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March 13, 2011
WaPo shields Abbas from blame as terror attack kills five Israelis
It was one of the most heinous terror attacks against Israeli civilians. On the Sabbath, in the middle of the night, one or more Palestinian terrorists infiltrated the Jewish community of Itamar in the West Bank and stabbed to death five members of the same family -- a father, a mother, and three children.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnanyahu blamed the attack on incessant anti-Israel incitement by Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority in media, mosques and schools under their control. He also called on world leaders to express their revulsion against such terrorism in no uncertain terms.
If Netanyahu thought that the might get any such firm response from Abbas, his supposedly "moderate" peace partner, he was sadly mistaken. Even strong prodding by the White House failed to get a clear-cut Abbas condemnation and rejection of Palestinian terrorism.
Abbas instead issued a mealy-mouthed statement of "rejection and condemnation of all violence against civilians, regardless of who was behind it or the reason for it." And to make perfectly clear that any blame also attached to Israel, Abbas added that "violence produces violence and what is needed is to speed up a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict."
Netanyahu promptly termed his disappointment at the "weak and mumbled statements" from his Palestinian "peace partner."
Judging by the U.S. response, the White House also must have been disappointed, given its statement that "we call on the Palestinian Authority to unequivocally condemn this terrorist attack and for the perpetrators of this heinous crime to be held accountable."
But you wouldn't know that by reading the Washington Post's report by Jerusalem correspondent Janine Zacharia ("Israel hunts for killers of five Jewish settlers -- Netnayahu blames West Bank stabbings on Palestinian incitement" March 13, page A11).
In its usual Abbas-protective mode, the Post totally ignored Obama's demand for an "unequivocal" condemnation by Abbas of "this terrorist attack" and for the PA to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Instead, the Post chose only to print the "soft" part of the White House response that there is "no justification for the killing of parents and children in their home."
If that, in effect, had been the totality of the administration's reaction, Obama and Abbas would have ended up on the same page. But that was not the case, as Abbas shunted aside Obama's demand for a firm, unequivocal condemnation of terrorism by the Palestinian leadership.
The Post, however, ignored the sharp divide between the White House and PA statement, letting Abbas off the hook. Nor would the Post, in Zacharia's article, saddle the Palestinians of an act of "terrorism." The T-word is not used by the paper when it comes to Palestinian terrorism. Any other kind of terrorism, however, gets reported as such. Only the Palestinians get a Post exemption from the "T" word.
Zacharia, as an equal-opportunity apologist for all elements of the Palestinian side, was equally reluctant to point a finger at Hamas, which controls Gaza but also has some terrorist cells in the West Bank. Consequently, there was no coverage by the Post of Hamas applauding the terror attack in Itamar as a "heroic operation." Nor was there any coverage of Palestinians in Gaza celebrating these multiple murders and handing out sweets in the streets of Rafah.
It's the Post's way of keeping Palestinians sanitized and shielded from any taint of terrorism.
Incidentally, it was only three weeks ago that PA TV, under Abbas control, glorified a Palestinian terrorist who killed three Israelis in 2002 in Itamar -- the same place where the latest act of Palestinian terror was perpetrated. Also, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the terrorist wing of Abbas's Fatah party, was quick to claim responsibility for the latest murders. Still, don't expect to read such things in the Washington Post.