Tom Friedman looks at "Fayyadism," using the success of the Palestine Securities Exchange as a hook.
My only quibble: it would've been nice to note Benjamin Netanyahu's unacknowledged role in the West Bank's economic revival.
The MSM's loathe to admit it, but Bibi and Salaam Fayyad have very similar approaches to building the West Bank economy. I suggest reading Friedman in light of Fayyad and Netanyahu's remarkably similar commentaries from December, 2008.
I wouldn't be surprised if one of these images (most likely no. 6, and certainly not this other photo) gets used out of context to illustrate an Israeli attack -- with absolutely no mention of where this originated from.
An Israeli Air Force AH-1 Cobra helicopter fires a missile during an exhibition session as part of a ceremony for newly graduated Israeli Air Force pilots at Hatzerim air base, southern Israel June 28, 2010. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
The IDF is training female cadets to take over the women's flotilla boat. The Sunday Times writes:
It hopes the all-women boarding party will minimise bad publicity.
Witnesses at the commandos’ Mediterranean base near Haifa in northern Israel reported that hardened members of the “shayetet” (the flotilla), who are more familiar with secret cross-border missions, appeared bemused by their young charges. Young women could be seen being taught to handle speedboats, prepare for emergencies at sea and clamber on to larger ships.
“The commandos are confused,” said one source. “These frogmen are trained to carry out sensitive military missions. Last month they were sent to deal with the Turkish civilians. Now they’re asking them to deal with ladies, and all of it live on television.”
Israel to expel Jerusalem-area Hamasniks by revoking their residency status. I don't like this AP snippet, because it treats Hamas a political organization, not a terror organization:
Israel has stripped thousands of Palestinians of their residency rights in east Jerusalem since capturing and annexing the area in the 1967 Mideast War. However, human rights activists said Israel has never before stripped Palestinians of Jerusalem residency because of their political affiliation.
Mohammed Abu Tir, Mohammed Totah and Ahmed Atoun are all members of the Palestinian Legislative Council affiliated with Hamas; Khaled Abu Arafa served as Hamas' Minister of Jerusalem Affairs. But I don't buy into proffered distinctions between the Islamic organization's armed and political "wings."
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin himself debunked the idea, as quoted by Reuters:
“We cannot separate the wing from the body. If we do so, the body will not be able to fly. Hamas is one body.”
Incredible though it might seem, my Lebanese sources tell me that senior Hizbollah officials have even discussed the notion of using explosives they captured from Israel during the 2006 war to blow up one of the ships while it is en route to Gaza, and blame the incident on Israeli recklessness.
Far-fetched though this may seem, with tensions between Iran and Israel approaching crisis point over Iran’s refusal to abandon its uranium enrichment programme I can easily understand why Tehran might be encouraging Hizbollah to indulge in some drastic action that will divert attention away from Iran. In the unseen dirty war between Israel and Iran, in which Iranian nuclear scientists regularly go missing, and unexplained “accidents” occur at Iran’s nuclear facilities, I suppose anything is possible, even something as mad as Hizbollah blowing up an aid ship destined for its Hamas allies in Gaza.
The Beirut Publications Court charged Al-Manar TV for airing doctored photos. The photos in question -- aired during a 2007 interview with Michel Aoun -- depicted
Lebanese Forces party members pointing weapons at Lebanese Army personnel. According to Beirut's Daily Star:
The court judged the pictures as “capable of sparking political tension and endangering Lebanon’s peace.” It condemned the way the interview was led, especially when the fragile situation of the country in 2007 was taken into consideration. The court imposed a symbolic fine . . .
U.S. Government personnel and family members are permitted both official and personal travel on Route 443 between Modi'in and Jerusalem without prior notification, during daylight hours only. All other personal travel in the West Bank, unless specifically authorized for mission-approved purposes, is prohibited.
Israel's security services have already forbidden Prime Minister Netanyahu from traveling on Route 443 due to elevated threat levels since the winding road was re-opened to Palestinians in May.
YNet News finds stone-throwing an on-going problem, but I'm sure Rachel Shabi has no worries using the road at night.
By seeking to help Hamas, the women who are planning to sail to the Gaza Strip are in fact encouraging the fundamentalist movement to continue oppressing Palestinian women living there.
Wouldn't it have been better and more helpful had the same group of female activists launched a campaign to promote women's rights under Hamas? Or to protest against the severe restrictions imposed by Hamas on all women, including the right to stroll along the beach alone or to wear a swim suit? . . .
Moreover, it is ironic (and sad) that some of the women who are behind the new flotilla adventure come from Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Kuwait - countries that not only have killed Palestinians, but also continue to oppress them and impose severe restrictions on them.
The Arab world is rife with hypocrisy when it comes to the Palestinian issue. Arab leaders frequently and rightly cite the chronic human rights violations in which Israel engages, but fail to address the marginalisation of Palestinians within their own societies. Historically, Lebanese citizens have declared that naturalising Palestinians will act as a disincentive to their eventual repatriation and the exercise of their inviolable right of return. But this is a specious and cynical misrepresentation of the issue.
Legally speaking, it would seem that there is not much difference between outlaw regimes like Iran and Syria, which illegally provide material support and resources to terrorist organizations, and liberal media outlets which provide millions of dollars in free advertising and access to groups like Hamas when they publish their leaders' dangerous messages. The NY Times and Washington Post are every bit the supporters of the terrorist organizations that Tehran and Damascus are when they facilitate the publication of Hamas' messages.
Carter, whose advocacy has entailed contact with groups designated by the U.S. government as “foreign terrorist organizations” (FTOs) – notably Hamas and Hezbollah – said he was disappointed by the court decision . . .
Arguing that there can be no peace in the region without those groups’ participation, Carter has reached out to Hamas and Hezbollah, rejecting criticism that doing so could be viewed as legitimizing their violent activities. Since the 1980s both groups have killed hundreds of people in suicide bombings and other terror attacks, most of them Israelis and Americans.
The very act of formally meeting a former US president confers a degree of legitimacy on terror groups like Hamas.
An Intelligence Assessment of the Lebanese Flotilla
Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (Malam) assessed the two Lebanese ships making up the next Gaza flotilla. Three of Malam's key findings say a lot about Hezbollah's involvement, the "activists" on board, and the Lebanese government's irresponsibility.
• Responsible for dispatching the ships are low-ranking Lebanese activists who have no particular standing in Lebanon’s internal politics. Some of them belong to the March 8 Alliance, which supports Hezbollah and Syria. The two groups behind the operation are Journalists without Bounds and the Free Palestine Movement, two fairly minor organizations. In our assessment, purchasing the ships and organizing the flotilla were carried out with Syrian and Hezbollah involvement and support. Neither of them wants to expose its true identity.
• Iman Tawil Sa’ad – Of Egyptian extraction, married to a Lebanese who heads the Lebanese Nasserist organization, a leftist organization whose power anti-Semitism is in Sidon. In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV she said, “We’re going (to Gaza) and honestly we have three options . . . Either martyrdom, imprisonment or victory. Allah willing, we will be victorious and reach Gaza.”
• The Lebanese government does not want a confrontation over the issue of the ships and is attempting to pass the problem along to Cyprus (UNIFIL forces warned the government that providing authorization for the ships would be a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1710). The Lebanese government, using various excuse, rejected the ships’ request to anchor in the port of Tripoli (in the north of Lebanon). Only on June 21 did Ghazi al-Aridi, Lebanese minister of transportation, authorize the sailing of the two ships from Tripoli to Cyprus (Al-Nahar, June 21, 2010). He said that the continuation of the voyage now depended on whether or not Cyprus decided to let the ships sail (Al-Nishra, June 20 2010).
Now that Israel's starting to ease up on the blockade, guess who's to blame for the collapse of the smuggling industry:
A Palestinian boy holds a box of smuggled cigarettes near the entrance of an inactive tunnel which links Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip border town of Rafah on June 21, 2010 after Israel announced it would allow into the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory everything that cannot be used by Gaza's Hamas rulers to build weapons or fortifications, dealing a potentially fatal blow to the tunnel trade that has largely sustained the coastal enclave. (Getty Images)
The tunnel looks inactive because of supply and demand, not because of the nasty Israelis. Adding insult to injury, this must be the longest run-on sentence I've ever seen in a photo-caption.
Crossing the Line From Anti-Zionism to Anti-Semitism
David Nesenoff got op-ed space in the Washington Post to share some thoughts about the Helen Thomas comments he caught on film:
She didn't say that the blockade was unjust, or that aid was not getting to Gaza, or that there was a massacre on the high seas, or that East Jerusalem is occupied, or that the settlements are immoral . . . and get out and go back to West Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Eilat. No. This was not the two-state solution. This was get the hell out and go back to the places of the final solution, Poland and Germany. The Jew has no connection with the land of Israel.
I'm struck by how similar this is to my reaction, explaining why the senior White House correspondent's comments weren't just anti-Israel, but anti-Semitic as well. Bottom line: it's anti-Semitic to single out the Jews as being unworthy of having national aspirations.
The Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV will lose most of its viewers when a French satellite provider drops service on Thursday. In explaining the significance, AP hits the nail on the head:
The Hamas station - best known for its children's programs glorifying violence against Israel - is the centerpiece of a growing media operation of Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas rulers. Losing the satellite provider will hamper the group's attempts to spread its message and raise funds abroad.
HonestReporting's social media editor, Alex Margolin, contributes occasional posts on social media issues. He oversees HonestReporting on Facebook.
In a thoughtful personal essay published in The Guardian on Monday, the paper’s new Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood, looks at the challenges foreign reporters face, particularly in light of new media.
Sherwood, a 16-year veteran of traditional media, notes that many of The Guardian’s foreign correspondents have embraced the immediacy technology offers to find new ways to tell stories. But as their lenses widened to include new media, the depth of their reporting seemed to suffer, she suggests.
Foreign correspondents – expensive assets – should be encouraged to spend a large proportion of their time in the field, finding things out, talking to people, reporting what they see . . .
But correspondents also now found the emphasis on competitive news coverage inevitably meant less time to invest in original and distinctive reporting. If you're filing several times a day and possibly through several media, there is simply less scope to find things out.
Sherwood’s comments echo one of the larger debates taking place in media today – whether the imperative for speed is “dumbing down” news and information. In a more extreme version of the debate, respected writers such as Nicholas Carr argue that the Internet is actually changing our brains and making concentration more difficult.
But while long-form journalism may be suffering from the shift from print to digital, there is reason to be optimistic about the future of journalism. While the Internet forces reporters to file reports quickly, it also demands constant updating. As reporters continue to “find things out” – over days or even weeks – they can update and improve their articles in a way that was never possible in print.
This new ability allows reporters to give readers the facts as they emerge, either through official sources or through the sort of activities Sherwood recommends for foreign correspondents – talking to people, reporting what they see.
While Sherwood laments that the new media may be blocking “original and distinct” reporting, it may be that what’s truly original is only starting to take shape on the news pages of newspapers’ Internet sites. A new sort of depth of coverage may be starting to emerge – a trans-media approach that informs the public using a variety of voices and dynamic media.
Sherwood herself notes the limits of field work while covering her first major story on her new beat – the Gaza flotilla.
I did indeed get "out there" – to the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, and to Gaza – during those first few days.
But there were times when I felt my colleagues in London knew better what was happening than I did. That's inevitable: they were monitoring a wide range of news sources, while my laptop stayed slung over my shoulder most of the time.
It takes courage and intellectual honestly for a reporter to admit that others know the story better than those on the ground. Here’s hoping those qualities continue to define Sherwood’s reporting on Jerusalem throughout her tenure.
Here's an unusual admission. The Boston Globe acknowledges that it erred in sending part-time reporter Michael Corcoran to cover ambassador Michael Oren's commencement speech at Brandeis University.
A May 24 story about a protest against an Israeli ambassador’s commencement speech at Brandeis University was written by a part-time correspondent who failed to disclose that he had previously editorialized in personal Internet posts against Israeli policy toward Palestinians. Globe editors learned of those posts while conducting an internal review of the Brandeis coverage. The correspondent’s failure to disclose a conflict violated Globe policy, and he should not have been assigned to cover the event. The story failed to include coverage of the substance of the remarks made by Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, and made no mention of an electronic petition supporting his appearance.
Neda Soltan and the Gaza Flotilla Converge -- Or Don't
David Burchell compares Big Media's interest in the Gaza flotilla with its interest in Iran's human rights record:
Fearless Western journalists, we are told, boarded the Gaza flotilla at hazard to their lives, the better to pen florid descriptions of the predations of the Israeli "hyenas"; sentences that could presumably have been written with equal vigour and no less accuracy from the comfort of their computer terminals.
Yet presently there is not one solitary Western journalist, willing to risk the wrath of the Iranian security forces to file a report from Tehran in the open air. And so the job is left to the Iranians themselves: to the anxious young students whose wavering phone cameras record those fleeting snippets of history, floating like sea-wrack across the YouTube ocean in 15 or 20-second fragments.
Indeed, flotilla journalist/activists like Paul McGeough -- author of the aforementioned hyena analogy -- know that antagonizing Israel carries little risk. Even arrest, the worst case scenario, comes with due process and consular access.
Antagonizing Hamas or Iran is a heavier concern. The press corps was shockingly unmoved by the plight of UK journo Paul Martin, who was detained by Hamas for a month. The message: don't ask dangerous questions. It's just as well McGeough didn't reach Gaza. He wouldn't have had the guts to ask anything embarrassing.
Meanwhile, denunciations of Israel distract the world from Iran's woeful human rights record. David Harris and Trudy Rubin weigh in on that.
CiF Watch analyzed flotilla articles in The Guardian's Comment is Free section. Spoiler alert: CiF broke many quills and spilled lots of ink to slam Israel.
Accompanying the never ending supply of news stories, the Guardian published a total of 37 articles, editorials and cartoons between May 31, 2010 and June 9, 2010, the vast majority of which were anti-Israel in their stance.
Here's CiF Watch's accompanying pie chart:
There's no modicum of balance. This is further evidence that Comment is Free is just a place for Israel-bashers to reinforce their views.
On his way to South Africa to cover the World Cup, ESPN columnist Kevin Blackistone calls for a sports boycott of -- guess who -- Israel.
Maybe a sports boycott of Israel, where sports are beloved the same as in South Africa, could help foster a round of truly meaningful peace talks between Israel and Palestinians. Maybe such a collective effort could exercise the same leverage on Israel that it did for nearly 30 years with South Africa . . .
A sports boycott would certainly intensify the world's spotlight on Israel's approach to dealing with its occupied territories, just like it did South Africa's defunct government's dealings with its occupied peoples.
Why single out Israel? Countries with far worse records on human rights are doing quite well in the world of organized sports. Consider this:
Iran marked the anniversary of last year's stolen elections with a dire warning to the opposition, but it's business as usual for the Islamic republic's Olympic team.
If Blackistone and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement have their way, this would put a crimp in Udi Sommers' proposal for Israel and the Palestinians to jointly host the 2020 Olympic Games in Jerusalem.
Tunnel Operators Fire Rockets and Gaza's Humanitarian Crisis
Wanting to see Gaza's humanitarian situation first-hand, John Lyons of The Australian makes a startling discovery:
The tunnel operators have a vested interest in maintaining the blockade; they stand to lose tens of millions of dollars should it end. A European official who knows Gaza as well as anyone tells me what he says is one of the great unwritten stories about Gaza: that it is the tunnel operators firing the rockets . . . .
There's a strong logic to the argument of the European that the tunnel operators, many of whom have their licences only because they have paid Hamas, would be the biggest losers should the embargo be lifted.
And a pattern of behaviour certainly fits with the theory; almost every time Israel begins talking about a period of calm with Gaza or every time Israel comes under pressure to lift the blockade, rockets are fired.
Meanwhile, the LA Times also checks out Gaza. And guess what? Aid workers on the ground are hedging on the nature of Gaza's "crisis."
Although it's true that there is no hunger and there are no epidemics, the situation in Gaza defies usual categorization, aid officials say.
"Look, it's not like sub-Saharan Africa," said Chris Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which assists Palestinian refugees. "We are not talking about a natural disaster or famine caused by failed rains. But Gaza is a political crisis with grave human consequences." . . . .
"It's not the kind of disaster that you might see in other places," said Mahmud Daher, head of WHO's Gaza office. "But it's always on the edge of a crisis. And without the help of the international community, it would be a crisis." . . .
The stores are stocked with food, electronics, furniture and clothin, much of it smuggled from Egypt through illegal tunnels. Cafes offer espresso and croissants. A shipment of 2010 Hyundai sedans recently arrived. Now that school is out for the summer, families are flocking to the beach to eat ice cream and barbecue.
Gaza's situation is difficult, and I certainly wouldn't want to live there. But with Big Media repeatedly using the words Gazacrisis, it's time to question whether "crisis" is being abused for the sake of sensationalized headlines.
Recently, Israel's Government Press Office recommended Roots, a posh Gaza restaurant, for reporters heading to Gaza. Although the GPO apologized, Lyons and Sanders smelled a real story and followed up.
Tunnel operators firing rockets is a real scoop. I wonder what else the MSM might find out about Gaza with a little digging.
HonestReporting's social media editor, Alex Margolin, contributes occasional posts on social media issues. He oversees HonestReporting on Facebook.
Do bloggers and citizen journalists have the chops to replace traditional news reporters? The perennial question marking the shift from old to new media returned with a fury last week.
Ask veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who was brought down by a self-styled reporter with a camera. Despite 50 years in the field, Thomas suddenly “retired” under pressure after a video of her telling Jews to “go home” to Poland and Germany received enormous exposure on the Internet.
Or maybe ask the editors at Reuters, who were caught editing knives out of the hands of “peace activists” in photos from the flotilla to Gaza. The scoop on the controversial edits first appeared on Charles Johnson’s blog, Little Green Footballs.
These two stories – exposes of icons of traditional media broken by members of the new media – were the biggest Israel-related news items last week. The quick and nimble “amateurs” of the digital age outhustled their “professional” colleagues to capture the biggest headlines. Along the way, they revealed several advantages of the Internet, particularly over the print media.
First, Internet news sites can publish short burst of information and update as the facts emerge. Second, digital content is designed to be shared across the Internet. If a story catches fire – goes viral – it can be seen by millions of people before the newspapers even hear about it.
So how do traditional reporters compete? By embracing their role as the gatekeepers of “official” information. Traditional reporters don’t get scoops by bringing a camera to a White House event, as Rabbi David Nesenoff did with the Helen Thomas video; they cover the event itself and speak to the officials behind it. They are the channel through which leaders of government and industry reveal their policies. As such, they carry the weight of authority.
But with the increasingly scrappy bloggers and citizen journalists fighting for news scoops, a new set of checks and balances is emerging in the news industry. Traditional media provides the voice of the establishment and the new media serves as the voice of the people. And judging by last week’s performance, traditional media has more to worry about than its dropping circulation figures. Its very institutions are increasingly under attack.
Ofcom Investigates Press TV Complicity in Journo's Imprisonment
Maziar Bahari, the Newsweek journalist imprisoned while Iran's post-election unrest, accuses Press TV of complicity in his imprisonment. And Ofcom's, the UK press complaints watchdog, is investigating. Roy Greenslade explains:
The regulator has launched a formal investigation into the complaint by Maziar Bahari, the Newsweek journalist who spent 118 days in a Tehran jail after being arrested while covering the protests over the disputed presidential election last June.
I understand that Ofcom is now awaiting a response from Press TV to a series of questions about its screening of an excerpt from an interview with Bahari that occurred while he was in jail.
The Independent quotes from an interview with Bahari -- to be aired on Channel 4 tonight -- elaborating on how Press TV tried to extract a "confession."
'I was somewhat surprised because I thought Press TV would at least pretend to have some credibility and wouldn't come and interview a prisoner in an interrogation room when I was under duress.'
Mr Bahari says he was tortured and then forced to make his confession on television, under threat of execution. He describes how he sat inside a room in the prison, before three cameras, and responded to questions suggested by a government interrogator, who stood behind a red curtain. He says he kept his blindfold on his knee, in full view, so it should have been clear that he was under duress.
Press TV then broadcast the confession, as though it was a legitimate interview, and Mr Bahari a willing guest; the presenter even suggested Mr Bahari might have participated in the protests.