Press Release (29 September 1998)
Today, The New York Times published an article, entitled "Arafat at U.N., Urges Backing for Statehood", on the participation of H.E. President Yasser Arafat in the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly, which included quotes from his address. We were astonished to notice that the newspaper misquoted an important part of his address by omitting an essential phrase, thus conveying a different political meaning.
The correct quoted part reads as follows, with the missing phrase in italics: "I would like to call upon all of you, from this place, the source of international legitimacy and peacemaking, the guardian of freedom, security and stability, and the source for the achievement of justice and prosperity for humankind, to stand by our people, especially as the five-year transitional period provided for in the Palestinian-Israeli agreements will end on 4 May 1999 and our people demand of us to shoulder our responsibilities and they await the establishment of their independent state."
While we would like to believe that the omission was simply the result of an error, we find that difficult because of the fact that the address was distributed in English to the press, including The New York Times office at the United Nations, and because of the particular significance of the phrase which was omitted.
This act demonstrated a failure by The New York Times to meet the standards of accurate, honest, and non-partisan reporting of the news.