During the last two days, The Hartford Courant, New Haven Register, Waterbury Republican-American and likely other Connecticut newspapers have published "news" stories which are effectively biased, are infused with opinion inappropriate to a news article and present a very incomplete picture.
The publication of these articles help illustrate the need to constantly present the balancing viewpoints, through letters and op-eds, even during periods that seem relatively quiet.
Most of the articles refer the plans for building a handful of apartments in Israel's capital and are written from a perspective assuming the Arab complaints are perfectly reasonable, that America's pandering to those complaints is also perfectly reasonable.
Left out is any perspective, including the fact the building is in an area that has no chance of ever being turned over to the Palestinian Arabs under any conceivable agreement. There is not even a suggestion about the obvious fact that if the Palestinian Arabs had any real interest in reaching a peace agreement they would no more be making any fuss about building housing for Jews than Israel is making about the massive construction of homes for Arabs in the disputed territories, no less complaining about building in areas that are obviously never going to be under their jurisdiction.
The article in the Register refers to Vice President Joe Biden warning "actions that 'inflame tensions,'" in a manner that makes it clear it refers to the routine Israeli announcement about the building plans. There is no reference to actions taken by the Palestinian Authority, particularly regarding incitement, which really do inflame tensions and keep pushing any prospects for peace further and further away.
Included near the end of this email is a bulletin from Palestinian Media Watch
It appears (although it's not perfectly clear) from the PMW report that, under pressure from both Israel and America, the PA has either postponed or cancelled today's ceremonies. Regardless of whether this particular ceremony has been cancelled:
(a) The fact that the PA would even consider so honoring such a brutal terrorist (as it has honored many others) is a strong indication that it has no real interest in living together with Israel in peace.
(b) We have seen no reporting of this in any Connecticut newspapers. Actions taken by the Palestinian Arabs to undermine prospects for peace, and clear indications that they are not interested in peace, are obviously not considered newsworthy by Connecticut newspapers.
(c) However one feels about "settlements" or growth of communities, that's not what determines whether there will be peace negotiations. It's often used as an excuse by the PA to avoid negotiations, and it's waved about by some in order to exploit the issue's divisiveness, but the questions of peace negotiations and of a "two (or three or four)-state solution," which the Arabs may very well not want, involve much broader and more fundamental issues than the building of a handful of homes.
(d) Barry Rubin has a very cogent article about the building announcement. It may be viewed at www.gloria-center.org/blog/2010/03/announcing-construction.
(e) It appears that Abbas has already reneged on his agreement to engage in even indirect talks. An update at www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3861093,00.html says "Chief Palestinian neogiator Saeb Erekat confirmed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas notified the Arab League that he does not intend to renew peace talks with Israel unless construction is frozen in east Jerusalem."
One final item on which some may wish to comment. The article in the Register refers to Biden reassuring the Palestinian Arabs that they "deserve a sustainable, independent state."
One wonders why it is necessary to keep insisting the Palestinian Arabs deserve a state, while few ever insist the Tibetans, Kurds or dozens of other stateless national groups with far longer histories deserve states. Could it be the way the Palestinian Arabs have made such effective use of terrorism? If so, what kind of message is that sending to other groups?