November 27, 2014

Middle East Media Sampler for January 26, 2012


1) Mahmoud the two-faced

Maariv (in Hebrew) reported (translated by Daily Alert)

The talks underway between Israel and the Palestinians in Amman have not lead to any progress. The opposite is true: the Palestinians refused to talk with Israel on the issues related to security arrangements for their future state, even though at issue is one of the central subjects in the conflict. The prime minister’s envoy to the negotiations, Adv. Yitzhak Molcho, brought to the meeting between the parties on Saturday night Brig.-Gen. Assaf Orion, the head of the strategic unit of the IDF Planning Branch, in order to present Israel’s positions on security in the talks. However, the head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Saeb Erekat, refused to allow the officer to appear before them.

The Palestinians want to speak about borders and less on the issue of security. According to senior sources in the Israeli security establishment, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is under pressure not to continue the direct talks with Israel after Jan. 26, so that he will “leverage” the failure of negotiations for “PR purposes” and strengthen the legitimacy of the Palestinians in the international community.

Khaled Abu Toameh on The New Hypocritical Stance of of Mahmoud Abbas:

The Palestinian Authority claims that the Israeli arrests are aimed at sabotaging the "reconciliation" process between Fatah and Hamas. But the truth is that the Israeli clampdown on Hamas in the West Bank is first and foremost designed to help Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

The Palestinian Authority is fighting Hamas in the West Bank because it fears that the Islamist movement is working to undermine Abbas and Fayyad. Israel is fighting Hamas to prevent terror attacks and stop the movement from toppling the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas alone cannot fight Hamas; he needs Israel's help — and gets it. He knows that without the Israeli security crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank, his regime would not be able to remain in power for one day.

The hypocrisy is understandable. Abbas knows that Hamas is popular. It's one thing for him to take action against his rivals; politically having Israel do it shows him to be weak and allows Hamas to accuse Abbas of being Israel's stooge.

Plus the IDF gives the Truth behind Hamas' funding.

2) Just dropped in to see what condition my preconditions are in

Above I cited an incident as reported by Ma'ariv, however Isabel Kershner reports it differently in the New York Times, Palestinians and Israelis Don’t Agree on New Talks (h/t Daroff):

The final meetings in Jordan were tense. On Saturday, there was an open clash between the Israeli envoy, Yitzhak Molho, and the Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, according to a Palestinian official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue. Mr. Molho brought an Israeli military expert to the meeting to present an outline of Israel’s security concerns. Mr. Erekat strongly objected because the sides were not supposed to be conducting negotiations at a technical level and the Palestinians had not brought an expert of their own.

Palestinian leaders have been facing tough questions from their own politicians and the public about their readiness to hold even preliminary talks in Jordan without longstanding conditions having been met.


Even if Erekat was technically correct (something I can't confirm) it's interesting that Kershner doesn't even seek out the Israeli view on the matter (that Abbas isn't interested in discussing security matters with Israel and that he wants the talks to fail) but simply provides the Palestinian narrative.

The final paragraph even justifies Abbas' refusal to negotiate. Her final sentence is misleading as "longstanding conditions" really means "preconditions." (Earlier in the article Kershner had reported that previous talks had stopped when the Israeli settlement freeze expired in 2010. That settlement freeze was a new step Israel had taken at the behest of the Obama administration. So it is neither a "condition" nor is it "longstanding.")

In Hebrew, Walla reports (h/t Challah Hu Akbar):

.לדברי אבו מאזן, אין טעם לחזור למו"מ רשמי ללא תנאים מקדימים

which means:

According to Abu Mazen there is no point to returning to official negotiations without preconditions.

It's pretty clear why there are no serious negotiations. You may not know that if you read the New York Times though.

3) The Egyptian blogger who was ahead of the curve

Recently the Egyptian blogger, Maikel Nabil Sanad was released from jail. Max Strasser observes that, in one way, he differed from most of the other public revolutionaries (h/t Shmuel Rosner):

Nabil never bought into the "one hand" rhetoric. On Jan. 30, he went to Tahrir Square carrying a sign that read, "We refuse to allow the army to steal the people's revolution."

While most activists saw Hosni Mubarak and his cronies as their primary target, Nabil, a pacifist, bore a grudge against the Egyptian armed forces that stretched back before the revolution. In November 2010, he was briefly arrested for his campaign against compulsory conscription. "I hope that the day comes when the Egyptian military goes back to its barracks and to stop interfering in politics, so Egypt would be transformed into a civilian country without powers of military people on civilians," he wrote in October 2010.

The past year's events have brought many Egyptians around to Nabil's point of view. In addition to the widespread use of military trials, the military's security forces have killed scores of civilians and injured hundreds more since February. The political transition has also been ill-defined and characterized by backroom deals, as the military junta looks to entrench its power and prevent oversight of their activities. This month, Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a leading voice of the revolution, withdrew from the presidential race in protest of the military's grip on power.

There's one other way Nabil is different. It's a point emphasized by Honest Reporting and ignored by Robert Mackey: Nabil's pro-Israel.

About Daniel Goldstein

Daniel Goldstein is a media critic and recovering blogger. He has been critiquing media bias against Israel since his first letter to the editor in 1987.