It's all Likud's Fault

Leo Rennert
On the front page above the fold, the Washington Post features in its Nov. 6 edition an article that focuses on a growing number of prominent members of the governing Likud party who favor a one-state solution -- from the Jordan to the Mediterranean -- not a "two states for two people" solution ("Vocal bloc wants one Israel, not two states -- Likud faction rejects Palestinian autonomy, eyes annexation instead" by William Booth and Ruth Eglash").

As far as it goes -- but unfortunately it doesn't go nearly far enough -- the article's main point is fairly well on target. There are quite a few conservative figures in Israeli politics, in and outside the Knesset, who see no realistic prospect of reaching a two-state agreement with the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains a two-state supporter and so does his government. But any breakthrough toward a Palestinian state, with or without U.S. influence, seems very remote.

That said, the Post's article still ends up as very biased because it fails to spotlight a host of one-state backers on the Palestinian side, who are if anything more hard-edged opponents of a two-state peace agreement than single-staters on the Israeli side. They include not only radical extremists like Hamas and Islamic Jihad who openly are committed to wiping Israel off the map, but also so-called "moderates" from Mahmoud Abbas on down. While Abbas tells the world that he wants to negotiate a two-state solution, his Palestinian Authority produces textbooks that show a single Palestinian state -- from the river to the sea. Palestinian children are educated to believe that Israel is an illegitimate interloper. Writing and speeches by many prominent Palestinians follow a similar position. Abbas himself deems Haifa a Palestinian city.

Thus, any unbiased article about daunting challenges facing a two-state agreement should at a minimum devote as much space and attention to Palestinian advocates of a one-state solution as to Israeli one-staters.

That, however, is where the Post misses the boat -- and glaringly so. Readers have to plow through 15 paragraphs before finally finding a single paragraph in which Booth and Eglash acknowledge that "Of course, the Palestinians have their own expansionists who would like to take all of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River."

With the exception of this single paragraph, all the rest of the article's 32 paragraphs are devoted to Israeli defections from a two-state agenda.

When dealing with the elusiveness of peace in the Holy Land, the Post instinctively targets Israel. And leaves Abbas off the hook.

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

On the front page above the fold, the Washington Post features in its Nov. 6 edition an article that focuses on a growing number of prominent members of the governing Likud party who favor a one-state solution -- from the Jordan to the Mediterranean -- not a "two states for two people" solution ("Vocal bloc wants one Israel, not two states -- Likud faction rejects Palestinian autonomy, eyes annexation instead" by William Booth and Ruth Eglash").

As far as it goes -- but unfortunately it doesn't go nearly far enough -- the article's main point is fairly well on target. There are quite a few conservative figures in Israeli politics, in and outside the Knesset, who see no realistic prospect of reaching a two-state agreement with the Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains a two-state supporter and so does his government. But any breakthrough toward a Palestinian state, with or without U.S. influence, seems very remote.

That said, the Post's article still ends up as very biased because it fails to spotlight a host of one-state backers on the Palestinian side, who are if anything more hard-edged opponents of a two-state peace agreement than single-staters on the Israeli side. They include not only radical extremists like Hamas and Islamic Jihad who openly are committed to wiping Israel off the map, but also so-called "moderates" from Mahmoud Abbas on down. While Abbas tells the world that he wants to negotiate a two-state solution, his Palestinian Authority produces textbooks that show a single Palestinian state -- from the river to the sea. Palestinian children are educated to believe that Israel is an illegitimate interloper. Writing and speeches by many prominent Palestinians follow a similar position. Abbas himself deems Haifa a Palestinian city.

Thus, any unbiased article about daunting challenges facing a two-state agreement should at a minimum devote as much space and attention to Palestinian advocates of a one-state solution as to Israeli one-staters.

That, however, is where the Post misses the boat -- and glaringly so. Readers have to plow through 15 paragraphs before finally finding a single paragraph in which Booth and Eglash acknowledge that "Of course, the Palestinians have their own expansionists who would like to take all of the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River."

With the exception of this single paragraph, all the rest of the article's 32 paragraphs are devoted to Israeli defections from a two-state agenda.

When dealing with the elusiveness of peace in the Holy Land, the Post instinctively targets Israel. And leaves Abbas off the hook.

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