The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Same Old, Same Old

It looks like the Palestinians have decided that they can live without handouts from the West and that brutal internal fighting between Hamas and Fatah have not evoked any sympathetic response from the West. So, in a classic (and in my opinion, cynical) move, they will form a “unity government” in hope of turning the aid spigot back on. Are they sincere about peace? I’d say they’re about as sincere as they’ve ever been, and that means they’re not sincere at all.

But that’s not the reason for this post. I’d like to deconstruct an article on this subject entitled “Abbas urges Israel to make Peace” by an Arab stringer by the name of Wafa Amr. Reuter’s is not known for its objectivity in the ME, but it is a major worldwide MSM outlet, and its reporting in this region is representative of the AP, CNN, the NYT, and many, many others. The problem isn’t so much a blatant misstatement of facts (although that happens commonly), it’s a lack on any context, and therefore, a purposeful attempt to draw the reader into erroneous conclusions. Let’s take a look:
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday that he expected to form a unity government with the rival Hamas faction this month in the hope of lifting a Western aid embargo.
So far, so good. A factual report that defines the story. He goes on the present excerpts from Abbas’ speech which add little but are innocuous. Then,
The United States and Europe imposed crippling sanctions on the Palestinian Authority when the militant Islamist group Hamas ousted Abbas's more moderate Fatah faction in an election in January.

Hamas “more moderate” than Fatah? That’s like saying that the Crips [a violent LA criminal gang] are more moderate than the Bloods [another LA gang]. Both Hamas and Fatah advocate the destruction of Israel. Hamas is just more honest about it.
Israel also withheld tax and customs receipts owed to the Palestinians. Hamas, which advocates Israel's destruction and helped spearhead a Palestinian revolt that erupted in 2000, has refused to soften its stand, prompting Abbas to seek to bring Fatah into the government in a bid to bridge differences.

Revolt? Oh, you mean the Intifada. Yeah, that’s what happened after Israel offered the Palestinians a settlement, brokered by Bill Clinton, that represented 90 percent of what they wanted – land for peace, economic incentives, a no-brainer. Except Yassar Arafat couldn’t do it, because Israel would still exist. So he blew it up, and hence, the “revolt.”
But Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said on Friday he was prepared to step aside to end the embargo.

It might be worthwhile noting that Hamas would still play a major role in the Parliament and states clearly that it has no intention of recognizing Israel – ever.
Israel has cautiously welcomed Abbas's efforts, though it insists that any new Palestinian government must recognize Israel's right to exist and renounce violence -- preconditions set by Western power-brokers -- before peace talks can begin.

"There is hope for the moderates, those who believe in a two-state solution," Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Friday.
So, faced with a new government that continues to advocate its destruction, what does Israel do, it says ‘okay, we’ll try (again).’ But like all articles of this type, Israeli optimism is always followed by a “but,”
But Abbas said Israel must also take the lead.

"It is high time the Israeli government realizes that the continuation of its settlement and occupation is an impossible matter and that military force, no matter how mighty, will not break the will of the people," he said.

Is that the same “occupation” that had Israel UNILATERALLY leave the Gaza, only to have a continuing stream of rockets rain down on its civilian population? Is that the same use of military force that attempts to stop these indiscriminate attacks? Yeah, the same.
Palestinians seek statehood in the West Bank and Gaza, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war. Though Israel quit the latter territory last year, it has said it will keep Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank under any future peace deal.

The 1967 war resulted in a reshuffling of territory. Israel was attacked by the Arabs, not visa versa. It took the land as part of a defensive military action. It’s now willing to return 90 percent of it with nothing other than a pledge of peace. But that’s not enough. The Palis want it all, even though they never held claim to it in the first place! P.S. The “West Bank” was part of Jordan prior to the 1967 War, NOT part of any sovereign state called “Palestine” because there was no sovereign, Arab-governed state called Palestine – ever.
The diplomatic deadlock since Hamas's election victory has seen spiraling violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen, as well as fighting between Hamas and Fatah loyalists.
Israel has mounted military sweeps of Gaza to try to counter cross-border rocket salvoes and retrieve a captive soldier. The most recent mission culminated with the death of 19 civilians in an Israeli artillery barrage on the Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.
Abbas condemned the killings -- which Israel said resulted from a gunnery error -- as a "barbaric massacre."

Inadvertent civilian deaths are morally equivalent to purposeful (that’s a key word in this discussion) slaughter of Israeli innocents by suicide bombers and indiscriminate rocket attacks that occur daily? Israel strikes back and occasionally makes mistakes. In a war, the unfortunate truth is that people (often civilians) die. The real issue is whether they are purposefully targeted. If the Palis were really concerned about the deaths of their civilians, maybe they’d stop the attacks that are planned and perpetrated within Gaza. Surely, "moderate" Fatah aided by a newly virtuous Hamas could do that, don't you think?
But he said that Hamas's hard line against peace talks, as opposed to the previous Fatah-led government's pursuit of coexistence with Israel, would only spell more bloodshed.
"Any political program that is not based on the national program that was endorsed by popular consensus, and enjoyed international as well as Arab support, will only give a pretext to Israel to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and to refuse to withdraw from our land," he said.

Of course, it’s the Palestinians who have prevented the establishment of a Palestinian state. But no one, particularly no one who sympathizes with their cause, wants to hear that. The beat goes on.