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Change At The New York Times?

Demonstrating the bias of the Mideast reporting of the New York Times is hardly as attention-grabbing these days as when The Jewish Press began doing so several years ago. Just about everyone has now gotten “with the program”. Yet, it is important, despite various calls for boycotts and even some grudging acknowledgment by The Times that there is a problem, not to allow the issue to fade.

A case in point is a news article on terrorist violence by James Bennet, entitled, “Bethlehem Invaded Again, As Israelis Extend Control,” in Monday’s edition of the paper. He began his report by saying:

Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers raced under a full moon into Bethlehem early today, in what military officials said was likely to be the largest invasion yet of the rolling West Bank police action that Israel began after wrapping up its major ground offensive earlier this month.

For the next eight paragraphs, Mr. Bennet goes on variously to note that the new operation was “part of Israel’s campaign to seize full responsibility for its own security” respecting the West Bank; this action represented “a very important change in the situation”; it was “a fundamental shift” which “has complicated the Bush administration’s plan to press for reform of the Palestinian security forces.” “CIA Director George Tenet will be trying to reform the Palestinian security forces”; the Bush administration “hopes to restore some responsibility for security to the Palestinians.” “A central component of the Oslo agreement was that the PA would police its own militant groups … and now, the deal is off. Israel has given up on relying on the PA for security for its citizens.”

Bennet, in his next three paragraphs, reports that Palestinian officials claim “Israel reneged on [the Oslo] deal by not turning over land on schedule and instead building more settlements. [The Palestinians] accuse Israel of trying to destroy the Oslo agreement in order to prevent a Palestinian state.” Israeli officials fear any rebuilding of Palestinian security forces while Arafat is still in control; and one MK urges a purely “military solution to eradicate terrorism.”

It was not until paragraphs thirteen and fourteen of the twenty-four paragraph piece that the reason is given for the Bethlehem incursion, describing it this way:

Despite the increased Israeli security measures, including ever-tighter blockades of Palestinian cities, suicide bombers are again striking deep inside Israel. Israel says its forces are regularly intercepting potential attackers, but others are slipping through.

Israeli officials said Palestinians almost succeeded last week in blowing up a huge gasoline depot in a Tel Aviv suburb with a magnetic bomb, hidden on a diesel tanker truck and apparently activated by a cellphone.

Some detect a change over at The Times resulting from the widespread dismay in the Jewish community. Maybe so. But there is obviously a long way to go.

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