NYT Weeps for Palestinia​ns Getting Generous Jobs from Israeli 'Occupiers​'

Leo Rennert
Israeli industrial and agricultural enterprises in the West Bank provide jobs for 25,000 Palestinians. And they're good jobs. Paychecks are three times as much as workers' compensation in Palestinian areas. It's a story worth writing about. A vivid example of Palestinian-Israeli coexistence to mutual advantage.

But that's not exactly how Jodi Rudoren, the Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times, handles the story in a front-page article in the Feb. 11 editions ("In West Bank Settlements, Israeli Jobs are Double-Edged Sword."

As Rudoren sees it, Palestinians getting these good jobs are saddled with a "personal conflict" because they have to work for Israeli firms "in the occupied West Bank." As her poster child, Rudoren leads with Hassan Jalaita, who repairs Israeli army jeeps. "Those are the very same jeeps that confront Mr. Jalaita at the checkpoint he crosses each morning" Rudoren tells readers. "The same ones that sweep through villages where his friends and relatives live."

Rudoren quotes Jalaita about his personal feelings: "I feel like I'm not a human being -- we are serving the occupation," he volunteers. "I am forced to work here because I have a house. I have a family. Tomorrow, if there is another place to work, if there is work in Palestine, I will do it." Of course, there is work in "Palestine," but Jalaita is not about to throw away his big Israeli paychecks.

To be sure, Rudoren eventually gets around to pointing out that Jalaita earns $1,471 a month repairing these hated jeeps. Still, the full thrust of her article is to give Israel a black eye. "Israeli industries operating in settlements that most of the world considers illegal and a prime obstacle to peace have become a focus of global attention in recent weeks, amid growing momentum for a boycott movement targeting Israeli businesses and institutions," she writes. Never mind that the boycott movement has been mainly a bust, with anti-boycott groups far surpassing a few boycotting organizations.

Rudoren's history of Israel is just as biased as her reporting of current events. Israeli industrial zones, she writes, are on "territory Israel seized in the 1967 war." That's a formulation that leaves readers with the false impression that an expansionist Israel was to blame for the Six-Day War -- not the half-dozen Arab armies determined to eliminate the Jewish state. Not a hint that Israel waged a defensive war in 1967 in which the stakes were its very existence.

Summing up, Rudoren cites a Palestinian and an Israeli who work directly across from each other, making molds and trading jokes. Sounds almost idyllic. But wait. Rudoren is quick to point out a bitter angle: "But they have never visited each other's homes."

Just leave it to Rudoren and the Times to bend and spin an Israeli success story into an anti-Israeli dirge.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers

Israeli industrial and agricultural enterprises in the West Bank provide jobs for 25,000 Palestinians. And they're good jobs. Paychecks are three times as much as workers' compensation in Palestinian areas. It's a story worth writing about. A vivid example of Palestinian-Israeli coexistence to mutual advantage.

But that's not exactly how Jodi Rudoren, the Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times, handles the story in a front-page article in the Feb. 11 editions ("In West Bank Settlements, Israeli Jobs are Double-Edged Sword."

As Rudoren sees it, Palestinians getting these good jobs are saddled with a "personal conflict" because they have to work for Israeli firms "in the occupied West Bank." As her poster child, Rudoren leads with Hassan Jalaita, who repairs Israeli army jeeps. "Those are the very same jeeps that confront Mr. Jalaita at the checkpoint he crosses each morning" Rudoren tells readers. "The same ones that sweep through villages where his friends and relatives live."

Rudoren quotes Jalaita about his personal feelings: "I feel like I'm not a human being -- we are serving the occupation," he volunteers. "I am forced to work here because I have a house. I have a family. Tomorrow, if there is another place to work, if there is work in Palestine, I will do it." Of course, there is work in "Palestine," but Jalaita is not about to throw away his big Israeli paychecks.

To be sure, Rudoren eventually gets around to pointing out that Jalaita earns $1,471 a month repairing these hated jeeps. Still, the full thrust of her article is to give Israel a black eye. "Israeli industries operating in settlements that most of the world considers illegal and a prime obstacle to peace have become a focus of global attention in recent weeks, amid growing momentum for a boycott movement targeting Israeli businesses and institutions," she writes. Never mind that the boycott movement has been mainly a bust, with anti-boycott groups far surpassing a few boycotting organizations.

Rudoren's history of Israel is just as biased as her reporting of current events. Israeli industrial zones, she writes, are on "territory Israel seized in the 1967 war." That's a formulation that leaves readers with the false impression that an expansionist Israel was to blame for the Six-Day War -- not the half-dozen Arab armies determined to eliminate the Jewish state. Not a hint that Israel waged a defensive war in 1967 in which the stakes were its very existence.

Summing up, Rudoren cites a Palestinian and an Israeli who work directly across from each other, making molds and trading jokes. Sounds almost idyllic. But wait. Rudoren is quick to point out a bitter angle: "But they have never visited each other's homes."

Just leave it to Rudoren and the Times to bend and spin an Israeli success story into an anti-Israeli dirge.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers