Wednesday, July 07, 2004

 

Those damn pesky reporters, asking their questions

Yesterday, Sec. of State Colin Powell told reporters, "We have some disappointment in the rate at which [illegal Israeli settlement] outposts had been removed." As usual, Israel brushed aside the criticism. What is interesting this time, after last week George W. Bush got all miffed at his treatment by an Irish reporter who didn't stick to the script, was Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom's response:
The foreign minister told an Israel Radio interviewer that Powell's "remarks at the news conference came after your reporter repeatedly asked him the question, until he finally succeeded in prying out that answer."
The nerve of that reporter, to ask a question more than once to try to get a straight answer. Recently, too many people have had it far too easy from the press. Public figures and government officials are so used to being served softballs, being allowed to turn the question here, there, and everywhere to spout some scripted response, that they get upset when they are challenged. Of course, for too long the press was OK to go along with everything. Now, though, people are getting pissed off at the acquiescence of the press in all of this (even if you think Michael Moore is a nut, you'd find quite a few people who agree with his challenging of the press in his recent interviews on morning TV shows, etc.), and championing those journalists who won't get bullied by the people in front of the microphones and cameras. But that's just my take on it.

From the same Ha'aretz article:
At their meeting, Shalom asked Powell to try and convince the nations donating money to the Palestinian Authority to condition future financial aid on the cessation of Qassam rocket attacks against Israel, and on the political reform of the PA. Shalom also told Powell that Israel opposes an Egyptian proposal for a Palestinian cease-fire declaration in September.
First of all, to condition financial aid on cessation of Qassam rocket attacks is ridiculous. You can count the number of fatalities from Qassam rocket attacks on one hand - on two fingers. They do not pose a serious threat to Israeli security and they are not being launched by the PA, that's for damn sure. Second, political reform would be great, but at this point political reform is going to need to come with something attached - Palestinian elections, perhaps, would be the best solution. Third, why would Israel oppose a Palestinian cease-fire? It's not really the cease-fire they oppose, they oppose giving anything in return for a cease-fire, right? What exactly is Egypt proposing Israel give in return for the cease-fire in September? This I would like to know.

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