But of course, we’re concerned about the humanitarian suffering. We’re concerned any time innocent civilians, Palestinian or Israeli, are attacked. That’s why we support Israel’s right to self-defense. The rocket barrages, which are getting closer and closer to populated areas, cannot go unanswered.Secretary of State Clinton means that the rockets are getting closer to the more heavily populated areas in Israel.
This is not an issue of nitpicking--on some level press conferences are meant to educate the reporters as well as whoever may be viewing or reading about the conference. It is important that facts be presented correctly--all the more so when we are talking about the Middle East where there are all kinds of misrepresentations of fact.
The classic case of this is from November 2005 when James Taranto wrote about Condoleezza's revision of history:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in the Israeli capital yesterday, where she announced that Jerusalem had agreed to allow the Palestinian Authority to run a border crossing between Gaza and Egypt:No reason to pick up where Condoleezza Rice left off.For the first time since 1967, Palestinians will gain control over entry and exit from their territory. This will be through an international crossing at Rafah, whose target opening date is Nov. 25.Rafah, of course, is where terror advocate Rachel Corrie died in a bulldozer accident, caused by her efforts to protect weapon-smuggling tunnels.
Also noteworthy about Rice's statement is the curious reference to "the first time since 1967." That, of course, was the year Israel "occupied" Gaza and the West Bank. But the Palestinian Arabs never controlled border crossings--or, indeed, any territory--before 1967.
Before World War I, the entire region, including Israel and the disputed territories, was part of the Ottoman Empire. Between World War I and 1948, the British administered it. In 1948 the Arabs went to war rather than accept a U.N. partition of Palestine that would have created Jewish and Arab states. After that conflict and until 1967, Egypt controlled Gaza and Jordan controlled the West Bank. [emphasis added]
The agreement Rice brokered may or may not be a good idea, and far be it from us to second-guess Israel's decisions about its own security. But we'd have more confidence if the secretary had left out those two words "since 1967," which amount to a rewriting of history to Israel's detriment.