"Palestinians never used to do these things to one another."
That was the first sentence of a New York Times Magazine story by the newspaper's Jerusalem bureau chief, Steven Erlanger.
What are the things Palestinians are doing to one another today that they didn't do before?
putting bullets in the back of the heads of men on their knees;
shooting up hospitals;
throwing handcuffed prisoners to their deaths from Gaza's highest apartment buildings;
Is it naivete? Plain ignorance and incompetence? Deliberate disinformation? Partisanship with radical Islamists? Anti-Israeli zealotry? Anti-western pseudo-intellectual ism?
What would possess a New York Times reporter - hardly a newcomer to the Middle East - to lie about the history of "Palestinian" Arabs, who have actually been murdering each other since they adopted the term "Palestinian" as their own identity in the 1960s?
Of course they have been killing and maiming each other. Long before anyone heard of Hamas, the Palestinian Arab movement was stratified into dozens of organizations and political parties and sub-groups. They always killed and tortured and mutilated one another.
And they killed, tortured and mutilated innocent Palestinian Arab civilians who wanted no part of their politics of death. They hanged innocent Christians in the public square following kangaroo trials that would condemn them as Israeli collaborators.
This fratricide has been going on for 40 years. Where have Steven Erlanger and the New York Times been?
Perhaps they have been too busy documenting alleged horrors and atrocities by Israelis. Perhaps it has truly taken this long for them to understand their fantasies about a two-state solution are just that - fantasies.
Erlanger truly seems like a man coming face to face with reality for the first time in his life.
"Gaza today is so far from the hopes of people like James Wolfensohn - the former World Bank president who tried to coordinate economic redevelopment of the 140-square-mile territory between Israel and Egypt after the Israelis withdrew nearly two years ago - as to seem like the other side of the earth," he writes.
Had Erlanger truly placed his hopes for Gaza in the hands of the World Bank? Amazing!
There were many of us two years ago warning exactly what was to become of Gaza following the withdrawal of Israel. It was so predictable! Erlanger, on the other hand, is shocked. Yet he is still the correspondent the New York Times chooses to tell the world what's really happening in the Middle East.
"Rather than a model for a future Palestinian state, Gaza looks like Somalia: broken and ravenous. The civil war that Palestinians insisted could never happen just has, a civil war abetted by Israel and the United States in the name of antiterrorism and stability - another policy that has failed, at least here, where a burning smell still fills the nostrils and where a masked Hamas gunman with an AK-47 recently sat at the abandoned desk of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, lifted up the phone and said: 'Hello, Condoleezza Rice? You have me to deal with now.'"
Notice how this civil war is the fault of Israel and the U.S., according to the New York Times. How? Such details must apparently remain unspoken.
But here's the punch line from the newspaper of record. Despite everything Erlanger has reported about deteriorating conditions in Gaza, this place that was to become one of the wonders of the world thanks to his friends at the World Bank, he remains the optimist when it comes to his friends in Hamastan.
"But the military victory of Hamas may also bring a welcome measure of quiet and security to the 1.5 million people of Gaza, nearly 70 percent of them refugees, who have been living a nightmare of criminal gangs, street-corner vendettas, clan warfare, absent police, corrupt officials, religious incitement and unremitting poverty."
Wait a minute! I thought Palestinians didn't kill each other? Now we find out this has been the life 1.5 million Gazans have known for some time?
And look who is going to save the day - the homicidal maniacs of Hamas!
July 27, 2007
New York Times' parallel universe
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