by Leo Rennert
In his latest weekly Israel-bashing installment, Washington Post Jerusalem correspondent Joel Greenberg turns his attention to Israel's demolition of makeshift Bedouin shelters put up on public lands or in military zones in the Jordan Valley ("Razings leave mark in Jordan Valley -- Israel underlines claim in area with demolition of Palestinian homes" page A5, July 6)
Greenberg's article is illustrated copiously with two color photographs -- a huge, four-column one showing a family amid the wreckage of their home and the other depicting Bedouins leading away sheep as Israeli troops prepare to raze some shacks, plus a map pointing to the Jordan Valley.
The entire spread is unmistakably intended to depict Israel as callous in its treatment of Palestinians, while Palestinians are presented as Israel's victims. This kind of anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian, two-hankies reporting by Greenberg has become a predictable weekly presence in the Post. With such regularity that you can set your calendar by it.
Even if Greenberg has to bend the truth to meet his weekly Israel-bashing quota.
For example, in his latest piece, Greenberg waits until the 13th paragraph to cite Israeli officials who point out that similar demolition measures are also taken against wildcat building on state lands or military zones by Jewish settlers.
But how many Post readers get past the 12th paragraph? The headline, the pictures, the first dozen paragraphs convey a totally erroneous impression that only Bedouins and Palestinians get their unauthorized shelters razed by Israel.
So Greenberg has it both ways. He can deliver one of his trade-mark weekly Israel-bashing pieces, but still claim objectivity by hedging his bets far down in his articles, pretending to present both sides of the story.
He similarly buries -- in the 14th paragraph -- Israeli plans for more home construction in existing Palestinian villages in areas until total Israeli control along with Israeli plans to provide water and power hookups for Bedouin encampments there. But how many Post readers, having had their weekly dose of Israel-bashing in the Post, get as far as the 14th paragraph of a Greenberg story?
And for those readers who plow through his entire article, Greenberg leaves them with a final, concluding and conclusive slap at Israel with this emotional tug: "We need a solution," said Abed Yassin, standing near the wreckage of his shelter. "We need a place to live."
Greenberg could claim some credibility if for every one of his Palestinian-pain pieces, he did a similar number of Israeli-pain articles.
For example, a real reporter -- not a propagandist like Greenberg -- might also report on how hundreds of thousands of Israeli residents in towns and communities near the Gaza border still shudder and run to shelters when rockets are fired in their direction. There are plenty of Israeli children in Sderot, who bear the psychological scars of years of such terrorization by Hamas who also might warrant some in-depth coverage.
A real reporter -- not a propagandist like Greenberg -- might also report that Mahmoud Abbas continues to name Palestinian public places and institutions after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who led an attack that killed 37 Israelis, including 12 children -- the most lethal terrorist attack in Israel's history. Abbas exols Mughrabi as a model for Palestinian children. In his latest glorification of Mughrabi, he named a summer camp for children and girls' college after her. A real reporter might want to let Post readers know about the real -- not the phony "moderate" -- Abbas. But not Greenberg.
A real reporter would have an equal-opportunity agenda -- covering both Israel and the Palestinian with the same critical lens, focusng on both Palestinian and Israeli pain.
But Greenberg is not that kind of reporter.
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