Thursday, January 10, 2013

Reuters now blames Israel for floods

I thought this would be in Arabic media first, but Reuters' Noah Browning ran with this ridiculous angle in its race to find new ways to blame Israel for anything and everything:

Heavy winter downpours have turned some Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank into a morass of filth and flooding as an Israeli barrier blocks the waters from draining away.

In Qalqilya, a town of 42,000 in the northern West Bank almost completely surrounded by the concrete wall, Khaled Kandeel and his family huddled by an open fire in a shed as trash-laden water swelled through his pear orchard.

"Before the wall, the water used to drain fine, and flowed down to the sea easily. They could just flip a switch and end our suffering, but they don't," Kandeel said, his breath steamy from the winter cold.

Israel started building the barrier, a mix of metal fencing, barbed wire and concrete walls, in 2002 in response to a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings.

Drainage channels run under the imposing ramparts but their automated metal gates are mostly closed and now clogged with refuse and stones that block the outflow of storm water.

The Israeli military, citing security reasons, generally bars locals from clearing the obstructions or digging their own channels close to the barrier.
Is this bolded text true? Who knows? Browning doesn't interview any Israeli officials for this story. (Of course, Israel is going to bar locals from digging tunnels near the barrier, but Browning tries to conflate the two to make Israel look especially evil.)

The water is filled with raw sewage, but this is Israel's fault as well, Browning informs his audience.

Later, after most people stop reading, Browning allows:
[I]n Hebron, whose old city is a flashpoint of conflict with Jewish settlers, rare coordination with the Israeli military allowed Palestinian officials to lift the concrete slabs which separate the ethnic enclaves to relieve flooding.

"We removed the concrete to prevent the passage of water to the old city souq, where flooding reached up to one meter," said Walid Abu Halawa of Hebron's construction commission.
Was there any attempt to work through channels in Qalqiya? Browning doesn't say.

Then again, he is probably working on his next article on how the separation barrier is being used by Israel to keep the wild pigs Jews breed to attack Arabs on the Arab side.