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Factual Misreporting of the News
A CNN Example

On January 28, 2001 Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres spoke at the Davos  Economic Conference.  While Israel was making a last ditch effort to save the Peace Process by making major concessions in Taba, Arafat delivered an anti-Israel diatribe full of misinformation, so hostile and vitriolic -- calling Barak's Israel "fascist" -- that it left the international attendees stunned.  All this was whitewashed by CNN, and no major paper or network carried the actual text of Arafat's speech.

The Actual Davos Text from the Palestinian Foreign Affairs website

January, 28 2001

Mr. President

Ladies and Gentlemen, leaders and members of the participating delegations

Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me first, Mr. President, to convey to you, a special greeting on convening this important economic forum. I would like to express to you, as well, our sincerest thanks and our deepest appreciation for your kind invitation...

When we talk about economics, there is no way but to talk about politics because of its great influence on economics...

The current Government of Israel is waging, for the last four months, a savage and barbaric war, as well as, a blatant and fascist military aggression against our Palestinian people. In this aggression it is using internationally prohibited weapons and ammunitions that include in their construction depleted uranium. In addition, Israel is laying against us total siege, indeed, worse than that, it is imposing this siege against every village and town. It is prohibiting the freedom of movement and travel of our people. It is jeopardizing the basic human rights of our Palestinian citizens, dismissing our workers, closing our factories, destroying a number of these, so much so that 90% of our workers are forcibly unemployed, destroying our farms and fruit trees and prohibiting export and import, indeed it is forbidding us to receive, from brothers and friends, donated provisions. All this is in violation of all resolutions of international legality, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Human Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the Protection of Civilians in Times of War.

Have you seen a more ugly policy than this policy of collective punishment or more destruction in the contemporary age? Israel is putting all of our people in confrontation with this dangerous military escalation, and its occupational, settlement, aggressive and armed expansionism as well as in confrontation with its dreams of achieving territorial and regional gains at the expense of our people, in a manner, which is in contravention of international legality and the rights of our Palestinian people to their land, Christian and Islamic holy places and to their natural resources. 

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen, leaders and members of the delegations,

Whoever wants really to achieve peace and seeks it with belief and sincerity, does not resort to killing, persecution, assassination, destruction and devastation as the Government of Israel and its army of occupation are doing to our people these days and since four continuous months. The number of Palestinian martyrs has exceeded the four hundred. The number of injured persons has exceeded seventeen thousand, of whom 5439 are children. These are the human losses and damages. The grand total, so far, of the economic and financial losses in all sectors, as a result of destruction caused by the Israeli occupational military machine, to the infrastructures and to public and private property and other losses is US $ billion 2,4 including the heavy losses inflicted on the Palestinian farmers as a result of cutting more than one hundred thousand trees and leveling of 10000 dunums of land (1 dunum = 1000 m2). This, of course, leaves destructive consequences on the livelihood of the Palestinian citizens and the Palestinian investment. Added to these losses should be those caused by the Israeli shells, from tanks, artillery, planes and rockets, to the buildings, establishments, installations and institutions, such as schools, colleges, churches and mosques.

This is a very short resume? of what has befallen our society in terms of dire human and material losses and as a result of the situation of total siege and closure. As a result, the percentage of those who are living under the lineof poverty has risen to 75% and general national income has decreased sharply in millions of US dollars annually. 

While we confirm to you, dear friends once more, our adherence to a comprehensive, just and permanent peace, the peace of the brave, as a firm strategic choice of our Palestinian people, we look up to you, and to the United Nations and to all justice-, freedom-, peace- and democracy - loving forces the world over, and to all brothers and friends, to approach the vital and influential international forces in the world, so as to bear their moral and human responsibilities in order to work in sincerity, objectivity, neutrality and fairness, to find a quick and just solution to the Issue of Palestine, in accordance with the spirit of right and justice and the international resolutions related to Palestine.

You know, ladies and gentlemen, that we have made great concessions and sacrifices in order to achieve comprehensive, just and permanent peace. Yes, indeed, we have accepted less than one quarter of the total area of historic Palestine. We accepted, at the Madrid Peace Conference, the principle of land for peace on the basis of [UN] Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 which call for the withdrawal of Israel, the occupying power, from all Arab and Palestinian occupied territories, including Holy Jerusalem, to the fourth of June border lines; the dismantling of every thing the occupation has built in terms of settlements and settlement structures that have no basis of legality; and the implementation of [UN General Assembly] Resolution 194 on the Palestinian refugees. We have achieved, as well, peace agreements with my late partner Yitzhak Rabin, in making the peace of the brave, which guarantees us the establishment of our independent Palestinian state, with holy Jerusalem as its capital. 

We look forward to the whole international community, the United Nations Organization and the vital and influential international forces, to work for ending this Israeli war and aggression against our unarmed people; a war and an aggression which constitute a flagrant and blatant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relating to the Protection of Civilians in Times of War. We ask for the provision of international protection for our people immediately, the lifting of the siege and closure and the ending of this escalating military aggression.

Our Palestinian people, ladies and gentlemen, look up to you to help them in realizing their inalienable legitimate national rights so as to be able to march forward on the road of development and construction of their homeland, to catch up with the developed and advanced course of international economy, and to live with dignity, freedom, sovereignty and independence in their homeland, Palestine, like all other peoples and states in the region and the world, in a framework of confidence, mutual respect and good neighborliness with their surroundings.

Finally, we reiterate our thanks to you, Mr. President, for inviting us, and for giving us the opportunity to address this august Forum. We wish you success and good luck in realizing the noble aims of this meeting. We express our sincere hope and firm desire to have the honor to invite you all on a very close day, God be willing, to convene your Forum in Holy Jerusalem, the capital of the independent State of Palestine.

Peace be with you all

[IMRA:  Arafat made this speech less than 24 hours after Israeli FM Ben Ami declared at a press conference at Taba that "peace in our time" was just a matter of  weeks away.  While Minister Shimon Peres, who shared the stage with Arafat at Davos, declined to defend Israel at the meeting, Prime Minister Ehud Barak reacted to Arafat's presentation by announcing that he would not meet with Arafat before the elections in Israel on February 6]

Here is the Davos text as reported by CNN.  It bears no resemblance to the
speech actually made by Arafat at Davos.

CNN Jerusalem Bureau Chief Mike Hanna contributed to this report.
Arafat followed Peres' comments by speaking in English, which the Palestinian leader does not do often. "We will continue together," Arafat said, shaking Peres' hand as the audience applauded.

Despite Peres' and Arafat's return to using the phrase "partner in peace" for each other, the Palestinian Authority president did issue an angry denunciation of measures he said Israel was taking against the Palestinian people.

"I wouldn't wish an Israeli child to live a single hour of the lives that Palestinian children are now having to live, suffering under repression and bombardment," Arafat said.

Arafat blamed "extremists in both camps" for blocking Israel and the Palestinian Authority from reaching a final peace agreement. "It is these extremists who murdered Yitzhak Rabin. These same extremists are now resorting to violence against us, against all of us.

"We have extremists, too, in our own camp, in our own ranks," Arafat said. "Of course, there are extremists everywhere, all over the world ... Despite this we are defending ourselves against these extremists."

Rabin was assassinated November 4, 1995, by an ultra-nationalist Jew who was opposed to the then-prime minister's land-for-peace agreements with the Palestinians.

Peres also denounced so-called extremists on his side who might take up arms against Palestinians.

"We have extremes," Peres said. "We don't let extremes use rifles."

Source: Independent Media Review and Analysis
Also much more at  Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and Honest Reporting

This page was produced by Joseph E. Katz
Middle Eastern Political and Religious History Analyst 
Brooklyn, New York 
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