[Previous] just had to quote this | Home | [Next] UNobserver.com about as principled as UN

Sadly the USA isn't Perfect

(If you don't see quotes in both blue and red backgrounds, hit refresh.)

Four days ago Sharon gave a speech that Woty and I thought was good. But what did the US government think?

I've found two articles to analyse with very different takes. Quotes from this one by the BBC will appear with a light red background. Quotes from this one by the JPost will appear with a light blue background. (Note: Both articles came out the same day.)

US warns Israel over 'separation'

The United States has warned Israel against taking any unilateral measures to separate itself from Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

White House 'very pleased' with PM's speech

Oh dear, that's quite a difference. Either someone is pretty damn biased, or the US is sending mixed messages (which would be bad).

I'm going to go through the JPost article first.

"We were very pleased with the overall speech," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said regarding Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's remarks at the Herzliya Conference.

The White House on Friday modified its appraisal of the speech, offsetting published accounts that focused on McClellan's admonition Thursday that Sharon should not try to impose a settlement on the Palestinians without negotiations.

The State Department echoed the White House praise, although deputy spokesman Adam Ereli also cautioned Israel against acting without consulting the Palestinians on issues that ought to be resolved through negotiations.

So far it sounds like the White House is sending mixed messages. Dammit.

Sharon said that while Israel is interested in conducting direct negotiations, it will not be held hostage by the Palestinians. "I have already said we will not wait for them indefinitely," he said.

The JPost article quotes Sharon's speech heavily. Skimming to find more about the US reaction now.

Sharon defined the goals of disengagement as reducing terrorism as much as possible and granting Israelis maximum security to improve the quality of life and strengthen the economy. He stressed that the unilateral steps will be fully coordinated with the US.

"We must not harm our strategic coordination with the US," he said.

Sounds good, but is it true?

Also, 'unilateral steps ... coordinated with the US'. Heh.

Sharon began his speech, which was shown to the US administration before delivery, by pledging his allegiance to the road map and President George W. Bush's vision of a two-state solution.

Wait a second. We saw the speech first! Does anyone really think they showed us the speech, we said we hated it, then they read it including claims about cooperation with the US? If we'd found the speech unacceptable, at the least it would have dropped claims of US support and coordination, if not changed more drastically.

What, then, is the BBC talking about? Well, let's see:

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had outlined a "disengagement plan" in case the roadmap peace plan failed.

But the White House said the US was committed to a negotiated settlement between the two sides under the American-backed roadmap.

I loath the BBC. They twist everything. First, the "disengagement plan" does not signify the roadmap has failed; it is a temporary, reversible measure to improve security until Palestinians do their part of the roadmap. It protects Israelis from Palestinian foot-dragging.

Next, the BBC tries to play this as if Sharon was contradicting the White House ('but'), and even against a negotiated settlement. But if you read Sharon's speech this is clearly false.

This doesn't yet reveal anything about the US reaction to the speech, but it does reveal BBC bias.

Palestinians and Jewish settlers have denounced Mr Sharon's proposed steps.

Fuckers! There's really nothing else to say. They try to paint Sharon as a lone figure denounced by Palestinians and Israelis alike. But this is just Jewish settlers who are mad that Sharon is willing to dismantle any settlements at all. In other words, the Jewish settlers' opposition to Sharon (which is of the disapprove of one policy sort not the the man is thoroughly evil sort) is because he is too moderate and too willing to make concessions for peace .... which is the exact thing the BBC complains Sharon isn't.

The United States "would oppose any unilateral steps that block the road towards negotiations under the roadmap that leads to the two-state vision," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

"A settlement must be negotiated and we would oppose any Israeli effort to impose a settlement," he said.

Notably these statements don't actually contradict anything Sharon said in his speech. (Unilateral withdrawal is entirely different from imposing a settlement on the Palestinians.) But then why is the US saying them?

In a long-awaited speech on Thursday evening, Mr Sharon said Israel would take the initiative if the Palestinians did not begin disbanding militant groups as required by the roadmap plan.

(Emphasis mine)

Is that really what the Sharon said? To get rid of militants?

Well, telling Safari to find the words 'militant' or 'militants' in Sharon's speech comes up with nothing. Damn liars.

Mr Sharon said Israel "will greatly accelerate" building a controversial barrier in the West Bank, which Israel says is vital to stop Palestinian militants crossing into Israel to carry out attacks.

But in the speech it actually says, "Israel will greatly accelerate the construction of the security fence." Notice how the BBC closed their quote after three words and filled in the rest with their own words that were not a fair paraphrase of what Sharon said. Damn liars.

Palestinians condemned Mr Sharon's speech as unacceptable.

"I am disappointed that he is threatening the Palestinians," said Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei.

"We are committed to the roadmap," he added.

LOL. Sure. And why does the BBC repeat such lies, when it doesn't even like to quote Sharon for more than three words?

Nabil Abu Rudeina, an advisor to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, said Mr Sharon was trying to tear up the roadmap.

"These declarations represent nothing new and amount to a rejection of the roadmap.

This is worse than the previous one, but don't think it's over yet. Next the BBC asked what Hamas thought. Literally.

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas, called Mr Sharon's plan "a delusion to fool the world".

I can't help but wonder every time a Hamas spiritual leader is quoted: if they were close enough to ask him questions, couldn't they have shot him?

"Sharon is asking Palestinians to raise white flags, to surrender. This is totally rejected by our people. We will not surrender and our people will defend themselves," he said.

And Yassin says Sharon is delusional...

Anyway, despite the titles, neither article focussed on the US reaction all that much. From what I can tell, the US did send some mixed messages, as agreed in both articles. This is bad. The US ought to be supporting Israel unequivocally.

The JPost acknowledged the US ambiguity and pointed out the positive bits of the US reaction too, and pointed out that the US saw the speech before it was given. Mostly it just quoted Sharon, who actually gave the speech. So I'd say the JPost article was pretty fair.

On the other hand, the BBC article was biased through and through. It had nothing positive to say, mostly quoted anyone willing to say something bad about Sharon, and lied. Which isn't the biggest surprise in the world, but still... sheesh

If you liked this piece, go here for more of my thoughts about Israel (it's a category archive).

Elliot Temple on December 22, 2003

Messages (2)


Justin at 6:51 PM on December 23, 2003 | #739 | reply | quote

link at bottom is bad

Anonymous at 3:56 AM on February 9, 2016 | #4943 | reply | quote

Want to discuss this? Join my forum.

(Due to multi-year, sustained harassment from David Deutsch and his fans, commenting here requires an account. Accounts are not publicly available. Discussion info.)