Israel Resource Review 13th Febuary, 2002


How Terminology Used in the Media Disguises Data . . . And Sometimes Misrepresents it
by R.H.B. Fishman, Ph.D., from A Primer for the Innocent Bystander

Motivated Reporting of Science and Medicine

What is Used in the News What It Pretends To Be

quotes data (measures, scores)
eye witness report professional assessment, opinion
by-stander accounts statistical verification
opinion of interested parties expert objective judgment
getting the quote right verifying the event
looking-in-the-eyes certifying the claim
photograph(s) ipso facto ongoing events
a fact the facts
trend, estimate, some events statistical analysis
pocket survey, odd case representative statistics
short term visits ["hit-&-run teams"] longitudinal studies
professional (society) endorsement peer review process
broadcast, published in media peer review publication
quoting from the media repeating/verifying conclusions
headline research discovery
scoop research breakthrough
condemnation deductive conclusion
dramatize clarify with data
weight of emotion weight of evidence
present persuasively use scientific method
impress, affect, convince inform, elaborate, convince

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Correcting Wrong Impressions About Eisenhower and Israel's Forced Withdrawal From Sinai
Dr. Joseph Lerner

Writing in the Jerusalem Post on February 7, 2002, Henry Siegman, U.S. Council of Foreign Affairs senior fellow and former American Jewish Congress President, enthusiastically recalls and invokes President Eisenhower's declaration" . . . without equivocation that the 1956i nvasion of Egypt by Israel, Great Britain and France was wrong and needed to be reversed, all three countries pulled out promptly."

(This episode is routinely raised by those who want the US to be severe with Israel.)

But Eisenhower changed his mind. In 1965 he said: "You know, Max, looking back at Suez, I regret what I did. I never should have pressed Israel to evacuate the Sinai." ("Quiet Diplomat, Max A Fisher", biography by Peter Golden, 1992, page xviii) Golden relates Eisenhower continuing " . . . if I had a Jewish advisor working for me, I doubt I would have handled the situation the same way. I would not have forced the Israelis back." (page XIX)

Evidently Eisenhower did not contemplate that any Jew would have Siegman's mindset.

As an advocate of "land for paper" it should come as no surprise that Siegman also neglects to mention what evolved as a result of Eisenhower's pressure: Israel pulled out of the Sinai in return for a written American assurance that the U.S. would act if Israel was denied passage through the Straits of Tiran. A written assurance not honored when Nasser imposed a blockade on Israel in 1967. Also, Egypt did not follow through on the understanding that she would leave the Gaza Strip. No doubt Siegman is so dedicated to his position that none of this matters.

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Abington: the Man Who Wrote Arafat's Oped in the New York TImes
("All the views that Fit to Ghostwrite"?)

Dr. Aaron Lerner recently noted that Ha'aretz Correspondent Amir Oren reported in his weekly column in today's Hebrew edition of Ha'aretz that Edward Abington, who was the United States consul general in Jerusalem until 1997 and is now Arafat's top paid lobbyist in Washington, drafted Yasser Arafat's op-ed piece that appeared in last Sunday's New York Times along with "one of the Israeli 'guardians of Oslo'". Arafat's PR aide Saeb Erekat put the finishing touches on the article.

Questions remains:

Will anyone confront the NYT with their misprepresentation of Arafat.

Will anyone ever challenge the fact that Abington receives a 2.5 million dollar retainer from Arafat, following his service as the US consul in Jerusalem, during which time he concluded hundreds of contracts between the US and the PA.

Would Abington's current fee not be termed a "payoff"?

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EU Sponsored Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families' Forum For Peace Launches Ad Campaign
Dr. Aaron Lerner
Director, IMRA

The Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families' Forum For Peace headed by Yitzhak Frankenthal has stepped up its ad campaign with a new series of full color newspaper and billboard ads "Lebanon 1982. The Palestinian Authority 2002. The same unnecessary entanglement. The same destruction. The same victims dying in vain. Stop Shooting Start Talking. The road to peace is preferable over the path to war."

At the outset of the campaign Frankenthal told IMRA that the European Union provided financial support and that the campaign cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Families' Forum For Peace is a group of Israelis and Palestinians who all agree that Israel should make compromises for peace.

The "bereaved families" label is applied equally to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and the families of those murdered by the bombers.

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Yossi Beilin drawing NIS 350-400 thousand salary covered by European Union

Investigative reporter Yoav Yitzchak report in the February 7th issue of Ma'ariv that former Labor Party MK Yossi Beilin is drawing an annual salary of NIS 350,000 - NIS 400,000 from The Economic Cooperation Foundation (ECF), a Tel Aviv based organization that he formed with Yair Hirschfeld at the end of 1990.

Yitzchak notes that the bulk of the ECF budget is covered by the European Union. In addition to the salary, ECF covers Beilin's heavy travel expenses - including meetings with Palestinians overseas.

For all practical purposes, Yitzchak writes, the European Union is paying for Beilin to negotiate with the Palestinians.

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CIA Sources:
Egypt Continues Missile Projects in North Korea
Steve Rodan
Bureau Chief, MENL, Middle East News Line

The CIA has dismissed Egyptian assertions that Cairo has ended its missile relationship with North Korea.

In both congressional testimony and in its latest report, the U.S. intelligence community has reported that Egypt continues to cooperate with North Korea in ballistic missile programs. The CIA said Egypt remains a key client of North Korea, which is offering intermediate and long-range missiles to the Middle East.

CIA director George Tenet referred to Egypt during testimony last week to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. In testimony on February 6, Tenet grouped Egypt together with Iran, Libya and Syria as North Korean clients for missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

Congressional staffers said Tenet's assertion came in the wake of several hearings in which House and Senate members questioned Egypt's missile cooperation with North Korea. In closed hearings, U.S. intelligence officials reported that Cairo had sought No-Dong missile engines from Pyongyang.

Note: The above is not the full item.

This service contains only a small portion of the information produced daily by Middle East Newsline. For a subscription to the full service, please contact Middle East Newsline at: for further details.

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Al Quds (Palestinian daily) Editorial Explains Palestinians Won't Honor Security Obligations if Israel Doesn't Meet Demands
Translated by Joharah Baker

The contacts of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his foreign minister Shimon Peres with a number of high-level Palestinian officials have given the impression that the tide may be changing in the region towards calm after such a long period of mutual violence. This impression was reinforced by word that an agreement had been reached between Peres and Legislative Council Speaker Ahmad Qrei', a news report quickly denied by the Israeli minister.

Even the limited level of optimism some observers have relayed over the current situation as a result of these contacts has dwindled since Sharon's statements. Following his meeting and that of Peres with the Palestinian officials, he clarified his point of view, which did not include anything new or any change regarding a general political settlement or an acceptable mechanism for calm.

Anyone who examines the conditions the Israeli premier wishes to impose on the Palestinian side before agreeing to put an end to his government's oppression against the Palestinian people and the siege on President Arafat finds them nothing less than crippling. Or perhaps they are yet another political tactic intended to consolidate the current situation and prevent an end to the acts of violence. In this regard, the move may be no different from the provocative military activities of Sharon's government every time it finds itself faced with the possibility of resuming negotiations or determining the mission of American envoy to the region Anthony Zinni, for example.

It is neither reasonable nor logical for Palestinians to wage a civil war or that the Palestinian Authority launch a campaign against certain sectors of the Palestinian people. Nor is it logical that this Authority turn into a police force to protect Israel at a time when the occupation and settlement expansion continues and when the horizon carries no hint of a possibility that Sharon's government may recognize the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people.

Instead, the Israeli prime minister has announced his rejection of even the most modest of proposals, which his foreign minister is said to have offered to the Palestinian Legislative Council speaker. It has still not been officially confirmed that this proposal included the establishment of a Palestinian state on a limited area of land in return for a ceasefire understanding.

The Israeli premier's insistence on confining negotiations with Palestinians to security issues and drawing a line when it comes to political issues only confirms that he has not changed his well-known tune, which relies on military force as the only way to contain Palestinian national aspirations. This only increases the feelings of pessimism and despair towards the possibility of reaching - in the near future - an initial understanding between the two sides that would lead to the immediate resumption of the political process where it left off in Taba, according to the Clinton proposal. The suffering of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples will thus increase and will threaten security and stability in the region as a whole.

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The Palestinians See a 'Joan of Arc'
[Wafa Idris - Bomber From Arafat's Fatah]
Uri Nir
Senior Arab Affairs Correspondent, HaAretz

Wafa Idris, who detonated a bomb on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem two weeks ago, killing herself and an 81-year-old man, and injuring 140 people, was the first Palestinian woman to carry out a suicide attack. Though Israeli security officials are not entirely convinced that Idris's intention was indeed a suicide attack, her action has triggered a debate about Islamic ethics in the Arab world. Idris has lit a fuse, lighting up the imagination of many Palestinians and Arabs; for many, she is a heroic Muslim patriot, and also a feminist

Idris had been active in the Fatah movement; and it was Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, who took responsibility for the terror attack. Since her death, she has been perceived as a national, and pan-Arab, heroine. Arab-language newspapers circulating both in the territories and in the Arab world, have given space to public discussion of her act; the debates are conducted both from a religious standpoint, and from a social-cultural point of view. The Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI -, which runs offices in Jerusalem and in Washington, has compiled some of these discussions about Idris.

Particularly in Palestinian newspapers, the commentators have wondered whether Idris was motivated by emotional distress. According to reports, she married a cousin at the age of 16, and was divorced nine years later because she had not been able to bear a child. Friends and family relations told reporters that her divorce might have compelled her to carry out the suicide attack.

After her divorce, Idris worked as a volunteer for the Palestinian Red Crescent emergency medical service. Some relatives and friends have speculated that her trying experience attending to victims of the intifada led her to take vengeance against Jews.

Though many Palestinians have expressed astonishment that a terror attack was perpetrated by a woman, most have justified Idris' action. Such support was exemplified at a symbolic funeral service for Idris that Fatah held in Ramallah. Eulogists from the whole spectrum of Palestinian politics praised her.

In the religious sphere, leaders of most Islamic organizations in the territories have concurred that Idris' attack was permissible, and just, given Islamic law and tradition (their position has been supported by one of Egypt's most respected Islamic sages). Hamas leaders in the territories such as Hassan Yusuf have stated explicitly that "Jihad against the enemy is an obligation borne not only by men, but also by women." Islam, these Hamas leaders emphasize, does not distinguish between men and women on the battlefield.

Yet Hamas' spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, has taken a skeptical position on the subject of women and suicide attacks. He told the London-based newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat that "at the present stage," there is a sufficient number of men who are prepared to carry out such attacks, and that "for the time being women do not have a military organization" within the Palestinian Islamic movement. Yassin explained that though a woman is entitled to take part in the holy war, a man must supervise her acts. Three days after noting this requirement of male chaperons for Islamic women fighters, Yassin clarified his view; he explained that a male escort is necessary if a a woman is to be gone "longer than a night and a day" in a military action. Should the the action be shorter in duration, "she doesn't need a [male] supervisor."

Ataf Alian, a Palestinian woman from the Islamic Jihad organization who was involved in an attempt to explode a car bomb in Jerusalem in 1987, challenged Yassin's view. Alian, who did part of her extended prison term in Israel, and who was released as a result of the Oslo Accords, was lauded in an article published in an Islamic Jihad journal in 1989 as a model of "the Islamic woman of our generation, who obliges the orders of religious law . . . and all commandments and prohibitions, including the desire to make it to heaven via self-sacrifice." Interviewed last week by Al-Sharq al-Awsat, Alian criticized Yassin's position, and said that the order to send a chaperon to supervise a woman during a suicide attack is impractical, and also not required by religious law. Her position drew upon oral traditions concerning the views of the prophet Mohammed. Under these traditions, a woman is obligated to take part in jihad, even without the consent of her husband, should an enemy invade a Muslim land.

Idris has been praised widely in Arabic language newspapers. MEMRI researchers say that scarcely a day goes by without five to 10 articles being published in praise of her act. Arab pundits compare her to Joan of Arc; in Baghdad, journalists reported that Saddam Hussein has ordered that a monument be built in her honor.

Particularly effusive with praise for Idris are Egyptian journalists, both in the state-sponsored newspapers and also opposition journals. For instance, Ahmad Bahajat, a columnist for Al- Ahram, wrote that Idris will go down in history as a symbol of heroism; alluding to her work for the Red Crescent, he added that "she expanded the sphere of her work from saving individuals, to saving the Palestinian people."

Is Idris a feminist symbol?

Wafa Idris has been adopted by some Arab feminists to promote their agenda. For instance, Dr. Samiah Sa'ad a-Din, who has a column in the Cairo-based newspaper Al-Akhbar, wrote that "the limbs of this woman martyr sketched the outline of change . . . in the ideology of the struggle. Palestinians have ripped out the mention of gender in their identity documents, and declared that sacrifice for Allah will not only be done by men; all the women of Palestine will advance the history of liberation with their blood, and become time bombs posed to strike the Zionist enemy. They will no longer be content with the role of being mothers to martyrs."

In contrast, Islamic Jihad men have used Idris' example to denounce feminism. An editorial published by the Islamic, Cairo-based weekly Al-Sha'b declared that Idris was a woman "who taught Muslim women the meaning of genuine liberation . . . For the woman, the meaning of liberation is to free the body from the hardships of this world, and bravely embrace death."

This article ran in Ha'aretz on February 10, 2002

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Israel's Requirement For the Next Palestinian Arab Leader:
Declare in Arabic, "No to the "Right of Return"
David Bedein

Details of the meetings held on February 8th between US President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon are emerging.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Bush administration will not protest too vehemently if Israel's isolation of Arafat will lead to the downfall of the PLO leader.

After a week in which Arafat delivered tirades almost every night in Ramallah to excoriate "hundreds of suicide bombers to die in the liberation of Jerusalem", and after a week in which fatal PLO attacks claimed the lives of Israeli women almost every day, it would seem that few Israelis would shed a tear when Arafat leaves the scene.

The US and Israel have been quoted as seeking a successor to Arafat among the PLO's "war lords". The short term American and Israeli criteria for recognizing a successor to Arafat is simple: someone who would can maintain law and order and "prevent further terror".

Indeed, as Ariel Sharon stepped off the plane from the US, he was "greeted" with yet another Arab terror attack in the Israeli city of Beersheva, which Arafat's Palestinian Authority maps describe as an illegal Israeli settlement that replaced the Arab town of Bir A Sibi in 1948.

The official PBC radio of the Palestinian Authority has justified attacks in Israeli cities of Beer Sheva, Hadera, Netanya and Naharia, since these towns all replaced Arab villages in 1948, after which the residents of these and hundreds of other Arab towns were dumped into Arab refugee camps which are operated to this day by the UN, under the premise and promise of the "right of return" to the 531 Arab villages that were wiped out in 1948.

Under Arafat's leadership, the Palestinian Authority mandated that the suffering in the refugee camps must continue.

Arafat has declared time and time again that the "right of return" must be the prime agenda item for his people. Therefore, the Intifada al Awhda, the "rebellion for the right of return" has become the slogan for the current state of unrest.

If Arafat is replaced by yet another Palestinian leader who believes in continuing to confine more than a million 1948 Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendents from 1948 to refugee camps under the "right of return", the middle east will see more unrest, not less.

While at least one Palestinian Authority leader has declared that the time has come to abandon the idea of the right of return, he is not allowed to say so on any media outlet of Arafat's regime.

That is because the "right of return" dominates all policy proclamations in the Arabic language radio, TV or newspapers of the Palestinian Authority since the emergence of the PA in 1994.

While many Israelis may be ready for a two state solution, such an idea is foreign to the ethos of the Palestinian Arab entity that Arafat has forged.

At this point in time, every candidate the US and Israel have examined to succeed Arafat has sworn allegiance to the Intifada al Awhda, the "rebellion for the right of return".

Only if a Palestinian Arab leader emerges who will communicate to his people in their own language that he is ready to remove Arab refugee camps and live with Israel without advocating the "right of return", will peace in the middle east be at all forseeable.

Bush and Sharon should keep that in mind and not look for short term solutions for "preventing terror".

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