There will be much to learn in coming days and weeks about what the Guardian is referring to as the Palestine Papers – what is purported to be thousands of pages of “confidential” Palestinian records covering years of negotiations with Israel – but the tendentious narrative they’re already bludgeoning their readers with is unmistakable to those even casually familiar with the paper’s palpable hostility towards the Jewish state.
Though Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland acknowledges that the documents (which they claim were obtained by al-Jazeera TV and shared “exclusively” with the Guardian) are “not exhaustive and may have been leaked selectively,” and further that “other documents might provide a rather different impression”, its clear the Guardian isn’t waiting for Israeli leaders’ accounts – documents which would corroborate or contradict the selected Palestinian accounts. The Guardian will not be bothered with such quaint notions as journalistic discretion.
Further, though nothing in the documents thus far contradicts former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s accounts of the offer Mahmoud Abbas rejected in 2008, the political spin Guardian editors are putting on the selected transcripts couldn’t be more clear, and just happens to coincide with the narrative of the conflict they’ve been advancing for years: Palestinian powerlessness and humiliation, and Israeli intransigence.
Here are a few of the headlines:
The Guardian editorial introducing their release of selective negotiation documents begins:
It is hard to tell who appears worst: the Palestinian leaders, who are weak, craven and eager to shower their counterparts with compliments; the Israelis, who are polite in word but contemptuous in deed; or the Americans, whose neutrality consists of bullying the weak and holding the hand of the strong
Later, there was this gratuitous, and simply ugly, passage:
Before the extreme right politician Avigdor Lieberman rose to prominence, the papers reveal that Israel asked for some of its Arab citizens to be transferred to a new Palestinian state. Since then, state population swaps have entered the mainstream of Israeli debate, but no one is asking the Israeli Arabs themselves. Has the former nightclub bouncer from Moldova become more Israeli? Or is Israel behaving more like a Moldovan nightclub bouncer
The Palestinian Authority may continue as an employer but, as of today, its legitimacy as negotiators will have all but ended on the Palestinian street. If [the two state solution] is to be saved, three things have to happen: America must drop its veto on Palestinian unity talks and take up Hamas’s offer of a one-year ceasefire; a negotiating team that represents all major Palestinian factions must be formed; and Israel has to accept that a state created on 1967 borders, not around them, is the minimum price of an end to the conflict.
In this passage, in one fell swoop, the Guardian has egged on the Palestinians to reject even the slightest territorial compromise, encouraged them to accept nothing less than new maximalist demands, and, most dangerously, legitimized and empowered the most radical movement in their society: Hamas – a group they now suggest holds the key to peace!
And, this is only day one.
Stay tuned. The latest round of the Guardian’s assault on Israel’s legitimacy – via their Palestine Papers drama – has only just begun.