Monday, December 13, 2010

Daoud Kuttab Picks a Side

In his latest article from last week, Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab drops all pretense of objectivity and makes it clear that his view is the same as those of his fellow Palestinians: Our way or the highway. It was written in response to America's declaration that it would drop the demand for a three month settlement freeze, which made Israel very happy and raised the blood pressure of the Huffington Posters thirty points. According to the Huffington Post we don't really know why America made that decision but it seems to indicate that they were distracted by both Wikileaks and the Carmel fire.

This doesn't stop Mr. Kuttab from rewriting history, though, when he claims that Israel "clearly rejected the US carrot and we are now awaiting to see if the stick will surface in any form." Now, pardon me if I wasn't paying attention but I did not think the deal was finished before America unilaterally dropped the demand. So I'd like to know where Mr. Kuttab is getting his information that Israel rejected the deal just because they are so gosh darn intransigent. This was hilarious:
"Palestinians and their supporters are not asking or expecting the US to impose any economic sanctions on Israel. Nor are people asking the US forces to begin a blockade on Israel. In fact, as far as I am aware, no one is asking the US to do anything by way of reprimanding Israel. Some are simply asking the Americans to stop protecting Israel."
Clearly Mr. Kuttab doesn't read the talkback threads on his own article because a great many "Palestinian supporters" do demand those things, all the time in fact. Before we get to the real "meat" of this article, though, I wanted to highlight this sentence:
"This might be the initial response, but I am certain it will not be the last word from Tel Aviv."
As we know, in journalism it is common for writers to use the names of country's capitals as shorthand for "their government." The fact that Mr. Kuttab uses 'Tel Aviv' in this way indicates a clear allegiance to Palestinian politics over the truth. Why is this? Well, even though America and most other nations do not consider Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel, they also do not deny that that is where Israel's government is based. Other journalists simply avoid the issue by not using this shorthand for Israel's government, and they certainly don't use "Tel Aviv." Mr. Kuttab's informative choice in words merely shows his devotion to Palestinian politics over his own common sense. Tel Aviv is not where the seat of Israel's government is located, so why would anyone say that, even those who don't recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel? This is only the first example of Mr. Kuttab throwing away his journalistic objectivity to side with the Palestinians, as we will see in the rest of the article.

Throughout the rest of the article Mr. Kuttab spins elaborate stories of the American government finally ending diplomatic support for Israel and crushing Netanyahu's government under their pressure. He speaks about how Obama is strong enough to overcome the Republicans like Eric Cantor and how Israel should no longer expect to rely on the American congress. He calls Obama's courage into question and concludes his article with the statement that "with the carrot having failed to dissuade the Israelis, it is time to get out the stick, or at least stop protecting the pariah state of Israel." There goes the last of his journalistic integrity.

But what never appears in Mr. Kuttab's article is the realization of the truth: That pressuring to freeze settlement is only one option among many in America's toolkit. As I have said before, there is only one reason why America is pressuring Israel to freeze settlements: Because the Palestinians want them to. It never even seems to occur to Mr. Kuttab that maybe, just maybe, America should start the pressuring his fellow Palestinians to end their ridiculous demands and move forward with the peace process. Mr. Kuttab clearly is of the mind that what the Palestinians want they should get and anyone who steps in their way is just an apologist or a Zionist. Unfortunately for him, the Obama administration realized that the Palestinian demand was just that: a demand, which could be ignored or changed if sufficient will is there.

Of course, he relies on the 'international law' argument to try and circumvent this, for example:
"If America joins the rest of the world in politically isolating Israel because of its refusal to adhere to international law..."
I hate to be the one to break this to him, but the Obama administration (and American administrations throughout history) really doesn't care about international law. Not when it comes to their actions in Iraq and Afghanistan and not when it comes to Israel either. And they haven't been striking deals with Israel to freeze the settlements because they don't consider the settlements to be legitimate nor is it because they think the settlements are illegal. They are striking deals to freeze because that's what the Palestinians want. I will repeat it as many times as it is necessary, because it is the truth.

No country or group that has tried to solve the conflict ever wants Israel to change the settlements status because they are "illegal." The only people who croon about the legal status of the settlements are people like Mr. Kuttab who are straight-up Palestinian supporters. The Obama administration certainly doesn't care that they are considered to be illegal, what they care about is making peace between the two sides. If only Mr. Kuttab felt the same way.

This is a weak argument not only for the reasons mentioned above, but because when it comes to following international law the Palestinians have their own row to hoe and in a big way. America also expects the Palestinians to stop incitement (which is illegal), crack down on terror groups (which are illegal), recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and so forth. If America's true goal was to make everyone follow international law, the Palestinians have nothing to smile about.

But of course we won't be seeing Mr. Kuttab writing about how the Palestinians need to follow international law and if not America should force them. He's chosen his side: Palestine, right or wrong. He's proved it with this article.


  1. The Palestinians have renounced their Oslo obligations. And no one calls them on the hypocrisy of their unilateralism. Someone should remind Daoud Kuttab that's what sauce for the Palestinian goose is sauce for the Israeli gander. Since the Palestinians reject negotiating in good faith with Israel, there is no reason in the world Israel has to reward their bad faith - there is no obligation upon Israel under international law to do so.

  2. These clowns had months during the building freeze. Why the sudden need to negotiate?


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