Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Alastair Macdonald, historical revisionist (part III)

Continuing with our analysis of Alastair Macdonald's propagandistic "timeline" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and efforts to achieve peace:
November [2009] - Clinton hails [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu's partial, 10-month halt on building permits in West Bank settlements as "unprecedented." [Palestinian President] Abbas demands similar freeze in East Jerusalem. Israel refuses.
Sept 2010 - Direct peace talks finally resume but they end after just a couple of weeks when Israel refuses to extend its partial settlement freeze.
Palestinians waited nearly nine and a half months after Netanyahu's unprecedented concession to freeze building in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") before agreeing to return to peace talks.  The Palestinians unilaterally abandoned talks three weeks later.
May [2011] - Israeli troops kill at least 13 Palestinians who surged towards its frontiers with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on May 15, the day Palestinians mourn the establishment of Israel in the deadliest confrontation in years of anniversary clashes.
Macdonald obfuscates both the nature and magnitude of this incident which involved the transportation of over a thousand Palestinian Arabs to the Syrian, Lebanese and Gaza borders with Israel, where they were encouraged by Arab governments to rush and breach Israeli border fences.  One wonders as well, what this incident has to do with a timeline entitled: "milestones in Middle East peace moves".  Why not provide an account for example, of the eight Israelis who were gunned-down at point-blank range by Palestinians dressed as Egyptian security personnel in August of this year?  An incident which, owing to its impact on Israeli-Egyptian relations, is at least as relevant to the question of peace in the region as Macdonald's historical marker.
-- Obama's call for Israel to give Palestinians territory it has occupied since 1967 stuns visiting Prime Minister Netanyahu and pushes their thawing relationship back into the freezer.
This is an historical fabrication.  What President Obama actually said was that "the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states" [italics ours].  This advice is consistent with the position of nearly every US administration over the last two decades and not inconsistent with Israeli policy and offers to the Palestinians over the same period.

And finally:
September 23 - Abbas to ask the U.N. to recognise a state for his people, even though Israel still occupies its territory and the United States has vowed to veto the move.
The territories of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") remain officially unallocated and disputed between Jews and Arabs.  Per international law, they do not belong to the Palestinians, although by virtue of international law, Jews are fully entitled to settle there.

As evidenced by our three-part critique, Macdonald's timeline is fundamentally flawed, deeply dishonest, and heavily propagandistic.  It distorts history beyond all recognition and omits essential context necessary to understand what the former Reuters bureau chief is purportedly attempting to provide: a faithful account of the Middle East conflict and efforts to resolve it.

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