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Ha’aretz Keeps ‘Quiet’

by Tamar Sternthal February 28, 2005

Accountability is a foreign concept at Ha’aretz, Israel’s influential
English-language daily. The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics
calls on journalists to ‘clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue
with the public over journalistic conduct.’ But the Society is American, and
ethics concerning accountability haven’t yet penetrated at Ha’aretz.

In a Feb. 10 Op-Ed about the current status of the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, Ha’aretz writer Sefi Rachlevsky alleged that there had been ‘four years
in which the Palestinians preserved nearly absolute quiet’ (‘Back to the era
of brawn.’) The exact time of the four years is not entirely clear from
Rachlevsky’s writing, but at no point during the 1990s was there a period in which ‘
the Palestinians preserved nearly absolute quiet.’

The context of his statement is:

However, a series of developments starting with the assassination of Yitzhak
Rabin and the rise of the right in Israel appears to be canceling that
historic era. Despite the signed agreement with the Palestinians — the Oslo II
agreement from the end of 1995, after the Rabin assassination — in which they
were guaranteed most of the territories in three redeployments in less than a
year; and despite four years in which the Palestinians preserved nearly
absolute quiet, they were left with “territorial islands in the current,” with an
unfulfilled agreement and renewed momentum of settlement construction.

To the contrary, these were years of ongoing Palestinian violence punctuated
by numerous massive terror attacks. For instance, on April 6, 1994, Hamas
killed six people in a car-bomb attack on a Hadera bus. On Oct. 19, 1994
Palestinian terrorists bombed No. 5 bus on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv, killing 21
Israelis and one Dutch citizen. Islamic Jihad killed more than 20 people in a
double bombing at Beit Lid junction on Jan. 22, 1995. On Aug. 21, 1995,
Palestinian terrorists killed four in a Jerusalem bus bombing. On Feb. 25, 1996, Hamas
bombed bus No. 18 in Jerusalem, killing 26 people. On July 30, 1997, two
consecutive suicide bombers killed 16 and wounded 178 in Machane Yehuda. A complete
list of fatal terror attacks from September 1993 until 2000 is available at
the Web site of Israeli’s Foreign Ministry. In addition to the fatal terror
attacks, there were a huge number of attacks which inflicted non-fatal
casualties. Details about all attacks from 1990 to 2000 are available here. This
information can also be confirmed at www.ict.org.il. (Go to the ‘Terror Attack
Database’ under ‘Arab-Israeli Conflict.’) At no point during this extensive list is
there a four year hiatus of Palestinian violence. Two weeks have passed since
CAMERA shared this information with Ha’aretz editors and asked for
substantiation regarding the claim about ‘four years in which the Palestinians preserved
nearly absolute quiet.’ So far, the response from Ha’aretz has been absolute
quiet.

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