RAMALLAH, September 27 (JMCC) - When the Associated Press wrote a fact check on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' speech last week before the United Nations, it spent most of the time presenting Israeli arguments in lieu of facts, says blogger
And, he asks, why was no similar lens applied to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech?
Unsurprisingly, and contrary to their assertion, AP has not managed to find a single “factually incorrect” statement in Abbas’ speech, while making quite a few “factually incorrect” assertions of their own along the way.
Occupation: Abbas said Palestinians live under “the only occupation in the world.” AP argues that other groups say they are also occupied. All of those groups, however, live in areas officially annexed by their oppressor, and are citizens of the state that controls their lives. Palestinians, on the other hand, live under military law and have no citizenship. Israel refuses to take responsibility to them or relinquish control. That is what makes it the only occupation in the world.
Prisoners: Abbas views Palestinians held by Israel as “prisoners of conscience.” AP, in accordance with their bizarre method, “refutes” this by referring to Israel’s view of these prisoners as violent security risks. But what are the facts? According to figures provided by the IDF, excluding traffic offenses, less than half [pdf] of the indictments in Israel’s Military Courts, where Palestinians are tried, are for terrorism charges, even under Israel’s expansive definitions of the term. Many of the prisoners are awaiting trial, as Military Court proceedings can last for two years while the accused is incarcerated. Because of this, and the virtually non-existent odds of acquittal, many plead out even though they continue to maintain their innocence. Certainly, many prisoners were involved in violence and terrorism; but many others, perhaps most, fit the definition of “prisoners of conscience.” AP, unfortunately, does not bother providing any of these facts.
Jewish connection to holy land, and Gaza: AP basically slams Abbas for not parroting Israeli talking points, and is unable to find a single inaccurate thing he said.
Peace talks: Abbas said Palestinians “believe in peace”. AP mentions Palestinians have rejected two Israeli peace offers. That, in itself, is a highly inaccurate description of events, but never mind: astonishingly, AP neglects to mention that Israel also rejected Abbas’ offer in the same negotiations in 2008.
Settlements: AP refutes nothing Abbas said, and actually ends up strengthening his point.