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August 16, 2016 9:51 am

Reuters Bureau Chief Deletes Tweet Saying Palestinian Leadership Doesn’t Allow Athletes to Train in Israel

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The Twitter exchange with Luke Baker. Photo:Elder of Ziyon/Screenshot. taken from Elder of Ziyon blog

The Twitter exchange with Luke Baker. Photo:Elder of Ziyon/Screenshot. taken from Elder of Ziyon blog

The Jerusalem bureau chief for Reuters deleted a tweet he posted last week about the plight of Palestinian athletes, after engaging in an exchange with pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon.

Luke Baker erased a claim he made last Thursday that Palestinian leaders oppose letting Palestinian athletes train in Israel.

This was an apparent reference to reports by media outlets such as Mondoweiss, that “Mary al Atrash, a 22-year-old swimmer from Beit Sahour in the West Bank who was part of the largest delegation Palestine has ever sent to the Olympic Games…[had] difficulties to train in a swimming pool that does not match the Olympic standards, and explained that although she technically lives close to Jerusalem, where such swimming pools, exist, she could not go there to train.”

It turned out, however, that Atrash had never applied for an Israeli entry permit, possibly due to a Palestinian Authority anti-normalization policy.

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Baker then modified his comment to: “The conflict is the responsibility of both Israel and the Palestinians, who have opposed letting athletes train in Israel.”

Elder of Ziyon concluded, “Apparently the narrative of the Palestinians as only victims and without any responsibility for their own destinies was too strong for a Reuters reporter to admit otherwise, even though that admission was to defend a story that implied that Israel had banned [Palestinian swimmer Mary] al-Atrash, not her own people.”

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