Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Reuters photo fraud

A Palestinian woman displays empty Israeli bullet shells inside her house in the Rafah refugee camp between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip, February 16, 2001. Five Palestinian families said this week that they are homeless after Israeli army forces demolished their houses in Rafah in southern Gaza. Reuters: Suhaib Salem

From: David Frankfurter []
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2001 12:23 PM

Dear Sir,

I am shocked by the irresponsible reporting depicted in the photo and caption at which is attributed to Reuters.

The unfortunate Palestinian woman depicted with a mound of bullet shells which she says the IDF fired into her home in Rafiah this past Friday, rendering her homeless. The photographer has plainly bought her story hook, line and sinker, along with yourself. The photo is published, and only the discerning will notice the really strange side of it. Those aren't bullets. They're bullet shells. Bullet shells are what's left lying on the ground after you've done your shooting. They're not what you pull out of a wall which has just been fired at. So what the Palestinian woman is actually waving to the photographer and the world is silent, powerful evidence that someone in or near her house fired a serious number of bullets. I don't know whom they were fired at. Possibly, just possibly, they were directed at precisely the people - the IDF - whom she accuses of being home-destroyers. And who did the firing? Hard to know that with any certainty either. But it's probably not that hard to make an educated guess as to which side's rifle-men the Palestinian woman and her family would allow into her living room.

I would expect that you re-examine the photograph, gain an Israeli response and then re-publish it with an appropriate apology & corrected caption. I would also expect Reuters to check its sources more thoroughly in future.

David Frankfurter

Monday, February 19, 2001

Palestinians accuse Israel of trying to cause collapse of PA

From: David Frankfurter []
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2001 2:48 PM
Subject: Palestinians accuse Israel of trying to cause collapse of PA - By Amira Hass - 19 February 2001

Dear Sir,

The above article reports accusations by the Palestinian Authority that closure of the territories and Israel's failure to transfer funds is a deliberate attemp to cause its collapse. Each of us is left to reach our own conclusions as to whether the demand to transfer money to support an enemy regime is reasonable or pragmatically advisable. No Israeli position is reported. No reference is made to the Arab countries' refusal to transfer promised aid from the Saudi bank in which it sits until the Palestinian Authority deal with its internal corruption - sums which exceed the held taxes as reported.

If this article were published outside Israel, the Journalists Code of Ethics would demand some balance to your article - requiring quotes from Israeli sources and referring to the Arab countries' witholding of support. An article which presents only one side (as yours does) would be unacceptable.

I understand that things need to be taken in context. Israeli sources are clearly quoted throughout the paper, that the paper published the Arab fund witholding issue just last week (11 February 2001). It may also rightly argue that the underlying issues are more than obvious to the Israelis who read the paper.

This is all true - but your paper is an occasional or reguar source of information and a barometer of Israeli opinion for many others - foreign newspapers, journalists and diplomats, Jewish and non-Jewish people who live overseas.

More importantly, who are we as a nation to demand that others stand before a test of a specific Code of Ethics which we ourselves fail?

David Frankfurter

Haaretz Daily Newspaper - English Internet Edition

It would seem that our own press also accepts that Israel bears sole responsibility for Palestinian poverty. The attached link contains a report from today's Ha'aretz. I don't know why they don't mention their own report of 11th February that I sent you outlining the reasons that the PA does not get Arab funds to solve their dilemna. One can only assume that foreign correspondents will not feel an obligation to be more balanced than the Israeli papers they read.

Letters can be addressed to l

I received the following by forward - I only assume that it is true. I am not personally familiar with the author.

As 3 Jewish girls fight for their lives after a Gazan bus driver deliberately struck them killing 8 others, another young woman, Chamutal is involved in another type of battle.

When Chamutal was 13, she was critically injured in a similar attack in Jerusalem's Kiryat HaYovel neighborhood. A group of girls from the Jewish Quarter were waiting by a bus stop whan a Gazan Arab plowed his car into them. Chamutal suffered multiple injuries necessitating numerous operations over the years.

Today Chamutal is a doctor on call at Kaplan Hospital in Rechovot.
And today she is in the operating room saving the life of the terrorist bus driver.

I am overcome with emotion as her parents, my neighbors, share this with me.
Contrast this with Sunday night's murderous attack in Gush Etzion where paramedics fighting to save Tzachi Sassoon's life came under sniper fire.

Of course the murderer's life is saved in order to extract information from him. Nevertheless, her ability to overcome her past experiences and participate in the surgery shows a tremendous amount of strength.

It is too easy to perpetuate past grievances to justify inhumane behaviour.
Oslo showed the Israeli people's willingness to turn the other cheek and attempt to create a safer Middle East for both peoples. 550 deaths later we are finally realizing that we are speaking different languages.
Peace vs. Guns & Missiles.

Our partners in peace are shooting at us daily (it doesn't even make the news anymore it's become so commonplace), placing road bombs and car bombs with growing frequency.

We're all angry! We all want our land back! But the Jews, as depicted by Chamutal, represent the human side of the conflict. We shoot when shot at, and then only when the point of fire can be ascertained. We allow the violence to continue so as not to destroy all chances for peace. Yet, we attend funerals on an almost daily basis.

I don't know why fate put Chamutal in that operating room today. But I can hypothesize.

I can visualize her looking into this murderer's eyes screaming, "Am Yisrael Chai". We are here. You and your cohorts will try through the generations to destroy us but we will remain and retain our humanity.
Despite the pressure of world leaders and despite the lies being perpetuated by the world press and despite the self-haters amongst us, we will not only survive, but will be strenghtened."AM YISRAEL CHAI!"

From: Barnea and Shoshanah Selavan, Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem "AM YISRAEL CHAI"


Monday, February 12, 2001

Palestinian Taxes

As a continuation of yesterday's note, the attached excerpt from Globes (the Israeli business newspaper at gives another perspective on the witholding of PA taxes. Sorry if I seem a little naive, but ...... does it sound to you as if we are finding excuses to give in to US pressure? It is "known" that we cannot use taxes to offset commercial debt even to semi-government bodies. On the other hand, the government is unlikely to allow semi-government bodies to act in a normal commercial fashion to collect their debts. I cannot imagine that we will have the courage to cut off the telephone and electricity on the basis of non-payment of bills if we don't cut off tax transfers on the basis of the waging of war. Not only do my taxes support an infrustructure at war, it looks like my telephone and electricity bill has a hidden subsidy to the enemy.

Best Wishes,


Israel holding up transfer of NIS 70-100 mln to Palestinian Authority

Zeev Klein 11.02.2001 17:13

"Israel is holding up the transfer of NIS 70-100 million to the Palestinian Authority (PA), until the PA settles its debt to Israeli companies, including Bezeq and Israel Electric Corporation.

Minister of Finance Avraham Shochat today said that in the next few days he would take action to continue the ordinary tax settlement procedure between Israel and the PA.

In a letter sent today to Palestinian Minister of Economy and Trade Maher Al Masri, Shochat condemns PA residents’ boycott of Israeli products. Shochat adds that he has been informed that in the last few days senior PA officials are enforcing the boycott of Israeli goods.
Shochat also mentioned an incident in Ramallah in which Palestinians set fire to Israeli products. He demanded that the PA denounce the boycott and issue an official call for its discontinuation."

Published by Israel's Business Arena on 11 February, 2001

Sunday, February 11, 2001

Arab nations freeze PA funds

Well, friends, the elections are over. We have a new Prime Minister. Let's hope that he can form a working government quickly.

You probably noticed that I have been very quiet of late. I deliberately try to avoid party politics. That didn't leave me much to say.

In the meantime, the Jews continue to be responsible for Palestinian suffering....the article at from today's Ha'aretz tells how Israel is being pressured to release money to the Palestinian Authority in order to relieve the economic pressure cooker being created there. The cynical might say we are the only nation ever asked to provide cashflow to fund a war waged against it. Then again, the cynical might note that in the very same paper, the article tells that Arab nations have stopped cashflow allocated for just this purpose because of the rampant corruption in the Palestinian Authority. That might mean that we can let the funds flow with a clear conscience - it won't arrive at its destination anyway. Who me? Cynical?

If anyone challenges our role in the Palestinian suffering, based on these articles the answer seems clear - clean up the corruption so that the Arab states are willing to release the $1b they have pledged. Stop the violence so that Israel can release the funds it is holding.

If you see a one-sided article in your local papers, I urge you to write and remind the readers of the other side.