THUMBS UP to the Washington Times for its recent coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which provided readers with essential information found in few other media outlets.
For example, on May 13, Sayed Anwar reported on the “reign of terror” imposed by Palestinian terrorists in Bethlehem against the citizens there, especially Christians (“Exiled Palestinian militants ran two-year reign of terror”). The story describes the residents as calling the group who seized the Church of the Nativity a “criminal gang” responsible for rape, extortion and execution. The men preyed on Palestinian Christians—demanding “protection money” and traveling around town with M-16 rifles, terrorizing the community. Local residents were “delighted that these criminals who have intimidated us for such a long time are now going away.” Members of the local community also expressed fears of new gunmen coming in and a renewal of the intimidation of residents of Beit Jala whose houses were used as bases for shooting attacks on the nearby Jewish neighborhood of Gilo.
The story revealed that the gang operated under the “full protection of Mr. Arafat’s Fatah organization and Tanzim, its military wing.”
In a particularly startling June 4 article, reporter Paul Martin chronicled the lax jail conditions of Palestinian “prisoners” whose Jericho imprisonment was supposed to be supervised by Americans and British according to a deal which ended Israel’s seige on Arafat’s compound. Rather than being under lock and key, the “young men, towels slung over their shoulders, walked unconcerned through the yard, separated from the main road into the city by only a few scattered bushes.”
The Washington Times also carried two stories in early May exposing Saudi Arabian support for terrorism in Palestinian territories despite a commitment to the United States to fight terror.