The New York Times Embraces Palestinian Failure
For New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren liberal fantasy invariably trumps Middle Eastern reality. She actually imagines (January 6) that the recent application of the Palestinian Authority, led by its increasingly irrelevant President Mahmoud Abbas (now serving the tenth year of his four-year term), to join the International Criminal Court constitutes a step toward Palestinian statehood. She swallows without a thoughtful gulp the Palestinian fantasy that they can establish “a legal state . . . without their leaders having to make the concessions or assurances they have long avoided.”
Rudoren slides quickly by the consequences of Palestinian folly. The government of Israel quickly froze Palestinian tax revenues, depriving thousands of Palestinian Authority workers of paychecks. If the Palestinian Authority does not reverse course and withdraw its bid to join the ICC the American government will likely cut $400 million in aid, which may cause its collapse. But President Abbas remained delusional. Boasting that the Palestinian Authority will “join 100, 200, 300″ international organizations, he promised: “We will not get exhausted or tired.” Perhaps confusing Students for Justice in Palestine, the noisily irrelevant group of Israel-bashers on American campuses, with international reality, he proclaimed: “The whole world is supporting us.”
Rudoren evidently believes that Israel needs the Palestinian Authority more than the moribund Authority needs its primary life-support system. She cites the Beirzeit University vice-president, hardly a major figure on the world stage, who warns that if Israelis and Americans stop funding the Authority, “that will play to the hands of the extreme elements in Palestinian society, including Hamas.” So, too, Palestinian gadfly Mustafa Barghouti, who has favored the inclusion of Hamas in “the democratic process,” welcomes “the end of the Oslo era,” thereby “liberating” Palestinians from their (peace-making) obligations. Rudoren seems oblivious to the consequences – for Palestinians – of a Hamas take-over. She might want to schedule a return trip to Gaza.
Perhaps Rudoren simply has a soft spot for Abbas – old, exhausted, and demonstrably irrelevant. She locates a Palestinian whose father enjoys a Palestinian Authority pension and whose sister, employed by the Authority, has colleagues who seem prepared to sacrifice their salaries for the feeling that “tomorrow will be better than today.” So much for the achievements of the Palestinian Authority – and the deferential gullibility of Rudoren, who swallows every morsel of Palestinian denial.
One newspaper over, the same day, Bret Stephens analyzed “The Dream Palace of the Arab” in The Wall Street Journal. Confessing to an excess of optimism about the Palestinian future a decade ago, he recalled Palestinian promises – following the death of Yasser Arafat – for the “rule of law; a clampdown on violence; an emphasis on institution building; the end to the toxic cult of personality.” Palestinians needed only “a leader who would implement the change, along with the people who would accept it.” Alas, Stephens came to realize, Abbas “was not that leader. And Palestinians were not those people.” Given the pattern of persistent Palestinian rejection and violent opposition to a neighboring Jewish state, a “reasonably peaceful and prosperous” Palestinian state that would best serve the interests of Palestinians and Israelis alike, Stephens wisely concludes, is hardly imminent.
Mahmoud Abbas, more popular with Jodi Rudoren than with his own people, will soon pass from the public stage. So, too, should Rudoren, whose sycophancy toward the Palestinian cause has been the most conspicuous feature of her tenure as Jerusalem Bureau Chief. The Oslo Accords are also moribund. Ambassador Alan Baker, who participated in their drafting, concludes that their provisions have been effectively obliterated by the Palestinian decision to petition the International Criminal Court. Israel, he writes (Daily Alert, January 6 ), “has the legitimate right to declare that the Oslo Accords are no longer valid and to act unilaterally to protect its essential legal and security interests.”
Even State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters: “We’re deeply troubled by the Palestinian action,” which “does nothing to further the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a sovereign and independent state.” Under American law, any Palestinian case filed with the Court against Israel would trigger an immediate cutoff of financial support for the Abbas regime.
Palestinians, according to the Times’ front-page headline to Rudoren’s dream palace of a story, are “Seen Gaining Momentum in Quest for Statehood.” Not so fast. History suggests that Palestinians are drawing ever closer to their initial response in 1937 to the British Peel Commission proposal that the remaining one-third of Palestine (following the gift of Trans-Jordan to Emir Abdullah fifteen years earlier) be partitioned into a Jewish and Palestinian state. But, as Abba Eban memorably noted in 1973, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Neither, it seems, does The New York Times.
Postscript: Notwithstanding its front-page coverage and indignant editorial regarding the murderous atrocities in Paris, the Times (January 8 ) refused to print Charlie Hebdo’s “most controversial work,” it explained, because of its “intentionally offensive content.” What is truly offensive – and pathetic – is the craven submission by the Times to standards of journalistic censorship imposed by Muslim terrorists – no less, it might be added, than by its self-imposed pro-Palestinian bias.
Jerold S. Auerbach is a frequent contributor to The Algemeiner