NY Times' phony gotacha game with settlements

If you believe the New York Times' coverage of the breakdown in talks between Israel and the Palestinians, it's all about settlements, settlements, settlements -- and nothing else.

The latest example of this misplaced obsession is Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner's  Oct. 22 article,("Settlement Building Picks Up Speed Across the West Bank -- Digging foundations as proof of permanence ahead of second freeze" (page A6)

It's an infantile attempt to play games with exactly how many new housing units and foundations for homes are being built in West Bank settlements since the end of Israel's self-imposed 10-month construction freeze, which Israel hoped might get the Palestinians to the negotiating table.

Maybe it's a couple of hundred units that are being built.  But wait:  Foundations are being laid for another 300.  And the AP reports the total is 544.  And this goes on and on across six columns.

To prove exactly what?  Well, according to the always predictable UN special envoy for Middle East peace, Robert Serry, such renewed construction is illegal under international law and "contrary to the international community's repeated appeals to the parties to create conditions conductive to negotiations."

But if you're going to delve into conditions conducive to negotiations, hold on, there's a lot missing from  Bronner's story.  I.e.:

-- Palestinian leaders, including Mahmoud Abbas, have been negotiating with Israel since the start of the Oslo process in 1993 in the context of ongoing settlement construction.  In all these years, Abbas never insisted on a construction freeze as a pre-condition to talks.  Settlements were supposed to be on the negotiating agenda when the parties would take up final borders.

--Prime Minister Netanyahu and his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, put a complete halt to new settlements and expansion of existing settlements, allowing only limited building within setlements.  This unilateral Israeli restrained goes unreported by  Bronner. 

--Nor does Bronner point out that Israel withdrew all its settlements from Sinai when it signed a peace treaty with Egypt, withdrew all its settlements from Gaza while receiving nothing in return but terror, and repeatedly offered to withdraw from the vast majority of West Bank settlements as part of a two-state agreement with the Palestinians, thus demonstrating clearly that settlements are NOT an obstacle to the peace process.  Contrary to  Bronner's  assertions and the headline, foundations dug for Jewish homes in Sinai and Gaza definitely were not "proof of permanence."

--And since Bronner pretends to be interested in "conditions conducive to negotiations", isn't it passing strange that  he  fails to point out that, while Netanyahu has repeatedly indicated flexibility toward compromise, Abbas has not budged an inch from his maximalist demands, including an absolute "right of return" to Israel for Palestinian refugees, plus insistence on borders along the pre-1967 lines, which would cede not only East Jerusalem but the entire Old City of Jerusalem with Judaism's holiest sites -- Temple Mount and the Western Wall -- to the Palestinians.

--And how conducive to negotiations is Abbas's global campaign to delegitimize Israel, his repeated glorification of terrorist murderers as "martyrs" and "heroes," and the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian Authority media?

So if the New York Times were really interested in fair, responsible, even-handed journalism, these also are realities that are not exactly "conducive to negotiations" but just happen to be censored by the UN and the Jerusalem bureau of the Times, which take it as gospel that the Palestinians are entitled to whatever they demand and only Israel stands in the way of a peace accord.
If you believe the New York Times' coverage of the breakdown in talks between Israel and the Palestinians, it's all about settlements, settlements, settlements -- and nothing else.

The latest example of this misplaced obsession is Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner's  Oct. 22 article,("Settlement Building Picks Up Speed Across the West Bank -- Digging foundations as proof of permanence ahead of second freeze" (page A6)

It's an infantile attempt to play games with exactly how many new housing units and foundations for homes are being built in West Bank settlements since the end of Israel's self-imposed 10-month construction freeze, which Israel hoped might get the Palestinians to the negotiating table.

Maybe it's a couple of hundred units that are being built.  But wait:  Foundations are being laid for another 300.  And the AP reports the total is 544.  And this goes on and on across six columns.

To prove exactly what?  Well, according to the always predictable UN special envoy for Middle East peace, Robert Serry, such renewed construction is illegal under international law and "contrary to the international community's repeated appeals to the parties to create conditions conductive to negotiations."

But if you're going to delve into conditions conducive to negotiations, hold on, there's a lot missing from  Bronner's story.  I.e.:

-- Palestinian leaders, including Mahmoud Abbas, have been negotiating with Israel since the start of the Oslo process in 1993 in the context of ongoing settlement construction.  In all these years, Abbas never insisted on a construction freeze as a pre-condition to talks.  Settlements were supposed to be on the negotiating agenda when the parties would take up final borders.

--Prime Minister Netanyahu and his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, put a complete halt to new settlements and expansion of existing settlements, allowing only limited building within setlements.  This unilateral Israeli restrained goes unreported by  Bronner. 

--Nor does Bronner point out that Israel withdrew all its settlements from Sinai when it signed a peace treaty with Egypt, withdrew all its settlements from Gaza while receiving nothing in return but terror, and repeatedly offered to withdraw from the vast majority of West Bank settlements as part of a two-state agreement with the Palestinians, thus demonstrating clearly that settlements are NOT an obstacle to the peace process.  Contrary to  Bronner's  assertions and the headline, foundations dug for Jewish homes in Sinai and Gaza definitely were not "proof of permanence."

--And since Bronner pretends to be interested in "conditions conducive to negotiations", isn't it passing strange that  he  fails to point out that, while Netanyahu has repeatedly indicated flexibility toward compromise, Abbas has not budged an inch from his maximalist demands, including an absolute "right of return" to Israel for Palestinian refugees, plus insistence on borders along the pre-1967 lines, which would cede not only East Jerusalem but the entire Old City of Jerusalem with Judaism's holiest sites -- Temple Mount and the Western Wall -- to the Palestinians.

--And how conducive to negotiations is Abbas's global campaign to delegitimize Israel, his repeated glorification of terrorist murderers as "martyrs" and "heroes," and the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian Authority media?

So if the New York Times were really interested in fair, responsible, even-handed journalism, these also are realities that are not exactly "conducive to negotiations" but just happen to be censored by the UN and the Jerusalem bureau of the Times, which take it as gospel that the Palestinians are entitled to whatever they demand and only Israel stands in the way of a peace accord.

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