NYT Tilts Scales Against Israel as Biden, Mitchell Make New Peace Efforts

Leo Rennert
In a March 8 dispatch about Vice President Biden's visit to Israel and U.S. envoy George Mitchell's efforts to restart peace talks, Ethan Bronner, the Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times, puts the entire onus on Israel to get the peace process moving, with nary a word about any Palestinian obstacles to move the two sides closer together.

In getting down to the nitty-gritty details of Mitchell's launch of indirect negotiations, Bronner writes that Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the presence of Jewish residents in East Jerusalem will be a matter of "serious contention."  In this connection, Bronner devotes several paragraphs to Palestinian demands for an absolute construction freeze in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, noting that Israel has failed to go all the way to meet these demands -- as if the Palestinians are simply entitled to lay out their objectives for the upcoming talks and Israel must oblige them to the fullest.

Bronner quotes Palestinian negotiator Saed Erekat's dire warning of what might happen if Israel didn't oblige and didn't fall in line iwth Palestinians demands.  But absent from his article is any comment from the Israeli side.

While highlighting Palestinian demands, Bronner is totally silent about Israel's serious concerns that Palestinians have not demonstrated a real readiness to abandon terrorism and settle for a genuine two-state solution.

Not one word about Israel's insistence on an end to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's incitement to violence and glorification of terrorists.  No mention that Prime Minister Netanyahu has strongly protested to the White House Abbas's decision to honor a Palestinian killer who murdered 37 Israelis in 1979 in the worst terrorist attack on the Jewish state -- an honor due to be accorded in a ceremony in Ramallah when a square in the city will be formally named after her on Thursday -- one day after Biden's visit to Ramallah.

Nor does Bronner point out that Mitchell, in announcing the start of indirect talks, pleaded with both sides to refrain from statements or actions that might create new tensions and jeopardize his mission.  The PA's plans to glorify the bloodiest Palestinian terrorist while Mitchell tries to kick-start the peace process certainly qualify as the kind of provocative action that Mitchell didn't need and didn't want to obstruct his efforts.  So it should be newsworthy that Abbas is sticking it to Mitchell when he continues to pay homage to suicide bombers as "holy martrys."

And what about Abbas's failure to amend the Fatah/PLO charter which still calls for Israel's destruction?  Or his absolute insistence on a full "right of return" for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants -- a move designed to eliminate the Jewish state demographically?

If Bronner and the New York Times zero in on Jewish settlements as matters of "serious contentions'' in upcoming negotiations, why not also report that Abbas's anti-Israel incitements in Palestinian media, mosques and broadcasts under his control also are apt to be matters of "serious contention" ? When Palestinian children in the West Bank continue to be told on PA TV programs that all of Israel is "Palestine," wouldn't that be another matter of "serious contention" in any discussion of final borders?

Why the exclusive concern about Jewish settlements, letting Abbas and the PA off scot-free about any of their impediments to progress on the peace front?
In a March 8 dispatch about Vice President Biden's visit to Israel and U.S. envoy George Mitchell's efforts to restart peace talks, Ethan Bronner, the Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times, puts the entire onus on Israel to get the peace process moving, with nary a word about any Palestinian obstacles to move the two sides closer together.

In getting down to the nitty-gritty details of Mitchell's launch of indirect negotiations, Bronner writes that Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the presence of Jewish residents in East Jerusalem will be a matter of "serious contention."  In this connection, Bronner devotes several paragraphs to Palestinian demands for an absolute construction freeze in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, noting that Israel has failed to go all the way to meet these demands -- as if the Palestinians are simply entitled to lay out their objectives for the upcoming talks and Israel must oblige them to the fullest.

Bronner quotes Palestinian negotiator Saed Erekat's dire warning of what might happen if Israel didn't oblige and didn't fall in line iwth Palestinians demands.  But absent from his article is any comment from the Israeli side.

While highlighting Palestinian demands, Bronner is totally silent about Israel's serious concerns that Palestinians have not demonstrated a real readiness to abandon terrorism and settle for a genuine two-state solution.

Not one word about Israel's insistence on an end to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's incitement to violence and glorification of terrorists.  No mention that Prime Minister Netanyahu has strongly protested to the White House Abbas's decision to honor a Palestinian killer who murdered 37 Israelis in 1979 in the worst terrorist attack on the Jewish state -- an honor due to be accorded in a ceremony in Ramallah when a square in the city will be formally named after her on Thursday -- one day after Biden's visit to Ramallah.

Nor does Bronner point out that Mitchell, in announcing the start of indirect talks, pleaded with both sides to refrain from statements or actions that might create new tensions and jeopardize his mission.  The PA's plans to glorify the bloodiest Palestinian terrorist while Mitchell tries to kick-start the peace process certainly qualify as the kind of provocative action that Mitchell didn't need and didn't want to obstruct his efforts.  So it should be newsworthy that Abbas is sticking it to Mitchell when he continues to pay homage to suicide bombers as "holy martrys."

And what about Abbas's failure to amend the Fatah/PLO charter which still calls for Israel's destruction?  Or his absolute insistence on a full "right of return" for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants -- a move designed to eliminate the Jewish state demographically?

If Bronner and the New York Times zero in on Jewish settlements as matters of "serious contentions'' in upcoming negotiations, why not also report that Abbas's anti-Israel incitements in Palestinian media, mosques and broadcasts under his control also are apt to be matters of "serious contention" ? When Palestinian children in the West Bank continue to be told on PA TV programs that all of Israel is "Palestine," wouldn't that be another matter of "serious contention" in any discussion of final borders?

Why the exclusive concern about Jewish settlements, letting Abbas and the PA off scot-free about any of their impediments to progress on the peace front?