Peddling the Arab League Peace Plan
To read the Washington Post account of Secretary of State John Kerry's flirtation with a new Arab League peace plan, one would think this is really and finally the key to an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's cool response is rather puzzling and unwarranted ("Israel's Netanyahu responds coolly to Arab League land-swap initiative" by William Booth, May 2, page A10)
Booth touts the latest version of the Arab League plan as an important and positive breakthrough. Instead of insisting that Israel withdraw completely from all lands conquered in 1967 -- from the entire West Bank and all of East Jerusalem -- Arab leaders now have opened the door to minor land swaps. Israeli settlement blocs right across the 1967 line presumably could remain in Israel. Booth's account includes high praise from the Palestinian Authority and encouraging responses from opposition leaders in Israel. What's really not to like is the impression left with Post readers.
Well, there's plenty not to like, but Booth prefers to leave readers in the dark.
First, Arab leaders always have conditioned their peace offers on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Is their latest plan also of this variety or is it subject to further negotiations? In a glaring lack of curiosity, Booth doesn't address this question.
Second, and this is the totally unacceptable part that would doom Israel, the Arab plan calls for a "right of return" to Israel of millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. Israel would be swamped and eliminated as a Jewish state. The Arab plan would create two states alright -- both Arab.
Instead of propagandizing for the Arab/Palestinian side, it would behoove the Post to play it straight and give readers a fuller picture, with all the warts and poison pills.
If it did, Post readers might have a better insight into why Netanyahu was rather cool to this latest Arab proposal, which amounts to an actual prescription for Israel's suicide.
Incidentally, Booth also falls short by omitting from his article sharp protests against the Arab League from all the Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist groups -- Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. As the other half of "Palestine," they remain wedded to a one-state solution -- a regional caliphate cleansed of Jews. While they would reach their goal via violence and terrorism, the PA under Abbas envisages the same objective via a "right of return." Either way, Israel as a Jewish state would disappear.
That's the real news about the Arab League proposal, sadly ignored by Booth.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers