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AP again skews the story, this time about Israeli attacks on Palestinian farmers

By Alison Weir | October 15, 2012

It’s interesting to examine how the Associated Press reported on a recent statement by the UN envoy to Israel-Palestine demanding that Israel protect Palestinian farmers from daily attacks by Israeli settlers.

The situation is dire for Palestinian farmers. In the first weeks of the olive harvest, a critical period for sustaining their families, Palestinian farmers have suffered daily attacks by Israelis (often armed) living in nearby settlements.

Settlements are illegal colonies on confiscated Palestinian land that not only bar the Palestinians from whom the land has been confiscated, they also bar citizens of Israel who are Christian and Muslim from living in them.

In its lead paragraph AP reported, “The U.N. Middle East envoy says he’s alarmed by attacks blamed on Israeli settlers against Palestinian farmers and their olive trees.”

The AP headline said: “UN envoy alarmed by attacks on Palestinian trees.”

Somehow the word “farmers” didn’t make the cut, implying that the UN envoy was alarmed about what could seem a minimal concern and playing into Israeli claims that the UN is unduly picking on Israel.

While the headline might sound like the UN envoy is quibbling over Palestinian trees while people (Israelis) are suffering, the true situation is lost entirely: that these trees are the livelihood for entire village communities whose subsistence is at stake.

Also, AP’s paraphrase of the envoy’s statement is far milder than his actual words: “I am alarmed at recent reports that Israeli settlers in the West Bank have repeatedly attacked Palestinian farmers and destroyed hundreds of their olive trees at the height of the harvest season.”

The envoy, Robert Serry, also said:

“These acts are reprehensible and I call on the Government of Israel to bring those responsible to justice.”

AP left that out.

Serry also said:

“Israel must live up to its commitments under international law to protect Palestinians and their property in the occupied territory so that the olive harvest – a crucial component of Palestinian livelihoods and the Palestinian economy – can proceed unhindered and in peace.”

AP also left that out.

Two Israeli human rights groups had released reports on the Israeli attacks a few days earlier.

One, B’Tselem, said that it had documented five such settler attacks on Palestinian farmers in the previous four days, and called on the Israeli army and police “to investigate each incident,” as well as complaints that Israeli soldiers, who are legally required to protect the civilian population under their control, “did not intervene to prevent attacks.”

AP also left that out.

The report by the other Israeli human rights group, Yesh Din, stated that of 162 attacks on Palestinian trees since 2005, only one case had led to charges.

AP also left that out.

The Yesh Din report also stated that the Israeli failure to investigate the attacks is “only one aspect of its continuous and broad failure to enforce the law against ideological crimes by Israeli citizens against Palestinians in the occupied territories.”

AP also left that out.

A recent story in Ma’an News reports that over 7,500 Palestinian olive trees were destroyed by Israelis throughout 2011, according to The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs.

AP also left that out.

Below is the AP story found on US newspaper websites in its entirety. Below that is the AP story in an Israeli newspaper.

Note that there are two significant paragraphs in the middle of the Israeli story that are not in the US version. I am placing them in boldface.

AP sends different versions of its articles to its different wires and in my experience generally sends milder articles on this topic to its US wire than to other wires.

Whether AP omitted those significant paragraphs from its US version of the story or the Israeli editors added them, we know that AP had easy access to that important context – and chose not to include it in its report to American audiences.

AP story for US news media:

UN envoy alarmed by attacks on Palestinian trees

The U.N. Middle East envoy says he’s alarmed by attacks blamed on Israeli settlers against Palestinian farmers and their olive trees.

Robert Serry says Israel must do more to protect Palestinians and their property in the West Bank, in a statement sent to reporters Sunday. Israel’s military had no immediate comment. The West Bank, claimed by the Palestinians for a state, is under Israeli military rule.

An Israeli rights organization, B’Tselem, counts 450 Palestinian-owned trees either damaged or uprooted since the harvest season began on October 10.

Every year a small number of extremist Jewish settlers carry out attacks during harvest season. Most attacks occur close to Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Olive groves provide crucial income for Palestinian farmers.

AP story in Israeli newspaper:

UN envoy alarmed by attacks on Palestinian trees

The UN’s Middle East envoy said on Sunday that he’s alarmed by attacks blamed on Israeli settlers against Palestinian farmers and their olive trees.

Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said that Israel must do more to protect Palestinians and their property in the West Bank in a statement sent to reporters.

Israel’s military had no immediate comment. The West Bank, claimed by the Palestinians for a state, is under Israeli military rule.

“I am alarmed at recent reports that Israeli settlers in the West Bank have repeatedly attacked Palestinian farmers and destroyed hundreds of their olive trees at the height of the harvest season,” Serry wrote. “These acts are reprehensible and I call on the Government of Israel to bring those responsible to justice.”

He continued: “Israel must live up to its commitments under international law to protect Palestinians and their property in the occupied territory so that the olive harvest – a crucial component of Palestinian livelihoods and the Palestinian economy – can proceed unhindered and in peace.”

An Israeli rights organization, B’Tselem, counts 450 Palestinian-owned trees either damaged or uprooted since the harvest season began on October 10.

Every year a small number of extremist Jewish settlers carry out attacks during harvest season. Most attacks occur close to Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Olive groves provide crucial income for Palestinian farmers.

A 2006 study of AP’s coverage of Israel-Palestine found that AP covered Israeli children’s deaths at a rate over seven times greater than it reported on Palestinian children’s deaths.

* * *

B’Tselem report

Yesh Din report

October 15, 2012 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Never in human history have so many been lied too by so few.

    There will be hell to pay.

    Comment by JohnJ | October 15, 2012 | Reply

  2. [...] AP again skews the story, this time about Israeli attacks on Palestinian farmers [...]

    Pingback by My News Summary – 21 Oct 2012 « Posts by Barrie | October 21, 2012 | Reply


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