1) Is there any hope left for Mideast honesty in the New York Times
A few people have pointed out that I missed an op-ed by Rashid Khalidi, Is Any Hope Left for Mideast Peace? One paragraph really stuck out.
Until 1991 most Palestinians, although under Israeli military occupation, could nonetheless travel freely. Today, an entire generation of Palestinians has never been allowed to visit Jerusalem, enter Israel or cross between the West Bank and Gaza. This ghettoization of the Palestinians, along with the unrest of the second intifada of 2000-5 and the construction of seemingly permanent settlements and of an apartheid-style wall, are the tragic fruits of the so-called peace process the United States has led.
Khalidi mentions the second intifada and the travel restrictions (which aren’t as total as Khalidi writes) and the security barrier as if they are unrelated. Of course the intifada – which was orchestrated by Yasser Arafat – is the reason that Israeli had to impose travel restrictions and build a separation barrier.
Later Khalidi writes:
If Mr. Obama decided to devote energy toward resolving the conflict — a big if — it would not be easy. The Palestinians are deeply divided between supporters of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, which governs the West Bank, and Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza. An even bigger obstacle is Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing government, hellbent on territorial expansion.
“Right-wing?” Really? Hamas isn’t a militant organization but a terrorist organization. It is devoted to destroying Israel. It has stockpiled weapons to threaten much of southern Israel. And the Israeli government is a bigger obstacle to peace? Who does Khalidi think he’s kidding.
Jerold Auerbach critiques the Khalidi op-ed and two others at The Algemeiner:
Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi wants President Obama to guide a peace process that any Palestinian would applaud: an end to Israel’s “intransigence,“ “illegal” settlements, “apartheid-style wall,” and “ghettoization” of Palestinians, with a government “hellbent on territorial expansion.” The Israeli “occupation” must end, and settlements must be removed. What Palestinians must do is not mentioned.
From their quite different perspectives Friedman, Shavit and Khalidi reach the shared conclusion that surely pleases Times editors: the absence of peace is entirely Israel’s fault. And, no surprise, Jewish settlers are primarily responsible. Not a word about the Palestinian terrorism that led to the “apartheid-style wall” separating Israel from the West Bank. Nor about Israel’s 10-month settlement freeze two years ago that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pointedly ignored. Nor about the vast Hezbollah accumulation of rockets in south Lebanon that probably exceeds what Hamas has stored in Gaza. Nor about the absurd claim, echoed by Khalidi, that “5 million” Palestinians live “in a state of subjugation or exile” for which Israel implicitly bears responsibility.
It is highly unlikely that the Times would publish three op-eds in a decade, no less in a single day, that even mention, no less defend, the right of “close settlement” west of the Jordan River enjoyed by Jews ever since the League of Nations approved the Mandate for Palestine nearly a century ago. That right has never been rescinded. Or that UN Resolution 242 following the Six-Day War called upon Israel to withdraw its military forces from “territories,” not from “the” territories or “all” the territories that it had gained from Arab aggression. Or, even in passing, that there already is a state (now known as Jordan) with a Palestinian population majority, in Palestine as originally defined by the League of Nations. Or that settlement in the Land of Israel is what Zionism has always meant. Might the Times recognize that the largest Jewish settlement in the Middle East, endlessly calumnied in its own pages, is the State of Israel?
2) Will apartments sink peace?
On Saturday, Jodi Rudoren reported New Apartments Will Complicate Jerusalem Issue:
With President Obama scheduled to visit this week, the government has postponed action on several East Jerusalem projects, to make sure there are no awkward events like when Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived in 2010 and was greeted by an announcement of 1,600 new units.
Those more traditional, government-financed settlements may be delayed, but The Jerusalem Post has for weeks been running advertisements promoting Maalot David and another new apartment block, Beit Orot — both privately owned and developed — as a “dream come true” for their proximity to the Old City and the 3,000-year-old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
While most experts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have long imagined Jerusalem as ultimately being divided, with Jewish neighborhoods remaining part of Israel and Arab ones joining Palestine, these new buildings make such a plan more complicated if not impossible — which may be exactly the point.
While many (experts) imagined Jerusalem being divided, Yaacov Lozowick has presented an extensive case why Jerusalem can’t and shouldn’t be divided.
The article has one egregious error. Also as Yisrael Medad shows, Rudoren reports facts but doesn’t seem to comprehend the significance of them.
Unlike Rashid Khalidi, or Ben Ehrenreich or Joseph Levine, I don’t think that Jodi Rudoren is informed by hostility to Israel. Still, her reporting fleshes out the arguments made by the others. If one is anti-Israel, Israel’s actions must also be suspect.
Towards the end of the article Rudoren writes:
After Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier kidnapped in the Gaza Strip, was released in late 2011 in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, Mr. Zaghal said, some Jews threw stones and water at people celebrating in the street, and made a big sign declaring, “One Jew is Worth 1,000 Arabs.”
“Everyone knows they don’t love us and we don’t love them,” Mr. Zaghal, 32, said. “They think that this is their place and this is their land, but this is not the case. We are here and we are staying here, but they won’t. There are people here who won’t let them.”
Rudoren faithfully reports Dr. Zaghal’s complaint about the bad behavior of “some Jews.” But would she ever report that the “moderate” leader of the Palestinians celebrated the memory of a terror supporter?
In the New York Times it seems that not only is Israel wrong, nothing much it does is right either.
3) A Thomas Friedman postscript
The other day, I dumped on Thomas Friedman. I’m not alone in my assessment of the columnist.
Elder of Ziyon interviewed Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, head of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs in the Prime Minister’s office. In their second interview, Gen. Kuperwasser asks why Thomas Friedman can’t admit that he’s been wrong about the Middle East.