WaPo Rewrites History

Leo Rennert
The Washington Post, in an April 7 article by Anne Gearan, gives readers a preview of Secretary of State John Kerry's return visit to the Middle East amid low expectations for reviving the moribund peace process ("Kerry making a quick return visit to the Middle East -- Hopes of nudging Israel and Palestinians to resume direct talks" page A-20).

In explaining why the two sides are too far apart for any major breakthroughs, Gearan seems intent on giving Palestinian leaders a pass, while showing no such reticence in assigning blame to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"As a practical matter," she writes, "peace is much harder to make now than it was when Bill Clinton came close to a deal with Israel and Yasser Arafat, then head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in 2000." No mention that then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat a Palestinian state on all of Gaza, 95 percent of the West Bank, plus all Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, only to have Arafat reject this Israeli peace initiative without offering any concrete compromise on his part. In Gearan's historical revisionism, the two sides just came close to a deal. Why there was no deal remains a secret.

Gearan similarly distorts current history by avoiding criticism of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as an obstacle to peace-making, while finding fault with Netanyahu.

Bewailing lack of progress on the peace front, she writes that "Netanyahu has a troubled history with Obama and a new unruly political coalition at home." Plus, she adds, "the composition of a Palestinian state grows ever more complicated by Israeli settlements and security measures."

Again, no mention that then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sweetened the 2000 Barak proposal in 2008 with an even greater division of Jerusalem, but that Abbas was just as nonresponsive as his predecessor. No mention either that such Israeli peace initiatives would have meant removal of all settlements on 95 percent of the West Bank. Also, no mention that Sinai settlements didn't stand in the way of a peace treaty with Egypt or when then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew all settlements from Gaza in a futile peacemaking initiative.

When peace seemed in the offing, history shows that Jewish settlements never stood in the way.

But topping all this unmentioned history by Gearan is perhaps the biggest obstacle to reviving the peace process -- a virulently anti-Semitic campaign led by Abbas in Palestinian media, schools and mosques. This unrelenting incitement is driving the two sides ever farther apart; yet the Washington Post keeps averting its eyes.

Here's just one recent example of this Abbas-led propaganda war against the Jewish state: On Abbas-controlled PA children's TV, a young Palestinian girl recites a poem that depicts Jews as "enemies of Allah, the sons of pigs who murdered children, cut off their limbs, raped the women in the city square and defiled Allah's book."

This is how Abbas instructs the next Palestinian generation -- a hate-filled education bound to intensify and perpetuate an already intractable conflict. And this happens to be the real reason why Kerry is on a fool's errand -- with the State Department just as blind as the Washington Post to real obstacles to progress in an ever-fading peace process.

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

The Washington Post, in an April 7 article by Anne Gearan, gives readers a preview of Secretary of State John Kerry's return visit to the Middle East amid low expectations for reviving the moribund peace process ("Kerry making a quick return visit to the Middle East -- Hopes of nudging Israel and Palestinians to resume direct talks" page A-20).

In explaining why the two sides are too far apart for any major breakthroughs, Gearan seems intent on giving Palestinian leaders a pass, while showing no such reticence in assigning blame to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"As a practical matter," she writes, "peace is much harder to make now than it was when Bill Clinton came close to a deal with Israel and Yasser Arafat, then head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in 2000." No mention that then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat a Palestinian state on all of Gaza, 95 percent of the West Bank, plus all Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, only to have Arafat reject this Israeli peace initiative without offering any concrete compromise on his part. In Gearan's historical revisionism, the two sides just came close to a deal. Why there was no deal remains a secret.

Gearan similarly distorts current history by avoiding criticism of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as an obstacle to peace-making, while finding fault with Netanyahu.

Bewailing lack of progress on the peace front, she writes that "Netanyahu has a troubled history with Obama and a new unruly political coalition at home." Plus, she adds, "the composition of a Palestinian state grows ever more complicated by Israeli settlements and security measures."

Again, no mention that then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sweetened the 2000 Barak proposal in 2008 with an even greater division of Jerusalem, but that Abbas was just as nonresponsive as his predecessor. No mention either that such Israeli peace initiatives would have meant removal of all settlements on 95 percent of the West Bank. Also, no mention that Sinai settlements didn't stand in the way of a peace treaty with Egypt or when then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew all settlements from Gaza in a futile peacemaking initiative.

When peace seemed in the offing, history shows that Jewish settlements never stood in the way.

But topping all this unmentioned history by Gearan is perhaps the biggest obstacle to reviving the peace process -- a virulently anti-Semitic campaign led by Abbas in Palestinian media, schools and mosques. This unrelenting incitement is driving the two sides ever farther apart; yet the Washington Post keeps averting its eyes.

Here's just one recent example of this Abbas-led propaganda war against the Jewish state: On Abbas-controlled PA children's TV, a young Palestinian girl recites a poem that depicts Jews as "enemies of Allah, the sons of pigs who murdered children, cut off their limbs, raped the women in the city square and defiled Allah's book."

This is how Abbas instructs the next Palestinian generation -- a hate-filled education bound to intensify and perpetuate an already intractable conflict. And this happens to be the real reason why Kerry is on a fool's errand -- with the State Department just as blind as the Washington Post to real obstacles to progress in an ever-fading peace process.

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