Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday New York Times: Prevaricating on Gaza, Hiding Gaza

I usually devote a chunk of Sunday a.m. to reading the pages of the New York Times. But whenever there is an outrage involving Israel, it ceases to be a relaxing occupation.

Today, none of the commentators or the editorial columns mention Gaza. There are demonstrations throughout the world, the UN is again raising questions about whether Israel committed war crimes, the US' reputation in the Middle East is in tatters again due to our complicity with the aggression...and nary a word. Maureen Dowd's column mentions the word once--seemingly to cast blame on Cheney for whatever it is she thinks he has to do with it, but it's entirely unclear. Tom Friedman, Frank Rich, Nick Kristoff, and guest columnist Bono: nothing.

There is a column from the ombudsman or Public Editor who addresses claims from "both sides" that the Times' coverage is biased one way or another, and argues that it is essentially "balanced." See the Angry Arab for daily demolitions of that claim.

Here's what really got my goat. On page 2 of the Week in Review section, "An Eyeful in Gaza," which recaps events of the past week, the Times writes: "In hopes of weakening Hamas, Israel has blockaded shipments of goods into Gaza in varying degrees since the militant group violently seized full power in the territory in 2007..."

Sanctions against Gaza were imposed by Israel, the US and the EU in the wake of parliamentary elections in January 2006. The sanctions included restrictions on the movement of goods and people. Such restrictions, aimed at a democratically elected government, were a prelude to the more severe restrictions imposed after Hamas fully took over the Gaza Strip in June 2007. It's important to recall that this was in response to threats of a Fateh coup. Read Ali Abunimeh on this here.

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