From: Ali Abunimah firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: NPR--Dennis Ross and Israel
May 22, 2001
In the opening to hour two of Morning Edition today, host Madeleine Brand
declared that the United States is stepping up "pressure to stop the
violence in Israel."
As you are aware, all but a minuscule amount of the violence is actually
perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces, not "in Israel" but in the
occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. This is needless to say a crucial
distinction. Please be more precise.
Brand's later interview with Dennis Ross produced some of the most
disingenuous and dishonest analysis ever broadcast on NPR.
Ross, who after his long stint as "Special Middle East Coordinator" has
returned home to the pro-Israeli "Washington Institute for Near East
Policy," attempts to portray himself as an impartial analyst. In fact his
"analysis" is thinly disguised partisanship for Israel.
On the issue of settlements, Ross claimed that a "departure point" to the
issue might be a freeze on "outward" expansion of settlements in the
occupied territories, because according to him, "the real grievance that
palestinians have is that the settlements expand outwards" and into areas
the Palestinians "feel...should be theirs." What utter guff.
The objection to the settlements is that they are illegal, whether they
expand outwards or upwards. They are a violation of international law, and
of the human rights of Palestinians who already own the land they are
built on. Whether upwards or outwards they disposess and disenfranchise
Palestinians. They are connected by Jewish-only roads that crisscross
Palestinian land and are protected by an occupation army whose brutality
is well-known. This is clear now to most people, but Ross continues to
parse and play with words. Ross tries to obscure all this by making the
issue whether the settlements are taller or wider. These are the kinds of
dreadful ideas that made Oslo such a disaster and make every Palestinian
and every Israeli interested in a genuine peace breathe a sigh of relief
that Ross is no longer involved.
I wonder, if an Israeli bulldozer came to destroy Ross' Washington home,
If he would argue that they shouldn't do that merely because he "feels"
that the home is his?
While pinning most of the responsibility for controlling violence on Yasir
Arafat, Ross declared that Israel mostly only "responds" and "retaliates"
for Palestinian-initiated violence. He also said that while Israel
sometimes feeds the cycle of violence, "no country in the world would
accept a situation where their neighbor provides a haven for attacks
against them." All of this conveniently ignores that the Palestinians are
not occupying Israel, but Israel is the belligerent occupier of the West
Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel is not "defending itself" against its
neighbors, it is militarily occupying its neighbors. So with a straight
face (I assume) Ross declares "Israel has a right to defend its citizens,
Israel has a right to respond to those who carry out attacks against
What rights do the Palestinians have? Unfortunately Ross did not say. He
did say they have some "aspirations," but as for rights, well, we are none
Sadly Brand gave complete deference to Ross and failed to challenge any of
his views. Since he poses as an "impartial" former official, rather than
the ardent pro-Israel advocate that he is, this is a disservice to