I started this blog because I left Boston to live and work in London for a while, and I wanted to stay in touch with family and friends. I'm back now, but still have plenty of opinions on world news, politics, the media and the absolute craziness that comes from dealing with people. Bring it.

15 May 2006


Maybe this isn’t worthy of comment, but I’m gonna comment anyway. I’m going to talk about two articles – one that appeared in The Arab News, and one that appeared on Ynet – both reporting on the same thing. Namely, comments made by Palestinian President Abbas on Naqba (which means catastrophe), the day Palestinians mourn the founding of the State of Israel.

Here are the headlines:

Abbas Decries Israeli Excuses
Abbas Calls for Peace Talks

Guess which one is which. Here’s a hint – Arab News is not an Israeli newspaper.

Now, let me just note for a minute what Naqba Day commemorates. Not the Six Day War in 1967 when Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza, but the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. That is their catastrophe. But more on that in a moment.

What stuck me initially is the amazingly different tone of these two articles. While one is fiery and angry, the other is strangely naïve given the circumstances.

Here’s a taste from the Arab News article:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday called on Israel to resume negotiations and warned against Tel Aviv taking unilateral action. In a speech marking Nakba, the Day of Catastrophe for Palestinians when Israel was founded 58 years ago…

“Let’s make this year the year of peace, let’s sit at the negotiations table away from the policy of diktats and unilateralism. Stop making excuses there’s no Palestinian partner, the partner is there,” Abbas, now on a visit to Russia, said in a pre-recorded address…

In his speech, Abbas warned Israel that unilaterally setting “final borders” with a Palestinian state, as Olmert has pledged to do by 2010 if peace talks cannot be resumed, risked provoking a deeper spiral of violence.

Now, I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like “decrying excuses” to me. But it does sound weak, stupid and like a crock of shit. Perhaps I am picky, but it seems to me that calling for peace with a country in a speech written specifically to mark a day of mourning for the founding of said country is -- how shall I put this? -- RIDICULOUS.

If you’re really after peace, how about starting with getting rid of this “day of mourning”? And yet, many global news sources covered this “call for peace” seriously. Can you imagine the reaction if Olmert called for a return to negotiations during a “Palestinians Don’t Exist” Parade? (note to those not in the know – we don’t actually have such parades. But apparently, that would be acceptable… Oh wait, no it wouldn’t. Israel has to play by different rules.)

Now, read some selections from the almost-laughable Ynet coverage of the same speech:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called for Israel to return to the negotiating table in a speech marking the anniversary of what the Palestinians consider to be the “Catastrophe,” or the Naqba, of Israel’s creation. Unlike in past years, Palestinians have not planned massive demonstrations on the day marking the anniversary of the event, and Abbas used the occasion to appeal to the Israelis with a message of peace that discouraged unilateral steps…

(MY NOTE: apparently, the lack of mass demonstrations is considered progress. This is what Israel has to cling to. They have small parades and speeches broadcast on Palestinian TV, and demonstrations like this one found on AbbaGav's site... see "second misconstruance" -- rather than massive demonstrations. Good times!)

…”I tell our neighbors, the Israelis, that we want to make a just and lasting peace with you, and we want a better future for our children and yours. So come to make this year a year of peace,” He said in a recorded speech set to be broadcast later Monday on Palestinian television and radio…

…In his speech, Abbas signaled to Hamas that it must change its ways and pursue a path of diplomacy. “The PLO, which led our people in its most difficult times, would not have survived until now, or received international recognition, had it not been forthcoming in formulating courageous political initiatives,” He said.

Um… Hello Ynet editors?! Do you consider Naqba events nothing more than a handy journalistic tool to let the reader know what day of the year it is? I mean, really. How can this call for peace be covered seriously? Believe me, I am tired of this, too. I want something positive to happen. But sadly, I don’t think this is it.


At 12:40 AM, Blogger Gavriel said...

We seem to live in an age of wishful thinking all around, but some are working on making their feasible wishes come true, while we just keep wishing. Thanks for the link by the way.


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