Al-Jazeera’s PaliLeaks information dump was an amazingly efficient feat of political assassination. Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authority’s chief peace negotiator, has resigned in disgrace, and Mahmoud Abbas is on frantic defense.
Al-Jazeera knows its assorted audiences. It was rightly confident that it could rely on many Western readers not to quibble at trifles like the strange truncation of many of the documents and their peculiar dating. It also has an exceptionally pliant handmaiden in the Guardian newspaper, which has dutifully reprinted chunks of the leaks in its eagerness to fulfill one of Al-Jazeera’s political goals — namely, the destruction of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and the empowerment of Hamas.
To that end, the Guardian’s editors got a little free with their pruning shears. A friend in England just got in touch to tell me that the paper has a correction in today’s Corrections and Clarifications column. It reads as follows:
A quote by Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, within a panel that formed part of the Palestine papers, was cut in a way that may have given a misleading impression. The quote appeared as: “The Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’ll say that it is impossible, we already have the land and cannot create the state.”
To clarify, the full quote is: “I understand the sentiments of the Palestinians when they see the settlements being built. The meaning from the Palestinian perspective is that Israel takes more land, that the Palestinian state will be impossible, the Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’ll say that it is impossible, we already have the land and cannot create the state.”
My friend sent this item to me via the blog Harry’s Place. Harry clarifies:
A story which could have been presented as showing that behind closed doors, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were moving towards making the big compromises required for peace, instead was reported as a huge con trick, treason by Abbas and Erekat, and proof that Israel was intransigent and rejectionist. Evidence which showed that this was not so was ignored, and that which was reported, was systematically misrepresented.
It was, as Abbas correctly surmised, a hit job by Al Jazeera and the Guardian on the Palestinian Authority, for the benefit of Hamas.
So, here we have a quote from an Israeli minister which in its full form shows that she is fully aware of the Palestinian perspective and sensitive to their concerns. How is it presented? Falsely, as a statement that Israel in fact aims to destroy Palestinian aspirations to statehood.
I can’t help but suspect the Guardian’s editorial board and much of its readership would have a collective orgasm if Israel were destroyed. Crushing any moderate Palestinians who happen to be littering the roadway on the way to the final dust-up is really just housekeeping.