Missing Hope in Palestinian Statehood

The New York Times’ lack of objectivity on the Middle East is one of the core violations of U.S. journalistic ethics, obvious yet rarely acknowledged. Ethics professor Daniel C. Maguire thought it worth noting in a letter to Times columnist (and former executive editor) Bill Keller.

By Daniel C. Maguire

Mr. Keller,

“Capsules of hope,” “Glimmers from the rest of the world.” How could you have missedone obvious glimmer, one obvious capsule of hope?  But of course you were writing in The New York Times.

Bill Keller of the New York Times

How could you miss the non-violent move by the Palestinians for statehood, with over a hundred nations applauding in the General Assembly? They did this under threats of lost U.S. aid and Israeli retaliation, but they did it. And you saw no glimmer there? But, of course, you were writing in The New York Times.

People who have been victims of an illegal occupation, people who have been victims of the parity lie which blurs the difference between the occupied and the occupier, the invaded and the invader, people who see land thefts extended daily under the euphemism of “settlements,” always tellingly referred to without quotes by The New York Times … these punished people took a courageous non-violent step within blocks of The New York Times, and you missed it?

But of course, etc., etc.

Professor Daniel C. Maguire

Daniel C. Maguire is a Professor of Moral Theology at Marquette University, a Catholic, Jesuit institution in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is author of A Moral Creed for All Christians. He can be reached at daniel.maguire@marquette.edu

Share this Article:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • NewsVine
  • Technorati
  • email

11 comments on “Missing Hope in Palestinian Statehood

  1. bfearn on said:

    Thanks Daniel,
    Of course the NYTimes missed this as they have missed thousands of other stories over the years. The NYTimes and virtually every other mainstream media source is nothing more than biased reporting for various vested interests.
    It must be hard for all these ‘journalists’ to sleep at night but then I guess they have learned to live with deception.

  2. Israel and the Occupation Myth
    The hatred and violence that killed five members of the Fogel family existed before the Jewish state did.
    By DANNY AYALON
    The recent murder of a family of five in Itamar shocked Israelis to their core. A terrorist broke into the Fogels’ home before stabbing and garroting to death the two parents, Udi and Ruth, and their children Yoav, 11 years old, Elad, 4, and almost decapitating Hadas, who was only three months old.
    There has since been very little outcry from the international community. Many nations who are so used to condemning the building of apartment units beyond the Green Line remained silent on this sadistic murder. Meanwhile, the few international correspondents to have covered the massacre have placed it in the context of ongoing settlement-building and Israel’s so-called “occupation.”
    However, regardless of one’s views on which people have greater title to Judea and Samaria, or the West Bank, it is a historically inaccurate distortion to claim that the occupation that breeds this type of violence. If this mantra were true, then it must be the case that before the occupation there was no violence. This defies the historical record.
    In 1929, the Jewish community of Hebron—which stretches back millennia, long before the creation of Islam and the Arab conquest and subsequent occupation of the area—was brutally attacked. The Jews who had been living peacefully with their Muslim neighbors were set upon in a bloody rampage, inspired by Palestinian Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, who later became notorious as Hitler’s genocidal acolyte during the Holocaust. In two days, 67 Jews were hacked or bludgeoned to death. Jewish infants were beheaded and Jewish women were disemboweled. Limbs were hacked off the dead as well as those who managed to survive.
    On visiting the scene shortly after the massacre, Britain’s High Commissioner for Palestine John Chancellor wrote to his son “I do not think that history records many worse horrors in the last few hundred years.”
    This and other similar pogroms happened, not only before the “occupation” of Judea and Samaria, but even two decades before the state of Israel was reestablished. From 1948 to 1967, Judea and Samaria were illegally occupied by Jordan, which renamed the area the West Bank, in reference to the East Bank of the Kingdom of Jordan that fell beyond the Jordan River. Not one Israeli was allowed into this area, yet nor did Israel know one day of peace in that time, during which it saw brutal attacks launched from the West Bank against Israeli civilians.
    Further evidence against the mantra that the occupation breeds violence can be culled from Palestinian sources. Take Hamas’s founding charter, for instance, which does not mention occupation or settlements. What is does contain are calls for the complete destruction of Israel, down to its last inch, such as: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” The charter goes even further, aspiring to a point in time when there will be no Jews left anywhere in the world.
    Meanwhile, the Palestine Liberation Organization, currently headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, notes in its founding charter that “this organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank,” while still calling for a “liberation of its homeland.” This was written in 1964, fully three years before Israel conquered the West Bank during the Six Day War.
    It’s safe to say that the violence and terror visited upon Israelis has little connection to “occupation” or settlements. This myth has no historical foundation, but is easy to proclaim for those who have little understanding of the conflict.
    Yet these fatuous canards only make our conflict harder to solve. The recent massacre in Itamar highlighted the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing incitement to violence through its media, mosques and educational system. At this point, the basic parameters of the peace process need an overhaul. If our aim is to reach a peaceful resolution, then merely ending the “occupation” would far from guarantee that, as history has shown.
    Israel was assured in the past by the international community that if it just retreated from Gaza and Lebanon, peace would flourish and violence would come to an end. In both cases, this hope proved deadly wrong, and millions of Israelis have been subjected to incessant attacks from these territories since the retreat.
    This is not about “occupation” or territory; it is about meaningful coexistence. Only when the root ideological causes of our conflict are solved can Israelis and Palestinians make the painful concessions necessary for peace.
    Mr. Ayalon is the deputy foreign minister of Israel.

    A Palestinian state? Don’t count on it
    By Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe, September 21, 2011

    If the Palestinian Authority genuinely desired international recognition as a sovereign state, Mahmoud Abbas wouldn’t have come to New York to seek membership in the UN General Assembly [last] week. There would have been no need to, for Palestine would have long since taken its seat in the United Nations.

    Were Palestinian statehood Abbas’s real goal, after all, he could have delivered it to his people three years ago. In 2008, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proposed the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state on territory equal (after land swaps) to 100 percent of the West Bank and Gaza, with free passage between the two plus a capital in the Arab section of Jerusalem. Yet Abbas turned down the Israeli offer. And he has refused ever since even to engage in negotiations.

    “It is our legitimate right to demand the full membership of the state of Palestine in the UN,” Abbas declared in Ramallah on Friday, “to put an end to a historical injustice by attaining liberty and independence, like the other peoples of the earth.”

    But for the better part of a century, the Arabs of Palestine have consistently said no when presented with the chance to build a state of their own. They said no in 1937, when the British government, which then ruled Palestine, proposed to divide the land into separate Arab and Jewish states. Arab leaders said no again in 1947, choosing to go to war rather than accept the UN’s decision to partition Palestine between its Jewish and Arab populations.

    When Israel in 1967 offered to relinquish the land it had acquired in exchange for peace with its neighbors, the Arab world’s response, issued at a summit in Khartoum, was not one no, but three: “No peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel.”

    At Camp David in 2000, Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians a sovereign state with shared control of Jerusalem and billions of dollars in compensation for Palestinian refugees. Yasser Arafat refused the offer, and returned to launch the deadly terror war known as the Second Intifada.

    There is no shortage in this world of stateless peoples yearning for a homeland, many of them ethnic groups with centuries of history, unique in language and culture. Kurds or Tamils or Tibetans — whose longstanding quests for a nation-state the world ignores — must find it maddening to watch the international community trip over itself in its eagerness to proclaim, again and again, the need for a Palestinian state. And they must be baffled by the Palestinians’ invariable refusal to take yes for an answer.
    It is no mystery, however. The raison d’être of the Palestinian movement has never been the establishment and building-up of a sovereign Palestinian homeland. It has always been the negation of a sovereign Jewish homeland. That is why well-intended proposals for a “two-state solution” have never come to fruition, no matter how earnestly proposed by US presidents or UN secretaries-general. That is why the basic charter not just of Hamas but even of Abbas’s supposedly moderate Fatah vows to continue the “armed struggle” until “the Zionist state is demolished.” And that is why Abbas and other Palestinian leaders insist that a Palestinian state would be explicitly Arab and Muslim, but adamantly refuse to acknowledge that Israel is legitimately the Jewish state.

    The goal of the Palestinian movement has always been the negation of the Jewish state. Both Fatah and Hamas feature logos that depict crossed weapons imposed against the map of Israel.

    “Palestinian nationalism,” Edward Said told an interviewer in 1999, “was based on driving all Israelis out.” Sadly, it still is.

    Last week, to kick off its campaign seeking UN recognition as a state, the Palestinian Authority staged a highly publicized march to the UN offices in Ramallah, where a letter was delivered for Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. Officials named Latifa Abu Hmeid to lead the procession and hand over the letter. “She was chosen,” reported the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, “because she is a symbol of Palestinian suffering as a result of the occupation.”

    What the paper did not mention is that Abu Hmeid is the mother of four murderers, whose sons are serving a total of 18 life sentences for their involvement in multiple terrorist attacks. According to Palestinian Media Watch, this is not the first time Abu Hmeid has been honored. Last year, the Palestinian Authority awarded her “the Plaque of Resoluteness and Giving,” and a government minister publicly extolled her virtues: “It is she who gave birth to the fighters, and she deserves that we bow to her in salute and in honor.”
    It is this grotesque and bloody culture that Palestinian leaders want the UN to affirm as worthy of statehood. The wonder is not they make the request, but that anyone thinks it should be granted.

  3. weisseharre on said:

    “phoebus and boreas disputed…but the traveller was so indiscre(e)t(e) as to o’erstay his middle-eastern welcome, and had no clothes.”
    ~ Ambrose Bierce

  4. Mr. Danny Ayalon, Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel:

    Occupation a myth? Thirst could teach you what a horrible reality occupation is. As reported by the World Bank, BBC, and even The New York Times,Israel keeps 80% of all the water on the West Bank for Jews. You can do that when you are the fourth strongest military in the world and your conscience is polluted by imperial power.

    The great Abraham Heschel said he feared at the foundation of Israel that the state of Israel would end up in exile from Judaism.

    When you take water away from the Palestinian orphans and widows, you are denying the morality of Judaism in favor of the occcupyng power.

    Shame on you, Danny Ayalon. I have more respect for Judaism than you do.

    Professor Daniel C. Maguire, Marquette University

    • steve wise on said:

      AND WHERE DO THE BUTCHERS OF THE FOGEL FAMILY END UP?
      PLENTY OF BLAME TO GO AROUND HERE, BUT IN THE END WHAT REALLY HAPPENED HERE?
      ISRAEL JUST HAPPENS TO BE “IN CONTROL” (PERHAPS) FOR THE MOMENT. THE SECOND THEY’RE
      NOT IS THE MOMENT THEY CEASE TO EXIST. WHAT HAS THE WORLD OFFERED IN RETURN? NO ONE HAS
      COME FORWARD AND OFFERED ANY GUARANTEES; OR RECOGNITION; OR A VISION OF PEACE- NOT FOR
      THE “OCCUPIED” BUT FOR ISRAEL. IF THE WORLD, INCLUDING THE ARAB STATES, WANTED PEACE AND
      A STATE FOR THEIR BROTHERS AND SISTERS THERE WOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN ONE. BUT THE SIMPLE FACT IS- THEY REALLY DON’T, JUST AS LONG AS THEY CAN CONTINUOUSLY SLANDER THE JEWS.

  5. Steve,

    No one argues that the Palestinians are altar boys. What’s argued instead is that people tend to behave badly when their lands are stolen, their people are murdered and their survival is threatened. Pro-Israelis see Palestinians as a mortal threat. If it weren’t so absurd, it’d be laughable.

    I mean, your heart bleeds rather selectively, does it not?

    For example, in Operation Cast Lead, the IDF used white phosphorus bombs, and deceitfully denied it, killing lots and lots of innocents in the process. The final death toll was over 1400 dead Palestinians, the vast majority “non combatants,” to roughly 10 dead Israelis. Israel considers that a tragic outcome – way, way too many dead Israelis. Where’s your indignation about those dead innocents?

    In its war on Lebanon, the IDF dropped myriad, vile cluster bombs, as it departed, scattering the land with lethal booby traps for Lebanese children. I don’t recall there having been much concern about that among pro-Israel moralists. Would you object if the Lebanese or Palestinians were to scatter cluster bombs across Israeli? Lets recall that only Israel, the USA, and some African despocracy refused to sign a UN mandate to eliminate the use of cluster bombs. I guess we now know why, don’t we?

    Chris Hedges reported that he personally watched IDF soldiers baiting young Palestinian boys, yelling the grossest obscenities about the boys’ mothers and sisters across demarcation lines separating Palestinian from Israeli land. When the furious, outraged boys threw rocks at the soldiers, they picked up their rifles and shot them dead. http://www.bintjbeil.com/articles/en/011001_hedges.html I don’t recall any fuss about those BUTCHERS from the great pro-Israel moralistS, do you?

    Israel’s Gazan war crimes are beyond dispute. The Guardian put the matter succinctly in a 2009 piece: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/mar/23/israel-gaza

    One of the better summaries of Israel’s war crimes in Gaza was written by the JEWISH UN Rapporteur for human rights, Richard Falk, here: http://mondediplo.com/2009/03/03warcrimes

    There is no shortage of other excellent explications on Israel’s criminality. I’ve got loads of them – from JEWISH sources. To even hint that the crimes committed by Palestinians against Israelis approximates those committed by Israelis against Palestinians reflects a partisan, moral obtuseness that explains why Israel has become a morally-indefensible, international pariah, and why sensible, moral people don’t take Israel’s blind defenders seriously.

    Alas, even pointing out, to say nothing of criticizing, Israel’s crimes is dismissed as pure, unmitigated anti-Semitism. And let me guess that soon you’ll unsheath that charge against me or anyone who points out the obvious. When I respond, citing Jewish sources, please come prepared to explain how “self-loathing” they are.

    • steve wise on said:

      GARY,

      I BELIEVE YOUR FIRST TWO SENTENCES SUM IT UP VERY NICELY. I COULDN’T HAVE SAID IT BETTER.

  6. TheAZCowBoy on said:

    The death of the Fogel settler hoodlums was ‘poetic justice.’ Murdering, abusing Palestinians and stealing their land and water and hope as well as bulldozing, cutting and burning their olive/fruit tree grooves, vineyards and wells and destroying their irrigation systems and cisterns on their farms brought on this violence (There is some question as to who really killed the Fogel’s – there are rumors that these bastards ripped off their farm workers and domestic help and what can you expect from low life para-military Settlers that believe that ‘living off the dole – US tax supported’ is a G-d given right?
    The sad thing is that two palestinan kids that were beat ro a paulp, tortured and abused for some 48 straight hours have been ‘tried and found guilty’ by the rabid Jews of ,

    Messer Alyon would end up like Qaddafi was finished off this week – if ‘only’ the Israeli military gave the Palestinians a ‘fair’ shot at him and his ilk, Natanyahu, Lieberman and the veneomous MK’s of the Knesset hyena’s.

  7. We need to thank Prof. Daniel C. Maguire for holding a mirror up to the New York Times Editors.
    I consider the N.Y.Times & the “Washington Post” the “Pravda” & “Investia” of American Journalism !

  8. J. B. Gregorovich on said:

    The truth will out.

  9. In spite of the Davidson’s, Maguires,Consortium News, like the song says, “I’m Still Here” or collectively “We’re still Here”