I'm surprised at The New York Times. They fell for yet another Palestinian public relations trick.
Sunday's front page featured a fairly well-researched think piece about how Israel is facing a vote in the United Nations that, the writer concluded, result in the U.N. General Assembly recognizing a Palestinian state in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel may be between a rock and a hard place, the piece concludes.
Fine. It's a legitimate point, if not a terribly realistic one. The United States and some other countries have said that a Palestinian state only can come about through negotiations, not actions by the U.N., which is notoriously anti-Israel.
But the photo that accompanied the story was a complete fabrication. It purported to show Israeli soldiers, armed to the teeth, staring at peace Palestinians praying over a piece of land they said was taken from them illegally by Israel. Arabs praying in the face of armed Israeli soldiers.
The problem is that the shot was obviously taken with a long, long lens. High-powered lenses compress shots. Watch a baseball game. It looks as if the batter is a few feet from the stands when, in fact, he's many yards away. It looks like the on-deck circle is a few feet from home plate when it's not.
Same thing here. The long lens compressed distance in this shot. The Israelis could have been the length of a football field away from the Arabs. And how would the Associated Press photographer know that these people were going out to pray if the Palestinian world-class public relations people hadn't told him and probably told him where to stand.
Now, even if the photographer fell for the PR ploy, I'm surprised the photo desk at the Times did. They know better...or should.
You have to give the Palestinians credit for good PR.
A few things about the story, if you please. First, everyone, including Ethan Bonner, the story's author, mentions the Palestinian position that they will not negotiate with Israel while Israeli building goes on in the West Bank. Bonner knows better about the peace negotiations. The Israelis had agreed to a 10-month moratorium on building in the West Bank to get negotiations going. The Arabs never came to the table for nine months. They showed up for the 10th month and stalled, then called for a continuation of the moratorium.
Never mind the obvious cynicism. Who got hurt by that? The Palestinians who worked on the projects. I know a guy who was one of the builders who had to stop working during the moratorium. He tried to keep his work force, mostly Palestinians, employed but had to let some of them go. The workers were the ones hurt.
Again, half truths and innuendos from Palestinians. And photographers who fall for them.
Until next time...