WASHINGTON POST-WATCH: Opinion as News at the Washington Post

In “Israeli Airstrike Hits Site in Syria; Bombing of Alleged Training Camp Called Retaliation for Suicide Attack,” October 6, 2003, Washington Post correspondent John Ward Anderson writes:

Since the recent derailment of a U.S.-backed peace plan called the “road map,” Israeli forces have launched an aggressive campaign to curtail the Palestinian uprising against Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in which Palestinians have killed about 870 Israelis. More than 2,400 Palestinians have been killed in the uprising.

CAMERA staff and letter-writers have pointed out repeatedly to the Post that its often-used boilerplate, “the Palestinian uprising against Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip” is opinion, unsubstantiated by the newspaper’s own reporting.

Post reporters and editors know that the current Palestinian violence against Israel began in late September 2000 — more than two months after Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority rejected Israel’s offer of a state on 95 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Post reporters and editors know also that at the time, Israel – upholding Oslo process agreements – had withdrawn its troops from most Palestinian population centers. The paper knows that more than 90 percent of the Arab residents of the disputed territories lived under PA jurisdiction when Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades and other terrorist groups renewed their war against Israel.


Anderson’s reference to “about 870 Israelis” and “more than 2,400 Palestinians” killed in the violence is right, as far as it goes. But it doesn’t go very far.

The Post continues to refuse to cite analyses by the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel that make clear Palestinians target civilians, the Israelis – in response – target combatants. For example, of 823 Israelis murdered from Sept. 29, 2000 through Sept. 4, 2003, 77 percent were non-combatants, 20 percent combatants, and two percent killed by accident, “friendly fire,” etc. Of 2,388 Arabs killed during the same period, 46 percent were combatants, 13 percent Palestinians killed by other Palestinians (“collaborators,” etc.), and 36 percent were non-combatants.


Anderson also writes that “In 1967, Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria and later annexed it.” No context is supplied. No reference is made to the ’67 Six-Day War, in which Israel gained the Golan, West Bank and  Gaza, and Sinai Peninsula, in self-defense against Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and other Arab states. No notice is given to Israel’s offer, spurned by Damascus, to negotiate a return of nearly all the Golan to Syria in exchange for peace and normal diplomatic relations.

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