Monday, February 1, 2010

Abbas makes demands and misrepresents the facts; Reuters parrots

In a story on the latest demands by PA President Mahmoud Abbas for restarting peace talks with Israel, Reuters correspondent Dave Graham writes:

Abbas said Israel would need to accept its June 1967 borders as the basis for any land swaps.
Graham uncritically paraphrases Abbas in referring to the "1967 borders" but in reality of course, there are no 1967 borders.  There are only armistice lines drawn on a map in green ink in 1949 (hence, the "Green Line") which represent the geographical divide between the Israeli army and the Arab Legion where fighting halted during Israel's War of Independence.  This line served to separate opposing forces until the Jordanian Army attacked Israel in the subsequent 1967 War.  In short, the 1949 armistice lines have never been recognized as an international border.

Graham leaps from uncritically paraphrasing Abbas to uncritically parroting him in the very next sentence:
"These are not preconditions, they are requirements in the road map. If they are not prepared to do that, it means they don't want a political solution," he told the newspaper.
In fact, the Road Map peace plan -- which has long been a dead letter -- does not require Israel "to accept its June 1967 borders" or more accurately, the 1949 armistice lines.  What the Road Map actually stipulates (in Phase III) is this:
Second international conference: Convened by Quartet, in consultation with the parties, at beginning of 2004 to endorse agreement reached on an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders and formally to launch a process with the active, sustained, and operational support of the Quartet, leading to a final, permanent status resolution in 2005, including on borders, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements; and, to support progress toward a comprehensive Middle East settlement between Israel and Lebanon and Israel and Syria, to be achieved as soon as possible. 
In other words, provisional borders between Israel and a nascent Palestinian state were to be negotiated and agreed between the parties and subsequently endorsed at an international conference hosted by the Quartet at which time the matter of permanent borders would be taken up along with the issues of Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, and progress towards peace agreements between Israel and Lebanon, Israel and Syria.

A reality quite different than the false assertion issued by Abbas and parroted blindly by Reuters.

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