As we point out in our recent article about the leaked Palestinian Authority documents, the Guardian — one of the two media organizations that publicized the documents — falsely claims that the documents “reveal” Palestinian acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state. A Guardian headline reads: “Palestinian negotiators accept Jewish state, papers reveal.”
But the article itself says no such thing. Rather, it quotes a Palestinian negotiator telling his Israeli counterpart, “If you want to call your state the Jewish state of Israel you can call it what you want.”
Far from being a revelation, this echoes a formula that has been publicly and repeatedly invoked by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. (For example, Abbas has said: “You can call yourselves as you like, but I don’t accept it and I say so publicly.”) And the very document cited by the Guardian actually shows the Palestinians repeatedly refusing to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state, rejecting “two states for two peoples,” and even seeming to reject the very idea of a Jewish people. Lest there be any doubt, in the following meeting between the negotiators the argument about recognition of Israel as the Jewish state continued, with the Palestinians continuing to adamantly insist they will not offer such recognition.
Plus ça change…. The newspaper, in fact, has a history of falsifying Palestinian positions regarding Israel.
On June 21, 2006, the Guardian headline “Hamas performs about-turn on Israeli state” was followed by the subhead “Document recognises Israel’s right to exist.” A version of the article published the next day was even more egregiously wrong: “Climbdown as Hamas agrees to Israeli state: Negotiator says group recognises right to exist”
And a few days later, the same author, Chris McGreal, penned a piece entitled “Hamas takes step to recognise Israel.”
Hamas, of course, never accepted any document that recognized Israel’s right to exist, and its vocal rejection of Israel’s right to exist has continued unabated.
It was no surprise to those who follow the organization, then, when a Hamas leader, in language typical of the organization, described Israel in October 2006 as a “cancer that must be pulled out by its roots.” But what a surprise it must have been to Guardian readers when the newspaper acknowledged in a December 2006 headline, “Hamas: we will never recognise Israel.”