of the Palestinians. The network severely misrepresented the
controversy surrounding Israel's release of Palestinian prisoners in the
wake of the Wye agreements, repeating the Palestinian characterization of
those jailed as "political prisoners" and "freedom
Today's violence was triggered by Israel's refusal to release Palestinian
political prisoners under terms of the Wye River agreement. Charges that Israel
is violating the agreement are causing increased tensions between Israel and the
Bob Edwards on Morning Edition, December 8, 1998
A spokeswoman reads out a statement on behalf of the political prisoners
who remain in Israeli jails....These are the families of the men jailed for
their struggle against Israel. The families expected the first prisoner release
would mean the return of their freedom fighters. Instead they got mostly petty
Steve McNally on Weekend Edition, November 28, 1998
- Israel has complied with its Wye commitment to release Palestinian
prisoners. Contrary to NPR's charge, Israel never agreed to set free prisoners
with blood on their hands or those who are members of groups such as Hamas and
Islamic Jihad. The United States supports the Israeli position on the prisoner
release issue. Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk has observed, "It
is our understanding that the Israelis have done in this first stage what they
have agreed to in Wye." (December 7, Deutsche Press-Agentur)
- NPR neglects to mention that Israel has released nearly 8,000 prisoners
since the beginning of Oslo. Fewer than 2,000 remain in jail, and many of these
were involved in violent attacks.
- NPR's reference to Palestinian prisoners, some of them incarcerated for
multiple murders, as "freedom fighters" reveals unabashed partiality
for Palestinian positions and enmity toward Israel.
IV. In the wake of Israel's redeploying from 200 square miles of
West Bank land in accordance with Wye, NPR misrepresented the related matter of
Israel's building bypass roads around newly-autonomous Arab towns to safeguard
nearby Jewish communities. Israeli bulldozers building the roads were presented
as both illegal and ruthless. They are neither.
[T]here's another sound that can be heard among these rocky hills: the sound
of Israeli bulldozers at work.
About 30 miles away, near the town of Daharia, Israeli bulldozers have
transformed another Palestinian farm from fertile soil to barren rock. The
reason this time: to make way for a so-called bypass road, a four-mile stretch
of pavement that will connect two Jewish settlements.
Like most Palestinians, the farm's owner...has been reading nothing but good
news lately, so he was shocked when one day last week he arrived at his farm to
find Israeli bulldozers destroying his crops.
Israel says the roads are needed to ensure the safety of Jewish settlements
now that many will soon be surrounded by Palestinian-controlled areas. But the
Mayor of Daharia, Ratab al Sabar, says the road construction is an ominous sign.
Eric Weiner on Morning Edition, November 27, 1998
- There is no prohibition whatever under the Oslo/Wye agreements against
building bypass roads. Indeed, since the beginning of the Oslo process, the
creation of new roads has been an essential accompaniment to Israel's ceding
land to the Palestinians. Moreover, land required for such roads is taken by
eminent domain from Jews as well as from Arabs, and compensation is offered.
Finally, a legal appeal process is available to landowners.
- Jewish communities in the West Bank regularly experience violent attacks
and must employ extensive security measures to protect residents. Jewish
children, for example, travel in bullet-proof school buses. Vehicles are often
stoned, and firebombings and terrorist assaults are not infrequent. (It should
be noted that NPR largely ignores such violence.) Nevertheless, in a lengthy
segment focused on the building of bypass roads, NPR interviewed only West Bank
Arabs deploring the construction; Jewish residents and their concerns were
- The single reference to Israeli security concerns was Weiner's dismissive
statement: "Israel says the roads are needed to ensure the
safety of Jewish settlements...". (emphasis added) Indeed, Israeli
bulldozers were made to seem the greatest menace to life on the West Banknot
those who attack school children and motorists.
- As is commonplace on NPR, anecdotal Arab charges against Israel were
repeated without any corroboration of their accuracy and without presenting an