The Miami Herald has seen fit to publish an op-ed by Samah Sabawi who is described as a policy advisor for Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. A look at Al-Shabaka’s website reveals the organization:
provides a platform for diverse Palestinian viewpoints within the framework of the vision and principles set out in the July 9, 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law.
Given that the entire strategy of BDS is designed to delegitimize Israel, it is no surprise that Sabawi’s piece is a litany of anti-Israel falsehoods. Taking the standard hyperbole of Israel as an “apartheid” state, Sabawi begins by attempting to distort Israeli PM Netanyahu’s recent speech to the US Congress as a plan “to confine the Palestinian population to demilitarized Bantustans with limited self rule.” This, despite Netanyahu’s clear acceptance of a negotiated settlement leading to a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution. Sabawi attempts to present Netanyahu and Israel as the obstructionist side unwilling to compromise despite invoking Netanyahu’s opposition to a Palestinian “right of return”. This maximalist Palestinian demand is rejected by all Israelis across the political spectrum as its implementation and the flooding of Israel’s borders with millions of the descendants of Palestinian refugees would bring an end to Israel as a Jewish state. Amidst the deluge of apartheid references in his vicious attack on Israel, Sabawi appears either confused or simply ignorant. He talks of “the inauguration of a Jewish-only colony, Har Hazeetim in Silwan, an Arab village south of Jerusalem“. For Sabawi’s information, Har Hazeitim is the Mount of Olives located to the north east of Jerusalem. Silwan is an Arab village located adjacent to the Old City in the area known as the Holy Basin and not south of Jerusalem. But then, reality is not what guides Sabawi. Indeed, hard facts are difficult to come by in Sabawi’s piece, which relies on omissions and hyperbole to construct a false picture of Israeli policy. For example, he refers to Ariel Sharon “who was found by the Israeli Kahan Commission Inquiry “to bear personal responsibility” for allowing the massacres of Palestinians in Sabra and Shatilla.” Sabawi conveniently forgets that those massacres were carried out not by Israeli forces but by Christian Phalangists in Lebanon a fact often covered up by those seeking to demonize Sharon and to lead readers into believing that the IDF bears responsibility. Sabawi refers to Israel’s security barrier:
The route of the wall gave Palestinians a hint of what was to come — the entrenchment of an apartheid system. In 2004, he began plans to disengage from Gaza. The wall and disengagement plan aimed to create the demographic balance needed for Israel to realize its dream of annexing Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Sabawi fails to mention the real reason behind the construction of the security barrier – the vital need to protect Israeli civilians from Palestinian terrorists who had unleashed a wave of suicide bombings on buses, cafes and other public places during the period preceding the barrier’s construction. Sabawi’s leads the reader into believing that Netanyahu’s speech and Israeli policies are the culmination of some grand plan to impose apartheid on the Palestinians (see here to find out why this accusation is patently false). Instead, Sabawi’s op-ed is simply anti-Israel propaganda designed to delegitimize Israel. So why then has the Miami Herald considered this to be a credible piece of commentary?
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