Thursday, April 18, 2013

Huffington Post Publishes Another Daoub Kuttab Screed

In his most recent essay for the Huffington Post, Daoud Kuttab abandons all pretensions of objectivity and honesty and goes for Israel's throat. This isn't new for Kuttab, he just usually disguises his attacks a little better. Let's dissect it, shall we?

Kuttab goes after Israel right from the start:
"Israel may say that it wants peace, but the reality has become clear. Once U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry left the region, Israel felt protected by the charm handed to it for free by Obama and subsequently ignored his advice on how to work on ending the occupation."
In that link, which Kuttab doesn't really want you to click on, President Obama says that Israel must make peace with the Palestinians and "Israeli occupation of areas that the Palestinians claim for their own state must end." There is not one word about HOW to end the occupation. President Obama did not give any advice for Israel to ignore. Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself. But you don't really expect Daoud Kuttab's links to actually say what he claims they do, do you?

Next, Kuttab clues us into a little bit of Arab culture:
"If you are generous to a decent person, you own him, and if you are kind to a nasty person, he rebels, goes a famous Arab saying."
First of all, you "own" him? What the hell is up with that logic? Second, Daoud Kuttab is claiming that Israel is a "nasty person." So much for journalistic objectivity I suppose.

Ready for Israel's "rebellion against the US"? Here's Kuttab's evidence:
"Here are a few examples. Before Obama came to Israel, there was discussion about some confidence-building measures. Palestinians were asked to refrain from taking Israel to the International Court of Justice while Israel was asked to freeze settlement activities in order to facilitate a return to peace talks.
The Palestinians complied; Israelis did not."
 Now, pay close attention to this part, because it's extremely dishonest but a little tricky to prove.

Kuttab claims that the Palestinians (actually Abbas, a dictator) were asked not to take Israel to the ICC and links to an article dated March 23, 2013. It's linked to above. Then he says "while," implying at the same time, Israel was asked to freeze settlement activity. Kuttab does not provide a link to this request from Obama to Israel. Why? Because it's made up. Here's a link to a news story from March 21st, 2013, where President Obama tells the Palestinians to drop their demand for a settlement freeze. Here's another link by the Guardian which explicitly states, "Obama refused to endorse the Palestinians' key demand for a settlement freeze as a condition for re-starting peace talks."

So where is the evidence that "Israel was asked to freeze settlement activities" at the same time the Palestinians were asked not to go to the ICJ? Daoud Kuttab doesn't provide any, and the only news stories on the Internet from that time period indicate the exact opposite. Even according to the Wikipedia article about Israeli settlement timeline, the last time President Obama called for a settlement freeze was 2009. Kuttab simply lied. President Obama did not ask Israel to freeze settlement activities, at least in public or any way that is verifiable. Maybe a super secret White House source told Mr. Kuttab, but I doubt it. Why should Israel "comply" with Palestinian demands that not even President Obama thinks are legitimate? Either way that isn't "rebelling."

But let's move on, because we're just getting started.

Here's another incredibly dishonest paragraph:
"Another idea was that Israel should refrain from making any settlement announcements and agree to release Palestinians imprisoned before the 1993 Oslo Accords. When then-Israeli president Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat famously shook hands, the Palestinians were led to believe that their prisoners would be released."
If you read this paragraph, it seems like Israel agreed to release Palestinian prisoners. But Israel never did. One of Kuttab's links was to Ma'an News claiming Israeli "intelligence services" advising the government to release prisoners, and the second one is to a newspaper headline which explicitly states "PLO chief demands release of more Palestinian prisoners." Maybe the Palestinians were led to believe their precious murderers would be released, but not by Israel. Another Kuttab paragraph that flirts with the truth. It's becoming a pattern with him isn't it?

Kuttab whines more about prisoners, but let's move on to his next complaint, borders and security:
An unnamed Israeli source told the Israeli daily Haaretz that dealing with these issues [borders and security] gives Palestinians what they want and gives nothing to Israel. This is strange. Land for peace has always been the basis for peace talks, and one wonders how Israel fails to consider reaching security arrangements in its favor.
This paragraph isn't as blatantly dishonest as the other ones, but it is willfully ignorant. Land for peace has indeed always been the basis for peace talks, but history has shown that when applied to the Palestinians it doesn't work. How can an honest person claim land for peace results in security arrangements "in Israel's favor?" The unnamed Israeli source is absolutely right and Kuttab can't disagree with him on facts, so he just calls the idea "strange" and moves on.

Kuttab then complains about Palestinian hunger strikers, but then moves on to classic Palsbara lies:
"Israeli officials are totally oblivious to the fact that over three million Palestinians are still living under their brutal military control. Travel restrictions continue; local churches say that 60 percent of Palestinian Christians were denied permits to visit Jerusalem on Easter holy week.
Gaza remains under an illegal siege and the only port of movement for West Bankers, the King Hussein Bridge, is at times operating at a snail's pace."
Yes, a self proclaimed journalist is describing Israel's control of the WB as "brutal" and Gaza's siege as "illegal."  Nice to see all pretense of objectivity is dropped.

Why is the Huffington Post publishing Daoud Kuttab, a propagandist with little regard to the truth?

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