Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Has the Guardian stuffed itself?

Melanie Phillips
The Spectator
24 January '11


There are two ways of reading the Guardian’s ‘Palestine Papers’, the swathe of Wikileaks-style ‘leaked’ diplomatic records supposedly chronicling the negotiations that have taken place between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs to which the paper devotes a vast amount of space today.

The first is to take them as the Guardian has done entirely on their face value as an accurate and factual account of events. Despite the fact that they are based entirely upon Palestinian sources, and therefore represent only the side responsible for the never-ending belligerency against Israel -- and which also has an outstanding record of telling lies about the conflict, Israel’s behaviour and the Jewish people at every opportunity – the Guardian has chosen to believe every word.

Of course it has leapt at the implicit conclusion that the obstacle to peace in the Middle East is not Palestinian rejectionism of Israel but Israeli intransigence – proof for this most vicious of newspapers that Israel is the true villain of the Middle East. But if what these documents claim is indeed true, then the paper’s position on the Middle East is shown to be totally wrong.

Far from the ‘settlements’ and the territories being the make-or-break issue, as the Guardian and the rest of the left so obsessively claim, these documents present the Palestinians as having accepted that most of the ‘settlements’ should remain in Israel -- and even offering to give up most of east Jerusalem. Not surprisingly, the Guardian is furious about this since it suggests that the newspaper is more Palestinian than the Palestinians. Al Guardian would appear on this basis to have been hung out to dry by the very people it has so slavishly supported.

The second way of looking at these documents is to regard all this as absurd beyond belief and that these 'leaks' are a set of deliberately planted lies and distortions. We are told that Mahmoud Abbas and co are now hideously compromised and weakened by this breach in the secrecy in which they had offered these astounding concessions for fear of being overwhelmed by the adverse reaction from their own side should it be known that they were abandoning their hitherto non-negotiable aspirations. If so, then why wouldn’t they have been equally hideously compromised and weakened if the negotiations had been successful and they were thus inevitably seen to have abandoned their non-negotiable aspirations?

Much more important, is it at all likely that the Palestinians would be offering to accept the ‘settlements’ as a fait accompli and even give up virtually all of their claim to Jerusalem in order to live in peace alongside Israel? After all, they constantly insist that the settlements are the great obstacle to continuing negotiations, that Jerusalem is to be their capital and that they will never, ever accept Israel as a Jewish state. And since Israel itself was offering precisely this under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, how could this matched offer from the Palestinians not result in a deal?

And here is the real point about all this. For what leaps out at me from this exceedingly unlikely scenario is that it reverses what actually did happen – the offer made by Olmert to Abbas and co of most of the territories and part of Jerusalem, an offer made in secret and rejected by the Palestinians. As the Los Angeles Times summed up:

Al Jazeera said the documents also revealed that Palestinians were willing to divide the Old City, limit the return of Palestinian refugees to 100,000 people and recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Hello world -- this was in fact more or less the Israeli position.

Now, reversing reality so that the attribution of actual attitudes or behaviour is switched from one side to the other is a standard Islamic variation on the religiously sanctioned practice of taqiyya – mandated lying or distortion in the cause of Islam. The Islamic world constantly uses it against Israel and the Jews; for example, denying the Holocaust while claiming Israel is perpetrating genocide in Gaza, or claiming a ‘right of return’ (to someone else’s country) in mimicry of the right of return to Israel for Jews. It is an uncanny coincidence, is it not, that the offered concessions claimed in these papers mirror almost exactly the concessions offered by Ehud Olmert?

Someone doesn’t find it an uncanny coincidence at all. That someone is the Palestinian Authority ‘President’, Mahmoud Abbas. As the BBC News website reports:

Mr Abbas, who is due to hold talks on the peace process on Monday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, said negotiations had been carried out openly, and his fellow Arab leaders were aware of their contents. ‘What is intended is a mix-up. I have seen them yesterday present things as Palestinian but they were Israeli... this is therefore intentional,’ he said in Cairo, in remarks quoted by the Reuters news agency (my emphasis).

It figures. And as the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, who is quoted in these documents as saying they were ‘offering the biggest Yerushalayim [Jerusalem in Hebrew] in Jewish history’, later told al-Jazeera:

‘On several occasions I have said on al-Jazeera that we, the Palestinian Authority, would never give up any of our rights. If we did indeed offer Israel the Jewish and Armenian quarters of Jerusalem, and the biggest Yerushalayim as they claim, then why did Israel not sign a final status agreement?" he asked. ‘Is it not strange that we would offer all these concessions which Israel demands, yet there is still no peace deal?’

Quite so! Could it be that, for once, Abbas and Erekat are actually telling the truth?

Wherever the actual truth of this lies, it seems to me, the Guardian is stuffed. Either it’s right about the content of the documents -- in which case its whole analysis of the Middle East has been totally wrong all these years; or in its desire to destroy Israel it has fallen for an epic scam, and those writers who couldn’t contain their eagerness to put the boot into Israel in this morning’s paper are thus revealed to be idiots.

And either way, the paper has in turn stuffed its friends the Palestinians, now scrambling desperately to show the Arab street that they remain true to their genocidal cause.

If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.

No comments:

Post a Comment