Thursday, March 13, 2014
If a rocket lands in a desert and the networks don't report on it. . .
CNN International is a marvel of a television network. As I write this Wednesday night 60 rockets have been shot from Gaza at Southern Israel, targeting civilians. But here's the top news as reported by CNN:
1. Two buildings blown up in New York, apparently due to a gas leak.
2. The continued search for the lost Malaysian plane.
3. Demonstrations in Turkey focused on the death of a 15 year old injured in the crackdown by the increasingly repressive Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan nine months ago.
4. Ukraine and the upcoming referendum scheduled by Crimea.
5. The South African murder trial of "the bladerunner" Oscar Pistorious.
All worthy of top-of-the-news coverage, except perhaps the Pistorious trial. But 60 unprovoked rockets targeting civilians in a regional hot spot?
Nada. Nothing. Zip.
But running below the reports: "Stayed tuned for these and more international stories." I did. They didn't. Of course, this is the network whose regional base is Abu Dhabi, and whose stories are often done in collaboration with one or another Gulf nation or Gulf-owned business.
Monday, March 3, 2014
What in the world is President Obama doing and thinking?
Is President Obama single-handedly writing the book on how to ensure that the Palestinians and Israelis do not make peace, or has he put together the worse group of advisors in U.S. history? Frankly, I'm baffled.
Despite a right-wing coalition and heartburn from his own Likud Party, Prime Minister Netanyahu has halted settlement construction for nine months, endorsed a two-state solution, released murderers of civilians, and most recently, indicated that he is willing to continue negotiations on the basis of Secretary of State Kerry's proposed framework, albeit with reservations.
On the other hand, President Abbas has reiterated that he will not accept Israel as a Jewish state, that he will not give up the "right-of-return" for millions of people who never lived in what is now Israel, and that he intends to stop negotiating once he gets the last of the murderers he wants released.
Yet, in a scenario strikingly similar to when President Obama ambushed Netanyahu on settlements several years ago and thereby destroyed any chances for progress on peace for quite some time, the President in his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg once again laid all the burden and blame on Israel and Netanyahu just as the Prime Minister was on his way to meet with the President and address the annual AIPAC conference.
As David Horovitz, the Editor-in-Chief of The Times of Israel, made clear in an appropriately sardonic and pointed manner, it is one hell of a way to welcome an ally, to bolster confidence, and to provide the undergirding for making tough, life-or-death decisions.
If the President and his Administration are truly interested in a peace deal and not in just assigning blame if a deal does not happen, then it is simply unfathomable that this is the strategy they have come up with.