How Reuters Twists a Fistfight That Never Was

Did Israeli lawmaker Oren Hazan express disappointment that today he missed out on a fistfight with Jordanian parliamentarian Yahya Soud? Reuters said he did, but a look at the record depicts a different picture of Hazan’s expectations for a “fistfight.”
In an article today misleadingly headlined “Netanyahu calls off fistfight between Israeli, Jordanian lawmakers,” Reuters reports:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stopped an Israeli lawmaker from taking on a Jordanian counterpart in a fist-fight on Wednesday over a diplomatic crisis between the two neighbors.

Oren Hazan, a member of Netanyahu’s rightist Likud party had tweeted on the day of the shooting that Jordanians “who we keep supplied with water and whose butts we defend day and night” needed “re-education”.

His comments prompted a challenge from a similarly fiery lawmaker in Jordan. “Let him meet me, if he is a man,” Yahya Soud said on Twitter.

They were due to square off against each other on Wednesday morning on the border.

After Netanyahu called on Hazan to turn around, according to Reuters: “Hazan said on Twitter he was disappointed the encounter had not taken place.”
Reuters had already determined, both in the headline and the first paragraph, that the nature of the would be encounter was a fistfight. Ipso facto, according to Reuters, Hazan said on Twitter he was disappointed that the fistfight had not taken place.
But was Hazan, in fact, disappointed that he missed out on a fistfight? As the Associated Press reported, Hazan expressed a very different expectation for the encounter:

Al-Saoud challenged Hazan to a faceoff at the Allenby Bridge crossing after the Israeli berated Jordan, claiming Israel always “protects their posterior, day and night. They need a little re-education.”

Hazan picked up the gauntlet but struck a more jocular tone ahead of the rendezvous, posting photos of him getting a haircut and tweeting: “A gentleman is never late!”

He said he would meet al-Saoud and “make him an offer he can’t refuse.” His spokesman Daniel Zirlin said the meeting would be “non-violent” and would carry “a message of reconciliation and peace.”

Al-Saoud struck a harsher tone, telling reporters on his way to the crossing that he was “serious about going to the bridge and beating up this dirty person.”

“We want to tell Netanyahu that if the door to jihad (holy war) was open, the Jordanians would stomp on them (Israelis) with their shoes,” al-Saoud said. (Emphases added.)

In addition, Times of Israel reported:

But with social media anticipation at a frenzy, minutes before the two were set to clash on the bridge, Hazan said that he was pulling out of the rendezvous at the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I came today ready for a meeting of peace but when the prime minister asks, I respect his request,” he told Israel Radio from the border. (Emphasis added.)

Also, along with the photograph (seen below) of his visit to the barber in preparation for the Allenby crossing encounter, Hazan had tweeted: “I come in peace.”

Reuters’ account completely ignores Hazan’s numerous messages of peace and reconciliation, leaving readers to wrongly understand that the Israeli lawmaker expressed disappointment that he missed a fistfight with his Jordanian counterpart.

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