In the very last paragraph of a recent article in the New York Times
(Troops Kill 4 in Gaza; 2 Die in Car Bombing in Israel 11/23/2000, page
A3), Deborah Sontag found enough room to bury a bit of news that was apparently
deemed unfavorable for Israel.
The last paragraph states that "Secretary of State Madeline K Albright
said the four Gazans had been killed by the Israelis in circumstances that
remain unclear". Albright went on to say "Israelis were not the only victims
Sontag's headline also failed to mention five other Palestinians who
were killed by the IDF that day. That fact is only revealed later in the
article. Using a grand total of five words, Sontag writes of 'five more
Palestinians in clashes'. One Palestinian dead, one word in the New York
times. Lest she be accused of withholding information, Sontag uses the
usual one word obituary reserved for Palestinians.
Prime Minister Ehud Barak is quoted in the very first paragraph promising
to "get even" for the "barbaric" death of two Israelis. Nachman Shai, the
Israeli government spokesman was allocated the whole fifth paragraph
of the article to vent. Unnamed 'senior Israeli officials' beat Shai in
staking a claim to Sontag's fourth Paragraph.
The article also has quotes from five other Israelis, one of them unidentified.
In order of appearance they were Naftali Wecheter, Michael Azaria, Yitzhak
Levy and Itzik Baum. The fifth was another unnamed 'Israeli official' who
spun an unlikely tale of how four unarmed Palestinians were killed by Israeli
soldiers. The unnamed official is quoted as saying "we didn't mean to kill
him in this case, neither him nor the others .".
The cover picture and the map and the hospital room clip that accompany
Sontag's article are all about the Hadera bus bombing that killed two Israelis.
On the Palestinian side there was a quote from Muhammad Dahlia, one unnamed
Palestinian source, Arafat and Dr Jawed Tibia who stated that he had "rushed
to the hospital and found their (the four Palestinian) bodies riddled with
bullets and their faces unrecognizable". Consider that in a day when 2
Israelis and 9 Palestinians were killed, The New York Times concentrated
on telling the story of the two Israelis and barely mentions the 9 Palestinians.
No pictures, no eyewitness testimony and certainly no hint of concern for
The callous disregard for Palestinian lives glares from almost every
article and editorial printed by the New York Times on the Israeli/Palestinian
conflict. This is cause for concern. The Times is an influential ethnic
newspaper that caters to New York's large Jewish community. Combine the
unbalanced coverage of this paper with the influence of AIPAC and other
prominent American Jewish organizations on Congress. The net result is
an American foreign policy that is tailored to Israel's requirements. A
political force that represents a small fraction of Americans has become
the first and last word in the molding of American foreign policy in the
volatile Middle East.
After thirty years of reading the New York Times, I have come to the
conclusion that the New York Times and AIPAC need to be invited to the
next round of peace negotiations as parties to the conflict. Palestinian-Americans
should also be invited. This would restore a desperately needed level of
transparency to the making of American foreign policy. It would also give
credibility to the negotiations.
Having the New York Times recognized as a party to the conflict would
also allow Americans of Palestinian and Arab origin to openly discuss their
grievances against the American Jewish community for the blatant attempts
to strip us of the right to fully participate in the American political
process. A case in point is the vile pandering to Jewish voters by both
Hillary Clinton and Lazio. In that disgraceful New York Senate race, Arab
Americans and Muslim Americans were officially shunned by both the Democrats
and the GOP. The record clearly shows that the New York Times was an unabashed
cheerleader for the first overtly racist First Lady in the modern history
of our Republic.
Rewarding the New York Times with a seat at the Peace Conference might
also tempt it to rise up to the occasion by taming down its anti-Palestinian
rhetoric. This alone would lead to creating a more favorable environment
for the peace process to succeed. Perhaps the greatest contribution would
be for the New York Times to review its archives and recant the thousands
of deceptive and inflammatory articles and editorials that have been written
in service to the Israeli State.