by Robin Shepherd
Two items of fundamental importance to understanding Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians have come to light this week, and both have been completely ignored by the BBC’s news teams. The first (see last entry but one) is the comprehensive survey of Palestinian public opinion showing that a solid majority of Palestinians view a two-state solution to the conflict as a mere stepping stone on the way to destroying Israel and taking “back all the land for a Palestinian state” ruled by Islamic law.
The second (see this article in today’s Jerusalem Post) is a “study” approved by the Palestinian Authority which denies that the Western Wall in Jerusalem has anything to do with Judaism and the Jews and is in fact the western wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
It is, of course, simply impossible to understand Israeli doubts about Palestinian sincerity in forging a lasting peace unless one knows such things.
If dominant opinion in Palestinian society has no intention of forging such a lasting peace and aims to use a two-state solution as nothing more than a first move in a two-stage strategy of annihilating the Jewish state, then why on earth should Israel be expected to make concessions for a deal? If the Palestinian Authority itself is now making the ludicrous claim that the Western Wall was originally a Muslim construction — a claim that would mean an archeological site dated as being more than 2,000 years old is no more than 12-13 hundred years old — then it is clear that it remains mired in the kind of denial about Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the rest of the region which is nothing short of deranged.
Try putting yourself in the Israeli government’s position and telling the Israeli people that potentially dangerous concessions should be made to the Palestinians in the name of a long term peace based on mutual respect which the Palestinians themselves plainly do not believe in.
That changes the complexion of things somewhat, does it not?
And that is why such obviously vital pieces of information have been ignored by the BBC and most of the Western press. It is important to add that these issues have been plastered across the Israeli press, including the English language outlets. In other words, every western correspondent living in Israel is aware of all this. The decision not to publish on them must, therefore, have been deliberate.
That, I’m afraid, meets any reasonable definition of journalistic censorship — the willful omission of crucial information because it would change the way the audience understands what is going on. In this case it would drastically diminish the credibility of the Palestinian position, while simultaneously making it clear to any objective observer that the Palestinians and not the Israelis represent the true obstacle to a lasting peace.
And that, of course, is why the people of Britain and much of the English speaking world have simply not been told.
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