In their March 12 coverage of the release from prison of a Jordanian man who killed seven Israeli schoolgirls 20 years ago, Washington Post reporters Ruth Eglash and Taylor Luck quoted one of the many Jordanians who consider the man a hero claiming that “Israelis kill Palestinians by the hundreds every month, and no one is brought to justice.” The pair allowed that claim to go unchallenged, leaving one to wonder where this “great journalism” the paper promotes in its subscription solicitations is hiding.
The Post reporters failed to mention that the killer, Ahmed Daqamseh, who was a Jordanian soldier at the time, also wounded seven others, including a teacher.
The 1997 murders were especially noteworthy because of the reaction of Jordan’s King Hussein, who, as the Post reporters noted, visited the “Israeli town” where the children had lived “to comfort the parents of seven schoolgirls.” Unfortunately for Hussein, who “also promised to seek justice,” the Jordanian legal system found Daqamseh mentally unstable, and sentenced him to “life in prison” instead of death. “Life in prison” in Jordan apparently really means “no more than 20 years.”
Thus, the families of those who died and those who survived Daqamseh’s attack were forced to suffer the indignity of his release to a hero’s welcome:
In Jordan, supporters of Daqamseh, whom the Jordan military court deemed mentally unstable at the time, hailed his release and called him a hero.
He was released overnight Saturday, Jordanian authorities said, to forestall large celebrations and a hero’s welcome. But hundreds of relatives and supporters greeted Daqamseh at his family home in the northern village of Ibdir, 60 miles north of Amman, the Jordanian capital.
In his first statement after leaving prison, Daqamseh said, “I entered prison a soldier of the armed forces and today I consider myself a member of the armed forces.”
“Don’t believe the lie of normalization with the Zionist entity. Don’t believe the lie of the two-state solution; Palestine united is from the ocean to the river … there is no state called ‘Israel,’” he later said in an interview with Al Jazeera.
Daqamseh’s name trended on Twitter, and social media users hailed the former soldier as a “hero” and a “model.” Jordanians explained their support by pointing to lenient or nonexistent punishments handed down to Israeli citizens and soldiers convicted of killing Palestinian civilians.
In a supreme irony, the web page containing the Post’s story has a link to a story which appears right above the paragraph about what “Jordanians” claim: “Israeli soldier sentenced to 18 months for shooting disarmed Palestinian attacker.” So much for that “nonexistent punishment.”
The we get to the really problematic paragraph:
“Israelis kill Palestinians by the hundreds every month, and no one is brought to justice. Why do we punish a soldier?” asked Mohammed Youssef, a 45-year-old shopkeeper in central Amman, watching recaps of Daqamseh’s release on television.
Eglash and Luck inexplicably allowed this statement to go unchallenged and unrefuted.
For those who wish to excuse the reporters because everyone “obviously” knows that Youssef’s claim is false, Michael Berenhaus at American Thinker had this response on Thursday:
… This quote was given to justify – yes, justify – why Jordanians believe that mass murderer Ahmed Daqamseh was a hero.
The claim itself is 100% absolutely false. So with the Washington Post’s investigative nature, why wouldn’t they at least put a disclaimer that Jordanians are brainwashed into believing that Israelis are killing Palestinians by the hundreds each month? And that this aids in their warped view that a murderer of schoolgirls is therefore a hero!
The Washington Post knows this and not only posts the libelous comment, but remains silent in not challenging it – or better yet, debunking it! How are their readers supposed to know the truth?
Berenhaus is spot-on in observing that Jordanians are brainwashed, but he also recognizes that many casual readers will also not recognize that what Youssef said is complete rubbish. As a result, many will be drawn into holding bogus, false-equivalent, “both sides are equally bad” beliefs which have no rational basis.
That may or may not be what Eglash and Luck thought they would accomplish with their silence, as their failure to rebut Youssef could be due to sheer laziness.
But we do know this: It had nothing to do with “great journalism.”
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.