Wash. Post's glaring omissions underscore anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian agenda

Leo Rennert
In its June 20 edition, the Washington Post runs no fewer than three articles on Israel -- its collaboration with the United States on cyber-warfare against Iran, the torching of a Palestinian mosque in the West Bank by suspected radical Israeli settlers, and a lengthy interview with Shaul Mofaz, the leader of the Kadima party which has become part of a wider Israeli governing coalition under Prime Minister Netanyahu.

You would think that all the space devoted to these topics covers all important issues of the day.  You might think so; but you would be wrong -- in spades.

Let's start with Jerusalem bureau chief Karin Brulliard's interview with Mofaz, spread across six columns at the top of the front page of the world news section ("New voice at Israel's table pushes for peace - Deputy Premier Shaul Mofaz says the Palestinian conflict, not Iran's nuclear program, is the most acute threat to the Jewish state" Page A10).

The main focus of Brulliard's article is on a Mofaz proposal to create an interim Palestinian state on 60 percent of the West Bank, followed by final-status negotiations.  This is a well-trod Mofaz initiative with few takers.  As Brulliard emphasizes, Netanyahu has no appetite for a temporary plan -- he favors immediate negotiations on all unresolved issues to clear the way for a two-state solution -- and the Obama administration has put peace-making on the back burner in the run-up to the November presidential election.

Readers are thus left with the impression that, however appealing Mofaz's plan may seem, it's going nowhere because of Bibi and Obama.  Unfortunately, this doesn't tell the full story -- not by a long shot.  What Brulliard fails to tell Post readers is that the Palestinian Authority leadership from Mahmoud Abbas down is unalterably opposed to any interim solution.  Brulliard easily could have checked with Abbas or with Saeb Erekat, his propaganda minister and sometimes peace negotiator, to make it absolutely clear that Mofoz's idea is a non-starter with the Palestinians.  For progress in the peace process, it takes both sides -- the Israelis and the Palestinians.  Something so basic, yet missing from Brulliard's report.

So why leave Abbas off the hook?  Is it because Post correspondents in Israel have become so invested in sanitizing Abbas as a genuine peace partner that they readily give him a pass when he shows otherwise?  When Palestinians routinely denounce Israel as anti-peace, the Post will oblige.  But when Palestinians summarily reject any peace overtures and insist on their way or the highway, the Post maintains total silence. 

Now to Omission No. 2 in the June 20 edition -- the glaring absence of any report on escalating rocket barrages from Gaza that imperial hundreds of thousands of residents of southern Israel.  On June 19, more than 40 rockets and mortar shells were fired on Israel.  Three Israeli border guards were injured.  Hamas took full responsibility.  And yet, not a word in the June 20 edition of the Post.

When some radical settlers set fire to a mosque, the Post gives it maximum exposure.  And so it should.  But by the same token when hundreds of thousands of Israelis are ordered to seek shelter and incessant rocket barrages inflict post-traumatic stress on Israeli children in the target areas, the Post is silent -- completely oblivious.

Are Jewish lives less precious than other lives?  What gives?

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers

In its June 20 edition, the Washington Post runs no fewer than three articles on Israel -- its collaboration with the United States on cyber-warfare against Iran, the torching of a Palestinian mosque in the West Bank by suspected radical Israeli settlers, and a lengthy interview with Shaul Mofaz, the leader of the Kadima party which has become part of a wider Israeli governing coalition under Prime Minister Netanyahu.

You would think that all the space devoted to these topics covers all important issues of the day.  You might think so; but you would be wrong -- in spades.

Let's start with Jerusalem bureau chief Karin Brulliard's interview with Mofaz, spread across six columns at the top of the front page of the world news section ("New voice at Israel's table pushes for peace - Deputy Premier Shaul Mofaz says the Palestinian conflict, not Iran's nuclear program, is the most acute threat to the Jewish state" Page A10).

The main focus of Brulliard's article is on a Mofaz proposal to create an interim Palestinian state on 60 percent of the West Bank, followed by final-status negotiations.  This is a well-trod Mofaz initiative with few takers.  As Brulliard emphasizes, Netanyahu has no appetite for a temporary plan -- he favors immediate negotiations on all unresolved issues to clear the way for a two-state solution -- and the Obama administration has put peace-making on the back burner in the run-up to the November presidential election.

Readers are thus left with the impression that, however appealing Mofaz's plan may seem, it's going nowhere because of Bibi and Obama.  Unfortunately, this doesn't tell the full story -- not by a long shot.  What Brulliard fails to tell Post readers is that the Palestinian Authority leadership from Mahmoud Abbas down is unalterably opposed to any interim solution.  Brulliard easily could have checked with Abbas or with Saeb Erekat, his propaganda minister and sometimes peace negotiator, to make it absolutely clear that Mofoz's idea is a non-starter with the Palestinians.  For progress in the peace process, it takes both sides -- the Israelis and the Palestinians.  Something so basic, yet missing from Brulliard's report.

So why leave Abbas off the hook?  Is it because Post correspondents in Israel have become so invested in sanitizing Abbas as a genuine peace partner that they readily give him a pass when he shows otherwise?  When Palestinians routinely denounce Israel as anti-peace, the Post will oblige.  But when Palestinians summarily reject any peace overtures and insist on their way or the highway, the Post maintains total silence. 

Now to Omission No. 2 in the June 20 edition -- the glaring absence of any report on escalating rocket barrages from Gaza that imperial hundreds of thousands of residents of southern Israel.  On June 19, more than 40 rockets and mortar shells were fired on Israel.  Three Israeli border guards were injured.  Hamas took full responsibility.  And yet, not a word in the June 20 edition of the Post.

When some radical settlers set fire to a mosque, the Post gives it maximum exposure.  And so it should.  But by the same token when hundreds of thousands of Israelis are ordered to seek shelter and incessant rocket barrages inflict post-traumatic stress on Israeli children in the target areas, the Post is silent -- completely oblivious.

Are Jewish lives less precious than other lives?  What gives?

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers