NYT's Curious Lack of Curiousity

Leo Rennert
While Vice President Biden gave a major address about the peace process in Tel Aviv on March 11, the youth division of Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party dedicated a public square in the West Bank in honor of a Palestinian terrorist who carried out the deadliest attack in Israel's history.

In his address, Biden explained that he had come down hard on Israel and, at the request of President Obama, "condemned" the announcement of plans to build more homes for Jews in eastern Jerusalem because this was bound to break the "required trust for productive negotiations."  Biden also promised to hold BOTH sides accountable when they do something to "inflame tensions" that threaten peace talks.

The ceremony eulogizing Dalal, Mughrabi, who led a Palestinian terror squad the killed 38 Israeli civilians, 13 of them children, in 1978, was covered by the New York Times in a dispatch from Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner ("Palestinians Honor a Figure Reviled in Israel as a Terrorist" March 12, page A9).

But there is a rather curious omission in her article -- the failure of Biden to condemn the glorification by Abbas's political party of the perpetrator of the worst terrorist attack in Israel's history. 

After all, Biden had just proclaimed that the Obama administration would hold BOTH sides accountable for any provocations that could jeopardize peace negotiations. And a few miles away,  there was a commemorative ceremony glorifying the bloodiest Palestinian terrorist -- with a senior Fatah leader and a Palestinian Authority security official in attendance.  And yet, the vice president failed the first test of his commitment to also hold the Palestinian side accountable for inflaming tensions while the U.S. is trying to kick-start negotiations.  He said nothing about Abbas's persistent glorification of Palestinian terrorists, including the Mughrabi commemorative event, while he was still in Israel.

Shouldn't Kershner or someone on the Times' staff immediately have asked Biden's press staff why the veep held his tongue about an outrageously provocative act by Mahmoud Abbas's PA and Fatah party, especially when the vice president didn't hold his punches in excoriating Israel about more building projects in its capital? 

Members of the White House press, including New York Times correspondents, usually are quick to fire questions when Israel is perceived as creating impediments to the peace process.  Why the lack of similar jounalistic inquiry and curiosity when the Palestinian side inflames tensions at a critical moment when the administration is trying to pump new life into that peace process?

Kershner quotes Tawfiq Tirawi,a member of Abbas's Fatah Central Committee, as declaring that "we are all Dalal Mughrabi."  If that's the real sentiment of the supposedly "moderate"  Palestinians, doesn't Biden think that may prompt Israeli leaders to think again before making tough concessions to achieve a two-state solution under U.S. mediation?  And shouldn't a reporter worth her salt have posed just such a question to the White House?

But instead of reporting the deafening silence of Biden at such a provocation, Kershner offers Abbas an alibi for the disgusting glorification of this arch-terrorist.  The dedication of the public square in honor of Mughrabi, she writes, was low-key.  The PA put off an "official ceremony" to avoid embrrassing Biden, as if the low-key clebration of Mughrabi was not sufficient to raise U.S. hackles.

When Israel is seen by the U.S. as getting out of line, the Times spares no ink in spotlighting Israeli impediments to peace negotiations.  But when "moderate" Palestinians get out of line, the Times provides them with an alibi and fails to ask Biden and the White House the rather obvious question of why they're not as upset about the glorification of Mughrabi as they are about Israel building homes for Jews in eastern Jerusalem.
While Vice President Biden gave a major address about the peace process in Tel Aviv on March 11, the youth division of Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party dedicated a public square in the West Bank in honor of a Palestinian terrorist who carried out the deadliest attack in Israel's history.

In his address, Biden explained that he had come down hard on Israel and, at the request of President Obama, "condemned" the announcement of plans to build more homes for Jews in eastern Jerusalem because this was bound to break the "required trust for productive negotiations."  Biden also promised to hold BOTH sides accountable when they do something to "inflame tensions" that threaten peace talks.

The ceremony eulogizing Dalal, Mughrabi, who led a Palestinian terror squad the killed 38 Israeli civilians, 13 of them children, in 1978, was covered by the New York Times in a dispatch from Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner ("Palestinians Honor a Figure Reviled in Israel as a Terrorist" March 12, page A9).

But there is a rather curious omission in her article -- the failure of Biden to condemn the glorification by Abbas's political party of the perpetrator of the worst terrorist attack in Israel's history. 

After all, Biden had just proclaimed that the Obama administration would hold BOTH sides accountable for any provocations that could jeopardize peace negotiations. And a few miles away,  there was a commemorative ceremony glorifying the bloodiest Palestinian terrorist -- with a senior Fatah leader and a Palestinian Authority security official in attendance.  And yet, the vice president failed the first test of his commitment to also hold the Palestinian side accountable for inflaming tensions while the U.S. is trying to kick-start negotiations.  He said nothing about Abbas's persistent glorification of Palestinian terrorists, including the Mughrabi commemorative event, while he was still in Israel.

Shouldn't Kershner or someone on the Times' staff immediately have asked Biden's press staff why the veep held his tongue about an outrageously provocative act by Mahmoud Abbas's PA and Fatah party, especially when the vice president didn't hold his punches in excoriating Israel about more building projects in its capital? 

Members of the White House press, including New York Times correspondents, usually are quick to fire questions when Israel is perceived as creating impediments to the peace process.  Why the lack of similar jounalistic inquiry and curiosity when the Palestinian side inflames tensions at a critical moment when the administration is trying to pump new life into that peace process?

Kershner quotes Tawfiq Tirawi,a member of Abbas's Fatah Central Committee, as declaring that "we are all Dalal Mughrabi."  If that's the real sentiment of the supposedly "moderate"  Palestinians, doesn't Biden think that may prompt Israeli leaders to think again before making tough concessions to achieve a two-state solution under U.S. mediation?  And shouldn't a reporter worth her salt have posed just such a question to the White House?

But instead of reporting the deafening silence of Biden at such a provocation, Kershner offers Abbas an alibi for the disgusting glorification of this arch-terrorist.  The dedication of the public square in honor of Mughrabi, she writes, was low-key.  The PA put off an "official ceremony" to avoid embrrassing Biden, as if the low-key clebration of Mughrabi was not sufficient to raise U.S. hackles.

When Israel is seen by the U.S. as getting out of line, the Times spares no ink in spotlighting Israeli impediments to peace negotiations.  But when "moderate" Palestinians get out of line, the Times provides them with an alibi and fails to ask Biden and the White House the rather obvious question of why they're not as upset about the glorification of Mughrabi as they are about Israel building homes for Jews in eastern Jerusalem.