NY Times peddles revisionist view of Arab Spring as full embrace of Palestinian cause
If one believes the New York Times, the Arab Spring revolt against autocratic rulers is turning into all-out support of the Palestinian cause. And, as a result, there's new, justifiable hope for Palestinians to achieve statehood.
Or, as Mideast correspondents Anthony Shadid and David Kirkpatrick put it in an Aug. 10 dispatch:
"In all the tumult of the Arab revolts, one of the most striking manifestations of change is rejuvenated embrace of the Palestinian cause." ("In Tumult, New Hope For Palestinian Cause" page A8).
Strange, but most observers of the Arab Spring have conveyed a totally opposite impression -- that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been almost totally absent from the reform cries of protesters in Egypt, Syria, Yemen and other Arab nations.
But that doesn't deter Shadid and Kirkpatrick from their dubious thesis. So, they point to a shack in Lebanon selling posters commemorating a May 15 protest march by Palestinians to the Israeli border. In a tent in Cairo's Tahrir Square, they manage to find a sign that reads "Jerusalem will soon be back."
On such thin gruel, they build a far-left history of a region that once "capitulated to the dictates of the United States and Israel" but now is genuinely advancing the Palestinian agenda.
What Shadid and Kirkpatrick conveniently overlook is that the Palestinians themselves have been mostly AWOL from the Arab Spring. There has been no spurt in protests or violence by Palestinians in the West Bank. On the first Friday of Ramadan, some 100,000 Muslims prayed peacefully on Temple Mount in Jerusalem under the benign protection of Israeli security teams.
New Arab rulers in the region may engage in sharper rhetoric against Israel, but there's scant evidence of the kinds of radical changes toward the Jewish state that Shadid and Kilpatrick assume in their off-the-wall piece. Egypt's new rulers emphasize that they have no intention to change or abrogate their peace treaty with Israel.
But still Shadid and Kirkpatrick plow on, insisting that the "Israeli occupation is considered the biggest obstacle to peace and stability in the region." And for good measure, they write about "Palestine," as if there were already a clearly defined sovereign country. Lots of wishful thinking by reporters who avert their eyes from the real cause of Palestinian victimhood -- the refusal of Palestinian leaders -- Arafat in 1980-81 and Abbas more recently -- to accept a two-state solution based on mutual compromise.
As long as Palestinians remain grounded in a self-portrait of victimhood, predictably abetted by the New York Times, resolution of the Palestinian question will remain an elusive objective. The New York Times does no favor to the Palestinian cause by embracing its self-defeating propaganda.