Washington Post blames Israeli 'intransigence' for...everything
In its June 29 edition, the Washington Post has run an article by correspondent Karen DeYoung about Secretary of State John Kerry's strenuous shuttle diplomacy to get Israel and the Palestinians to resume negotiations.
In enumerating challenges and obstacles in Kerry's path, DeYoung reports that "international weariness of what is seen as Israel's intransigence has grown, manifested in a divestment movement and dwindling sympathy in Europe."
Really? So, according to DeYoung, it's Israeli "intransigence" that's holding up a peace deal. But her evidence is hardly convincing. The anti-Israel boycott drive has been a big flop. Israeli trade is up with regional and global countries, including Turkey. As for "dwindling sympathy" for Israel in Europe, that's hardly a new factor. If Israel had to depend on European "sympathy" for its existence and security, it would have folded a long time ago.
Far more telling is the fact that, far from indulging in "intransigence," Israel is on the same page as Kerry and the White House in calling for prompt renewal of negotiations without pre-conditions.
The real fly in the ointment, the real "intransigence," belongs on the Palestinian side, where President Mahmoud Abbas finds himself increasingly isolated from the U.S. in demanding a host of major Israeli concessions -- release of Palestinian prisoners, a construction freeze in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank -- before talks even get under way.
DeYoung, however, is oblivious to Abbas's "intransigence," reporting only that the "Palestinians have been unable to put their political and economic house in order." Failure to put the Palestinian house in order doesn't begin to tell the tale.
For starters, there is no single "Palestinian house." Instead, there are two sharply divided houses, with Hamas ruling Gaza and Abbas's Fatah movement holding power in the West Bank. Hamas is unalterably opposed to negotiations with Israel because its agenda calls for the total dismantling of the Jewish state. And for his part, Abbas keeps up a steady incitement drumbeat against Israel, charging it with planning the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque atop Temple Mount and denying Israel's 3,000-year ties to Jerusalem. Doesn't seem to be interested in confidence-building to smooth the way for negotiations, does he?
So on what side of the conflict is Kerry really encountering "intransigence"?
Similarly, DeYoung tilts her article against Israel, while soft-pedaling Palestinian/Arab intransigence, when she reports that the Arab League peace initiative "guarantees Israeli security" and "offers a resolution to the thorny issue of Palestinian rights to return to land in what is now Israel."
Far from guaranteeing Israeli security, the Arab League's plan calls for a resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem "in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194," which Palestinians and the Arab world interpret as giving millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants an absolute "right of return" into Israel, thus snuffing out the Jewish state demographically. (Res. 194 was adopted in December 1948, as Israel was waging an existential fight against half a dozen Arab armies determined to throw it into the sea. While 194 mentions helping refugees to return, its main thrust was in line with the U.N. mandate for a two-state solution, dividing British Mandate Palestine between two states -- an Arab state and a Jewish state. That's why all Arab delegations voted against Res. 194. To exhume it today is a bit late in the game.)
Bottom line: On two of the most important issues holding up any real progress in advancing the peace process, DeYoung follows an Israeli-bashing agenda, while camouflaging Palestinian "intransigence" and pan-Arab maneuvers to ultimately destroy the Jewish state.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers.