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November 30, 2006

Baltimore Sun -- If You Can't Say Something Smart ...

Baltimore Sun editorials on Arab-Israeli news tend to oscillate between being wrong and being fatuous. Insightful commentary has appeared — as an aberration. This pattern, holding for at least the past four years, continued with “An offer worth exploring” (November 29). It’s firmly on the fatuous side of the ledger.

“An offer worth exploring” notes Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s proposed concessions in exchange for an end to terrorism and start of negotiations toward genuine peace. The editorial says “the Palestinians should respond, and they should start with the Hamas-led government acknowledging Israel’s right to exist.” Of course, and as in the musical Camelot, it should never rain ‘til after sundown.

The Sun doesn’t get it: Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement) exists to destroy the Jewish state of Israel and establish an Islamic theocracy over all of western Palestine — Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and the Gaza Strip. It has held the residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip hostage to this ideology. It refuses to bow, as it says, to Israeli, U.S. and European demands to recognize Israel’s right to exist, end terrorism and agree to uphold previously negotiated Palestinian-Israeli agreements. It does so even though acceding would result in resumption of international aid and tax payments collected for the PA by Israel.

On what analytical basis does The Sun offer its advice? The day before the editorial appeared, Reuters News Agency headlined a dispatch “Hamas Sticking to Tough Line on Israel.” Reuters reported that “‘Hamas believes the presence of Israel is something that is not permanent ... and it is possible that in the end, it can be contained within a Palestinian state,’ said Mustafa Assawaf, a Palestinian expert on Islamist groups. Assawaf predicted that Hamas would never recognize Israel ‘even if the temptation was world recognition and a (Palestinian) state.’” If The Sun has better information, it doesn’t say so.

The Sun also advises Lebanese Christians, Druze, and Sunni Muslims “to resist taking up arms” to support the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora against attempts by Hezbollah (the Lebanese Shi’ite “Party of God”) to overturn it on behalf of Iran and Syria. They should instead “rely on the Lebanese army.” Incredible.

The same Lebanese Army that fractured along sectarian lines at the start of the 1975 - 1990 civil wars and has not been put back together? The same army that failed to stop Hezbollah from erecting a state-within-a-state in southern Lebanon and dragging the country into war with Israel last summer? The same army whose equipment, not to mention morale, is inferior to Hezbollah’s and that required the presence of an expanded international force under the United Nations just to deploy in southern Lebanon, never mind actually disarm Hezbollah or prevent new weaponry from being supplied by Iran and Syria?

Baltimore Sun editorialists apparently had nothing serious to say about Hamas, nothing useful to say about Lebanon. But they produced an editorial anyway.

An old journalism maxim describes editorial writers as those who come down from the hills after the battle and shoot the wounded. In this latest Arab-Israeli editorial, The Sun’s opinion writers shot themselves. Again.

Posted by ER at November 30, 2006 12:24 PM

Comments

"[Hamas] has held the residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip hostage to this ideology."

The saddest thing about it all is that Hamas isn't holding them hostage. The public at large overwhelmingly voted for Hamas to represent them.

Posted by: Johnny at November 30, 2006 05:19 PM

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