Thursday, October 20, 2011
The New York Times' straw man
The New York Times' editorial on Gilad Shalit sets up a straw man and proceeds to attack it (Hat Tip: Debbie R; NY Times straw man by MR, Daughter #3 Child #5).
One has to ask: If Mr. Netanyahu can negotiate with Hamas — which shoots rockets at Israel, refuses to recognize Israel’s existence and, on Tuesday, vowed to take even more hostages — why won’t he negotiate seriously with the Palestinian Authority, which Israel relies on to help keep the peace in the West Bank?Mr. Netanyahu has expressed his readiness to 'negotiate seriously' with the 'Palestinian Authority' - without preconditions - on literally hundreds of occasions since he was elected Prime Minister in 2009. To suggest that Netanyahu won't negotiate seriously with the 'Palestinian Authority' is a straw man, which the Times then proceeds to demolish.
Mr. Netanyahu’s backers claim that his coalition is so fragile that he can’t make the compromises needed to help revive peace negotiations. But he was strong enough to go against the grief-stricken families of those Israelis killed by the Palestinian prisoners he just freed. “I know that the price is very heavy for you,” he wrote to them. Why can’t he make a similarly impassioned appeal for a settlement freeze for the sake of Israel’s security?
The reason Prime Minister Netanyahu (I wonder if the Times will ever call him that rather than 'Mr. Netanyahu') was able to make the deal with Hamas - a deal which I and many other Israelis find abhorrent - is that some 70% of Israelis favored turning over mass murderers in exchange for Gilad Shalit. 70% of Israelis do not favor another 'settlement freeze' after 'Mr. Abbas' allowed the clock to nearly run out on the first one before responding by asking that it be extended. In fact, 70% may be at the low end of estimates of the number of Jewish Israelis who oppose another 'settlement freeze.'
The United States and its partners should keep trying to get negotiations going. Mr. Abbas should see the prisoner swap for what it is — a challenge to his authority and credibility. The best way to bolster his standing is by leading his people in the creation of a Palestinian state, through negotiations. As for Mr. Netanyahu, we saw on Tuesday that the problem is not that he can’t compromise and make tough choices. It’s that he won’t. That won’t make Israel safer.
Of course, the Times doesn't ask the question it should be asking: If 'Mr. Abbas' is a man of peace, as the Times claims that he is, why did he sponsor a massive celebration of the release of mass murderers in Ramallah on Tuesday, similar to the one sponsored in Gaza by Hamas. In fact, the implications for 'peace' of the orgies of celebration for these mass murderers' release seems totally lost on the Times. They don't even mention it and don't seem to be at all fazed by it. Why?