Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Classic Reuters

In an appeal to pity and what can also be viewed as an anticipatory effort to justify Arab violence, Reuters' Tom Perry pens a piece discussing Palestinian melancholy and "desperation" in their purported efforts to achieve statehood.  Perry writes:
The risk of violence could turn into near-certainty in time, some Palestinian analysts add, even if there are at present few signs of an appetite for a third Intifada, or uprising, among Palestinians who have lived under Israeli occupation since 1967.
Reuters correspondents frequently serve as apologists for Arab violence and here, Perry is paving the way for precisely that outcome.

Perry quotes one of those "Palestinian analysts":
"Either there is a resumption of negotiations, which requires an American initiative, or there will be a political vacuum, which is dangerous because it will most likely be filled at some point by conflict," said George Giacaman, a political science professor at Birzeit University near Ramallah.
Perry fails to explain here that the only thing preventing a resumption of negotiations is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' utter refusal to accept them.

Perry continues:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out more than a partial limitation on settlement building in areas of the occupied West Bank not annexed to its Jerusalem municipality.
Actually, Netanyahu has said that Israel has "no intention of building new settlements or of expropriating additional land for existing settlements" (June 14, 2009).

Perry then does comedy:
Abbas, who has built his career around negotiating peace, remains committed to the "two-state solution" at the core of the 20-year-old peace process.
As we noted here, Abbas has built his career around many things but they have had little to do with "negotiating peace".

Perry quotes Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as saying that Israel has "a Mickey Mouse state" in mind for the Palestinians and then suggests:
It would deny them not only an army -- an idea they might accept -- but also a viable, contiguous territory, due to settlements.
We wonder how Perry knows what the Palestinians "might accept" and also note that as Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank) compose less than 2% of available land, Perry's assertion that these would "deny" the Palestinians a viable, contiguous territory is simply ludicrous.

Perry then obfuscates history and geography:
Officials are making increasing references to an alternative -- that Palestinians be citizens of a single state governing all the territory from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, or all of what was British-ruled Palestine from 1917 to 1948.
The territory from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean represents only 22% of British-ruled Palestine.  The other 78% consists of what is today Arab Jordan.  This is clearly not an oversight by Reuters which does not wish to remind its readers that despite the promise of a Jewish national home and "close settlement by Jews on the land" across the entire Palestine Mandate, the British subsequently lopped off the vast majority of the territory (in 1922), handing it to the Hashemite Arabs as a gift for their support in the war against the Ottoman Empire.  At four times the geographical size of Israel, Jordan today has a population which is roughly 70% Palestinian Arab.  Jews are banned from owning property.

Perry then argues ("the argument runs") that:
without a Palestinian state... Jewish statehood would entail South African-style apartheid in which Jews rule over a disenfranchised Arab majority in the occupied territories.
The suggestion that one state composed of Jews and Arabs would result in "South African-style apartheid" is of course, a classic example of the logical fallacy/propaganda technique of the false dilemma.  Indeed, there is evidence that the number of Arabs residing in the territories has been significantly overstated and that a single state consisting of Israel plus Judea and Samaria (West Bank) would retain a Jewish majority for the foreseeable future.

Perry concludes with another canard:
Alarmingly for international powers looking with concern at the way the six-decade-old conflict destabilizes the world's main oil-producing region, the way ahead is shrouded in fog.
In fact, other than the five-month Arab oil embargo in the 1970s following the Yom Kippur war, the Arab-Israeli conflict has had little effect on the flow of oil.  For countries like Saudi Arabia where oil accounts for 90% of export earnings and 45% of GDP, there is little choice but to keep pumping whether or not the Palestinians get their state.

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