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March 16, 2010
NYT Blames Israel For Palestinian Incitement
The Hurva Synagogue was the premier Jewish place of worship in Jerusalem's Old City in the 19th and early 20th Centuries -- until Jordanian troops destroyed it in 1948. On March 15, after several years of painstaking restoration, it came to life again -- an exact replica of the old Hurva.
In the week before its reopening, however, the Palestinian Authority unleashed a vicious conspiracy campaign that falsely claimed that reopening the Hurva was a prelude to Israel's intent to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount to make room for the Third Jewish Temple. Palestinian officials called on Arabs to rush into the Old City by the thousands to "defend" Al-Aqsa -- the usual rallying cry for violent riots and the unleashing of stone barrages from Temple Mount on Jewish worshippers below at the Western Wall. Israeli authorities had to deploy several thousand police to prevent what could have been a bloody conflagration.
So how did the New York Times report this latest inciteful provocation by the Palestinian side in violation of its obligations under the U.S. road map's requirement that Palestinians cease all anti-Israel incitement?
Answer: By putting the blame on Israel! Yes, it's all Israel's fault.
In a March 16 article headlined "Rebuilt Synagogue Is Caught In Disputes Over Jerusalem," Isabel Kershner's lead paragraph reads as follows:
In other words, it wasn't Palestinian incitements and provocations that marred the reopening of the Hurva; it was Israel's "unfortunate timing" of the event. It was Israel "entangling a festive event" with the controversy over Israeli home construction in its capital.
To put the onus even more on Israel, Kershner goes on to tell Times readers that the Hurva, like the rest of the Old City, is located "in territory that Israel conquered from Jordan in the 1967 war" and that Israel's claim to that part of the city is "not recognized by most of the world." In other words, Israel's fault is that it -- and the Hurva -- really don't belong in the Old City.
Because, mind you, Kershner doesn't just blame Israel's "unfortunate timing" of the Hurva's reopening for getting the Palestinians all exercised, she challenges the very existence of the renovated Hurva in the Old City, as follows:
In other words, if you twist your neck from a certain vantage point in Jerusalem, the Hurva rises higher than Al-Aqsa -- the real provocation in Kershner's eyes.. God forbid, a Jewish synagogue should rise higher than Al-Aqsa! What nerve! What chutzpah!
And that paragraph is followed immediately by a statement in Damascus from Hamas's supreme leader, Khled Meshal that Hurva's reopening signifies "the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the building of the temple.", The same vicious canard promulgated by officials of Mahmoud Abbas's "moderate" Palestinian Authority and Fatah political party.
Having squarely put the monkey on Israel's back, Kershner finally gets around in her seventh paragraph to report that the State Department said the United States was "deeply disturbed by statements made by several Palestinian officials mischaracterizing the event in question, which could heighten tensions. We call upon Palestinian officials to put an end to such incitement."
Given the amount of ink the Times has devoted over the last week in reporting the Obama administration's savage attacks on Israel for plans to build more homes in a Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem (a neighborhood Hillary Clinton's husband when he was president felt should remain under Israeli sovereignty under his peace initiative), one might have thought that the State Department finally and belatedly taking a whack at the Palestinian Authority might have led Kershner's piece. Instead, Meshal's incendiary anti-Israel fulminations take precedence over a very rare U.S. protest against Palestinian actions.
And those are the lengths to which the New York Times stretches to exculpate Palestinian impediments to the peace process.