Memo to our readers: NileMedia has recently been given premission to
publish the following correspondance from Amos Schocken, the Publisher
of Ha'aretz, a major Israeli daily. While NileMedia.com has major disagreements
with "Famous Amos" and his publication, we have come to the conclusion
that this Israeli paper does make an effort to consider the Palestinian
side of the equation. While Ha'aretz is a Zionist paper, which does not
refrain from rehashing Israeli Zionist mythology, its coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian
conflict is far more balanced than anything you will find in the New York
Times, CNN, MSNBC or the Washington Post.
Dear Mr. Amr,
I never said Israelis do not engage in PR, all I said is that us, Haaretz,
the newspaper, are not interested in publishing PR material.
Our newsroom is open to Arab journalists, we will welcome capable Arabs
interested in journalistic work to join our team, and not necessarily for
them to give "vent for their grief" as you write. For that we have published
many articles by Arab writers - Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, and others,
and we certainly do not talk among ourselves, as you say. I could easily
see Arab journalists in any beat. It is true that we did not take active
steps to recruit Arabs, but then we have not taken active steps to recruit
any "group" - women, Russian Jews, Moroccan Jews, etc.
Try to look at things from a different angle. Zionism is the popular
and political movement of the Jews that led them to return to their homeland.
You may not like it but Jews lived in Hebron since the days of Abraham,
and in Nazareth probably before the days of Jesus Christ. They were exiled
from their homeland. Who could be against their return? As it turned the
Arabs were. It was of course before any Arab was "vacated from his ancestral
home", as you write.
The result was the war in 1948. Arabs fled, some maybe were driven out.
The war did not end in peace agreements, but in tense armistice with many
disruptions. The Arabs refused to accept Israel's right to exist, just
as before the state they refused to accept the Jews in Palestine. The no-peace
and tense situation caused Israel to be suspicious of its Arab population
and to monitor their activities closely. Suffering was inflicted on many
- Arabs and Jews, but the Jews were largely successful in building a strong
and successful country, so you tend to disregard the suffering of the Jews
inflicted by the Arabs, and are willing to see only the suffering of the
One wonders why the 1967 war erupted. Was it because the Arab countries
approached Israel and suggested to make peace? Was it because Israel refused
then to accept the peace offer and insisted on getting also the Temple
Mount with Haram al Sharif? Was it then because the Arabs then said: no
sorry, we are willing to make peace but we can not hand over our holy mosque
and then Israel attacked?
One wonders really what would have happened had the Arabs been willing
to accept Israel before June 1967 and make peace. One thing for sure -
we would not have occupied territories, we would not have Jewish settlers
in the west bank and in Gaza strip. We would not have now to reverse steps
taken by Israelis in the territories. You are now fighting to get - and
you will not get in full - what you could easily get in full before the
1967 war. So the Palestinians made serious mistakes, and not everything
in life is reversible. The misery is not just our doing, but it is the
result of the positions taken by the Arabs as well. When instead of offering
us peace, you attacked us in 1967, don't blame us for being victorious.
Many mistakes were made since - by us, by the Arabs. I really see no
problem in recognizing these mistakes, and Haaretz has been pointing at
what we considered to be Israeli mistakes all along the years. Needless
to say we have been writing against Sharon constantly, and especially since
1982. We have a lot against him (although I think some of your complaints
against him are without merit), but this is a democratic country and he
can run for any public office. I can hope he is not elected. But should
I say that he killed less Arabs than Hafez-el-Assad who nevertheless remained
president of the not democratic Seria? So let us deal with our lousy leaders
while you deal with yours.
I am rather proud of the Zionist movement (just as you are probably proud
of the Palestinian national movement), but I am not at all proud of the
occupation, and of the fanaticism that drove Israelis to settle in the
occupied land. But the Zionist movement was never fanatic, and this fanaticism
is an aberration that caused a lot of damage. Kind regards,
and this fanaticism is an aberration that caused a lot of damage. Kind