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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 24, 2003

Comparing Arab and Jewish Exremists

Recently the New York Times has run two separate articles; one was called "The Unsettlers" about a small group of Israelis who take up positions in what the Times calls "outposts," the other about various armed bands of Palestinian terrorists called "Armed With Weapons and a Will, Palestinian Factions Plot Revenge." The contrast between the two articles is fascinating.
I suppose the one paragraph that most got my goat was from the "Revenge" article:
In referring to attacks "inside Israel," Abu Mujahid was touching on a long-running dispute within the intifada. Mr. Arafat says — and some of Israel's top intelligence officials affirm — that he is pursuing an independent state only in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the territories Israel occupied in 1967.
Here's a very conscious effort to whitewash Arafat. Even "Israel's top intelligence officials affirm" that Arafat's aims are limited to "the territories Israel occupied in 1967." Of course there may be some top officials who have that view. Bennett doesn't name them. But surely many others dispute it. (The current chief of staff, Gen Yaalon, among them.) But that's not what important to Bennett. Here he is clearly taking sides. Arafat is a moderate says the NY Times reporter. Arafat is a moderate say Israeli intelligence officials. Arab extremists say that Arafat is a moderate.
Does it make a difference what the PA's media says? Does it make a difference what the PA's educational systems says? Does it make a difference that the militia associated with Arafat disputes this characterization? Does it make a difference that Arafat himself disputes this?
Well, no it doesn't. Arafat is a moderate and we have the word of the NY Times reporter to vouch for him.
Compare the treatment given to Moshe Zar the focus of the "The Unsettlers." He's associated with the Israeli terrorist underground and with PM Sharon. Worse:
since 1979, Zar has been buying land in the territory from individual Palestinians. It is a controversial practice; some Palestinians who have sold land to Jews have been killed as collaborators.
Horrors. It's controversial because Arabs have been killed for doing it. But the underlying Nuremberg type rationale, is not controversial. According to the Palestinian Legislative Council, selling land to Jews is high treason.
So it goes Arafat's association with extremists is a way to exonerate him. He's different. Sharon's association with extremists is a way to convict him. He's just like them. Worse, the Arab extremists seek to kill; the Jewish ones seek to build. But to the NY Times who's worse?

Cross Posted to Israpundit and David's Israel Blog