IHT and the Terror Strategy

Terror returned to Israeli streets today, as Palestinian suicide bombers murdered at least 16 civilians onboard two commuter buses in Be’er Sheva. A four year-old boy was among those killed and many children were injured in the dual attack, which occurred on the last day of summer vacation. (see video report)

Yet while the world shudders at the pictures from Be’er Sheva, at least one Mideast reporter would seem to believe that today’s bombing was a positive development. Yesterday (Aug. 30) in the International Herald Tribune, Israel-based journalist Jonathan Cook responded to the visit of Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, who urged Palestinians ? in the spirit of his grandfather ? to adopt peaceful paths to promote their cause.

Cook actually rejects Gandhi’s suggestion as impractical for Palestinians, claiming that ‘nonviolence is unlikely to be effective as a strategy,’ and that Palestinians

now understand that violence is the surest way to get their struggle noticed. Bombing buses is immoral, but it makes the front pages, reminding the world that there is a conflict.

Jonathan Cook

In other words, Cook understands and appreciates a ‘need’ for Palestinians to conduct suicide bombings like the ones that shattered Be’er Sheva on Tuesday. By endorsing terror in this manner, Cook gives hope to terrorists the world over that promotion of their cause will be in direct proportion to the magnitude of their attack.

Why would an influential and respected newspaper, owned by the New York Times and printed in more than 180 countries worldwide, publish such a view?

It’s not surprising that Cook, one of the journalists behind the ‘Jenin war crimes’ myth in April 2002, claims Israelis themselves are to blame for the terror they endure. What’s new here, though, is the sector of Israelis he holds responsible:

The efficacy of nonviolence might look different to Palestinians were they receiving the steadfast support of leftist Israelis. But in reality it is the Israelis, not the Palestinians, who are the missing peace partners.

Let’s understand Cook’s logic: The Hamas terrorists who carried out today’s attack would have pursued peaceful means ? if only Israeli groups such as Peace Now had held out their hand further.

Yet after Ehud Barak offered a Palestinian state in Gaza and 96% of the West Bank, only to be answered with a terror campaign, how can any credible news outlet declare that Israelis are the ‘missing peace partners’?!

Cook’s article also contains factually inaccurate statements, such as the claim that the media only pay attention to Israeli blood and gore ? not to Palestinian suffering or non-violent protest, which he implies is abundant yet causes news outlets to ‘barely stifle their yawns.’ Cook’s case in point ? the Palestinian hunger strike currently underway in Israeli prisons. But in fact, the press has been covering this strike on almost a daily basis ? see full Reuters reports for example, on Aug. 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 28, and 30.

Today, aboard buses in Be’er Sheva, the world was once again reminded of the perverse Palestinian strategy of terror. How an experienced western journalist can see such horrific acts as the way out of the conflict baffles the mind… and tears at one’s heart.

Comments to International Herald Tribune: letters@iht.com

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.