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August 03, 2011

Unfit to Print?

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Some might see it as a wise political move. Others might say it's capitulation.

We can all agree, though, that Benjamin Netanyahu's leaked decision to soften his opposition to references to the "1967 lines" thus far has been completely ignored by the New York Times.

Why would a newspaper so obsessed with the Arab-Israeli conflict ignore this reported development, when so many others — the Irish Times, the Hindustan Times and the Times of Oman, never mind the Washington Post, AP, AFP and Reuters — agree it is newsworthy? Does the New York Times feel it must first find a way to spin the story to fit its preferred narrative? Is it so desperate to avoid publishing a headline like "Palestinian Authority dismiss Israeli 'peace proposal'"?

The newspaper may argue, in its defense, that it was waiting for uncertainty to be resolved. After all, the unnamed Israeli official who spoke with journalists appears to have been floating the idea as a trial balloon, and as such, information about the exact nature of Israel's proposed compromise is vague and even contradictory.

But this is hardly the first bit of inconvenient information concealed by the Times. It chose not to report, for example, that France has explicitly sided with Israel's position that the Palestinians recognize its right to exist as the Jewish state. Its readers, then, would not know that French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said at a recent press conference,

France has a very clear position that joins that of Spain and all of our European partners: It is that there will be no solution to the conflict in the Middle East without recognition of two nation-states for two peoples. The nation-state of Israel for the Jewish people, and the nation-state of Palestine for the Palestinian people. There is no getting away from this.

Newsworthy? Of course it is. Palestinian rejection of the principle of two states for two peoples has been one of the central sticking points between the parties. And consequently, when senior Palestinian official Nabil Shaath insisted after Juppe's press conference that the Palestinians will "never accept" the principle — in other words, that they are opposed to what most of the world understands as the two-state solution — this was also newsworthy. And it was also ignored by the New York Times.

Posted by GI at August 3, 2011 02:09 PM

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