Saturday, January 15, 2005

# Posted 10:50 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

WHAT WAS ARIK SHARON THINKING? Mahmoud Abbas took office as president of the PA this afternoon. Yet even before his inauguration, Israel suspended contacts with the PA and accused Abbas of not doing enough to stop terrorist attacks.

Unsurprisingly, the NYT's straight news account of the suspension suggested that Sharon was acting in a foolish and impulsive manner. Rather than finding an expert to voice his opinions for him, NYT correspondent Stephen Erlanger simply reported that
Mr. Sharon's decision was unexpected, because it seemed to allow the militants to distort the Israeli-Palestinian agenda before Mr. Abbas could even form a new government.
Unstated rule of journalism #309: Objectivity consists of inserting the verb "to seem" (or a conjugation thereof) into a correspondent's statement of opinion. On the bright side, the NYT does allow the Sharon government to explain its decision, which was made in response to a recent attack that left six Israelis dead:
"We are not going back to the days when we had attacks in the morning, funerals in the afternoon and negotiations at night, as if nothing had happened," said Silvan Shalom, the foreign minister.
Fair enough. But I also wonder whether Sharon & Co. want to build up Abbas' credibility by portraying him as an enemy of Israel -- credibility that he will need in order to challenge the terrorists Sharon also wants to stop.

On a related note, Israel' suspension of contacts can easily be reversed at a moment when Sharon wants to demonstrate that he is a friend of the peace process. In the meantime, Sharon can tell the right-wing of Likud that the suspension demonstrates just how tough his government is. Convenient, no?
(0) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments: Post a Comment