WaPo Spikes U.S. Condemnation of PA's Denial of Jewish Links to Western Wall

Leo Rennert
The Washington Post has spared no printer's ink in reporting criticism by the Obama administration of Israeli construction in East Jerusalem and West Bank settlements as obstacles to the peace process.  There have been dozens such articles over the last two years.

But when the Palestinian Authority issued a purported historical "study" which claims Jews have no historic ties to the Western Wall, Judaism's most sacred site along with Temple Mount, the Post failed to report this inciteful attack on Israel's very legitimacy -- a clear Palestinian impediment to reaching a two-state solution.

Then again, when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, citing the PA's denial of Jewish connections to the Western Wall, questioned whether Mahmoud Abbas is a credible peace partner, the Post again ignored this development.

As the story escalated with the State Department weighing in on Nov. 30 and assailing the PA's poisonous distortion of Jewish history in the Holy Land as a "highly provocative" lie, the Post again averted its eyes.

Here's what rated not an inch of copy in the Dec. 1 issue of the Washington Post from the previous day's State Department briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley:

"Regarding a claim by a senior Palestinian official that the Western Wall is an Islamic Wafq, we strongly condemn these comments and fully reject them as factually incorrect, insensitive, and highly provocative.  We have repeatedly raised with the Palestinian Authority leadership the need to consistently combat all forms of delegitimization of Israel, including denying historic Jewish connections to the land."

Crowley made it clear during his briefing that the administration had been in touch with the Palestinian Authority to retract this offensive incitement against Israel -- and struck out.  That's evidently why, since private contacts proved fruitless, the administration went public with its strong criticism. 

What also must have irked the folks at Foggy Bottom is that Abbas personally assured President Obama that all such incitement had been stopped -- an outright lie, as again was made clear with the PA's attack on a key legal and historic foundations of the Jewish state, which incidentally is buttressed by ample archeological evidence that the Western Wall was an integral part of the Second Temple.

Crowley's comments also were especially newsworthy because he made a clear distinction between how the administration views Israeli construction in settlements and East Jerusalem on the one hand and anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incitement by the PA on the other hand.  With regard to the former, he repeatedly declared that such Jewish construction is a matter of "concern" to the United States.  While with regard to the latter, he stuck to his far sharper denunciation that the U.S. "condemns" the PA for engaging in such a libel.

Although Crowley repeatedly was challenged during the briefing that he was in effect slamming the PA harder than Israel, he stuck to his differentiation between Israeli moves that raise "concerns" and Palestinian actions that merit a harsher form of criticism -- i.e. condemnation.

Or in Crowley's own words:  On the one hand, "we have expressed our concerns to the Israeli Government,"  On the other hand, "when you have a senior Palestinian official who denies the historic connection that the Jewish people have to the Western Wall, we have an obligation to speak out.  The United States condemns the words of a senior Palestinian official.  We have raised our concerns with the Palestinians directly, but we thought it was appropriate to make clear that these kinds of inflammatory remarks are uncalled for.  They're uncalled for any day, but they're uncalled for particularly at a sensitive time in the process."

Not a word of any of this in the Dec. 1 edition of the Washington Post -- bolstering its dubious reputation for covering up Palestinian obstacles to the peace process

Not enough space?

Well, there was enough space for a report by Oxfam, Amnesty International and other aid groups criticizing Israel for insufficiently loosening its blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza, stifling business and construction  ("Gaza's plight still dire, report says" page A6., but not appearing online)

When Israel comes under criticism, the Post obliges.  Not so when there's criticism of the Palestinian side.
The Washington Post has spared no printer's ink in reporting criticism by the Obama administration of Israeli construction in East Jerusalem and West Bank settlements as obstacles to the peace process.  There have been dozens such articles over the last two years.

But when the Palestinian Authority issued a purported historical "study" which claims Jews have no historic ties to the Western Wall, Judaism's most sacred site along with Temple Mount, the Post failed to report this inciteful attack on Israel's very legitimacy -- a clear Palestinian impediment to reaching a two-state solution.

Then again, when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, citing the PA's denial of Jewish connections to the Western Wall, questioned whether Mahmoud Abbas is a credible peace partner, the Post again ignored this development.

As the story escalated with the State Department weighing in on Nov. 30 and assailing the PA's poisonous distortion of Jewish history in the Holy Land as a "highly provocative" lie, the Post again averted its eyes.

Here's what rated not an inch of copy in the Dec. 1 issue of the Washington Post from the previous day's State Department briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley:

"Regarding a claim by a senior Palestinian official that the Western Wall is an Islamic Wafq, we strongly condemn these comments and fully reject them as factually incorrect, insensitive, and highly provocative.  We have repeatedly raised with the Palestinian Authority leadership the need to consistently combat all forms of delegitimization of Israel, including denying historic Jewish connections to the land."

Crowley made it clear during his briefing that the administration had been in touch with the Palestinian Authority to retract this offensive incitement against Israel -- and struck out.  That's evidently why, since private contacts proved fruitless, the administration went public with its strong criticism. 

What also must have irked the folks at Foggy Bottom is that Abbas personally assured President Obama that all such incitement had been stopped -- an outright lie, as again was made clear with the PA's attack on a key legal and historic foundations of the Jewish state, which incidentally is buttressed by ample archeological evidence that the Western Wall was an integral part of the Second Temple.

Crowley's comments also were especially newsworthy because he made a clear distinction between how the administration views Israeli construction in settlements and East Jerusalem on the one hand and anti-Jewish and anti-Israel incitement by the PA on the other hand.  With regard to the former, he repeatedly declared that such Jewish construction is a matter of "concern" to the United States.  While with regard to the latter, he stuck to his far sharper denunciation that the U.S. "condemns" the PA for engaging in such a libel.

Although Crowley repeatedly was challenged during the briefing that he was in effect slamming the PA harder than Israel, he stuck to his differentiation between Israeli moves that raise "concerns" and Palestinian actions that merit a harsher form of criticism -- i.e. condemnation.

Or in Crowley's own words:  On the one hand, "we have expressed our concerns to the Israeli Government,"  On the other hand, "when you have a senior Palestinian official who denies the historic connection that the Jewish people have to the Western Wall, we have an obligation to speak out.  The United States condemns the words of a senior Palestinian official.  We have raised our concerns with the Palestinians directly, but we thought it was appropriate to make clear that these kinds of inflammatory remarks are uncalled for.  They're uncalled for any day, but they're uncalled for particularly at a sensitive time in the process."

Not a word of any of this in the Dec. 1 edition of the Washington Post -- bolstering its dubious reputation for covering up Palestinian obstacles to the peace process

Not enough space?

Well, there was enough space for a report by Oxfam, Amnesty International and other aid groups criticizing Israel for insufficiently loosening its blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza, stifling business and construction  ("Gaza's plight still dire, report says" page A6., but not appearing online)

When Israel comes under criticism, the Post obliges.  Not so when there's criticism of the Palestinian side.