Washington Post Cheerleads for Terror

Khaled Meshaal, supreme leader of the terrorist group Hamas that has claimed the lives of hundreds of Israelis, paid his first visit to Gaza on Dec. 7 amid joyous pomp and circumstance arranged by his followers who rule the coastal Palestinian territory.

The Washington Post, in its Dec. 8 issue, not only reports this event, but sanitizes Meshaal with a sympathetic biography that ignores the blood on his hands from Hamas during the second intifada, and more recently during escalating rocket attacks against civilian populations in southern Israel. The Post article also is silent about Meshaal's genocidal Hamas agenda for elimination of Israel and the murder of Jews. ("Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal visits Gaza for first time" by Joel Greenberg).

With more than a touch of Stockholm syndrome, Greenberg, a Post Jerusalem correspondent, calls Meshaal's visit a "triumphant" coup that "gave an aura of legitimacy" to Hamas. With undisguised empathy for Meshaal, Greenberg depicts his visit as carrying "a strong symbolic meaning after a life spent moving from one Arab state to another."

He also tells Post readers that Meshaal's visit managed "to amplify Hamas' message of armed resistance" against Israel. ("Armed resistance" is Greenberg's and Meshaal's way of using a neutral euphemism for terror attacks against civilians.}

Greenberg dwells at length on Meshaal's meandering life -- from having to leave his boyhood home in the West Bank in 1967 to taking refuge in Jordan, from which he was expelled in 1999 -- without once mentioning Israeli victims of Hamas under his leadership. Greenberg instead is more interested in focusing on how Meshaal reaped "enhanced stature" among Palestinians with his appearance in Gaza. (Greemberg also keeps secret from readers why Meshaal was expelled from Jordan -- Amman didn't care for his buildup of a radical Palestinian paramilitary group that threatened to destabilize the Hashemite monarchy.)

During Meshaal's "triumphant" visit, we are told that he kissed the ground upon arriving in Gaza via the Rafah border crossing from Egypt and that he boasted, "Today Gaza and then Jerusalem, Haifa Jaffa, God willing." Again, Greenberg eschews the implications of such a bloodsoaked agenda.

In sum, if you believe Greenberg and the Post, Meshaal manages to do one better than Shakespeare: Unlike Lady Macbeth, Meshaal -- with an assist from Greenberg's script -- does succeed to "out, that damned spot, out I say."

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