[Published 23 December 2010]
“The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) is a daily broadsheet newspaper published by Fairfax Media in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 1831 as the Sydney Herald, the SMH is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Australia.”
Regrettably the Sydney Morning Herald seems to be going the way of a growing number of media outlets that publish factually inaccurate or misleading statements and analysis on the Jewish-Arab conflict - which still defies resolution after 130 years of trying.
In its recent editorial “Mid East Peace: a time to speak” the Herald has published inaccuracies, innuendo, amateur analysis and comment designed to mislead or misinform.
Take the following:
1. “The Obama administration’s effort to get the Israelis and Palestinians back into direct negotiations, helped with a bribe to Israel of new military gear in return for a 90-day freeze on settlements in the conquered territories, has foundered.”
The suggestion that a “bribe” was offered and accepted is scurrilous. There were negotiations between Secretary of State Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but President Obama nixed those negotiations by refusing to make any offers in writing when confirmation was demanded by Israel.
2. “International patience is fast running out. Brazil and Argentina have recognised a sovereign state of Palestine; the Europeans are threatening to follow.”
It might have helped readers if the Herald had added that Brazil and Argentina’s recognition involved a state of Palestine within the 1967 armistice lines - which means that 500000 Jews will have to leave their homes and businesses. Brazil and Argentina’s endorsement of this Nazi “Judenrein” policy was apparently thought not important enough to point out to its readers.
As for the Europeans - the following news item appeared one week before the Herald’s editorial:
“The EU will not recognise changes to pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than agreed by the parties. “This could include territorial swaps,” it says, without further comment in what a diplomat said was the first such reference by the EU.It also demands that a way be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem ” as the future capital of two states” and calls for a just solution to the refugee problem.'
What source did the Herald rely on for its claim?
3 ."..or Palestinians may give up on the idea of their own state, and insist on a two-nation, single state in the original Palestine mandate.”
The Herald infers the location of the their own State is agreed upon between the Palestinian Arabs - which is inaccurate. The Gazan Arabs want their own state to include Israel, whilst the West Bank Arabs want their own state to exclude Israel and also those 500000 Jews who currently live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The original Palestine mandate contained what is today called Jordan - which comprised 78% of the territory of “Palestine”. Is the Herald privy to information that the Palestinians have designs on Jordan as part of the location for its two-nation single state?
4. “The key blockage, for Israel’s Western friends, is its own politics. Hamas can be tackled further downstream”
What source does the Herald rely on to assert that Israel’s own politics - not the Palestinian Arabs split politics - is the key blockage for Israel‘s western friends?
The Palestinian Arabs do not have a unified Government that can negotiate a final agreement with Israel. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are unable to decide who should govern the Palestinian Arabs after 3 years of internecine struggle. Abbas remains the unelected and unconstitutional President of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The Fayyad government of the PA is unelected. Hamas is a declared terrorist organization and has been duly elected to govern in Gaza.
Israel - on the other hand - has a democratically elected Government that can enter into and make binding commitments but has no corresponding entity on the other side that can do the same.
Why should Israel tackle Hamas downstream? Hamas has to be confronted and dealt with in the context of any final settlement or such purported settlement will not be an end to the conflict.
Doing nothing about Hamas now will lead to precisely the outcome the Herald referred to in this very editorial :
“a messy one and two half-states, Israel plus a rump Palestine on the West Bank and a Hamas-ruled Gaza propped up by Iran.”
Is the Herald serious that Israel commit this act of national suicide by dealing with the PA now and put Hamas off for another day?
5. “The debate in Washington is now about how tough to be with Israel, to try to force the mainstream into a consensus decision. A bit of tough support from a key ally might have helped the Americans. Instead, Rudd’s [Australia’s Foreign Minister] public appearances were a feel-good profession of Australian support for Israel.”
A sweeping statement on Washington with not one bit of evidence or analysis to support it.
On the other hand there is clear evidence that the PA and Hamas are unable to settle their differences and steadfastly refuse to recognize Israel as the Jewish National Home.
How can Washington - in being tough with Israel - bring any breakthroughs in these Palestinian Arab logjams?
If America is to get tough with anyone surely it would be with the Palestinian Arab side - to get their act together and acknowledge that the Jewish state is a reality and is here to stay.
Good on Rudd. If the Herald’s editorial writer is right on Washington’s current stance - then Australia would be foolish to be part of it.
6. “Rudd made a distasteful joke about Menachem Begin carrying out ‘‘some interior redesign’’ of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel - referring to a terrorist bombing in 1946 that killed 91 people." Has Rudd really has got [sic] it as a diplomat? Perhaps WikiLeaks will one day reveal that he made a more appropriate pitch in private.”
(i) The King David Hotel was the headquarters of the British Army - a legitimate target for attack.
(ii) Warnings were given to clear the hotel but were ignored by the British.
(iii) The attack was not a “terrorist bombing” since the civilian population was not deliberately targeted.
I would suggest the Herald not worry about Rudd and Wikileaks.
The Herald needs to worry about its journalists who write such nonsense as this skewed and inaccurate editorial.
Maybe in the spirit of openness and transparency being lately espoused by the Herald in its ongoing exclusive releases from Wikileaks - the Herald might tell us
(i) who wrote the editorial
(ii) the qualifications of the person writing the editorial
(iii) who checked the editorial for its accuracy before publication
At this festive time of goodwill and cheer the Herald has clearly displayed that this editorial is lacking in both.