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Monday, March 18, 2013

The New York Times calls for a third intifada

Three days before President Obama's trip to Israel, the New York Times writes a lengthy magazine piece which is so totally biased as to effectively call for a third intifada. Here are some small examples.
“We see our stones as our message,” Bassem explained. The message they carried, he said, was “We don’t accept you.” While Bassem spoke admiringly of Mahatma Gandhi, he didn’t worry over whether stone-throwing counted as violence. The question annoyed him: Israel uses far greater and more lethal force on a regular basis, he pointed out, without being asked to clarify its attitude toward violence. If the loincloth functioned as the sign of Gandhi’s resistance, of India’s nakedness in front of British colonial might, Bassem said, “Our sign is the stone.” The weekly clashes with the I.D.F. were hence in part symbolic. The stones were not just flinty yellow rocks, but symbols of defiance, of a refusal to submit to occupation, regardless of the odds. The army’s weapons bore messages of their own: of economic and technological power, of international support. More than one resident of Nabi Saleh reminded me that the tear gas used there is made by a company based in Pennsylvania.
Throwing stones is definitely not Gandhi-like non-violence

“This is the worst time for us,” Bassem confided to me last summer. He meant not just that the villagers have less to show for their sacrifices each week, but that things felt grim outside the village too. Everyone I spoke with who was old enough to remember agreed that conditions for Palestinians are far worse now than they were before the first intifada. The checkpoints, the raids, the permit system, add up to more daily humiliation than Palestinians have ever faced. The number of Israeli settlers living in the West Bank has more than tripled since the Oslo Accords. Assaults on Palestinians by settlers are so common that they rarely made the news. The resistance, though, remained limited to a few scattered villages like Nabi Saleh and a small urban youth movement.
Really? Where are all the victims? Where are all the dead bodies? Where are all the funerals? Where are all the 'settlers' bragging about how many 'Palestinians' they have killed?
I sat down one afternoon in Ramallah with Samir Shehadeh, a former literature professor from Nabi Saleh who was one of the intellectual architects of the first intifada and whom I met several times at Bassem’s house. I reminded him of the car accident that ignited the first uprising and asked what kind of spark it would take to mobilize Palestinians to fight again. “The situation is 1,000 times worse,” he said. “There are thousands of possible sparks,” and still nothing has happened. 
It's like the reporters wants it to happen.  He wants another violent intifada in which hundreds will be killed, God forbid. And look what he's complaining about: He's complaining that many 'Palestinians' have hope of a normal life:
Worse than any corruption, though, was the apparent normalcy. Settlements are visible on the neighboring hilltops, but there are no checkpoints inside Ramallah. The I.D.F. only occasionally enters the city, and usually only at night. Few Palestinians still work inside Israel, and not many can scrape a living from the fields. For the thousands of waiters, clerks, engineers, warehouse workers, mechanics and bureaucrats who spend their days in the city and return to their villages every evening, Ramallah — which has a full-time population of less than 100,000 — holds out the possibility of forgetting the occupation and pursuing a career, saving up for a car, sending the children to college.

Bassem saw no easy way to break the torpor and ignite a more widespread popular resistance. “They have the power,” he said of the P.A., “more than the Israelis, to stop us.” The Palestinian Authority employs 160,000 Palestinians, which means it controls the livelihoods of about a quarter of West Bank households. One night I asked Bassem and Bilal, who works for the Ministry of Public Health, how many people in Nabi Saleh depend on P.A. salaries. It took them a few minutes to add up the names. “Let’s say two-thirds of the village,” Bilal concluded. 
This one was so biased, even the Left wing Haaretz couldn't take it
The article, which some may interpret as encouraging a third intifada, is decidedly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and hostile both to the IDF as well as to the Palestinian “Ramallah bubble”, which, the author maintains, serves as an inhibitor to the “popular struggle” of Palestinian villagers.
The article is likely to elicit sharp condemnation from Israeli and Jewish critics who view the New York Times as harboring anti-Israeli sentiments. The timing of the article, its prominent placement, its provocative headline and its undeniable one-sidedness will all serve as fodder for the critics, but their main line of attack may be the “track record” of Ehrenreich himself.
 However the article is attacked, it ought to be attacked. There is no excuse for this kind of bias in the media.

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