The New York Times: Clueless in Jerusalem

Papers like the New York Times, which propogate the Palestinian Authority's false narrative to Western audiences, only prolong the Palestinian people's suffering at the hands of their failed leaders

NY Times: got the wrong narrative?
Henry Kopel
On 29 June 2012 09:17

Among the dogmas that hold sway in foreign policy salons despite abundant evidence to the contrary, few seem more resilient than belief in the peaceful intentions of the so-called “moderate” Palestinian Authority.

Why do such counterfactual beliefs persist? One reason is because people who are presumed to know the facts and who have a prominent platform keep repeating such beliefs. This phenomenon was on full display in last Sunday’s New York Times, in an op-ed by Nathan Thrall captioned “The Third Intifada Is Inevitable.

Datelined from Jerusalem and describing the author as “a Middle East analyst at the International Crisis Group,” the article exuded factual expertise. Equally impressive was the article’s opening sentence, quoting from a “private meeting with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his security advisers.”

But for all the author’s expertise and inside access, the article was highly misleading – less by what was said, than by what was not said. Much of the pertinent factual context was simply omitted. Yet as a representative sample of “peaceful Palestinian Authority” dogma, analysis of the article’s errors can be very illuminating.

The central points of Mr. Thrall’s article were a prediction and a judgment. He predicted that growing Palestinian rage will soon result in a major outbreak of Palestinian violence against Israel; and he judged Israel guilty for causing the Palestinians’ rage.

In essence, Mr. Thrall’s analysis rested on three factual claims:

First: Palestinian Authority (“PA”) leader Mahmoud Abbas and his leadership team have demonstrated genuine readiness for statehood and lasting peace by their cooperative posture towards Israel.

As Mr. Thrall put it, “Mr. Abbas was [a] key architect[] of the Oslo peace process . . . [and remains] its last remaining believer . . . [He] helped create ‘a good situation’ for Israel, . . . [through] years of unprecedented cooperation with Palestinian forces in the West Bank,” and is “the most obliging, nonviolent Palestinian leader Israel has encountered.”

Second: By its stubborn refusal to cede control of the West Bank, Israel has rebuffed the Palestinians’ conciliatory approach and squandered an opportunity for a two-state peace.

In Mr. Thrall’s words, “Thanks to the . . . peace that Mr. Abbas’s government has been keeping . . . , Israelis [now] believe . . . their state could remain Jewish and democratic without relinquishing any of the West Bank.” Quoting Hamas, Mr. Thrall contends “‘Israelis had a golden opportunity to sign an agreement with Abbas . . . But the chance has already passed.’”

Third: Israel’s rebuff of a conciliatory PA is the cause of the Palestinians’ growing rage, and hence Israel will bear the blame for any resulting violence.

As Mr. Thrall explains, “Palestinians today see their leadership banging its head against a wall, hoping . . . that a bit more good behavior will bring about an independent state. . . [Now that] gunfire [has] returned to the streets of Jenin . . . [t]he root cause of this instability is that Palestinians have lost all hope that Israel will grant them a state.”

Are Mr. Thrall’s claims accurate? When one considers the many pertinent facts that Mr. Thrall left out, the answer is plainly “no.”

First, consider his claim that the PA has demonstrated readiness for statehood and lasting peace. Yes, PA security forces have cooperated with American advisors and Israeli police. But that cooperation is also a price paid by the PA for receiving hundreds of millions of U.S. aid dollars.

More important, Mr. Thrall failed to mention any of the PA‘s extensive “anti-peace” investments, namely its relentless efforts to incite and subsidize terrorism, promote Jew hatred, and effect Israel’s destruction.

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