Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mideast Media Sampler 04/28/2011

From an email from DG:
1) Choosing Hamas over peace

From the Washington Post

Jolted by the upheavals across the Middle East and street protests by Palestinians demanding reconciliation, the two factions announced that they would work together to form a government that would prepare for elections a year from the signature of their accord.  
Although the agreement raised the prospect of reuniting the Palestinians, it was likely to strain their relations with Washington and with Israel, both of which consider Hamas a terrorist organization and refuse to deal with it.  
At a joint news conference in Cairo, where the agreement was secretly negotiated with Egyptian mediation, Mousa Abu Marzook, head of the Hamas delegation, said that “the changing political realities in the Arab world” had “a very real impact on this agreement.” 
At least the spokesman for the National Security Council got things more or less correct:

In Washington, Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council, said the Obama administration was studying the proposed agreement and seeking additional information. “As we have said before, the United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace,” Vietor said. “Hamas, however, is a terrorist organization which targets civilians. To play a constructive role in achieving peace, any Palestinian government must accept the Quartet principles and renounce violence, abide by past agreements, and recognize Israel’s right to exist.”
Subsequently we read:

Abu Marzook, the Hamas leader, said the conditions set by the Quartet, a group of Middle East mediators comprising the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, were not part of the reconciliation agreement. 
Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, cautioned that it was too early to judge the significance of an agreement between two factions that rarely have been able to get along. Previous attempts at reconciliation have inevitably fallen apart because the two have widely divergent goals, he said. 
Abu Marzook is correct and that's why Indyk's facile comments are worthless. Sure it's quite likely they won't get along (as Netanyahu alluded to in his remarks) but doesn't it show something that Fatah is willing to work with Hamas but not negotiate with Israel.
The New York Times reported:

It was the first tangible sign that the upheaval across the Arab world, especially the Egyptian revolution, was having an impact on the Palestinians, who have been losing faith in American-sponsored peace negotiations with Israel and seem now to be turning more to fellow Arabs. But the years of bitterness will not be easily overcome, and both sides warned of potential obstacles ahead. 
The Washington Post made a similar point, but is it really a reaction to "the upheaval in the Arab world?" The upheaval in the Arab world made Israeli-Palestinian ( or more generally Israeli-Arab) peace less of concern. This agreement for one thing, puts the Palestinians back in the news.

Now for some opinions that are missing from the MSM reporting:

Jackson Diehl observes:

Obama himself told Jewish leaders at a White House meeting in March that he believed Abbas was ready to make peace with Israel. But now it seems the Palestinian leader was headed in another direction entirely. In secret negotiations brokered by Egypt, he reportedly agreed to form a unity government for the Fatah-controlled West Bank and Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip, and to hold long-postponed elections for new leaders within the next year.
Jennifer Rubin reports that Congress is prepared to do the correct thing.

In the wake of the announced reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, three prominent members of Congress declared that the PA’s merger with the terrorist organization would spell an end to U.S. aid.
What I don't get is why it is so hard for MSM reporters to write straighforwardly that Abbas has just shown his contempt for peace, rather than this complicates efforts at peace. And does anyone else find it interesting that the provisional government of Egypt finds it more important to help Palestinians than to decide how to govern its own people? (Or at least to divert some of its energies at governing its own people to help the Palestinians.)

2) The Jewish conspiracy
Judge Hadassah Ben Itto writes of the importance of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

One of the anecdotes in my book is about a retired agent named Henri Rollin of the French Secret Service, who wrote books about European politics during the 1920s and the 1930s. He was well educated about Russia and, having been a secret agent, he had a lot of information that was not available to others. He had realized the importance of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion - ­maintaining that everything that was happening in Europe, most importantly the infiltration of the Nazis into European politics, is influenced by The Protocols. He wrote an 800-page book entitled L'apocalypse de Notre Temps, all about how The Protocols had left its imprint on European politics.  
The book was published in France on September 3, 1939, and you would think at the beginning of World War II the book would have been completely ignored. However, the Nazis did not ignore the book. When they conquered France they banned it, and so it vanished. Only in 1991 was Rollin's book republished by a small publisher in France. I see myself as following in Rollin's footsteps by following the history of The Protocols through the last decade and into the twenty-first century, and its impact on world politics.  
Why is The Protocols - a proven lie and forgery - important today? Because it is being published around the world, with new editions in Arabic almost every year, and in Persian and Turkish. These publications are financed by government money and distributed not only in Arabic-speaking countries, but also to Muslim minorities around the world.  
New editions are necessary because the introductions are updated every year. The introductions say if you do not believe that the Jews are really planning to take over the world, look at what is happening in your country and region. Everything that is happening is rooted in The Protocols, an implementation of the "Jewish Conspiracy." If there is a financial crisis, an Aids or a flu epidemic, a terrorist attack, an upheaval or a catastrophe, one can always point to a chapter or page in The Protocols because it is such a devious document that everything is there. There is a whole detailed plan of how to take over the world. 
She believes that an essential part of Israel's PR is to make the Protocols available in the West so that the world will see that the conflict isn't over land but it is a campaign of hatred directed against Jews.

She concludes:

There is no Jewish conspiracy to dominate the world but there is an anti-Jewish conspiracy.  Using this book against the Jews for 100 years is part of a conspiracy and everybody who takes part in it is a conspirator against us. It starts with the Jews but it does not end with the Jews. The first airplane that was hijacked was an Israeli airplane, and now we line up in every airport for security checks, so the world should be concerned. The danger of contaminating the public discourse with lies is a danger to the whole world. 
The ADL's documentation of the Arab world's reaction to Judge Goldstone's timid retraction is an excellent example. Once Goldstone could no longer serve as a fig leaf - proof that the commission that bore his name wasn't a kangaroo court - he was part of the conspiracy.

3) Other news from the Middle East

Bahrain convicts 4 and sentences them to death.

Assad may be losing Baath party members.

More than 200 members have quit Syria’s ruling Baath party in the southern province at the epicenter of the country’s uprising to protest President Bashar Assad’s brutal crackdown on opponents, a human rights activist said Thursday.Mustafa Osso said another 30 resigned in the coastal city of Banias, adding that most of those who quit were lower-rank members.
The news item tells us that is a very small proportion of party members - the party has more than a million members - but that such defections were unthinkable before the protests started.

12 protesters were killed in Yemen.

Yemeni security forces opened fire on a massive anti-government demonstration in the capital Sanaa on Wednesday, killing 12 protesters and wounding some 190, a doctor at the scene said.
Hiker subpoenaed in Iran

Subpoenas issued by the Iranian Foreign Ministry indicate Sarah Shourd's presence at the court session scheduled May 11 is considered mandatory, said her lawyer, Masoud Shafii, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency. 
Iran released Shourd on $500,000 bail in September, but her two male companions remained jailed in Tehran. Shourd, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, who have pleaded not guilty, were hiking near the Iran-Iraq border when they were arrested. 
Espionage charges can carry the death penalty under Iranian law.
I can't imagine that she'd return to Iran.

And by the way, Israel still must make peace with the Palestinians else the Middle East will be in turmoil.

4) A man, a peace plan and the New York Times

An editorial Monday in the New York Times, President Obama and the peace process argued:

The outlines of a deal are no secret. They were first proposed by President Bill Clinton in 2000. But neither side has been willing to make the necessary concessions — on land swaps, how Jerusalem can be shared and how many displaced Palestinians can go home, or not. The Israelis need to know that their closest ally won’t enable more inaction. The Palestinians need to know they will have American support so long as their demands are realistic. Mr. Obama needs to speak up before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel pre-empts the debate with what is certain to be an inferior proposal when he addresses a joint meeting of Congress next month.  
Mr. Netanyahu has made some concessions, most notably giving Palestinians more control over their own security in the West Bank. But he has long insisted that the Palestinians aren’t serious about negotiating a final deal, and he is now hinting that he will unilaterally offer them an interim, step-by-step arrangement that will put off statehood to some undefined future.  
He also has used the upheavals in the Middle East as one more excuse not to act, rather than a reason to reinforce Israel’s security with a durable peace deal. 
And of course everyone knew that an Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon would weaken Hezbollah and the withdrawal from Gaza would weaken Hamas. And now the Palestinians have proven that they are not serious about negotiating a peace deal. Do you think that the editors of the New York Times will concede that point to Netanyahu? Or that when Egyptians are having doubts about their durable peace deal with Israel is not the time to risk concessions with another government that could possibly become unpopular and watch support for peace deteriorate some years in the future?

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NormanF said...

Does the New York Times get it? They seem to believe if only Israel made more concessions, peace would be at hand.

Haaretz's Aluff Benn concedes that Netanyahu has been sprung by Abu Bluff from a diplomatic trap and now the Prime Minister instead of being pressured to make more concessions can instead rally Congress against the tides of Islamic fanaticism, led by Iran and Hamas taking up the rear, that is sweeping the Middle East.

Peace at hand? Certainly not with the way events are going at the present time.

Daled Amos said...

Does the New York Times get it? They seem to believe if only Israel made more concessions, peace would be at hand.

The word 'peace' is no more used in its correct sense than the words 'disproportionate' or 'occupation'.

When The New York Times uses the word 'peace', they automatically envision the creation of a second Palestinian state.

That is why they have no problem proposing a state before there is real peace as opposed to real peace first, leading to a state.

And they are far from being alone in that view--not counting those who envision a state first, and then the heck with the consequences.

Atlanta Roofing said...

Hamas is the stronger party... the PA has all but conceded defeat. A Palestinian government will simply be a fig leaf for Hamas even if it has Fatah ministers. There is going to be no question as to who is calling the shots - and the cumulative impact of yesterday's development will be to push the Palestinian Arabs in a more radical direction.