At the NY Times, Israel can't win; Palestinians can't lose

In the March 9 edition of the New York Times, Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner reports on a visit to the Jordan Valley by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.  This was an occasion for him to reaffirm that Israel must maintain a military presence in this strategic area in any peace agreement to protect Tel Aviv and Haifa from rocket attacks -- a prospect made more real by current turmoil in the Arab world, including anti-government demonstrations in Jordan ("Netanyahu Vows to Keep Eastern Posts" page A11).

Kershner also also reports that Netanyahu seems to be moving toward an interim agreement with the Palestinians, including temporary borders, instead of proceeding toward a final accord on Palestinian statehood.

Taken together, she adds, "the Israeli statements of intent, rejected by the Palestinians, were likely to further stymie any progress.  Peace talks were suspended five months ago."

What makes this comment by Kershner so revealing about how the Times covers Israel and the Palesitnians is that, in her view, when Netanyahu puts down some of his markers for a peace agreement, this automatically "stymies" progress on the peace front because the Israeli proposals won't satisfy the Palestinians.

On the other hand, when Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas refuses to come to the negotiating table and insists on Israel first freezing construction of Jewish homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, that -- again in Kershner's writings -- is also Israel's fault for not going along with Palestinian wishes.

Abbas thus is always absolved of blame; Netanyahu is always saddled with blame.

At the New York Times, when it comes to assigning responsibility for shaky prospects for a peace agreement, if it comes up heads, the Palestinians win; if it comes up tails, Israel loses.
If you experience technical problems, please write to