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June 10, 2010
Inaccurate, biased reporting on Obama-Abbas meeting
In its June 10 edition, the Washington Post runs an article by Michael Shear about President Obama's meeting with Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in the White House. The article is both inaccurate about Obama's pledge of more aid to the Palestinians and also biased with its total silence about a strong disagreement between the two leaders about continued anti-Israel incitement by the Palestinian Authority ("Obama seeks new approach on Gaza -- He calls for Israeli blockade to consider aid as well as security" page A9).
Shear writes that the White House announced "that it was increasing aid to Gaza by $400 million." Not true. By far, the lion's share of the $400 million is earmarked for the West Bank where Abbas still holds on to power. Also, of the $400 million, less than $100 million represents a new U.S. commitment. Thus, Shear's report that the entire $400 million is earmarked for Gaza doesn't hold water.
As to bias, let me cite just a couple of examples:
--Regarding Israel's blockade of Gaza, Shear writes that "everyday items such as coriander have been prohibited in recent years." His article makes no mention that Israel sends a wide range of humanitarian goods into Gaza on a virtually daily basis -- in fact, more than 10,000 tons of goods per week. Last week, while Israel was vilified over its interception of a blockade-busting flotilla, 12,400 tons of goods made it into Gaza from Israel.
These 12,400 tons included 2 truckloads of cement (yes, some rebuilding materials are allowed in), 20 trucks of aggregates, 748 tons of cooking gas, 17 truckloads of cooking oil, 41 truckoads of fruits and vegetables, 31 truckoads of wheat, 21 truckoads of meat, chicken and fish products, 35 truckoads of dairly products, 80 truckloads of animal feed, 26 truckloads of hygiene products, 39 truckoads of clothing and shoes, 26 truckloads of sugar and 8 truckoads of medicine and medical equipment. Plus 994,000 liters of heavy-duty diesel fuel for Gaza's power station.
Additionally, 373 Gaza medical patients and accompanying individuals crossed into Israel for medical treatment in Israeli and West Bank hospitals.
None of this, however, matters to Shear. The only thing of interest to him is that coriander wasn't on Gaza's shopping list.
--In addition, totally missing from Shear's article was a dramatic disagreement between Obama and Abbas about continued anti-Israel incitement by Abbas and the Palestinian Authority, including glorification of terrorist killers, programs on PA TV that claim that all of Israel belongs to the Palestinians, and continued support of Abbas's terrorist wing -- the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- by Fatah, Abbas's political party.
Here was the exchange:
President Obama: "I was very frank with President Abbas that we have to continue to make progress on both security as well as incitement issues."
Chairman Abbas: "I say in front of you, Mr. President, that we have nothing to do with incitement against Israel, and we aren't doing that."
Here is Abbas lying through his teeth to the president of the United States -- in the Oval Office no less. Obama insists that Abbas still has a ways to go to end anti-Israel incitement. Abbas flatly denies it.
But Shear and the Post apparently are so invested in Abbas as a "moderate" who can be relied on to be a genuine peace partner, that his bald lie in response to Obama isn't worth informing readers about.
If this exchange between Obama and Abbas isn't newsworthy, I'm ready to tear up my old press pass.