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Al-Jazeera apologizes to Israel for celebrating murderer of Israeli children



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(This is a follow-up to the item of July 23, Israel to sanction Al-Jazeera after it holds party to honor released child-killer.)

The al-Jazeera television network yesterday admitted that its coverage of Israel’s release of convicted Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar last month violated the station’s own “code of ethics.” The admission came in response to a threat by Israel’s Government Press Office to boycott the satellite channel unless it apologized.

Israel had said that it would no longer assist al-Jazeera after it hosted a televised party, complete with soft drinks and cake, for convicted child killer Samir Kuntar, freed by Israel last month in a controversial prisoner swap with Hezbollah.

Danny Seaman, the director of Israel’s Government Press Office, tells me that yesterday he received an official letter from al-Jazeera’s general director, Khanfar Wadah. Wadah wrote that “elements of the program” broadcast in Kuntar’s honor on the night of Saturday, July 19, “violated [the station’s] Code of Ethics,” and he “regards these violations as very serious.”

Wadah also said he had ordered the channel’s programming director to take steps to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.

Israeli officials have long accused the influential pan-Arab al-Jazeera network of biased reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a charge it has denied. Other networks whose coverage over the years have been even more inflammatory to Israel than al-Jazeera’s, such as the BBC, have yet to apologize.

(Click here for background on Kuntar’s release.)


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