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December 26, 2009
WaPo expunging Palestinian terror
In its Dec. 26 edition, the Washington Post features a political profile of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak by Jerusalem correspondent Howard Schneider ("For Israel's Barak, a complicated part -- In allying with right, defense minister has gained influence but also roiled and perhaps hurt his Labor Party" page A18).
There are a number of distortions and falsehoods in Schneider's dispatch as he relates the role of then-Prime Minister Barak at the 2000 Camp David summit with Clinton and Arafat, and what happened after Arafat rejected a generous Clinton-Barak two-state peace deal without making even a counter-offer.
Schneider writes that there was a "collapse of negotiations," which led Barak to blame Arafat for the summit's failure. But he immediately neuters Barak's assertion by saying that "many on the Israeli left argue that Barak shares responsibility for the breakdown in negotiations." Schneider doesn't identify any of these Israeli leftists, but one thing is certain -- none of them were at Camp David to witness first-hand what actually happened.
In the interest of historical accuracy, Schneider instead might have cited the testimony of two people who played important roles at Camp David: President Clinton and his chief Mideast envoy, Dennis Ross. Both Clinton and Ross are on record as seconding Barak's report of why the summit went down the tubes -- that it was Arafat who torpedoed it.
There's an important third player whom Schneider also failed to cite: Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., who begged Arafat to accept the deal and told him that the Saudis would fully support his acceptance of the Barak-Clinton plan. After Arafat walked away, Prince Bandar publicly blamed Arafat for causing more than a tragedy -- but a real "crime" against a peaceful solution.
Yet, Schneider is more interested in peddling revisionist views of the Israeli left than in direct, first-hand accounts from Clinton, Ross, Barak and Prince Bandar.
Having lifted the blame for the summit's failure from Arafat, Schneider then proceeds to give Post readers a quickie account of what happened after the summit -- again slanted to remove any culpability on the part of Arafat and the Palestinians.
Writes Schneider: "Years of intense violence followed."
Who triggered the violence? Who took part? What sort of violence? How long exactly did it last? Schneider doesn't say.
Instead, he carefully removes any human fingerprints from this protracted spasm of unattributed violence. Just as humans weren't responsible for this week's blizzard, so are there no traces of human involvement in the way Schneider describes a Palestinian war of terror that took the lives of more than 1,000 Israeli civilians and injured several thousand others -- all with Arafat's blessing. A terror war that, while mostly put down by Israel, still lingers today -- as witness the Christmas Eve ambush murder of a rabbi, a father of seven, by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- the terrorist wing of Arafat's and now Abbas's Fatah party.
None of this comes to light in Schneider's reportage, which hides Palestinian terrorism and rejection of a two-state solution behind a curtain of Arafat exoneration. In Schneider's witing, there never was a blood-soaked Palestinian intifada against innocent civilians
Instead, it was just "years of intense violence" -- with no DNA samples from scenes of Palestinian suicide bombings on Israeli school buses, pizzerias, Passover celebrations, university campuses, stores and marketplaces.
Thus does the Post's "news" side clean up any and all traces of Palestinian terrorism. Even "militants'' now have been expunged from history.