donderdag 30 april 2009

Journalistiek: goede en slechte berichtgeving in de media

 
Voor een artikel in de krant gelden natuurlijk andere criteria dan voor een wetenschappelijke verhandeling, maar ook van journalisten mag een open houding verwacht worden naar feiten die niet in zijn straatje passen en nieuwe inzichten. Het valt mij verder op hoe ongelofelijk veel onwaarheden er in de kranten staan: men neemt zaken klakkeloos van elkaar en de persbureaus over, checkt geen feiten, past geen wederhoor toe, verlangt niet van schrijvers van opiniestukken en columnisten dat de feiten die zij geven kloppen en men rectificeert nooit wanneer men op dergelijke fouten wordt gewezen.
 
RP
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Guide to the perplexed - How to spot Good and Bad articles

The problem is that people are always looking for affirmation of their beliefs in what they read. Therefore, most people will rate an article or analyst as "good" if they agree with the positions of that analyst or article, regardless of whether or not the article in question has any truth value. To the list below, I would add many things. The first one, when you are writing an article or doing research, is to ask yourself if you are looking to find the truth and present it, or if you are only looking to prove a point? Are you going to publish the article if the findings do not serve your viewpoint? Are you excluding facts that don't serve your purpose? Have you thoroughly checked the facts, especially the ones that support your point of view? (A.I.)

How to Be A Good Political Analyst and Not a Propagandist

http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-to-be-good-political-analyst-and.html
 
 
The rise of Internet has brought new challenges both for writers and readers. Supposedly, a fine [sarcasm alert] publication like the New York Times or Guardian has sharp veteran reporters and great editors ("gatekeepers"). Thus, they filter out nonsense—well at least they once did long ago--and tell you what's most important to know about events. If you are reading these words, however, you know the system isn't working too well nowadays.

Enter the Internet. On the positive side, it liberates the creativity of thousands of people and provides a huge diversity of information. On the negative side, how do you know what's more likely to be true, whether you are a reader or a blogger?

This is, by the way, the kind of thing they are supposed to teach you in graduate school: how to evaluate sources, how to provide a scholarly balance, how to make it clear when you're unsure about something, how to throw out really good stuff that you doubt is accurate, and how not to say something is fact just because it agrees with your analysis or political preferences.

Alas, a lot of these skills or ethical principles have been tossed out the window and thrown under the bus. Large numbers of academics and journalists now believe there is no such thing as truth (or at least the most accurate possible representation of it possible) and that people should be told what's good for them rather than what's accurate.

For them, the purpose of universities is not to pursue truth and beauty but to "fight the man," wage revolution, or bring in the new Politically Correct, culturally diverse, post-national utopia.
Here's a good example of a very bad example.

A propagandist is not someone who merely has a point of view but rather someone who slants the facts to fit it that point of view rather than taking account of them by either explaining how they fit into the picture or modifying one's viewpoint. In short, they try to make all aspects of reality line up like a magnetic field. Naturally, this kind of simple explanation suits many people.

One aspect of this is to define who are the "good guys" and the "bad guys" and then assume that all their actions fall into these categories. This reverses the logical process. For example, many assume Israel is a bad guy. Bad guys do bad things. Bad guys commit war crimes. Therefore, Israel commits war crimes. Evidence becomes irrelevant.

Obviously, this process can be the same if one identifies Iran as the bad guy. Yet that country and its regime must be analyzed, especially because there are many choices for the government to make. There are also different factions which differ in strategy and tactics. And even then, the choices available may be the exact opposites.

For example, given the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq what will Iran's regime do? It could: A. Try to keep things quiet in Iraq thus encouraging the United State sto speed up its withdrawal or B. Heat up the violence to "show" that the United States is running away in defeat.

Even more important is to look at the interests which underlay actions. For instance, can Syria be split away from Iran? No one is qualified to discuss this issue unless they first take into account the interests of the Syrian regime and the benefits it would derive from either maintaining or abandoning the alliance. I happen to believe that the benefits of keeping the alliance far outweigh the advantages of breaking it, and note that the former are virtually never discussed in analyses assuming that the latter is obviously preferable.
 
In evaluating sources of information one must consider:

--Their past performance, have they been accurate before or not? By this measure, the use of such sources as the world's three most inaccurate journalists--Robert Fisk, Akiva Eldar, and Seymour Hersh--make a story very questionable. The same applies to institutional sources, like Debka.
 

Militaire rechtbank PA legt doodstraf op aan Palestijn die land aan Joden verkocht

 

Terwijl Israel beschuldigd wordt van racisme omdat Arabieren moeilijker aan land zouden kunnen komen dan Joden, krijgen Palestijnen die land aan Joden verkopen de doodstraf, maar daar hoor je niemand over.
 
Volgens de BBC - die schijnbaar vergoeilijkend op de uitbreiding van Joodse nederzettingen wijst - zal Abbas de doodstraf waarschijnlijk niet goedkeuren. Wat wacht de 'dader' als alternatief - levenslang?
 
RP & WB
-----------------------

PA military court sentences man to death by hanging for selling land to Israelis
Date: 28 / 04 / 2009 - Time: 13:54
www.maannews .net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=37424

 
A special Palestinian Authority (PA) military court in Hebron in the sentenced a Palestinian man to death by hanging after he was found guilty of selling land to Israeli settlers on Tuesday.

This is the first time a Palestinian court has handed down a conviction for treason in a case relating to land sales. The suspect is from the Hebron area.

Presiding over tribunal was judge Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Al-Masri. The jurists were the judge Major Mihriz Atyani, and Major Nabil Jabir. Head of military prosecution in Hebron Issa Amr attended the sentencing as well as the military prosecuting attorney in Hebron Hani Al-Heih, the court's clerk Abdul-Rahman Fannun. Lawyers defending the suspect were also present.

The military court held a hearing session on 21 April, on the charge of "leaking lands to Israel".
 
The PA announced just over a week ago that it is investigating Palestinians who sell land to settlers.

PA courts have convicted Palestinians for collaborating with Israel in the past, usually for providing information about resistance fighters to the Israeli intelligence services. These convictions are based on the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Revolutionary Code.
 
________________________
 
Palestinian handed death sentence
BBC News
Page last updated at 09:14 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 10:14 UK
 
 
A Palestinian military court has condemned a man to death by hanging for treason for selling land to Israelis.

Anwar Breghit, 59, was convicted by a court in the West Bank town of Hebron. He sold property near his village "that he did not own", prosecutors said.

Correspondents say the sentence, which has to be approved by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, is not expected to be carried out.

The Palestinian leader has withheld his approval in several similar cases.

Only two people have had death sentences against them carried out, although others have been summarily executed over suspicions that they sold land to Israelis.

The land near the Palestinian village of Beit Omar that Anwar Breghit sold ended up in the possession of Jewish settlers residing in the nearby settlement of Karmei Tzur.

Israel occupied the West Bank and other Arab territory in the 1967 war.

It has settled more than 400,000 of its own citizens in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - illegally in the eyes of international law, although Israel disputes this.

The continued presence and expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is one of the main points of contention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Friction between settlements and the more than two million Palestinians in the West Bank frequently leads to violence and bloodshed.

 

vrijdag 24 april 2009

Britse pro-Hamas lobby krijgt EU-subsidie

 
Met EU-geld is het Britse 'Conflicts Forum' actief bezig met het promoten van het gedachtengoed van Hamas:
 
What this anodyne phrase means in practice is revealed in a remarkably frank document published by this group, in which it explains the means it intends to use to bring about the basic change in perception that will bring Hamas and Hizbullah into the mainstream.
 
The document notes the need to build a "link-up between activist groups and mobilizers of opinion in order to shift the debate on Islamism from a predominantly defensive posture to a positive assertion of Islamist values and thinking."
 
It suggests "articulation of Hamas's and Hizbullah's values, philosophy and wider political and social programs... Being more proactive in statements and rephrasing discourse to focus on the positive aspects of Islamist ideology."
 
The Conflicts Forum publication lays down a precise strategy for the promotion of Hamas and Hizbullah in the West - of which the meeting in the British Parliament forms a part.
 
Wellicht dat ook in Nederland dergelijke organisaties achter de schermen bezig zijn om Hamas en andere jihadistische organisaties een humaan gezicht te geven. Dat zou een goede verklaring zijn voor het feit dat zij zo mild worden bejegend door de pers, en door zoveel linkse politici en opiniemakers als legitieme verzetsbewegingen worden beschouwd.
 
RP
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Analysis: The energetic Hamas lobby

Apr. 22, 2009
JONATHAN SPYER , THE JERUSALEM POST
 

A meeting was meant to take place on Wednesday in the Grimond Room at Portcullis House, adjoining the House of Commons in London. The planned meeting was titled "Talk with Hamas" and was meant to feature a video link to Damascus.

Khaled Mashaal, leader of Hamas, was supposed to address members of Parliament and journalists via the link, but he failed, due to a technical glitch.

This planned meeting was the latest event in an ongoing and organized campaign to break the Western boycott of Hamas and transform policy toward the organization. Much energy is being expended in the UK. But London is only a way station, with the real prize being the transformation of the US stance.

This campaign is part of a larger effort to change the way that the West sees Islamist movements - and by doing so to bring many of the arguments made by such movements into the mainstream.

Who is behind this effort? The invitation to MPs to the Mashaal meeting came from the office of Independent MP Clare Short.

However, it was issued in the name of John, Lord Alderdice. This name immediately offers a pointer. Alderdice, a veteran Northern Irish politician, is head of the board of advisers of an organization called Conflicts Forum.

Conflicts Forum is jointly led by Alistair Crooke and Mark Perry, former intelligence officers from the UK and US, respectively. It describes its aim as opening "a new relationship between the West and the Muslim world."

What this anodyne phrase means in practice is revealed in a remarkably frank document published by this group, in which it explains the means it intends to use to bring about the basic change in perception that will bring Hamas and Hizbullah into the mainstream.

The document notes the need to build a "link-up between activist groups and mobilizers of opinion in order to shift the debate on Islamism from a predominantly defensive posture to a positive assertion of Islamist values and thinking."

It suggests "articulation of Hamas's and Hizbullah's values, philosophy and wider political and social programs... Being more proactive in statements and rephrasing discourse to focus on the positive aspects of Islamist ideology."

The Conflicts Forum publication lays down a precise strategy for the promotion of Hamas and Hizbullah in the West - of which the meeting in the British Parliament forms a part.

The various PR devices suggested include "Use influential individuals - key Muslim personalities... use the Internet, DVD, interviews, podcasts... Link with mass organizations in Western countries - social movements, trade unions - to challenge hegemonic discourse. Approach editors of established journals... with a view to the possibility of them doing a special issue on Islamist thinking or on particular issues."

Undoubtedly, the attempted video link between Hamas HQ in Damascus and the Grimond Room in Portcullis House was meant to be a worthy contribution to this extensive effort to "re-brand" Hamas and Hizbullah.

The UK, and the EU as a whole, remain committed to the Quartet conditions which Hamas must meet to become a partner for dialogue. Hamas (or at least its "military wing") remains on the EU list of proscribed terror organizations.

A cursory observation of the backers of Conflicts Forum, however, reveals a curious paradox. In January 2007, the group proudly announced that it had been awarded a grant of €500,000 by the EU, to develop "more inclusive and legitimate approaches to transforming the Middle East conflict." More specifically, the project entails the "engagement" of "faith-based movements."

So the EU, while currently opposing "engagement" with Hamas, also appears to be offering financial support to a body engaged in lobbying for the organization.

How important are the efforts of Conflicts Forum and its associated groups? Are initiatives such as Wednesday's planned meeting likely to have a tangible effect on policy?

Britain has, of course, already announced that it intends to hold talks with Hizbullah. On Hamas, however, no immediate significant shift in British government policy looks likely.

The Hamas Lobby is busy and active. It encompasses former senior diplomats such as Sir Jeremy Greenstock, as well as the Conflicts Forum nexus.

Foreign Secretary Miliband has praised the Egyptian role in managing dialogue with Hamas in the following terms: "Others speak to Hamas. That's the right thing to do, and I think we should let the Egyptians take this forward."

A knowledgeable source noted that many in the Foreign Office consider that engagement with the group is a "matter of time."

Still, for as long as the US remains firmly committed to insisting that Hamas first abide by the three Quartet conditions (committing to nonviolence, recognizing Israel and accepting previous agreements and obligations), the UK is unlikely to openly break ranks. Differences might well surface if a Palestinian unity government were to be formed. But this too currently looks highly improbable.

Ultimately, the main obstacle to the success of Lord Alderdice, Clare Short and their friends in Conflicts Forum may well be the nature of their client. Hamas leaders have an unfortunate tendency to be candid regarding their movement's goals. This makes presenting the "positive aspects of Islamist ideology" something of a challenge.

Hamas "Foreign Minister" Mahmoud Zahar, for example, speaking last week, stated bluntly that "[Hamas] will never recognize the enemy in any way, shape or form."

A few months ago, the same speaker asserted that "they [Jews] have legitimized the murder of their own children by killing the children of Palestine... They have legitimized the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people."

Spinning statements of that kind into moderation would pose a challenge to the smoothest of PR operators. But as the planned Portcullis House meeting showed, Hamas possesses an experienced, well-oiled, well-funded (largely by the European taxpayer) lobby in the heart of London, in which it may take justifiable pride.

 

Jonathan Spyer is a Senior researcher at the Global Research in International Affairs Center, IDC, Herzliya.

Conclusies IDF onderzoek naar aantijgingen Gaza Oorlog (Operatie 'Gegoten Lood')

 
Het Israëlische leger heeft een onderzoek gedaan naar de Gaza Oorlog en een aantal claims en aantijgingen onderzocht zoals dat ambulances en medisch personeel beschoten zouden zijn door het IDF, en gebouwen van de UNRWA, witte fosfor in dichtbevolkt gebied werd gebruikt, zonder militair doel civiele infrastructruur is vernield etc. Uit dit onderzoek blijkt dat slechts in een enkel geval fouten zijn gemaakt door het leger waardoor nodeloos burgers en infrastructuur zijn getroffen, en het leger zich aan het internationale recht hield. Men zou soms zelfs nog strikter geweest zijn dan vereist.
 
Het is natuurlijk geen helemaal objectief onderzoek omdat het leger het zelf heeft uitgevoerd en dus zijn eigen vlees keurt, anderzijds heeft het leger vaker onderzoek gedaan dat wel degelijk kritisch van toon was en dat vervolgens ook tot verbeteringen leidde. Ook naar aanleiding van dit onderzoek heeft de chefstaf al verbeteringen aangekondigd, om bepaalde incidenten in de toekomst te vermijden.
 
Bovendien volgen de media en de politiek de zaken in Israël kritisch, alsook juridische experts, en kan het leger fouten niet zomaar wegpoetsen. Ik miste zelf wel meer details waardoor je als leek beter in staat zou zijn te beoordelen hoe iets kon gebeuren en of het gedrag van het leger gerechtvaardigd was. Ook miste ik sommige incidenten, zoals de beschieting van het huis van een familie waarbij tientallen doden waren gevallen. Sommige zaken worden nog onderzocht, dus misschien dat daarover later nog een onderzoek verschijnt. Verder stoorde ik me aan de soms wel erg verdedigende toon. Na een pagina weten we wel dat Hamas zich achter burgers verschool en huizen en andere gebouwen vol explosieven had gestopt. Waar het hier om gaat is of het leger altijd genoeg deed om burgerdoden te voorkomen.

Al met al verdient dit onderzoek zeker zoveel aandacht als alle aantijgingen van oorlogsmisdaden en alle geruchten en verhalen over wangedrag van soldaten, wat betekent dat iedere krant er minstens een hele pagina aan moet wijden, er een uitgebreid item over in het NOS journaal en verschillende actualiteitenrubrieken moet komen en ook andere media er aandacht aan besteden. Dat lijkt helaas niet te gebeuren.

RP
--------------- 
 
 
IDF Spokesperson April 22nd, 2009

Conclusion of Investigations into Central Claims and Issues in Operation Cast Lead

 
The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi recently approved and authorized the publication of the conclusions of five investigative teams assigned to investigate events relating to the conduct of IDF soldiers during Operation Cast Lead.

The teams, headed by officers of the rank of Colonel, were composed of officers who were not a direct part of the chain of command in the operations in question and were appointed by Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi to thoroughly investigate a number of issues which were brought to general attention (by, amongst others, international organizations and the international and Israeli media).

The five investigative teams dealt with the following five issues:

1. Claims regarding incidents where UN and international facilities were fired upon and Damaged during Operation Cast Lead. The investigation was conducted by Col. Itzik Turgeman.

2. Incidents involving shooting at medical facilities, buildings, vehicles and crews. The investigation was conducted by Col.Erez Katz.

3. Claims regarding incidents in which many uninvolved civilians were harmed. The investigation was conducted by Col. Tamir Yedai.

4. The use of weaponry containing phosphorous. The investigation was conducted by Col. Shai Alkalai.

5. Damage to infrastructure and destruction of buildings by ground forces. The investigation was conducted by Col. Adam Zusman.

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit emphasizes that these experts' investigations are not a replacement for the central operational IDF investigation of the entire operation which is continuing at various levels and which will be concluded by June. Additional issues are also undergoing a process of verification or investigation at various levels within the IDF.

The decision of the Chief of the General Staff to appoint the five investigative teams emanates from the IDF's professional, moral and legal obligations to thoroughly a number of claims which were made in relation to the conduct of the warfare. The process of examination involved a series of operational investigations, which are the accepted procedure in the IDF and other western militaries. These were carried out by three expert investigators of the rank of Colonel who had no direct involvement with the incidents in question.

In accordance with accepted IDF protocol for professional investigations, the investigators operated independently and were provided with access to all relevant materials and the freedom to question any of the relevant personnel. They were given the complaints that reached the IDF and other Israeli authorities, interviewed many soldiers and officers, and gathered relevant documents and other materials. It should be noted that each soldier whose testimony was requested was required to cooperate with the investigation, and the investigators received full cooperation.

The investigations showed that throughout the fighting in Gaza, the IDF operated in accordance with international law. The IDF maintained a high professional and moral level while facing an enemy that aimed to terrorize Israeli civilians whilst taking cover amidst uninvolved civilians in the Gaza strip and using them as human shields. Notwithstanding this, the investigations revealed a very small number of incidents in which intelligence or operational errors took place during the fighting. These unfortunate incidents were unavoidable and occur in all combat situations, in particular of the type which Hamas forced on the IDF, by choosing to fight from within the civilian population.

The government of Israel ordered the IDF to embark on Operation Cast Lead as part of its duty to protect its citizens following eight years of rocket fire on Israeli communities in southern Israel. This fire was especially difficult during the three years since the "disengagement" when Israel withdrew from Gaza, and during two months prior to the operation when 160 rockets and mortars where fired at Israel. During these years, hundreds of thousands of Israeli children, women and men were terrorized by endless attacks executed by Hamas and other terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. Thousands of rockets and mortars were fired at schools, kindergartens and residential neighborhoods. No other choice was left other than to act against these continuous acts of terrorism whose cost was many killed and injured, in body and soul, and which disturbed any attempt to live a normal life in the cities and communities of Israel's south.

The fighting in Gaza took place in a complex battlefield against an enemy who chose, as a conscious part of its doctrine, to locate itself in the midst of the civilian population. The enemy booby trapped its houses with explosives, fired from the schools attended by its own children and used its own people as human shields while cynically abusing the IDF's legal and ethical commitment to avoid injuring uninvolved civilians. In order to ensure compliance with the IDF's obligations under international law, the IDF invested an enormous effort and huge resources to warn civilians in the Gaza Strip away from harm. The IDF dropped more than 2,250,000 leaflets during the fighting, used Palestinian radio, made personal telephone warnings to more than 165,000 Gaza residents and carried out a special warning shot procedure ("A knock on the roof"), in order to ensure that Palestinian civilians could avoid harm. Additionally, the IDF made extensive use of accurate munitions, wherever and whenever possible, to minimize harm to civilians. In addition, during the operation the IDF authorized humanitarian convoys to enter the Gaza and employed a humanitarian recess for several hours a day.

The IDF operated in accordance with moral values and international laws of war, trained its soldiers to act in accordance with the values and norms which bind the IDF, and made an enormous effort to focus its fire only against the terrorists whilst doing the utmost to avoid harming uninvolved civilians. Like other militaries that are forced to fight a terrorist enemy that hides and operates under a civilian cover, the IDF had to face difficult moral dilemmas as a result of the illegitimate approach of Hamas.
This approach turned Gaza's urban areas into a battle field and intentionally made use of uninvolved civilians, civilian buildings and sensitive humanitarian facilities (i.e. hospitals, religious and educational institutions and facilities associated with the UN and other international organizations). The investigations clearly showed that the IDF operated in accordance with international law. The IDF's legal commitments were implemented in the operational plans, the training the forces received prior to the operation and the orders that were given during the operation. In some of the incidents the IDF even placed more limits on its actions than required under international law, and acted with restraint in order to avoid harming civilians.

The IDF achieved the aims and objectives that were set and struck a heavy blow to the terror organizations lead by the Hamas, by targeting terrorists, military infrastructure and weapons manufacturing facilities. The complex operation involved cooperation between air, naval and ground forces together with different intelligence agencies, including both reserve and regular forces. Prior to the operation, careful planning and preparations were undertaken in order to ensure that the units were and command centres were trained and ready for any challenge.

The investigation process was lengthy due to the extent of the fighting, the complex and thorough work of the investigators, the time required to gather information from the various units involved in the operation, and comprehensive cross-checking. With regard to some of the investigations presented here, some specific additional issues are still being checked, and additional allegations are now being investigated.

In accordance with usual practice, a summary of each investigation will also be presented to the Military Advocate General, who is entitled to decide whether additional checks need to be done or if there is the basis for opening another type of investigation. His decision is entirely independent and he is subject only to the law.

Due to their significance, the conclusions of the investigations and the opinion of the Military advocate will be presented for review to the Attorney General.
 
==========================
Voor het uitgebreide rapport zie:
 
 
 
 
 

woensdag 22 april 2009

Barak wil Israëlisch initiatief voor vrede met Palestijnen

 
 
"I am prepared to negotiate with any side that desires to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians," said Netanyahu. "Contrary to reports, I don't condition dialogue with the Palestinians on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Nevertheless, progress in the peace process does depend on the willingness to recognize Israel as a Jewish state."
 
Meermaals werd in de media onterecht gesuggereerd dat Israel erkenning van Israel als Joodse staat als voorwaarde voor onderhandelingen met de Palestijnen heeft gesteld.
 
Er is een opvallend fenomeen waarneembaar: wanneer Hamas of Fatah zich onverzoenlijk uitlaten wordt dat genegeerd of schoongepraat; wanneer Israel zich assertief, maar niet onverzoenlijk uitlaat wordt dat als havikachtig, ultra-nationalistisch en anti-vrede gebracht.
 
RP
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Barak calls for Israeli peace initiative

Barak calls for Israeli initiative for comprehensive peace

Apr. 19, 2009
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to put forward an Israeli peace initiative based on the Arab plan for resolving the Middle East conflict and establishing a Palestinian state.

During a policy review meeting convened by Netanyhau, Barak suggested a formula according to which Israel's security requirements and its demands that it be recognized as a Jewish state could be met. He said there was no way out of a comprehensive regional agreement which included a two-state solution and a solution to the refugee problem, which he said lay within a Palestinian state.

Barak said that there was no reason for a collision with Washington.

"US-Israel ties are deep and close," he said. "We can and need to reach an understanding on all issues on the agenda."

Sunday's meeting, held at the Prime Minister's Office, was also attended by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and other top officials, including National Security Council head Uzi Arad and Amos Gilad, the Defense Ministry's diplomatic-military bureau chief.

The meeting was a precursor to Netanyahu's trip to Washington in May, which is expected to follow the finalization of the new government's foreign policy.

"I am prepared to negotiate with any side that desires to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians," said Netanyahu. "Contrary to reports, I don't condition dialogue with the Palestinians on recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. Nevertheless, progress in the peace process does depend on the willingness to recognize Israel as a Jewish state."

The prime minister emphasized that there was full cooperation between himself, Barak and Lieberman.

US President Barack Obama has said that he believes a two-state solution should be the basis for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and his Mideast envoy George Mitchell said in Jerusalem last week that a "two-state solution is the only solution" to the conflict.

 

zaterdag 18 april 2009

Verantwoorde journalistiek over het Midden-Oosten


De waarschuwingen in dit goed doordachte artikel zouden alle journalisten die zich met het Midden-Oosten bezighouden zich ter harte moeten nemen: vertrouw niemand, inclusief ooggetuigen, op hun woord, bedenk dat iedereen waarmee je praat je een verhaal wil verkopen, bedenk dat als een onwaarheid eenmaal via een artikel naar buiten is gekomen, die een eigen leven gaat leiden, ook als naderhand blijkt dat het niet klopt. "Volgens X deed Israel Y" zal worden gelezen als "Israel deed Y", vooral wanneer Y iets slechts is.
 
Ook moeten journalisten zich continu van hun eigen sympathieen en vooroordelen bewust zijn - bijna niemand is neutraal, en ook al beweren journalisten hun beroep van hun privé mening te kunnen onderscheiden, dat is vaak niet het geval. Mijn stellige indruk is, dat juist journalisten die meer met Israel sympathiseren, zoals de schrijver van onderstaand artikel, zich dit veel meer bewust zijn en het probleem hiervan meer inzien, dan journalisten die meer met de Palestijnen sympathiseren. Het gevolg is dat de eersten soms overcompenseren en juist kritisch over Israel gaan schrijven, terwijl de laatsten het als hun taak zien Israels wandaden onder de aandacht te brengen. De gevolgen zijn bekend: volkomen eenzijdige berichtgeving.
 
RP
------------------
 

Barbara Sofer

JERUSALEM – The warmth, openness and seeming naiveté of sources in the Middle East often confound reporters in our region. So many people seem ready and eager to talk that it's easy to believe you've happened upon a fresh and authentic source of information. Let us never forget that there is no such thing as a disinterested party in the Middle East. Whether you're being guided through a dazzling bazaar fragrant with cinnamon and coriander, or through a malodorous open sewer, someone is trying to sell you a story. Let the buyer beware.

For example, I'm having coffee in Jerusalem with a Palestinian who has been involved in the launching of the first film festival in a West Bank city. The idea of the festival is very appealing to me. It's a sign of burgeoning normality and sophistication. If Thomas Friedman has taught us that having a McDonald's in your country is a sign that you're moving towards a peaceful lifestyle, then certainly holding a film festival demonstrates a more nuanced view of the world.

Sadly, it turns out that the film festival opening was a disaster. The audience was assembled, the films were ready to go, but the computerised projector didn't work.

I'm already bracing myself. How is the lynchpin of this story going to be that the failure was Israel's fault? I don't have to wait long. My Palestinian interlocutor shakes his head in despair. The projector's malfunction was an intentional Zionist sabotage of the evening. He relates a travelogue of the projector's winding journey through foreign ports and its ultimate delay by customs so that it would arrive "too late to be checked". He's clearly trying to sell me a story about the evils of Israel.

But I'm wondering how late that projector actually arrived. Certainly faulty machinery – discovered even a few hours before – could have been replaced with one from a sympathetic Israeli cinema.

"Hadn't anyone tried it ahead of time?" I ask.

"I guess not," he shrugs.

To him, the failure will always be caused by Israeli malevolence. From my Israeli point of view, it seems like Palestinian incompetence.

How does a journalist report this story?

She could describe the excitement of the crowd, the disappointment, the suspicion among those present that this is another Israeli plot, and then get a token denial from an Israeli official. Or, determined to justify Israel, she could launch into an investigation to debunk the charges. Perhaps the projector was indeed held up in customs, for either security reasons, because a tax was owed, or just plain inefficiency. Probably, facts will be eclipsed by opinions. Personally, I'm sceptical that a country which produces so many self-critical films would make an effort to kybosh a West Bank cultural event. But then, I tend to think well of Israel.

In the final analysis, the story told will wind up being more a reflection of attitude than fact. In this, we reporters can be equally culpable.

Many reporters pick up local attitudes or are influenced by the prevalent buzz of the press corps. Someone like me, with a strong pride in her country and unembarrassed Zionist ideology has to be careful not to accept at face value stories of my own people's heroism or victimisation.

Interviewees with an agenda are always guessing what a reporter wants to hear. I once received a tearful phone call from a young woman who complained about a Palestinian handyman in her dormitory. She said that the school was more concerned with political correctness than with protecting students from danger. The student's distress was genuine and indeed the school was liberal in its hiring policy. But the truth ended there. She was counting on both my political and feminist sympathies to convince me of the worthiness of her complaint. The man she was accusing of inappropriate behaviour turned out to be a highly respected and responsible employee. Coming from abroad, either she had mistaken the cultural clues and his avuncular nature as intrusive and threatening or she was trying to remove Arab workers from her dorm.

We reporters need to be conscious of our own prejudices and sympathies as well as the desires of those we interview to energetically promote their personal causes. A good knowledge of the region, common sense and a fair measure of scepticism are valuable antidotes to falling for a slanted story. It's far worse than buying a street corner wristwatch that fails immediately after purchase. A damaging story can tick on forever.
 


* Barbara Sofer writes magazine and newspaper articles, fiction and scripts for the short films she directs and produces. She is an Orthodox Jew, a feminist, a passionate speaker about Judaism, women's lives and Israel, and one of three recipients of the 2008 Eliav-Sartawi Award for Middle East Journalism. Barbara Sofer may be reached at: bsofer(at)netvision.net.il and www.barbarasofer.com. This article is part of a special series on responsible journalism in the Arab-Israeli conflict written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews). at www.commongroundnews.org


Distributed by MidEastWeb for Coexistence Newsletter. Subscribe by email to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. This article may be reposted at your web site with a working link to the original article at Mideastweb and links to Commongroundnews and barbarasofer.com as above.  

donderdag 16 april 2009

BBC Midden-Oosten redacteur Jeremy Bowen partijdig bevonden

 
Dit is goed nieuws. Verschillende Nederlands kranten en omroepen maken zich eveneens schuldig aan gekleurde en soms ronduit misleidende berichtgeving over het Midden-Oosten conflict.

RP
------------

COMMITTEE FOR ACCURACY IN MIDDLE EAST REPORTING IN AMERICA 


In a significant ruling, the BBC's highest body has substantially upheld CAMERA's complaint that BBC News's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen violated BBC News guidelines that require impartiality and accuracy. Below is CAMERA's press release on the breaking development.

CAMERA will soon be posting on its Web site a summary describing the details of the complaint, and the BBC's often-disturbingly misleading early attempts to defend its biased report. Check www.camera.org soon for that eye-opening piece.

The press release follows:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
 
BBC Trust Rules Against Mideast Editor Jeremy Bowen
 
Boston, MA - The BBC has determined that its Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, had violated the broadcaster's ethical guidelines calling for impartiality and accuracy. The finding is likely to amplify concerns that BBC news coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict is largely biased against Israel.
 
The March 31, 2009 decision by the Editorial Standards Committee (ESC), a unit of the BBC's top decision-making body, the BBC Trust, comes in response to a formal complaint filed by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), and a similar complaint filed independently by a member of the U.K.-based Zionist Federation.
 
CAMERA's complaint charged that Bowen's June 4, 2007 article about the Six-Day War and its aftermath was marred by "serious omissions, exaggerations and outright anti-Israel bias." The detailed complaint came before the ESC after the BBC News Web site and Editorial Complaints Unit defended Bowen's article.
 
In response to the ruling, CAMERA Senior Research Analyst Gilead Ini said that while ESC's willingness to openly fault unethical reporting by Bowen is important and encouraging, it is unclear that the BBC will draw appropriate conclusions from its findings and take concrete steps to combat the broadcaster's chronically biased reporting. "Acknowledging the glaring problems in this article is a good first step, but it's only a first step," he said. "The BBC also needs to consider the wider implications here. Not only did the senior BBC reporter in the Middle East show bias in his reporting, but he also made it clear, while defending his piece before the ESC, that he thinks it's reasonable to report from the Palestinian perspective and ignore other mainstream narratives."
 
Ini feels that the ESC findings and, especially, Bowen's "outrageously deceptive" attempts to defend his report, explain the journalist's past biased coverage and cast doubt on his suitability as a BBC reporter and editor. "There's good reason to be skeptical of Mr. Bowen's reporting," he said, "and by extension, the reporting of BBC reporters who are subordinate to him."
 
CAMERA is concerned that the ESC, despite having ruled that Bowen's reporting was not impartial, is apparently not calling on the reporter to be objective in future articles. Its ruling states that it is not necessary for Bowen to have given equal space to different views. "All that was required was a clear statement signposting that there were alternative theses subscribed to by respectable historians."
 
This assertion is inconsistent with the BBC's Editorial Guidelines, Ini argues. "If Jeremy Bowen consistently promotes only one point of view linked to a controversial subject and fails to relay in any real depth other prominent and reasonable views, the result is biased reporting," he said. "This is true regardless of whether or not Bowen throws in a sentence 'signposting' that other views exist."
 
The ESC finding that "the article had breached the guideline on impartiality" came after an independent advisor commissioned by the BBC described Bowen's assessment of the Six-Day War as being "firmly of the 'New Historian' kind," and "unqualified by an acknowledgment that the opposite or 'mainstream' opinion might have some weight too."
 
The advisor had also consulted with mainstream historian Martin Gilbert and revisionist historian Avi Shlaim, who both agreed that aspects of Bowen's piece were not accurate.
 
CAMERA will soon be posting on its website key excerpts from the complaint and the BBC rulings.
 
###
CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), a national non-profit media-monitoring organization headquartered in Boston, works to promote accurate, balanced and complete coverage of Israel and the Middle East. A non-partisan 501(c)3 organization, CAMERA takes no position with regard to American or Israeli political issues or with regard to ultimate solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict.


Gilead Ini
Senior Research Analyst
CAMERA
www.camera.org
 
To subscribe to CAMERA's E-Mail Team alerts, send a note with your name, address, email, telephone number and how you heard about these alerts to alert@camera.org

maandag 13 april 2009

Technologie uit Israel

Israelische aanpak in technologische ontwikkeling
 
Dat israel een vooraanstaand land is op het gebied van technologie is bekend.
Vele nieuwe ontwikkelingen op het gebied van technologie en wetenschap vinden daar hun oorsprong.
Dit komt doordat Israel deze gebieden zo belangrijk vindt dat ze ontwikkelingen en onderzoek op alle terreinen ondersteunt.
Zo zijn er diverse plaatsen in het land waar starter-bedrijfjes bij elkaar in een incubator zitten.
Deze starter-bedrijven delen samen een groot gebouw waarbij ze ondersteuning krijgen van een directeur, secretaresse en accountant.
De bedrijfjes mogen twee jaar in het gebouw blijven en moeten daarna op eigen benen komen te staan.
De twee eerste jaren in de incubator krijgen ze ook overheidssubsidie.
Dit zijn allemaal bedrijfjes die technologische, medische ontwikkelingen marktgericht opzetten.
Daarnaast ontwikkelt Israel ook onderwijs op technologisch gebied, zelfs voor betrekkelijk jonge kinderen.
Dit onderwijsprogramma (in dit geval over nanotechnologie) heeft onlangs een Europese prijs gewonnen en zal in Europa uitgevoerd gaan worden.
Vierhonderd scholen en informatiecentra (wellicht 30000 studenten!) in twintig Europese landen zullen betrokken worden bij dit project.
 
MS
 
Haaretz 13/04/2009
Israel's latest burgeoning export: tech education
By Or Kashti

The ORT Israel educational network recently won an international tender issued by the European Union for nanotechnology outreach and teaching for middle school and high school students and young adults. The project will run at about 400 schools and information centers in 20 European countries, for a target population of about 30,000 students. The project is worth an estimated 1.5 million euros, making it one of the largest "educational export" deals of recent years.

Nanotechnology, one of the most advanced areas of science, deals with a variety of research issues that have in common nanometric dimensions (measured in one billionth of a meter) - that is, a few atoms or molecules. The developing field incorporates aspects of physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and a large number of research and industrial applications. In Israel, as in the EU, the subject is hardly taught at high school level.

ORT Israel director general Zvi Peleg said, "This is a tremendous breakthrough in for technology education exports. This is the first time we are proving to the world that we are leaders in technological education for youth."
The aim of the NANOYOU project, as published in the EU tender, is "promoting dialogue that will raise participants' awareness of ethical, legal and societal aspects" of nanotechnology. The target population is students aged 11 to 18 and young adults of up to 25, who will learn about the field by means of visits to information centers and museums. The project will include the development of study materials about nanotechnology appropriate to the various age groups, and the training of teachers in the schools, along with science exhibitions, workshops, computer games and Internet sites, including a virtual exhibition about the subject.

Also participating in the ORT Israel bid, which won the contract, is Britain's Cambridge University, which will be responsible for evaluating the project, as well as other organizations from France, Belgium, Denmark, Austria and Spain.

The project will be implemented largely by means of an international network of schools, each of which will receive teacher-trainers and study materials. Teachers from the educational institutions that join the process will be invited to meetings in the various countries or in Brussels.

According to Dr. Eli Eisenberg, the head of research and development and training at ORT Israel, the grade given to the Israeli proposal was nearly the highest possible: 14.7 out of 15 points. In the ORT schools the subject is covered in biotechnology classes.

"Nanotechnology education is taking its first steps, in Europe and in Israel," explains Dr. Eisenberg. "Our schools in Israel will benefit from the study materials we will develop under the contract."

Peleg noted that ORT Israel overcame competition from many organizations worldwide to win the EU tender. "The prestige is entailed not only in the fact of winning the tender, but also in the fact that an organization like ORT Israel will lead technological education in all of Europe," says the network's general director. "All the study materials will be under the name ORT. We have advanced knowledge at an international level in all aspects of technological education. Now it is possible to start planning 1how to export it to the whole world."

woensdag 8 april 2009

Danny Zamir kwaad over beschuldigingen media van oorlogsmisdaden Gaza

 
Danny Zamir, die de verhalen van soldaten over het zonder reden doodschieten van Palestijnse burgers naar de Haaretz lekte, is nu boos op de media, vooral de New York Times, omdat zij het Israelische leger neerzetten als een stelletje oorlogscriminelen. Op zichzelf heeft hij daar natuurlijk gelijk in, want een paar verhalen van soldaten leiden alleen bij Israel tot dergelijke extreme aandacht en beschuldigingen, maar het is je moeilijk voor te stellen dat hij dit niet van tevoren had kunnen verzinnen.
 
It was as if the media were altogether so eager to find reason to criticize the IDF that they pounced on one discussion by nine soldiers who met after returning from the battlefield to share their experiences and subjective feelings with each other, using that one episode to draw conclusions that felt more like an indictment. Dogma replaced balance and led to a dangerous misunderstanding of the depth and complexity of Israeli reality. The individual accounts were never intended to serve as a basis for broad generalizations and summary conclusions by the media; they were published internally, intended for program graduates and their parents as a tool to be used in the process of educating and guiding the next generation.
 
De kans dat dit aandacht krijgt in de media buiten Israel is zo ongeveer (bij benadering) 0,001%.
 
RP
-----------
 
http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2009/04/danny-zamir-whistleblower-no-gaza-war.html

 
 
Apr. 7, 2009
DANNY ZAMIR , THE JERUSALEM POST

A number of articles published recently in The New York Times quoted or were based on words spoken by myself and by graduates of the pre-army leadership development program which I head (the "Rabin Mechina") - graduates who participated as combat soldiers in Operation Cast Lead and who met recently to process personal experiences from the battlefield.

Both explicitly and by insinuation, the articles claim a decline in the IDF's commitment to its moral code of conduct in combat, and moreover, that this decline stems from a specific increase in the prominence of religious soldiers and commanders in the IDF in general, and from the strengthening of the position of IDF Chief Rabbi Avichai Ronsky in particular.

It was as if the media were altogether so eager to find reason to criticize the IDF that they pounced on one discussion by nine soldiers who met after returning from the battlefield to share their experiences and subjective feelings with each other, using that one episode to draw conclusions that felt more like an indictment. Dogma replaced balance and led to a dangerous misunderstanding of the depth and complexity of Israeli reality. The individual accounts were never intended to serve as a basis for broad generalizations and summary conclusions by the media; they were published internally, intended for program graduates and their parents as a tool to be used in the process of educating and guiding the next generation.

I chose as well to submit the soldiers' accounts to the highest levels of the IDF, directly to the chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, out of my deep faith in the solid moral foundations of IDF policy and in complete confidence that the accounts would receive serious and thorough attention, including both investigation and corrective measures, if and when necessary. This faith was and is based on my personal experience of more than two decades - as a combat soldier, a major in the IDF and as mentor for hundreds of the Rabin Mechina's graduates who are soldiers serving in combat units (active and reserve).

There are, to be sure, important political differences between myself as a social-democratic Zionist and Zionists of other political opinions. But there exists among us a very broad consensus regarding the moral character of combat - a moral character to which the IDF is committed and educates its soldiers, a character positively influenced by religious mechinot and by the special personal qualities of my colleague Rabbi Ronsky.

THE GUIDING principle that directs IDF combat soldiers, both in their planning and conduct in combat, encompasses a balance between two needs: to defend soldiers' lives and to minimize harm to the civilians behind whom terrorists try to hide. This is expressed in the tension between the necessity of opening fire when the soldiers' security and battle conditions require, even when there's a danger to civilians (providing advance warning to the extent possible), and the absolute obligation to hold fire and to act with due compassion toward civilians when it appears that they have no evil intent. In addition, basic respect toward civilians' belongings and their religious and spiritual property is part of this moral code.

These guidelines and the obligation to uphold them are an inseparable part of the Jewish-Zionist world of IDF soldiers, and deeply anchored in generations of Jewish heritage, particularly in the doctrine of military conduct renewed by the early socialist-Zionists a century ago. They called this principle by a name that's unlikely to have been given by any other nationalist movement fighting for its independence: "Purity of Arms" - that is, preventing harm to those not involved in or supporting the combat.

This moral commandment remains a central motto of the IDF; it is the complete opposite of the code of conduct of Islamist terror organizations such as Hamas, whose judgment on every Israeli and Jew is death. "Purity of arms" is not part of their world, not even in theory.

The outsider may not understand this, but we - the Jews of the State of Israel - live this every day, every hour.

In order to appreciate this moral code, one must note the context in which it operates. The State of Israel is under a prolonged attack by the Hamas movement - a fundamentalist Islamic terror movement, based on a racist and ultra-nationalist ideology that seeks the killing of Jews for being Jews and the actual elimination of the State of Israel as its declared aspiration, and formally part of its foundation platform. And bear in mind that Hamas is not a marginal extremist underground, but a movement freely chosen by the Palestinians to head their elected government.

Our war against an unrestrained terror organization that uses civilian populations as human shields in various ways, such as hospitals and masquerading as women and children, presents the IDF - an army obligated to an ethical code of combat based on humanism and international law - with almost impossible complexities. The nature of combat in complex conditions (such as in Gaza) brings with it difficulties and failures. The greatness of an army fighting under such conditions lies in its aspiring to "zero errors" and in its openness to examining its failures - finding them and fixing them.

IF IT'S possible to learn something from the real Israel - and not that which the media (including Israeli media) makes such efforts to portray - it would be from the uproar of emotions and the frank discussions that have taken place within Israeli society in the wake of the soldiers' accounts. It is out of their commitment to the moral code that the soldiers spoke and their accounts were submitted; purity of arms requires continuous examination of our actions and intentions.

"May our camp be pure." This is the watchword borne by my soldiers in the IDF, not only because this is how they've been educated by their commanders and their officers, but because this is the essence of their belief and their national heritage, a belief and heritage shared by and uniting us all: secular and religious, right and left, in the IDF and outside it. It is a source of pride and of confidence in our way, even in times of venomous attacks from every quarter - such as transforming a sensitive, personal discussion among combat soldiers back from the battlefield to mendacious claims of policies that involve so-called war crimes.

And so may it be.

Atty. Danny Zamir (Major, IDF reserves) Director, Yitzhak Rabin Pre-army Leadership Development Program.

 

maandag 6 april 2009

Medische ontwikkelingen in Israel

Nieuwe, spectaculaire ontwikkelingen bij de opsporing van kanker en andere medische ontwikkelingen in Israel.
 
Dat Israel een land is met hoogstaande wetenschap weten we en onderstaande ontwikkelingen in de medische diagnostiek bewijzen dat weer. 
Huidkanker komt steeds vaker voor.
Gelukkig is het meestal prima te behandelen, maar door onze manier van leven met veel zon direct op de huid komt de ziekte veel vaker voor.
Vorige week zei een Nederlandse dermatologe dat de ziekte bij diverse mensen al tot een chronische ziekte is geworden doordat ze steeds nieuwe kankerplekjes ontwikkelen.
De diagnostiek is tweeledig: eerst kijkt er een dokter naar een plek en dan wordt er een stukje weggehaald dat verder bekeken wordt.
Niet altijd blijkt het om kanker te gaan bij verder onderzoek, maar gelukkig nemen dermatologen het zekere voor het onzekere en stellen dikwijls (achteraf ten onrechte) vervolgonderzoek in.
Dat kost de gezondheidszorg erg veel geld.
Nu komt er uit Israel mogelijk een diagnostiek die met grote mate van precisie meteen al kan aangeven of er sprake is van huidkanker. Dat is natuurlijk een enorme vooruitgang.
Ook wordt er in Israel een "neus" ontwikkeld die longziekten kan opsporen.
Dat onderzoek is al een eind gevorderd en ook Nederlandse ziekenhuizen gaan meedoen met het klinische onderzoek van de "neus".
Veel moeizaam en duur onderzoek kan zo vermeden worden.
Ook hier is sprake van enorme vorderingen in de medische wetenschap en praktijk.
Bekend is natuurlijk al jaren de minicamera uit Israel die pijnlijk en vervelend darmonderzoek via slangen overbodig maakt.
Israel speelt een vooraanstaande rol in medische ontwikkelingen.
 
MS
 
Last update - 08:36 06/04/2009
Israeli invention may revolutionize skin cancer diagnosis
By Ofri Ilani, Haaretz Correspondent
Tags: Beilinson Hospital 

An Israeli company has developed what it believes is a breakthrough device to aid in the early detection of skin cancer.

The device, developed by Skin Cancer Scanning, is currently undergoing clinical trials at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. It offers far more precise data than the doctor's naked eye, by using fiber-optic cables to scan for potentially malignant moles.

It was found to be 92 percent effective in identifying certain types of skin cancer - far more so than any apparatus currently available.
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, and its incidence rate grows annually.

The disease is currently identified through a two-stage diagnosis - first, suspicious moles are examined by a physician. If the physician believes the patient is at risk, the patient undergoes a biopsy.

However, the doctor's examination is not precise, and many patients are sent for biopsies unnecessarily.

Yossi Biderman, a director of Skin Cancer Scanning, said Sunday, "Hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in trying to create a precise diagnosis method, but until now not a single tool has been developed that can do so reliably. None of the existing devices can replace the actual doctor."

The new technology works based on the principle that cancerous cells proliferate faster than healthy cells, and their accelerated metabolic activity releases energy at a higher frequency. The device scans for this activity. Biderman said he expects to reach a precision level of 95 percent.

Related articles:
  • Thirsty plants send 'text' asking for water thanks to Israeli invention
  • Israeli invention may revolutionize diagnosis of respiratory disease
  • New York Times toont meer interesse voor Israelische dan Amerikaanse soldaten

     
    Een analyse van de berichtgeving in Nederlandse kranten zou waarschijnlijk een vergelijkbaar resultaat opleveren: de berichtgeving over vermeende oorlogsmisdaden door Israel wordt prominenter en onzorgvuldiger gebracht dan wanneer het onze jongens en meisjes in Afghanistan betreft, terwijl dat voor Nederlandse lezers toch meer van belang is.... 
     
    RP
    ----------
     

    New York Times: Unfair to Israel

    NY Times' trigger happy on Israel

    Apr. 1, 2009
    GILEAD INI , THE JERUSALEM POST

     

    In February 2009, a few veterans of the recently concluded Operation Cast Lead met to discuss what some of them felt was immoral conduct by the IDF. The soldiers exchanged war stories, including two specific allegations about unarmed civilians being killed in Gaza. Details of the now notorious meeting emerged the following month, when a transcript of the conversation was leaked to Israeli newspapers.

    On March 20, just one day after the story broke in Israel, The New York Times covered the allegations in a front page, above the fold story. A follow-up piece the next day repeated the allegations. And a day later yet another piece dealt with the issue.

    Almost exactly one year earlier, in March 2008, American veterans of the most recent Iraq war got together near Washington to publicly recollect their battlefield experiences. They told stories of indiscriminate fire, the killing of innocent civilians and systematic cover-ups of wrongful deaths.

    Although these veterans' charges were clearly more relevant to American readers of The New York Times - they were, after all, about American soldiers, American policies and alleged American atrocities - the newspaper didn't cover it on its front page, as it did with the Israeli allegations. It didn't cover the Americans' accounts in three consecutive articles. It fact, although other mainstream news organizations covered the story, the Times didn't report on it at all.

    THE TIMES isn't known for being soft on Americans. But this baffling discrepancy between the newspaper's handling of stories about Israeli soldiers and American soldiers is no fluke.

    For example, when a US sniper testified before a military court in February 2008 that "he had ordered a subordinate to kill an unarmed Iraqi man who wandered into their hiding position near Iskandariya, then planted an AK-47 rifle near the body to support his false report about the shooting," The New York Times buried the story on page 8.

    When the newspaper learned in August 2008 that two American soldiers confessed, in a signed statement to army investigators, to executing handcuffed and blindfolded Iraqi prisoners and dumping their bodies into a canal, the story ran on page 11. And when the soldiers were formally charged with murder a month later, it was noted on page 16.

    Perhaps the most striking contrast is between the newspaper's treatment of the Gaza stories and its caution in dealing with allegations that American troops wrongfully killed civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha. While The New York Times put on its front page the news that, in Israel, "the military's chief advocate general ordered an investigation into" the alleged Gaza killings, it's early 2005 report that the US military was "investigating whether a Marine squad... near the Iraqi town of Haditha committed wrongdoing" amounted to three short paragraphs hidden at the end of a long article on page 12. In fact, it wasn't until more than 10 weeks after Time magazine first scandalized the country by suggesting there may have been a massacre in Haditha - and only after US officials said the military investigation was expected to find that the marines indeed "carried out extensive, unprovoked killings of civilians" - that The New York Times found the incident worth publishing on its front page.

    It gets worse. Even before The New York Times published its three pieces about allegations of Israeli misconduct, those charges had been substantially discredited. Israel's Channel 2 television station reported that the source of one of the allegations admitted his story was based only on rumors. Yet none of the three Times articles mentioned this key point. On the contrary, they wrongly described the allegations as "testimony," "revelations" and "eyewitness accounts."

    This unfair overemphasis on allegations of Israeli misdeeds relative to similar, and sometimes more credible, stories about Americans is, simply put, discrimination against the Jewish state.

    It took more than a week for the Times to finally reveal, in a fourth article, that the core of what it reported in the three earlier pieces was nothing more than hearsay, and that Israeli investigators believe the charges are almost certainly false. But the damage was already done. The trigger happy The New York Times splashed dubious rumors on its front page, and in doing so caused irreversible harm not only to Israel's reputation, but also to the truth. (The newspaper's "retraction" - which was not described as a retraction - was published on page four.)

    In prominently highlighting the false accusations, the newspaper seemed to be implying that IDF troops, in their fight against Hamas's guerrilla fighters, exhibited bad judgment and were too quick to kill Palestinians. But what the stories actually showed was that, when it comes to bad news from Israel, it is The New York Times that's guilty of bad judgment and being quick on the trigger.

    The writer is a senior research analyst at CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

    zondag 5 april 2009

    nogmaals het jeugdorkest van Jenin

    Nogmaals Jenin
     
    De stad Jenin meent het ernstig: het jeugdorkest is ontbonden en de Palestijns-Israelische leidster van het orkest mag Jenin niet meer in voorlopig.
    Er is een Hudna, een soort bestand voor een bepaalde tijd, afgesproken.
    De autoriteiten in Jenin hebben deze affaire echter ook een andere draai gegeven.
    Er zou vanuit Hamas druk zijn uitgeoefend om het orkest te ontbinden.
    De Hamas, die volgens linkse politici in Nederland gematigd is geworden, kan dus op de West Bank druk uitoefenen om een jeugdorkest op te heffen omdat het in Israel is opgetreden.
    Ik kan me geen vredelievender idee voorstellen: Palestijnse kinderen die voor oude getraumatiseerde Israeliers optreden onder leiding van een Palestijns-Israelische vrouw
    Ik zou de reactie van die linkse politici hierop wel eens willen horen.
    Mij klinkt de Hamasdruk alles behalve gematigd in de oren.
      MS
    4 april,
    PA expels founder of Jenin youth orchestra over concert for survivors
    By Yoav Stern
    Tags: Jenin youth orchestra, PA 

    Wafa Younis, a musician from northern Israel who founded a youth orchestra in the Jenin refugee camp, was arrested there on Tuesday by Fatah militants and sent back to Israel from the West Bank. Last week the orchestra played for Holocaust survivors and elderly Arabs in Holon, news that ignited passions in Jenin.

    On Tuesday, Younis had been meeting with students' mothers when about four armed men in civilian clothing surrounded her. The militants were led by Zakariya Zubeidi, head of Fatah in the camp, who demanded that Younis go with him in his car to the camp's police station.

    "The police chief, who is familiar with my activities, said he would prefer that I leave because those are the instructions regarding anyone with an Israeli identification card," Younis told Haaretz Thursday.
    "Zubeidi offered a hudna, where we would suspend our activities for a time, and I agreed. I'll return to Jenin at the right moment because the children are waiting for me, because the community is waiting for me. And if I can't teach them in their classroom I'll teach them in the center I founded in A'ara [where she lives]."

    Younis' work in the camp has made her a household name there. After teaching more than a dozen schoolchildren to play the violin, oud, drums and other instruments, she arranged performances in Israel for the orchestra, Strings of Freedom. A year ago it played in A'ara for the families of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, Israeli soldiers who were abducted to Lebanon, and of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

    On Thursday PA officials said they and Fatah were under heavy pressure from Hamas members in the camp as a result.

    "On the Internet there are pictures of the children under photos of the Israeli prisoners, and they performed for Holocaust survivors," one Fatah official said. "Hamas accused us of normalization activities, of identifying with the enemy, so we were forced to expel Younis. The subject is now closed."

    Younis, who was interviewed by Arab and foreign news outlets Thursday, told Haaretz that she would appeal directly to the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "I'll ask him to appoint a genuine commission of inquiry that will hear the children and their parents, too," she said. "I will wait until the issue is thrashed out because I cannot continue my work with these interruptions."

    zaterdag 4 april 2009

    Onderzoek Gaza-oorlog

    Onderzoek naar vermeende oorlogsmisdaden in Gaza
     
    De Zuid-Afrikaanse jurist Richard Goldstone is door de VN benoemd om een onderzoeksmissie te ondernemen naar vermeende misdaden van Israel tijdens de Gazaoorlog.
    Echter Goldstone heeft zelf al aangegeven die missie uit te zullen breiden naar alle misdaden tijdens die oorlog, dus ook de vermeende misdaden door Hamas begaan. Dat laatste is ook nodig om de factor proportionaliteit te kunnen beoordelen.
    Nu is het wel zo dat er pas internationaal vervolgd mag worden als een land zelf geen onderzoek doet naar beschuldigingen over misstanden en eventueel bewezen misstanden niet berecht.
    Zo heeft de Spaanse onderzoeker Fernando Andreu een onderzoek gelast naar gebeurtenissen uit 2002.
    Andreu klaagde enkele Israeliers aan wegens de liquidatie in 2002 van terrorist  Shehadeh, omdat er ook burgers bij omkwamen bij die actie.
    Volgens het Spaanse Nationale Hof is een Spaans onderzoek niet nodig omdat de zaak onderzocht wordt door de Israëlische justitie.
    Het is dus maar de vraag of de commissie van Goldstone tot de conclusie kan komen dat Israel internationaal berecht moet worden inzake de Gaza-oorlog.
     
     
    MS
     
    De Standaard:

    Hof roept op onderzoek tegen Israël te stoppen

    • vrijdag 03 april 2009

    Hof roept op onderzoek tegen Israël te stoppen

    Het Spaanse Nationale Hof roept de onderzoeksrechter Fernando Andreu op om zijn onderzoek naar zeven hoge Israëlische functionarissen te stoppen. Het onderzoek kwam er na een klacht van de familieleden van de slachtoffers die vielen bij een Israëlisch bombardement op Gaza in 2002. Behalve de geviseerde Hamas-militant kwamen daarbij nog veertien mensen om het leven, onder wie negen kinderen.

    Volgens het Nationale Hof is een Spaans onderzoek niet nodig omdat de zaak onderzocht wordt door de Israëlische justitie. Maar Andreu argumenteerde in januari nog dat hij een onderzoek moest openen omdat het gerecht in Israël geen juridische procedures tegen de zeven heeft gestart. (ap)
     
    Jerusalem Post

    Madrid judge asked to nix Israeli probe

     
    Spanish prosecutors have asked a Madrid judge to suspend an investigation of seven Israeli officials over a bombing in Gaza that killed a senior Hamas terrorist and 14 others.
    Strategic Affairs Minister...

    Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who was chief of General Staff at the time of the 2002 assassination of Hamas kingpin Salah Shehadeh.
    Photo: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file]

    In a writ issued Thursday, prosecutors at the National Court asked Judge Fernando Andreu to hold off because they said Israel is investigating the attack.

    Andreu said in January that one reason he agreed to open the investigation was that Israel had neither responded to a request for information about the bombing nor started legal proceedings against the seven officials.

    The probe angered Israeli officials. Following consultations, Israel said Spain had agreed to trim the authority of its courts in cases of so-called universal jurisdiction.

    A month ago, after having reviewed documents forwarded by the Israeli Embassy in Madrid, Andreu decided to carry on with his investigation of the Israeli officials for suspected crimes against humanity, Spanish judicial sources said.

    The alleged offenses relate to the targeted killing of Hamas terrorist Salah Shehadeh in Gaza City on July 22, 2002.

    Palestinian officials said 15 people were killed in the raid - Shehadeh, 49, the commander of the head of Hamas's Izzadin Kassam 'military wing' in Gaza, his wife, a daughter, and his right-hand man, Zaher Nasser, 35, as well as nine children.

    The judge reportedly reached his decision after determining that the Israeli documents showed the state had not launched any probe into the incident.
    That decision was critical for determining jurisdiction in a case where the concept of 'universal jurisdiction' could be applied.
    Universal jurisdiction allows Spain and other European countries to prosecute foreigners for war crimes if a court is satisfied that the suspects will not be tried for their acts in their home country.
    Andreu is probing the actions taken by Industry and Trade Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who was defense minister at the time; Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who was chief of General Staff; Dan Halutz, then-OC Air Force; then-National Security Council head Giora Eiland; the defense minister's bureau chief, Brig.-Gen. Mike Herzog, who was a senior Defense Ministry official in 2002; Kadima MK Avi Dichter, who was head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res) Doron Almog.
    Should Andreu choose to issue an international arrest warrant for any of the seven, they could be arrested upon arrival in any EU member state.
    The Spanish government has been considering a proposal to amend the controversial war crimes law that now allows the court to investigate the Israelis.

    Rebecca Anna Stoil, Etgar Lefkovits and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

    Jerusalem Post

    Jewish judge to probe 'Gaza war crimes

    The United Nations on Friday appointed a widely respected South African judge who is a trustee of the Hebrew University to lead a high-level mission to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead.
    Judge Richard Goldstone at...

    Judge Richard Goldstone at Beloit College.
    Photo: Courtesy

    Israel refused to say if it would cooperate.

    Richard Goldstone, the former UN chief prosecutor for war crimes in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, was named to head the investigation ordered by the Human Rights Council in January.

    According to the mandate, the investigation should focus on Palestinian victims of the three-week operation against Hamas earlier this year.

    But Goldstone, a Jewish former judge of the South African constitutional court, said his team would investigate "all violations of international humanitarian law" before, during and after the conflict that ended Jan. 18.

    "It's in the interest of the victims. It brings acknowledgment of what happened to them. It can assist the healing process," he told reporters in Geneva. "I would hope it's in the interests of all the political actors, too."

    Martin Uhomoibhi, the council president, explained the apparent contradiction by saying the mission always intended to evaluate the proportionality of Israel's response, which requires that acts of both warring parties be examined.

    "I am confident that the mission will be in a position to assess in an independent and impartial manner all human rights and humanitarian law violations committed in the context of the (Gaza) conflict," he said in a statement.

    Israel has rejected any participation in previous council investigations, including one led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, calling them biased.

    It would not say Friday if it would cooperate with the delegation, which also includes British professor of international law Christine Chinkin, Pakistani lawyer Hina Jilani and retired Irish Army Col. Desmond Travers.

    "This committee is instructed not to seek out the truth but to single out Israel for alleged crimes," said Yigal Palmor, spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry. He called the 47-nation body "discredited" and said it has "practically no credibility at all."

    Goldstone said he was "shocked, as a Jew," to be invited to head the mission.

    "It adds an additional dimension," said Gladstone, who is on the board of governors at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "I've taken a deep interest in what happens in Israel. I'm associated with organizations that have worked in Israel. And I believe I can approach the daunting task that I have accepted in an evenhanded and impartial manner."

    On Monday, Judge Advocate-General Brig.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit exonerated the IDF and closed a Military Police investigation into accounts of alleged serious human rights violations during Operation Cast Lead.

    Mandelblit launched the investigation last week after "testimonies" from soldiers, leaked to the media by head of the Rabin Pre-Military Academy, Danny Zamir, claimed that soldiers had deliberately shot and killed innocent Palestinians during the operation.

    Yaakov Katz