Terror No Obstacle to Peace?

There has been much analysis and a wide variety of opinions expressed in the media following this week’s meeting in Washington DC between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The Independent, however, stands out from the crowd with a glaring omission.

In an article by Donald Macintyre, “Israel goes cold on plan for regional peace deal,” a list of “obstacles to peace” includes issues such as settlements, Palestinian infighting, Iran, Syria and Israel’s own apparent reluctance to publicly endorse a Palestinian state.

Putting aside the relative importance or otherwise of issues such as settlements being primary stumbling blocks, Macintyre conveniently forgets a very real and potentially the greatest obstacle to peace – Palestinian terror and violence.

How can Macintyre omit the thousands of missiles fired from Gaza at Sderot and surrounding Israeli communities for several years (and before the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip)? Indeed, only the day before Macintyre’s piece was published, Sderot endured a Qassam rocket attack on a courtyard adjacent to two private homes. One resident was wounded while several others were treated for shock.

And how can Macintyre forget the brutal campaign of suicide attacks against Israeli buses, cafes and other civilian targets that has claimed the lives of over 1000 Israelis and wounded thousands more since the year 2000? While major attacks have declined recently thanks to Israeli counter measures such as the Security Fence, the incentive for terrorist groups to carry out similar acts of violence has not.

We could also add to the list other potential obstacles to peace, for example, Palestinian intractability on issues such as the right of return, incitement in Palestinian media and the education system that has poisoned Palestinian minds, and the increasing role of Islamic extremism represented by Hamas.

Please write to The Independent – letters@independent.co.uk – to remind them that there are many potential obstacles to peace and that some of these that the paper has omitted, are the responsibility of the Palestinian side to overcome.


Much media coverage of Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama this week tended to concentrate on Netanyahu’s refusal to formally endorse the creation of a Palestinian state. Although Netanyahu spoke eagerly about renewing negotiations and expressed support for Palestinian autonomy, the media’s coverage implied that his position presented an obstacle to peace.

But as media outlets focus on the negative with Netanyahu, the real obstacle to peace – Hamas – continues to be treated differently. A case-in-point is an Associated Press article published the day after the meeting. The article provides a platform for Hamas leaders to express “moderate” positions, such as a quote from Hamas lawmaker Yehiye Moussa saying, the group is “not demanding to destroy Israel.”

While writer Karen Laub is clear that Hamas is not about to change its ideology, which precludes any recognition of Israel, she notes that Hamas has begun “raising the possibility they would someday accept a Palestinian state alongside Israel.”

So while Netanyahu’s call for Palestinian autonomy is treated as insufficient and anti-peace, Hamas’s rhetorical, though not ideological or practical, shift from total rejectionism is presented as a cause for hope.


Bilin is home of the West Bank’s longest continuous run of manufactured dissent and grandstanding for the cameras.

So it’s no surprise that the Associated Press would have you believe that this man holding a key aloft directly in front of a photographer Bernat Armangue simply “passed out” from tear gas at a Nakba demonstration this week.


The Columbia Journalism Review has published a fascinating case study of how the Israeli and Western news services handled the debunked allegations of IDF abuses in Gaza. The CJR traces how Danny Zamir’s transcripts of the soldiers’ unverified stories made their way first into Ha’aretz, Ma’ariv and Israel’s Channel 10, and from there, into the Western mainstream media (MSM).

Read the full article here.


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