The front page of the New York Times today carries a long news analysis by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren on the Palestinians’ bid for international recognition. The thrust of the article is that the Palestinians are going too far, too fast.
We learn that the strategy has “upset Washington,” and a former Israeli general at a pro-Israel DC thinktank explains that the world is being “ushered into a new era of political and legal conflict” — and that’s “a dangerous game.”
But let me focus on two egregious statements in the article. Second paragraph:
International recognition, by 135 countries and counting, is what Palestinians are betting could eventually force changes on the ground — without their leaders having to make the concessions or assurances they have long avoided.
I have a question for the Times. What “concessions” should an occupied people make whose land has been continuously stolen and whose people are routinely being killed extrajudicially and jailed without trial?
As for “long avoided,” the PLO recognized Israel more than 25 years ago, inside the 1967 borders. What more assurances does Israel need?
And late in the piece there is this sop to Israel over possible war crimes charges:
Israel, which has already undertaken 13 criminal investigations of its military’s behavior during this summer’s war with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, could also deter the International Criminal Court by proving its own justice system deals seriously with suspected offenders.
Don’t bet on it. Consider how well these investigations have gone in the past. Remember the Gaza onslaught of ’08-09, when hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed and the world demanded accountability (of both Israeli and Palestinian forces)? Human Rights Watch tells us:
To date, neither Israel nor Hamas has held the perpetrators of these violations to account, despite recommendations… that Israel and Hamas conduct credible, independent investigations.
In Israel, only one soldier has been convicted for a wartime abuse: he got seven months in prison for the theft of a credit card.
The New York Times should have provided this “context,” so we could judge how well these investigations are likely to go.