by Leo Rennert
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has come up with a new brainstorm to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To allay Israeli security concerns, the Palestinians, he writes, must couple non-violent resistance with their own map for a two-state solution. "Just calling for an 'end to occupation' won't cut it," he advises The map, he explains, would demonstrate that Palestinians are ready to settle for 95 percent of the West Bank and all Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem ("A Middle East Twofer," page A19, April 4).
However, Friedman seems to overlook the fact that he's merely recycling the two-state map that Bill Clinton and then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat in 2000 and 2001 -- a map immediately rejected by Yasser Arafat. Friedman also seems to have forgotten that such a map again was offered to the Palestinians more recently, in 2008, by then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert - again a map immediately repudiated by Mahmoud Abbas. In fact, Olmert even went one better on Friedman by throwing in a huge sweetener for the Palestinians -- internationalization of Jerusalem's religious shrines under a consortium in which the Palestinians, Jordan and Saudi Arabia would be represented.
Also overlooked by Friedman is that Abbas and Palestinians have been brandishing a completely different map of their own -- a map that leaves no room whatsoever for Israel. It's a map that projects a one-state solution -- a Palestinian state -- from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Never mind Hamas's up-front objective to eliminate Israel. The Palestinian Authority's agenda reaches the same objective. And its desired borders infuse PA textbooks, media, sermons and other types of propaganda.
To this end, Abbas conducts an all-out global campaign to delegitimize Israel by erasing all Jewish historical ties to the Holy Land. The latest such anti-Israel propaganda piece was disseminated by the Palestinian Authority during Holy Week -- a contention that Moses really was a Muslim who led a Muslim Exodus from Egypt. Under Abbas, Jews aren't even entitled to their Passover.
In an apt parallel, Friedman's fantasy world, which abets such Palestinian myths, is also inhabited by Times correspondents in the paper's news pages. Witness two "news" articles in the same March 4 edition
Writing about Israeli government plans to evict Jewish settlers from a house they bought in Hebron, correspondent Isabel Kershner provides her own history of Hebron --- a history that fails to mentions Jews or Jewish. ("Netanyahu slows eviction of Settlers From a House" page A8).
"Hebron is a hotly contested city where several hundred Jewish settlers live among almost 200,000 Palestinians," Kershner writes. "The house in question is near the Cave of the Patriarchs, where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives, the biblical matriarchs, are said to be buried. The site is revered by Muslims and Jews and has been fought over for centuries."
Note that Kershner uses "biblical" instead of "Jewish" so as to give Muslims as much of a claim to Hebron as Jews may have. When it comes to revering the Cave of the Patriarchs, Kershner even puts Muslims ahead of Jews.
Kershner's history fails to point out that Hebron is the site of the oldest Jewish community in the world. In addition to the Cave of the Patriarchs, Hebron is where King David was anointed and reigned for seven years before heading to Jerusalem. Jews lived in Hebron for centuries until 1929 when an Arab pogrom murdered 67 Jews and drove all other Jews out of Hebron, Judaism's second holiest city. Hebron's Judenrein status was short-lived, however. Israel captured the city in the 1967 war.
None of this interests Kershner or appears in her article.
Pro-Palestinian spin also infuses an article by correspondent Marlise Simons about the International Criminal Court tossing out a Palestinian charge that Israel committed "war crimes" during its three-week counter-terrorism offensive in Gaza in late 2008. The court held that it can only deal with parties that have attained statehood ("Court Rejects Palestinians In Their bid For a Tribunal" page A9).
Simons' article is laced with sympathy for the Palestinians' latest failure to get statehood recognition. "Some groups still express hope that a prospective Palestinian state can take its case to the court because it has found few places to seek justice," Simons writes.
What Simons fails to acknowledge is that the Palestinian idea of "justice" leaves Israel with none at all.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers
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