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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Reuters' fawning coverage of Hamas

Today, exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal gave a speech at Damascus University.

Reuters made it look like he was considering peace with Israel, as long as certain conditions are met, with Israel's response seeming irrational and hardline:

DAMASCUS (Reuters) By Khaled Yacoub Oweis - Hamas could reciprocate Israeli moves toward peace if the Jewish state agrees to withdraw from all lands occupied in 1967 and acknowledges Palestinian rights, the group's political leader Khaled Meshaal said on Wednesday.

But Israel's president reiterated that talks with the Hamas-led Palestinian government could not commence unless it renounced violence, recognized the Jewish state and interim Palestinian peace deals with it.

"If Israel withdrew to the 1967 borders, including Jerusalem, acknowledges the right of return, lifts its siege, dismantles the settlements and the wall and releases the prisoners, then it is possible for us as Palestinians and Arabs to make a serious step to match the Zionist step," he said.

Meshaal, who is in exile in Syria, told a packed auditorium at Damascus University that there was "no chance for a compromise" unless Israel fulfilled such conditions and because it was unlikely to do so in the near future, the Palestinians had no option but to resist occupation.

The further you read the article, the more that Reuters' grudgingly admits that Hamas is sworn to Israel's destruction and was behind many terror attacks. But in newspapers, the first couple of paragraphs are the important ones, and Reuters chooses to whitewash Hamas in the lead.

Reuters' duplicity does not end there. Meshaal made another couple of interesting statements during the same speech at the university, but apparently Reuters did not consider these other topics newsworthy.

AFP highlighted part of the speech that escaped the Reuters' reporter's attention:
Hamas supremo [sic] Khaled Meshaal has defended Palestinian suicide bombings as a "natural right" while denouncing what he called Washington's ambitions to dominate the Middle East.

"Our enemies ... don't understand that a suicide operation ... is a natural right," the exiled leader told students in Damascus, adding that Palestinians live "under Israeli occupation and have the right to fight and defend themselves".

Philosophers in the 17th and 18th centuries defined a number of natural rights, like life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness. Meshaal the supremo's addition to that list seems worth mentioning.

UPI also attended the same speech, and found another item to put in the lead of the story:
DAMASCUS, Syria, May 3 (UPI) -- Hamas Politburo chief Khaled Meshaal deplored the financial blockade averting payment of salaries to Palestinian Authority employees as a "real holocaust."

The Damascus-based Meshaal told a gathering at Damascus University Wednesday that "the Arab League and the Palestinian government are trying to coordinate the transfer of the salaries of some 164,000 employees through private accounts without success."

He said he had told a foreign diplomat in the Syrian capital that what is happening to the Palestinians in the occupied territories "is the real holocaust and a crime taking place in broad daylight."
So we have three news agencies attending the same speech. Two of them clearly imply that the speaker's opinions are off-the-wall insane, while one of them makes him look like a risk-taker for peace - and ignores any part of his speech that would give one the opposite impression.