Monday, July 7, 2014

Open Letter to PBS NewsHour

On July 7, PBS NewsHour aired a segment misleadingly titled "Mideast tensions escalate in cycle of retribution for teen killings." The program featured Josef Federman, Dennis Ross, Shibley Telhami and Judy Woodruff.

Prof. Doron Lubinsky of Atlanta sent the following letter about the segment to PBS NewsHour.

On the whole, Judy Woodruff tried to be fair tonight. Even Josef Federman conceded that the rocket attacks from Gaza, were forcing Israelis to stay inside bomb shelters across southern Israel.

Of course, Shibley Telhami talked of "Palestinian desperation". Who is primarily responsible for that "despair"? It is Palestinian leaders such as Arafat and Abbas, who have rejected every resolution to the conflict that allows a permanent Israel (no matter what its boundaries). And then there is Hamas, which regularly broadcasts children's programs calling for the murder of all Jews.

There could have been a Palestinian state in 1948 alongside Israel, but the Arab world instead invaded the tiny Jewish state. There could have been a Palestinian state between 1948 and 1967 when Jordan controlled the West Bank, but there was no talk of it then. There could have been a Palestinian state after the Arab lost the Six-Day War in 1967, but the Arab League vowed "no recognition, no talks, no peace". There could have been a Palestinian state in 2001 under the Clinton plan, but Arafat walked away and started an intifada. There could have been a Palestinian state in 2010 with Olmert, but Abbas refused to respond. There could have been a Palestinian state this year, but Abbas gave Pres. Obama three no's: no to recognition of Israel as a Jewish state; no to compromise on refugees; no to ending the conflict after Palestinian statehood in the West Bank.

So why all the no's? Because the core issue is rejection of any permanent Israel at all. The Palestinian cause was built to dismantle Israel. It's tragedy is that its obsession with destroying Israel far exceeds the desire for statehood. Yes, Abbas might feign acceptance while Israel is making one-sided concessions, but will always ensure that there are further pretexts for conflict. Imagine if the Arab world had uplifted all the Arab refugees in the way Israel uplifted all the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, if they had looked forward rather than backward?

And yes, despite all the cover given to Hamas, it is Hamas that is launching most of the rockets. It is Fatah's own TV and newspapers and officials that praised the kidnapping of the three teens. And it is Israel that arrested the Israeli perpetrators of the despicable murder of the Palestinian teen, while Palestinian society has praised, and given cover to, the murderers of the Israel teens. The mother of one of the Palestinians suspected of the murders praised the purported actions of her son, in public.

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