Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Times Misquotes the Roadmap


Stevie still can't read

In a front page story in the New York Times today, Jerusalem Bureau Chief Steven Erlanger breaks with Times policy by acknowledging that Palestinians, and not just Israelis, have obligations under the Road Map for Peace. Bravo! Bravo! Only problem he is misquotes the road map to water down Palestinian obligations to fight terrorism.

Erlanger begins, as he has before, by glamorizing the terror group Hamas, thusly: "Legislative elections on Jan. 25 are expected to bring the radical Islamic group Hamas, dedicated to a continuing armed struggle against Israeli occupation, into a significant share of power in the authority."

Once again, Erlanger adopts the terrorists' own terminology to sanitize the group's only method of "armed struggle" -- which is to murder civilians, mostly by suicide bombings in Israel.

This is more than just sloppy phraseology. (Hey, this is the Times. What do you expect?) What we have here is a deliberate Times policy of whitewashing, and thereby justifying, terrorism.

Then we get to the rare road map reference: "One of the road map's first requirements is that the authority disarm all militants, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, which is affiliated with Fatah itself."

Yes, the Pals must confiscate weapons. But Erlanger skips over a far more broad and far-reaching requirement to which the PA has agreed.

In addition to confiscating illegal weapons, the road map requires in its first phase that the PA "undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere."

The road map also requires that "Arab states cut off public and private funding and all other forms of support for groups supporting and engaging in violence and terror."

In other words, Hamas et al are not to be "disarmed." They are to be dismantled.

This is not a mere semantic distinction. By selectively and incompletely quoting from the road map, Erlanger slants the record to justify the PA's policy of allowing Hamas to participate in the elections, contrary to its Oslo obligations.

Ironically, by not accurately and fully quoting the road map, Erlanger undercuts the thesis of his story, which is that Pals are in disarray and incapable of coming to an agreement with the Israelis.

I am beginning to wonder, as I have before, whether Erlanger has a reading comprehension problem. Or, more likely, he is so biased that he just can't help himself -- if a document isn't sufficiently pro-Palestinian, Erlanger pretends that it is so. He's irrepressible, isn't he?

I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, Times "public relations editor" Barney Calame. Since he came on board seven months ago, this train wreck of a newspaper ombudsman hasn't said so much as one word about the Times's coverage of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The reason for this gaping omission is becoming increasingly obvious. His Jan. 1 column, by brushing off criticism of the Times's wiretap coverage, indicated very clearly that Barney has a political agenda and is not just a spineless management shill.

Come on, Barney! I can't wait for you to devote a padded column to describing the Times "process" of covering the Israel-Palestinian conflict -- along with your usual conclusions that all is well, that there is "no evidence of bias," and that any problems are being addressed.

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