The NY Times: on the dark side of the conflict

Obama sails between the Scylla of  US voters who support Israel and the Charybdis of his ‘friends’ in the Arab world.

Obama sails between the Scylla of US voters who support Israel and the Charybdis of his ‘friends’ in the Arab world.

The NY Times, in an editorial published on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, calls for the imposition of a Palestinian state because allowing a UN vote would be ‘ruinous’:

A United Nations vote on Palestinian membership would be ruinous. Yet with little time left before the U.N. General Assembly meets, the United States, Israel and Europe have shown insufficient urgency or boldness in trying to find a compromise solution.

Although it would provide a peg to hang violent disturbances on, maybe even a new intifada, and enable Palestinian ‘lawfare’ against Israel, a GA vote would not be ‘ruinous’ for Israel. The ruin would fall upon Barack Obama, whose decision to veto (or not) a subsequent Security Council resolution would put him between the Scylla of  US voters who support Israel and the Charybdis of his ‘friends’ in the Arab world.

So in order to save the President, the Times thinks that the US and Europe should hold Israel down while the Arabs rape her:

The United States and its Quartet partners (the European Union, the United Nations and Russia) should put a map and a deal on the table, with a timeline for concluding negotiations and a formal U.N. statehood vote. The core element: a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps and guarantees for Israel’s security. The Security Council and the Arab League need to throw their full weight behind any plan.

Exactly what “mutually agreed” could mean here is unclear, since the Palestinians have said over and over “not one centimeter…” etc. The Palestinians rejected compromise offers in 2000 and 2008, so it’s hard to imagine that they would suddenly become more generous in the framework of a coerced settlement.

Regarding ‘guarantees’, can the Times possibly be serious? Did the guarantee Israel received from the US in 1956 that it would keep the Strait of Tiran open mean anything in 1967? What about the Multilateral Force in the Sinai that fled at Nasser’s request? Or the UN guarantee to prevent Hizballah from rearming after the 2006 war? If there is one thing that the Jewish people learned from the Holocaust, and from Israel’s wars that followed, it is that they must depend on themselves for their survival.

Since the Palestinians or the Arab league have never agreed to recognize Israel as a Jewish state or to give up the demand to resettle Arab refugees in Israel, would such a coerced settlement force them to do so? How?

The Times tells us whose fault it is that direct negotiations haven’t succeeded:

Both sides share the blame with Mr. Obama and Arab leaders (we put the greater onus on Mr. Netanyahu, who has used any excuse to thwart peace efforts).

This is so far from the truth that it’s breathtaking. Obama encouraged the Palestinians to not return to negotiations after the Gaza war of 2008-9 by demanding a freeze on construction inside settlements, something that had never been a requirement before. Netanyahu agreed and there was a 10-month freeze with no results (except domestic political problems for him). Then the Palestinians demanded the freeze be extended for three months, and this time he did not agree.  So who’s doing the thwarting?

Since 1993, Israel has moved very far in the direction of compromise.  ‘Left-wing’ Itzhak Rabin was elected on a platform of opposition to a Palestinian state. Now ‘right-wing, hard-liner’ Netanyahu favors it. Israeli offers since 2000 have been more and more generous. But Palestinians still refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, still demand 1949 lines as borders and still demand right of return to Israel for Arab refugees. So naturally, the Times thinks that Israel should be pressured to move even farther:

Congress has threatened to cut millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority if it presses for a U.N. vote. Instead of just threatening the Palestinians, Congress should lean on Mr. Netanyahu to return to talks.

The theme of “whatever you do, don’t stop paying them” is continued:

Mr. Obama in particular needs to show firmer leadership in pressing Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas to resume talks. If a U.N. vote takes place, Washington and its partners will have to limit the damage, including continuing to finance the Palestinian Authority.

Simply put, pressure Netanyahu and try to bribe the Arabs (who will — as always — pocket the money and do what they want).

But I’ve saved  the best for last. Apparently the Times’ editorial writer fancies himself a diplomat, choosing to express himself with careful ambiguity. Stuck in incongruously as the next-to-last paragraph we find this:

It is astonishing that this late in the game, America and Europe remain divided over some aspects of a proposal for peace talks — like Israel’s demand for recognition as a Jewish state.

There is no hint about which side the Times thinks we should take! Is the demand for recognition just another example of Netanyahu’s ‘excuses’ to avoid negotiations? It’s not hard to guess. I would be astonished myself to find the Times pro-recognition. The rest of the editorial makes its position very clear.

Ten years after 9/11, the pressure to crush the last outpost of Western civilization in the Middle East is greater than ever, and the New York Times is firmly on the dark side of the conflict.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

5 Responses to “The NY Times: on the dark side of the conflict”

  1. NormanF says:

    Israelis do desire peace. But unlike The New York Times editors, they don’t favor peace about all other priorities. No one in Israel is interested in signing a piece of paper that doesn’t deliver real peace. And no Israeli Jew will accept dismantling of the settlements or the reversion of eastern Jerusalem to Arab rule. And there is a consensus in Israel the Arabs recognize Israel as a Jewish State and agree to terminate all further claims upon Israel. The Arabs of course reject Israel’s minimal requirements for a peace deal. And what the Times wants can only be imposed by force. Such an arrangement would not be for long in this world. And with the turbulent storms now besetting the Middle East, now is not the time for Israel to take great risks for peace.

  2. Robman says:

    I applaud your well-reasoned, rational response, Norman.

    Unfortunately, you could wallpaper every office at the NYT with such arguments, and it would have no effect.

    I’m sure most at the NYT have been exposed to such arguments. During the six months when I had a gift subscription in 2009, I sent numerous letters to the editor and even a few guest op-eds (they wouldn’t publish mine, but they’d publish nonsense by Qadaffy).

    Such people do not respond to reason. They are all about greed, cowardice, and appeasement. I have no doubt at all that, given their awful financial situation (they’ve been on the verge of bankruptcy for quite some time now), they’ve got some Gulf Arab sugar daddy paying the bills, in exchange for a certain set of “favors” (trash Israel, obscure the barbaric nature of the Gulf Arabs). And then there is the veiled threat just behind the “carrot” of Swiss bank accounts stuffed with petrodollars for cooperative executives and journalists there: Toe the line, or something might “happen” to your nice little business enterprise at the hands of the local jihadist types.

    You think these people care about silly things like facts, logic, or history? Like “morality” as you or I might understand this term? Dream on! That stuff is just for old-fashioned, clueless frumps!

    It is hard to grasp what a sad state we have fallen into, corrupted as we have been by our own lack of faith and belief in what we had stood for as a civilization not so long ago, the glee with which people in positions of responsibility sell themselves out, and cower before outright barbarians.

    Whatever problems you have over there in Israel, you are now the last, best, outpost of what we had once represented. I could see that in the eyes of the IDF soldier who stood guard at the Lebanese border when I was there in 2007.

    I do think we’ll come back, though. But it will be a long, dangerous road. I’m not 100% convinced, either.

  3. Shalom Freedman says:

    I read with anger and disgust the ‘Times’ mendacious placing of the blame on Prime Minister Netanyahu for the absence of negotiations.
    I wonder whether these people are simply ignorant or rather they willfully and knowingly support a line that they believe is in accord with their own interests. I tend to favor the latter interpretation.
    PS The ‘Times’ was rescued by Carlos (Slim) Hilu who ‘Fortune’ lists as the richest man in the world. I do not know if he interferes in any way with the daily operations of the ‘Times’. He is a Mexican of Lebanese origin and I do not know where his sympathies lie in regard to the various Middle East conflicts.

  4. Robman says:

    Hard to tell, Shalom. Some Lebanese Christians are privately pro-Israel, though others are anti-Israel. If he’s Lebanese Moslem…the answer is pretty clear.

  5. mrzee says:

    “What about the Multilateral Force in the Sinai that fled at Nasser’s request?”

    It wasn’t actually Nasser who got them to leave, since the Multilateral Force didn’t take orders from him. It was the UN Secretary-General U Thant who ordered the force to leave in violation of their mandate which required a majority vote of the General Assembly to end their deployment.

    It has almost be forgotten how much UN and U Thant’s incompetence had to do with bringing about the Six Day war and subsequent “occupation” That’s one of the main reasons Israel wouldn’t withdraw from the Sinai again without a peace treaty. Israelis don’t have the luxury of forgetting things like these.