Sunday, 21 March 2010

The Times' Idea Of "Context"

The Times sometimes likes to give a bit of "context" to the situation in Israel, as this makes it seem more informed and reliable. People can read their little information boxes and think they know all about the history of the conflict.

According to the Times' history lesson, after the 1979 Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt, the Egyptian prime minister was assassinated, and two years later, out of nowhere "Israel launched a massive invasion of Lebanon".

If the Times is going to give some context, maybe it would be better if they didn't portray Israel as the war-mongers everyone believes it to be, and instead give the whole picture, such as the assassination attempt on the Israeli ambassador to London. The war was not a success, but it wasn't without purpose:  "The operation was meant to destroy militant infrastructure on the Lebanese-Israeli border, which had been used by terrorists to attack IDF forces, as well as the Israeli communities abject to the border." The story of Israel's life.

After the 1993 Oslo Accords, and Yitzchak Rabin's assassination, the Times says "the two sides plunged into fresh violence with the 'al-Aqsa intifada' in 2000". But fails to mention that in five years after Oslo, but before that intifada, 279 Israeli civilians had been murdered in 92 Palestinian terror attacks. Or that the "trigger" for the intifada was Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, with the Palestinian Authority issuing a call "to all Palestinians to come and defend the al-Aksa mosque." (Just like they tried again a few months ago, by spreading rumours that the Jews were going to attack the mosque.)

At least with the 2002 Road Map, the Times identifies the part Hamas played in "plunging the region back into conflict", but with the first two scenarios, readers who didn't know any better would be seriously misled.

A couple of days before that article, the Times published an op-ed by Malcolm Rifkind where he demonstrates typical ignorance of the conflict by saying that unless the Palestinians get "a viable, truly independent Palestinian state with something like the pre-1967 boundaries... there can be no stability in the Middle East nor true security for Israel".

As demonstrated with the disengagement from Gaza, giving up land to the Palestinians' full control is not an option, as it will inevitably be used for terrorism. Netanyahu outlined a just proposal for 2-states that would give the Palestinians land but not an army, ensuring Israelis' safety. 

However Rifkind dismisses what he calls a "nominal autonomy" as similar to apartheid South Africa, and says that Israel needs a "peaceful, democratic... government with a genuine commitment to the two-state solution. Would this require a miracle? Perhaps. But are not miracles more likely in the Holy Land than anywhere else?

The only miracle we need is for the Palestinians to put their weapons down. Call me cynical, but I don't see that happening, even in the Holy Land. Especially in the Holy Land. Israel and the Jews' very existence is the miracle, considering what we're faced with.

1 comment:

  1. Just so. Context is everything, isn't it? And unless you're well versed in Israeli and Jewish history, to which most of the world willfully turns a blind eye, the truth is easy to obfuscate - just as the Times did.