Along the Tracks

Friday, August 22, 2003

Let the backpeddling begin?

Today’s New York Times:

“If the peace process - and Mr. Abbas’s government - is to survive, Washington needs to redouble its efforts, and both Mr. Abbas and Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, must realize that blaming the other will not suffice. Mr. Abbas had been hoping that the cease-fire would permit him to escape the difficult step of confronting Hamas and other radical groups. But these groups have only one goal - the destruction of the Jewish state - and need to be dealt with accordingly.

“That said, Israel’s assassination of one of Hamas’s leaders seems counterproductive.”

Was it not just yesterday - after the “assassination” of the Hamas killer - that the Times said the burden rested on the Palestinians, and in particular Abbas, who must crush the killers to give his people a chance at peace? Seems like the NYT must have gotten some pressure from the anti-Israel lobby for its apparent “one-sidedness” in blaming Palestinians for instigating the trouble by killing civilians.

The sad part is, even the Times realizes today’s editorial is yet another exercise in moral equivalence:

“We acknowledge that the situation is not simple. The Palestinians asked for 24 hours to act, and the Israelis agreed to wait. Nothing happened.”

So, you’ve got 20 dead innocent men, women and children (and another 100 wounded), the Israelis show incredible restraint by giving the PA a chance to haul in the bombing conspirators - and the PA does nothing. What more could the Israelis do? Well, according to the Times ...

“Still, it is far from clear what would have been lost by giving the Palestinians more time.”

Really? “Far from clear”? Well, I think it’s pretty clear what would have been lost, at least clear to me and most observers: LIVES.

I will say this. The Times now understands it is arguing an indefensible equivalence. That may be a step, at least, in the right direction.

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