Earlier this week I had the privilege of hearing Khaled Abu Toameh – West Bank and Gaza correspondent for the Jerusalem Post and a contributor to many other major news outlets, as well as the Hudson Institute – speak at an event in Jerusalem on the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Today I read the Guardian editorial of December 16th on the same subject. The contrast between Mr. Abu Toameh’s well-informed, intelligent analysis of the situation and the trite offering served up by the Guardian could hardly be more stark.
The anonymous writer of this editorial has managed to persuade him or herself of the existence of “Palestinian leaders who recognise Israel” but neglects to supply their names. The editorial claims that “Fatah has still legitimacy”, but fails to address the subject of the considerably limited extent of that legitimacy. It claims that “the Palestinian leadership will continue weak and divided” as though the internal tensions between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are a product of failed attempts to make peace. There even seems to be contained within the editorial the bizarre implication that Israelis engaged in building projects in Judea and Samaria do not finance them themselves; how else are we to understand the inclusion of this rather spiteful and puerile suggestion:
“The cost of each new housing unit built in occupied territory should be deducted off US aid.”
True to form and tediously predictable, the editorial pronounces the death of the peace process all because those inconsiderate Israeli Jews won’t agree to do again something they already did –freeze building – and for which last time they saw no benefits. Of course expecting the Guardian to take the Palestinian Authority to task for twiddling its thumbs for almost the entire duration of the last building freeze is like expecting Lady Gaga to show up to a gig in a twin-set and pearls.
It’s just not in keeping with the Guardian world view to acknowledge that the lack of progress in the peace negotiations could hinge upon the pesky fact that the majority of the Muslim world does not accept Israel’s right to exist within any borders. Neither can it acknowledge that the current leaders of the Palestinian Authority are simply incapable of making the necessary compromises (just as Arafat wasn’t at Camp David a decade ago), or that even if some sort of agreement were reached, they are unable to deliver the goods, as Mahmoud Abbas has no support from, and no control whatsoever over, at least half of the Palestinian population, let alone a legitimate mandate to make the politically painful compromises necessary to achieve a real and lasting peace.
No – this editorial is intent solely upon apportioning blame in a tediously predictable manner rather than providing its readers with any real insight as to why peace between Israel and the Palestinians remains elusive. Little wonder then that people who are interested in what really goes on in the Middle East continue to rely upon sources such as Khaled Abu Toameh for a realistic view of the situation based on many years of intimate knowledge of all the parties concerned, the ability to analyse what the players say in their own languages and liberty from an anachronistic political agenda.
The Guardian is not even pretending to engage in real reporting or offering objective analysis anymore; it long ago abandoned brave, honest journalism in favour of the coward’s choice of becoming a propaganda mouthpiece, as this latest dismal editorial offering shows only too well.