Thursday, May 26, 2005

Another Day, Another Terrorist White-Wash

A double-header in The New York Times today! An article that downplays the murderous character of the two leading terrorist groups in the Middle East, and an editorial that rolls out the welcome mat for Mohammed Abbas by letting him off the hook on the Road Map.

Whitewash No. 1 today is a story by Steve Erlanger that is really pretty dreadful even by Times standards. It is the story of the kind, cuddly, uncle-like Ahmad el-Kurd, mayor of Deir Al Balah in Gaza--the very human face of the murder mob called Hamas.

Erlanger really lays it on thick, briefly tossing in the words "suicide bombing" to satisfy the folks back home, but the undisguised purpose of the piece is PR for Hamas. He does not mention that the group is dedicated to destroying Israel and replacing it with an Islamic state. It really makes no bones about that.

Instead Erlanger passes on a load of hooey, from unnamed "Hamas officials," that these anonymous people "say they can accept an independent Palestine on the 1967 boundaries with Jerusalem as its capital and a recognition of the right of return for refugees, positions that are unacceptable to Israel."

Isn't that nice of them? If only it were true and if only Erlanger were to have pointed out that, in fact, the group has not abandoned either its terrorism or its goals.

Erlanger goes on to suggest that Hamas might pattern itself after Hezbollah, described here as an "army"--conjuring up images of a neat rows of men in green marching down Fifth Avenue and not a scabby bunch of kidnappers and terrorists whose idea of "combat" was to blow up U.S. Marines in their barracks.

Whitewash No.2 is on the editorial page, where the Times rolls out the welcome mat for Mohammed Abbas, saying that Abbas has tried to stop the aforementioned Hamas (the one with the cuddly uncle mayor) from "lobbing rockets from Gaza into Israel." But golly, that may not happen and "if it degenerates into a violent showdown between settlers and the Israeli Army, with Hamas unhelpfully throwing rockets at settlers on their way out of Gaza, any chance of returning to the road map will be lost."

Note that word--"unhelpful." Murdering civilians is "unhelpful" in the view of the Times editorial board. I wonder how members of the Times staff would feel if someone lobbed bombs at their classic-six apartments on West End Avenue. Would they view that as "unhelpful?"

And by the way, what about the Road Map? It is mentioned here and there in these pieces, but nowhere is it mentioned that all this "unhelpful stuff" is covered by the Road Map for Peace--and that, above all, the Palestinians have already agreed to it.

In case you've forgotten--the Times surely has--that requires an immediate and "unconditional cessation of violence" and, in the first phase, "sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure."

To the Times, however, lobbing bombs at settlers is just "unhelpful" and an end to violence and dismantling of terror infrastructure is something that "Israel wants" and not something to which the Palestinians have agreed.

This one-sided view of the Road Map is not some kind of "goof" or "mistake" or oversight, by the way. It is the consistent editorial policy of the New York Times. Neither the Times editorial board nor the editors on the foreign desk or correspondents in the field believe that the Palestinians should abide by their obligations under the Road Map. If they did, they would mention it, and not come down with a case of "Road Map Amnesia."