Guardian

Post Script to ‘Palestine Papers’: Guardian grossly misrepresented so-called Palestinian “concessions”


The renowned Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini of Ma’ariv has an interesting post on his blog which can be filed under the category ‘post script to the ‘Palestine Papers’. It speaks for itself, so allow me merely to translate (from the original Hebrew) the relevant portions.

“The terror attack in Jerusalem, like the firing of the rockets from the (Gaza) Strip, returns us to the firm ground of reality. This is a reality in which there are growing signs of a compromise between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The events of the past two weeks clarify that the Palestinian front is returning to its old defining characteristics.”

“For a moment we lived with the illusion that something was happening, and maybe in the other direction. As recently as this last January, Al Jazeera and The Guardian came out with loud pronouncements concerning the most meaningful step in Palestinian history: the relinquishment of the right of return. The change, I then wrote, was most welcome. Except that this was a short-lived illusion. This is not merely due to the reality of rockets upon Ashkelon and Ashdod, the massacre in Itamar and the terror attack in Jerusalem. The story runs deeper.”

“New research by an American Christian organisation (not evangelist) examined all the 1,700 leaked papers; something which your faithful servant, despite his will, did not manage to do. The conclusion of the research is the exact opposite; that not only did the Palestinians not agree to any compromise on this subject [right of return], but they fooled everyone. False declarations of a moderateness, which I wish were true, are still far away. And so all those who found the Palestinian compromise troubling, from the Guardian to Gideon Levy (who claimed that the papers proved that the Palestinians had ‘sold their soul to the devil’), from Hamas to Al Jazeera – can all calm down. The Palestinians did not really give up.”

“But maybe yes? Surely it cannot be that the Guardian would publish a giant headline declaring that “Palestinians agreed that only 10,000 refugees could return to Israel”. This is, after all, a serious newspaper. In the same article, on the newspaper’s website, there appears a link to the Palestinian document which supposedly indicates the compromise. Just like the links on this blog. Except that following the link does not lead to any document which indicates Palestinian compromise. Nothing. I thought this must be a mistake. Mistakes are, after all, human. On this blog too there were broken links, readers complained, and the mistakes were mended. Except that it has been months since the publication. One could assume that someone pointed out to the Guardian that something was wrong. Surely I cannot be the first.”

“Caution prompted me to approach Ian Black, the Guardian’s Middle East editor. Not only does his name appear upon the specific article, but also on many reprimands of Israel in wake of the leaked papers. Even if he is not pro-Israel, Black is considered a serious journalist. He is far removed from the venomous hostility of Robert Fisk of the Independent or Gideon Levy of Ha’aretz. I asked Black: where does your amazing headline about only 10,000 refugees come from? I sent him the research which claims otherwise. I hoped that he would provide me with some proof. After all, if the information published is correct, we are talking about a historic turn-around. Black chose not to respond. I went to the trouble of looking myself and well, there is a document in which Erekat claims that the Palestinians agreed to 15,000 refugees per year, over a period of ten years, to return to Israel. There are two problems with this document. Firstly, the document is directed at the Europeans, when Netanyahu was already in power, in order to present the Palestinians as moderates.  And secondly, the document contains a land mine which deals with a renewable right. And thirdly, in all the documents, at the relevant time during the negotiations, it is made clear in no uncertain terms that the right of return is a personal right ‘which is not subject to any negotiation whatsoever’, and in other documents the Palestinians even try to define the ‘absorption ability’ of Israel in a scientific manner, reaching a number of 1,016,511 refugees. Some display of moderateness.”

“The central character in the story is Erekat. He tricks everyone and becomes, wondrously, the moderate man. And so the Guardian, in another headline, which supposedly proves the previous one, announces another dramatic about-turn. Once more I approached the source and once more it turned out not to have been. ‘Palestinian negotiators accept  Jewish state, papers reveal’. So where does the headline come from? Well, Erekat told Livni exactly what Abu Mazen claimed when he wanted to explain why he would not accept the demand: ‘define yourselves as you wish’. Between this play on words and the recognition of Israel as the Jewish State – the road is very long. But we can rely on the Guardian. It is obliged to present the Palestinians as moderates in order to be able to present the Israelis as intransigent.”

….

“So how and why was it possible to invent for us one of the biggest scams of the diplomatic [peace] process? Well, Al Jazeera’s aim was to embarrass the Palestinian Authority. At the Guardian the aim was to embarrass Israel. All in order to claim that the papers reveal the depth of Palestinian  concessions which were rejected by Israel’. The scam worked, and not only Ha’aretz joined in; I too was persuaded that we were talking about signs of change.”

“A Palestinian about-face, if it really did happen, would be worthy of all praise. There is no about-face and it is a pity that there isn’t. There is a scam and that is worthy of exposure.”

Ben Dror Yemini is an experienced political journalist and by no means a naive man, but like a considerable number of Israelis he is perhaps guilty of doing what many of us, particularly on the Left of the political map, have been doing to some extent for several years – projecting our own hopes and aspirations onto others and grasping at every straw which seems to hint that a new dawn is just around the corner. That is perhaps natural after so many years of conflict, so much bloodshed and despair, but it does not absolve us from the responsibility of proper examination of the catalysts of our raised hopes, or their source.

As for his realisation of the extent of the role played by the Guardian in the ‘Palestine Papers’ affair, and the motivations behind that – well, better late than never.

To paraphrase the British television advert for a well-known chain of opticians: ‘should have gone to CiF Watch’.

16 replies »

  1. Wow, the Guardian and Al Jazeera looking to embarass Israel and misrepresent the facts on the ground? OMG I AM SHOCKED! SO SHOCKED!

    Groups like Hamas feed off the media. The Guardian would love another war between Israel and the Palestinians. All the ads they would sell. The protest groups are getting bored, they don’t seem to care about the 100+ killed in Syria. Though millions of Euros will riot if 9 Islamists are killed on a boat loaded with terrorist arms.

    Like after the wikileaks showed all the Arab states want the US to bomb Iran, the guardian didn’t report it. Remember for years idiots like Whitaker kept talking about how those pesky Zionists were trying to force the US to bomb Iran. But wikileaks show the Israeli gov. was very reserved and cordial while the Arabs basically demanded Obama to attack Iran.

    Silence from the guardian.

    The Guardian does not want a resolution between Israel and the Arabs. That would not be in the best interests of British news or governments who need Israel as a scapegoat whenever shit goes wrong in their own country. I’m sure this Libya mess will end up being blamed on Israel eventually.

  2. When the PallyPapers were first ‘released’ by The Guardian, my impression was that the Guardian was spinning at high velocity to misrepresent them.

    I never had the time to read the actual papers closely so I am glad that some non anti Israel organisation did. The results confirm what I originally thought.

    Nothing that the Guardian publishes about Israel should be taken at face value. They are on a crusade to de-legitimise and destroy the Jewish Zionist State. It’s as simple as that.

    And all under the balance of ‘fair and balanced’.

    What a corruption.

  3. The Wikileaks and the subsequent Palileaks affairs were essentially non-stories from the start. Many of the “revelations” had already been previously revealed, although not officially. The bottom line was that they showed that the relevant governments – USA, Britain, Israel, etc – representing and promoting the interests of their country and in general acting in line with the way they were talking.

    The Guardian on the other hand, saw both affairs as an opportunity to manipulate public opinion against its favourite targets – USA and Israel – through its usual selective presentation and interpretation of the facts.

    It seems to me that the public has refused to buy the Guardians attitude towards the Leaks. They have obviously had little or influence on policies and personalities and have almost totally disappeared from public debate. Even the CiF politically-correct progressive faithful seldom refer to them in their comments.

    There is a touch of absurd in all this. The Guardian, supposedly a paper that supports compromise and peaceful solutions, attacks the Palestinians by “proving” that they are willing to compromise to end the conflict.

    And the readers here, who think that the entire I/P conflict is simply a publicity campaign unconnected from the issues, criticize the Guardian because it treats the I/P issue as …. a publicity campaign unconnected from the issues.

    But of course this is all irrelevant (including my comment), because we all know that the real reason there is no peace in the Middle East is because there are a few Israelis who have a different opinion; peace will come to the region only when their voices are stifled. All other issues are totally irrelevant.

  4. Nothing explosive to pin on the US or Israel, revelations that the Saudis are nervous about the genocidal islamofascist regime of iran.

    Julian Assange’s 15 minutes of fame are OVER.

    Blame the JOOOOZ!

  5. This is an extremely important document. The puzzling thing is that neither Ben Yemini himself, nor the newspaper, Ma’ariv, took the trouble to have it translated into English and to confront the Guardian & Al Jazeera with these facts. Perhaps having dealt with Haaretz, which is quite used to making empty statements (and I refer here to the ‘Peace Park’ into which it promised us that the Golan was about to be transformed) it found nothing special in such lies on the grand scale.

    MTC who claims that Israel is not a democratic state in which the majority decides, expresses another facet of the same laissez faire attitude — “there is no peace in the Middle East is because there are a few Israelis who have a different opinion; peace will come to the region only when their voices are stifled. “

  6. Arabella:
    Do you know what “laissez faire” means ?
    Obviously it is too difficult for you to understand that when the majority decides it does not necessarily mean that the decision was the correct one; it only means it was a democratic one.
    And if you would bother to read the article, Yemini says “Caution prompted me to approach Ian Black …”. Unlike you, Yemini understands that the Guardian has little interest in what the Israeli media thinks

  7. MTC according to your original statement you obviously have or had the very odd idea that stifling the few people who have the wrong idea will will bring peace in the ME. Democracy is the rule of the majority: a few stray voices are not relevant.

  8. Arabella:

    “MTC according to your original statement you obviously have or had the very odd idea that stifling the few people who have the wrong idea will will bring peace in the ME. ”

    In addition to not understanding what “laissez faire” means you also don’t know the meaning of “irony”, “satire”, “humour”, etc. If you believe that “a few stray voices are not relevant” then I suggest that you ponder why it seems to be the ONLY thing that is relevant to the majority of the regulars here.

  9. I might have missed your heavy-handed attempt at irony MTC, because of the crashing negativity that you slather all over your replies so often and your attempt to reply to everything via articles in Haaretz that you follow so slavishly. However if your attempt to characterise the majority of the regulars here as lacking in humour shelters a claim that you are possessed of this quality then I have yet to see the proof.

  10. Arabella:

    “your attempt to characterise the majority of the regulars here as lacking in humour”

    Wrong again. My comment on the majority of regulars refers to their attitude towards your statement “a few stray voices are not relevant”, not their sense of humour.

  11. Israelinurse wrote, in this post:

    “…Ben Dror Yemini is an experienced political journalist and by no means a naive man, but like a considerable number of Israelis he is perhaps guilty of doing what many of us, particularly on the Left of the political map, have been doing to some extent for several years – projecting our own hopes and aspirations onto others and grasping at every straw which seems to hint that a new dawn is just around the corner…”

    Yes. That is exactly the case. The doing of that by Israelis, particularly by those who, politically, are on the so-called “Left” of the political map, is the root problem. The doing of that by Israelis, particularly by those who, politically, are on the so-called “Left” of the political map, is the root enabling factor of the situation that Israel is in.

    I used to do exactly that, concerning the situation that Israel is in, and that Israel has been in for over sixty years, and that Israel has been in especially for the past twenty years. I did that until I became aware of the reality of the situation.

    I am not Israeli. However, I am Jewish. I used to consider myself as, politically, being “Liberal”. I used to take for granted that I, politically, was “Liberal”. However, now, after witnessing the recent behavior of the political Left, as a whole, for the past approximately ten years, I no longer consider myself, politically, to be “Liberal”. Neither do I consider myself, politically, to be “Conservative”.

    The political views that I hold are those of Classical Liberalism.

    The following are articles which present information that is crucial to know and to understand.

    “Israel – A Brief Summary of the History of the Situation”
    http://danielbielak.blogspot.com/2011/03/israel-brief-summary-of-history-of_17.html

    “Why the West Is, with Lies, Vilifying Israel – Excerpts from Articles by Matthias Küntzel and Ruth Wisse”; Why the West is, with lies, vilifying Israel…and what needs to be done about it
    http://danielbielak.blogspot.com/2011/03/why-west-is-vilifying-israel-excerpts.html

    “Anti-Semitism 2.0”, by Mudar Zahran, March 21, 2011; Mudar Zahran is a Palestinian Arab writer and academic; The following is text, from the Biography section about Mudar Zahran, on the web site of the article. “Mudar Zahran is a Palestinian writer and academic from Jordan, who now resides in the UK as a political refugee.”
    http://www.hudson-ny.org/1979/anti-semitism-20

  12. Thanks for this, Israelinurse.

    Scarcely surprising that the Groan yet again lied through its despicable teeth.

    Has this been sent to Arsebridger et al and his comments asked for?

  13. BlinderThanC**p,

    It seems to me Arabella is much smarter than you are–if I’m correcting in thinking she recognizes that behind your “humor” and “satire” in this case there is also an element of projection. Any regular reader of CiFWatch knows what degree of freedom of speech you would accord the land-faithful Israeli Jewish Right if you had your way.