I love the way Middle East correspondents pretend to be balanced. The husband/wife team of John Ward Anderson and Molly Moore reported that "All Sides Failed to Follow 'Road Map'." The happy couple seem to be saying, "See, we're not biased, we criticize all sides!" Of course that's true if each side is equally to blame. But that wasn't the case here.
In a nutshell Anderson and Moore say that the PA refused to fight terror, Israel refused to restrict settlements and the United States refused to make sure both sides lived up to their parts of the bargain. (Later in the article Anderson and Moore quote Saeb Erekat
"There's nothing wrong with the substance of the road map . . . but we need to implement the road map of the quartet, not the road map of Sharon and his 14 reservations."In other words, America should have leaned on Israel. To back this up they quote ". . . of Israel's most prominent political scientists and philosophers," Yaron Ezrachi:
"The principal cause of Palestinian humiliation and despair is that the settlements have not only not been removed, but are expanding constantly. . .This is absolutely outrageous that the U.S. can let them get away with this. . . . Sharon should be pushed very strongly to remove settlements as a key to the U.S. ability to demand from Palestinians that they dismantle terror."This supports Erekat and contradicts Dr. Dore Gold who had been quoted earlier saying that peace couldn't begin without security. Anderson and Moore don't bring any viewpoint to support Gold.
Aside from stacking the deck against Israel, there are a few claims toward the beginning of the article that collapse under the weight of their internal contradiction:
Critics said the plan relied too heavily on incremental measures that avoided forcing tough decisions on the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians: the location of borders, dismantling Jewish settlements, the final status of Jerusalem and the return of Palestinian refugees to homes in Israel.Note the claims here that 1) there was a need for a comprehensive deal and that 2) it was a mistake to replace Yasser Arafat "the Palestinians' elected leader."
Khalil Shikaki, a Palestinian pollster and political analyst, said future negotiations may have to "recognize that the process of step-by-step diplomacy and responding to violence doesn't work, and the only way is to reach a comprehensive deal right away."
Shikaki and other analysts also questioned the utility of supplanting the Palestinians' elected leader, Yasser Arafat, with an appointed government acceptable to the United States and Israel -- a tactic that has garnered limited success because Arafat continues to hold most of the power.
Now I'm not a reporter but I have a pretty fair memory. What happened in July 2000 in Camp David Maryland? Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat a comprehensive deal to end the conflict. Arafat refused. To argue that what the peace process is missing is a comprehensive deal and that it needs Arafat is to fall victim to willful amnesia.
If someone said, fifteen years ago that the PLO would control Gaza and various cities in the West Bank of the Jordan River, that person would have to submit for drug testing. Israel has allowed a lot and given a lot to the PA. It has paid a high price. And it hasn't even realized the basic promise of non-violence that Arafat made ten years that allowed the terrorist to be accepted in polite company.
Anderson and Moore and any other reporter may write that all sides are at fault, but the position of the PA in the past ten years is greatly improved and expanded; while Israel has ceded real territory, empowered enemy and not become more secure in the deal. To miss that truth is to miss the clearest theme of the Oslo years. One that unfortunately persists to today.
Crossposted on IsraPundit and SoccerDad.