Sunday, February 22, 2015

Terming a Palestinian Arab news source 'independent' might require some flexibility of definition

...The report concludes by pointing out that the Ma'an Network has close links to highly politicised non-governmental organizations that "promote conflict rather than internal development or peace-building" with the result that what it actually does "contradicts the funding aims of its donors.and contradicts the funding aims of its donors." Could it be the donors don't know this? Perhaps they ought to be advised to get their news and analysis from better sources.

Arnold/Frimet Roth..
This Ongoing War..
22 February '15..

The indispensable Elder of Ziyon posts a blog under the title "One day after Gazans killed in tunnels, Hamas claims there are no tunnels" today, in which he lets three separate news reports from a notable Arab source pretty much speak for themselves. They tell a story that mainstream news editors and reporters know but rarely convey to their readers: that Ma'an, the Palestinian news agency usually described as 'independent' pretty much is not.

Story Number 3 reported by Ma'an New Agency on Saturday (yesterday) afternoon ["Hamas accuses Egyptian media of spreading anti-Palestinian lies"] quotes the notably unlovely Hamas "spokesman" and sometime mule [background here], Sami Abu Zuhri, slamming (their word) what he calls a

a "Zionist-like" network that had spread the rumors and sought to sow discord between Egypt and Palestine.

These rumors concern tunnels running between Egypt and Hamas-controlled Gaza. Abu Zuhri says they don't exist any more, and that's exactly what Ma'an reports:

All of the tunnels under the border area, he said, have been destroyed and both Egyptian and Palestinian security forces have been guarding both sides of the borders. [Ma'an, Saturday]

Story Number 2, also from Ma'an News Agency, appeared two days earlier, Thursday, under the give-away title "Hamas fighter, civilian killed in Gaza tunnels near Rafah":

Two Palestinians died in separate incidents in underground tunnels beneath the besieged Gaza Strip and Egypt on Thursday. The al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, said that a fighter in the group was killed during a military mission in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The brigades said in a statement that "Muhammad Talal Abu Matar, 25, from western Rafah was killed in a jihadi mission," without providing further details. However, a spokesperson for the Gaza Ministry of Health said that Abu Matar was killed in an accident in one of the tunnels. Also Thursday, a young Palestinian man died after being accidentally electrocuted inside a smuggling tunnel connecting Rafah to Egypt... [Ma'an, last Thursday]

Two deaths in non-existent tunnels? And a few days before that, on Monday February 16, there's this ["Egypt finds 2.5 km smuggling tunnel under Gaza border"], also via Ma'an:


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