All Wet in Toronto


On Sunday, Toronto Sun contributing foreign editor Eric Margolis submitted a column that begins with the journalist’s admission of deep, familial pro-Palestinian sympathies, then proceeds with a host of inaccuracies to support his claim that the road map is “a lopsided deal that is only good for one side” (Israel’s). Among the distortions and errors:

— Margolis states that the road map was grudgingly “accepted by Israel with undisclosed key reservations.” The 14 Israeli reservations were made public and are easily available (click here to view); instead of doing his homework, Margolis suggests sly Israeli concealment.

— Margolis claims that Abbas is being forced to “renounce the right of return of 1.5 million refugees.” In fact, the road map’s third stage calls for “a just, fair, and realistic solution to the refugee issue.” A mass “right of return,” moreover, lacks any international support.

— Margolis claims that Arafat, “the democratically elected PLO leader,” has been wrongly sidelined by Bush. Democratically elected? Even the Israeli left recognizes that the 1996 Palestinian elections were a sham. Former CIA director Jim Woolsey said, “Arafat was essentially elected the same way Stalin was, but not nearly as democratically as Hitler, who at least had actual opponents.”

— Margolis decries Israel “annexing large chunks of former Palestinian lands.” Historically, set borders of an autonomous Palestinian region have never existed; on what basis, therefore, are any lands considered “Palestinian”? Margolis also objects to Israeli land acquisitions “after the 1948 war” and “conquered in 1967,” with no reference whatsoever to the Arab hostility that caused those wars.

— Margolis claims that the settler community forms Sharon’s “political core support.” Sharon’s Likud party won 31% of the vote in January; West Bank and Gaza residents are just 3.9% of the Israeli populace, and many settlers support parties to the right of Likud.

In the article, Margolis proudly affirms his credentials: “I have been steeped in Mideast affairs since the early 1950s.” But with so many inaccuracies, this article is all wet indeed.

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President Bush met Prime Ministers Sharon and Abbas together for the first time today in Aqaba, Jordan. The summit meeting featured a Palestinian declaration renouncing all terrorism against Israel and an Israeli promise to dismantle illegal settlement outposts.

Media coverage generally conveyed the cautious optimism felt by most Israelis, but an Associated Press report included a historical review that should raise eyebrows:

“The pursuit of Middle East peace has stymied American presidents for decades. Bill Clinton traveled to the region a half dozen times and devoted the closing days of his presidency to the search for a settlement. An agreement seemed within reach but then collapsed when Arafat and then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak turned away.”

“Ehud Barak turned away”? At Camp David in July 2000, Barak offered a Palestinian state in Gaza and 92% of the West Bank, and a capital in East Jerusalem — the most generous offer ever from an Israeli government. Yassir Arafat rejected the offer, ended negotiations without a counteroffer, and launched the past 33 months of anti-Israeli terror.

An accurate historical review, even in passing, must indicate which side has caused “the stymieing of Middle East peace for decades.” The Arab League rejected the 1947 UN Partition Plan which would have created a Palestinian state, and Israel’s first 50 years were marked by repeated attempts of annihilation from neighboring Arab states. And let’s not forget the Khartum Resolutions of 1967, when the Arab League issued the infamous three “no’s”: “No peace with Israel. No negotiations with Israel. No recognition of Israel.”

It has consistently been Palestinians who “turned away” from peace. So why does AP’s 55-word overview give no such indication?

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Israeli investigators have found that the British terrorists who carried out the deadly suicide bombing at Mike’s Place in Tel Aviv on April 29 hitched a ride with an Italian journalist to gain entry to Israel from Gaza.

As a result of this incident and others, the IDF has tightened reporters’ previously loose inspections at Gaza checkpoints; the International Federation of Journalists (representing 500,000 journalists in 100 countries) then criticized Israel for unwarranted “restrictions on media staff and foreigners entering the Gaza Strip.”

Perhaps the IFJ’s efforts would be better spent warning its members about terrorists’ use of the media as a literal “vehicle for murder.”

HonestReporting subscribers will recall that the Mike’s Place terrorists also used the “non violent” International Solidarity Movement “peace group” as a cover, sipping tea with ISM members before commencing their mission. ISM members act as “human shields” to block IDF anti-terror work; a number have recently been arrested and deported by Israel.

The ISM has now been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by Canadian MP Svend Robinson, for “the contribution of the ISM to advancing the cause of peace in the Middle East, to defending human rights, and to upholding international law.”

If Yassir Arafat “merited” a Nobel Prize, why not the ISM?