Anti-Israel poison pill in Washington Post - three little words
The Dec. 19 edition of the Washington Post features an article by reporter Anne Gearan that starts thusly: "The Obama administration admonished Israel on Tuesday for approving 1,500 new Jewish homes in Arab East Jerusalem" ("U.S. condemns Israeli settlement plan" page A14)
Gearan notwistanding, these new homes would be built in a Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem. And there are many such Jewish neighborhoods in the eastern part of Jerusalem. Jews have lived there for centuries.
But Gearan, following the Palestinian line, allocates all these Jewish neighborhoods and every other square inch of land in East Jerusalem to the Palestinians - to "Arab" East Jerusalem.
By designating East Jerusalem as "Arab," Gearan effectively decrees that all of Jerusalem's Old City, including its Jewish Quarter, plus the Western Wall and Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest shrines, belong to the Palestinians. And for good measure, she would also put on the Palestinian side the Mount of Olives with its ancient Jewish cemetery.
Thus, with three little words - "Arab East Jerusalem" - Gearan erases a lot of Jewish history and title to Judaism's most sacred sites while arrogantly presuming to draw a final border for a prospective two-state solution.
This is anti-Israel chutzpah on a huge scale. For one thing, final borders in and around Jerusalem have yet to be drawn -- if Israel and the Palestinians ever manage to get back to the negotiating table. In the meantime, East Jerusalem is land in "dispute" between the two parties. For another thing, past peace initiatives, including the Clinton-Barak proposal in 2000 and the Olmert plan in 2008 envisaged a division of East Jerusalem between Israeli neighborhoods that would remain on the Israeli side and Arab neighborhoods that would become part of a Palestinian state.
No serious international peace proposal has envisaged Palestinian absorption of all of East Jerusalem - to turn it into "Arab" East Jerusalem.
Israeli leaders profess that all of East Jerusalem will remain under Israeli sovereignty. But at the same time, they are willing to enter negotiations on several knotty final-status issues, including Jerusalem. Gearan, however, would have Post readers believe that ownership of East Jerusalem already has been settled and determined - that, in short, it's all "Arab" territory. And Jews don't belong there. Intentionally or not, she thus lets a Judenrein poison pill creep into her copy.
Well, not so fast. It's not the purview of a reporter to make such geopolitical decisions in what purports to be a "news" article.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers