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Leo Rennert: To the Editors of the New York Times
Journalist Leo Rennert writes to the Times:
Two terrorist attacks occured over the Christmas holiday, but strangely only one was reported by the New York Times as a "terrorist" incident. The other was described in much softer, euphemistic terms.
So my question is: Why?
Why does the Times in its main front-page headline in the Dec. 27 edition report "Suspect in Terror Attempt Claims Ties to Al Qaeda" but on page 8 informs readers that "Israeli Army Kills Suspects in Jewish Settler's Death"?
The front-page use of the "T" word is perfectly justified. Here was an attempt by a thoroughly radicalized Muslim to blow up an airliners with 289 people aboard. But when three Palestinian terrorists ambush and kill an Israeli rabbi, a father of seven, on the West Bank, neither the headline nor the story by Jerusalem correspondent Ethan Bronner sees fit to describe this event as a terrorist attack -- an attack that, unlike the failed attempt to blow up an airliner, actually resulted in a civilian fatality.
In Bronner's piece, the 3 Palestinian terrorists who murdered the rabbi are identified in the lead merely as "Palestinians." Farther down in the article, readers are told that "they had been involved in anti-Israel violence in the past" as members of Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, "a militia associated with the Fatah movement led by Mahmoud Abbas." Nowhere does Bronner implicate them in terrorism.
As far as Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is concerned, it's not just a "militia" but a certified terrorist organization, which still boasts of having beaten Hamas to the punch during the second intifada by initiating a protracted terror war against Israeli civilians and killing at least as many as Hamas did. "Militia" doesn't begin to convey the true character of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
While carefully avoiding the "T" word so as not to link Palestinians with real, bona fide acts of terror, Bronner also is more interested in pressing Israel to justify why it failed to coordinate with Palestinian security in tracking down the killers than to inquire of PA officials why they didn't do the job themselves
Bronner, in his article, makes no bones about the fact that he demanded some answers from Israel, but is curiously uninterested in finding out why Abbas's police, trained by the U.S., failed over a period of two days to find the culprits in their own bailiwick. After all, the killers of the rabbi were found in Nablus, in the heart of PA territory. Why wouldn't a curious reporter ask Abbas's police how come Israel apparently had better intelligence in the heart of the West Bank in a major Palestinian city than Palestian security forces. Is it really plausible that none of Abbas's cops was tipped off by friends or neighbors on the whereabouts of the terrorist killers. And what of the 150 arrests made by PA security after the murder of the rabbi, followed quickly by release of all these 150 Palestinians. Was this just for show?
An objective, professional reporter, I would think, would demonstrate as much inquisitiveness about the PA's role -- or lack thereof -- in this affair as about Israel's actions.
Why demand that Israel justify what it did, without demanding why the PA couldn't have acted earlier and more successfully?