WaPo weeps for Gazans lacking Airport, Seaport

The Washington Post deeply sympathizes with Gazan aspirations for a seaport and an airport. In its Aug. 12 edition, it runs an article by correspondents William Booth and Carol Morello that embraces these two projects as needed openings to the outside world. (“Gazans hope for the skies and seas – Hamas, other residents want Israel to allow an airport and a seaport” page A6)

“The Islamist militant organization Hamas as well as the people in the Gaza Strip want something big in exchange for a truce with Israel,” Booth and Morello tell readers. “They want a seaport and an airport. They want movement between their seaside territory and the outside world.”

The head of the Gaza Seaport Authority puts in his two cents: “Everything is ready. We have the engineering studies, the business plans, environmental assessments, all that is needed.”

Something important, however, is missing from this picture -- the many thousands of rockets launched at Israel from the vicinity of the proposed Gaza seaport and airport. After all, Gazans could have had an airport and a seaport nearly a decade ago when Israel pulled out of Gaza, hoping  Palestinians would develop it into another prosperous Singapore. Hopes that were dashed when Hamas instead converted Gaza into a launch pad for raining missiles on civilian populations in southern Israel.

That part of the story doesn’t interest Booth and Morello. They’re out to buttress Palestinian victimhood – not to sympathize with Israelis under rocket assault from Gaza.

“Gaza technically has an airport – Yasser Arafat International,” the article informs readers. And here come the tears – “It was shut down in 2001, after Israel bombed the control tower.” Why would Israel do this? Booth and Morello are silent.

“After three wars, the airfield now resembles a movie set for a disaster film,” Booth and Morello continue,  again eschewing any mention of the reasons for its sad state. Who launched those three wars?  Don’t ask. “The last traffic on its cratered tarmac was the Israeli tanks that roared through two weeks ago.” the Post correspondents bemoan its sad history.

Then, in gushing terms, they recall that “the opening of Arafat International in 1998 was a signal achievement for the nascent Palestinian state and was attended by Arafat, who stood beside President Bill Clinton and wept.” Time to take out the handkerchiefs. 

Could Palestinians have any responsibility for this weepy, fictional history? Hardly. “The Israelis destroyed the control tower and radar station in 2001 after the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, began,” the Post correspondents recount. However, they have no desire to flesh out this Palestinian intifada and the horrors it perpetrated on innocent Israelis. 

The entire theme and emphasis of the article is on the sad lot of the Palestinians –a fate allegedly not of their own making, but supposedly inflicted by Israel.

Upside down history a la Washington Post.

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