Well, is it, or isn’t it?
As I have noted in previously posted pages, a common method used by the mainstream media to downplay facts that might cause their readers to wonder whether Israel has legitimate concerns in connection with events is to portray those facts as merely an Israeli allegation — e.g., “Israel says” or “Israeli officials claim”.
Today’s exhibit concerns Egypt’s apparent violation of the explicit terms of the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries. Here is how the AP is reporting the matter:
Israel says Egypt violating peace treaty in Sinai
..JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli officials say Egypt is violating their 1979 peace treaty by deploying tanks in the demilitarized Sinai desert, which borders Israel.
The officials said Tuesday they have made their objections known to the Egyptians directly and through American mediators. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a sensitive security issue.
Egypt has been building up its military presence in lawless Sinai after Islamic militants there attacked an army post on Aug. 5 and killed 16 soldiers.
Israel has welcomed the crackdown but says tank deployments should have been coordinated. Israel has previously agreed to exceptions to the treaty allowing Egypt to add troops and equipment in Sinai.
An Egyptian border official said he met with Israeli counterparts and heard their concerns about the military presence in Sinai.
The text of the peace treaty is not some deeply hidden secret, such that the AP cannot independently verify whether what “Israeli officials say” is or is not accurate. For anyone interested, here is a link to the complete text of the treaty, posted at the Web site of Israel’s minstry of foreign affairs:
The specific limits on armaments are set forth in Article II of Annex I to the treaty. Of further interest is the US-Israel Memorandum of Agreement signed contemporaneously with the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, which binds the U.S. to act in the event of a violation of the treaty.
So which is it? Is Egypt violating the peace treaty, or is it not violating the peace treaty? If it is, don’t norms of journalsm require that the AP and other media outlets report this as fact, rather than as a mere allegation by “Israeli officials”? More importantly, given the recent changes in Egypt’s leadership, isn’t such a unilateral act by Egypt something that ought to be treated by the media with some measure of seriousness?