Sunday, April 25, 2010

Deconstructing WaPo poison pills reporting on Israel

Leo Rennert
American Thinker
25 April '10

The Washington Post, in its April 24 edition, runs a photo of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in its World Digest with the following text:

'"We are serious about it, we know you are serious about it, and we hope the Palestinians respond.' Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, speaking to U.S. envoy George Mitchell about the peace process, a day after ruling out a freeze on Jewish construction in mostly Arab East Jerusalem."

Poison pill number one

The clear impression left with Post readers is that Netanyahu speaks with forked tongue, or if you prefer, out of both sides of his mouth. On the one hand he declares he's serious about the peace process, but on the other hand he rules out a construction freeze in East Jerusalem, as requested by the White House.

Except that the Post mixes up apples and oranges to question Netanyahu's sincerity. What the prime minister was saying to Mitchell is that Israel is serious -- and the White House is serious -- about re-launching negotiations with the Palestinians with no pre-conditions by either side, but with all issues on the table.

Netanyahu's ruling out a freeze on Jewish construction in East Jerusalem simply reflects his often stated position that he wants Jerusalem to remain united under Israeli control -- with no housing discrimination against Jewish and Arab residents. At the same time, however, he repeatedly has stated that Jerusalem will be on the table once the Palestinians agree to resume negotiations.

Just as everyone expects Mahmoud Abbas to insist on an absolute "right of return" for Palestinian refugees if he ever agrees to resume negotiations, Israel will go into such negotiations with insistence on retaining Jerusalem -- East and West. But once talks get under way, all points -- including Jerusalem -- are up for discussion and, with U.S. assistance, subject to haggling and bargaining in search of common ground.

Thus, Netanyahu's refusal to freeze Jewish construction in mostly long-established Jewish neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city at this stage -- while negotiations are still frozen by Abbas -- is totally consonant with Netanyahu's seriousness about getting the talks going. He and the U.S. are in full agreement on this. Only Abbas has refused to let Mitchell carry out his mediation assignment, insiting on getting one-sided Israeli concessions as the price for Palestinian participation in negotiations -- something Abbas never demanded before entering into negotiations with previous Israeli leaders.

(Read full article)

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