Friday, November 30, 2007


"If there is to be conciliation between Arab and Jew, that task begins with the formal creation of the two independent states in Palestine. It should be the urgent desire and purpose of the Jewish State, which has received the assent of the assembled nations of the world, to bring about that conciliation in practice; and to work towards a fruitful union between itself and its neighbour."

Those words are from the Palestine Post editorial of sixty years ago following United Nations Resolution 181 which ended the British Mandate of Palestine and voted 33 to 13 (10 abstentions) to create a Jewish and an Arab state in its place. [Hat tip: Elder of Ziyon]

Sixty years on and the parties are still striving towards the achievement of peace but there are many who still cannot understand that mutual recognition of each other's rights are paramount. The Palestinian delegation at Annapolis this week still struggled with the concept of living side by side with a Jewish state.

There is much pessimism at the outcome of Annapolis and the Melbourne Age's Ed O'Loughlin is certainly in the gloom and doom camp as witnessed by his "analysis" published in yesterday's Melbourne Age - LEADERS HAVE LITTLE TO HOPE FOR AND MUCH TO FEAR.

What value however, is a person's "analysis" when his ability to analyse is in so much doubt?

"At Aqaba it was agreed that as a first step towards final peace talks Israel would freeze settlement construction in the West Bank and ease its military occupation of the Palestinian territories. The Palestinians would eliminate terrorism and armed resistance.

Neither side honoured even these first, preliminary obligations. The road map was dead by the end of the year. Four years later, Bush is a lame-duck president with abysmally low domestic approval ratings and gravely diminished influence abroad."

What we really have to fear is journalists who put their own spin on history so that it is becomes distorted.

The first distortion is that the Road Map never speaks of "armed resistance" - a term used by the Palestinian terror groups and their supporters to describe their terrorist activities such a suicide bombing and the sending of missiles into Jewish homes, schools and businesses as well as bombing the crossings where humanitarian supplies are sent by the Israelis into Gaza (i.e. the things that O'Loughlin rarely ever writes about).

The first step in the First Phase of the Road Map requires the Palestinian leadership to issue an "unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate end to all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere." Instead, the Palestinian leadership, through Abbas at the behest of Arafat, repudiated this requirement within six weeks of the signing of the agreement. The fact that O'Loughlin reverted to the languague used by the Palestinian terrorists has exposed him for what he is and tells us where his sympathies lie. That alone should have been enough to alert any decent editor to the fact that his "analysis" is coloured by bias against the Israelis and those Palestinians who want peace. His work would be more appropriate for an Australians for Palestine or Friends of Hamas publication.

There's also the little matter of O'Loughlin's disingenuous and misleading reference to the "West Bank" in the first paragraph quoted above. The fourth step in the First Phase of the Road Map really says -"Israel withdraws from Palestinian areas occupied since September 2000, as security progresses, freezes all settlement activity, and dismantles outposts. It takes measures to improve the Palestinian humanitarian situation."

By referring only to the West Bank (and not all of Palestine as the Road Map references) O'Loughlin avoids the fact that Israel in 2005 withdrew from Gaza and four settlements in the West Bank. This disengagement reduced the amount of Palestinians living under "occupation" by about 40%. Despite that, the Israelis have on a daily basis been on the receiving end of Palestinian missile attacks from Hamas dominated Gaza.
The fact remains that any attempt to seek peace, no matter that each of the negotiating parties starts from a position of weakness, should be regarded as a bonus for the Israeli and Palestinian people.

While O'Loughlin smugly writes about scoreless draws, he manages to forget that he himself has scored so many own goals by his appalling coverage of the news from the region, that the Guinness Book of World Records beckons for him.

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