WaPo Frontloads Criticism of Israel in Story on New Government

Israel yesterday "usher[ed] in a government at odds with international expectations that Israel should pursue negotiations that would lead to an independent Palestinian state," Washington Post's Howard Schneider opened his page A11 April 1 story.

Leaving aside arguments over the ultimate wisdom of the "two-state solution," resuming diplomatic talks toward a two-state solution is practically difficult if not impossible when the Palestinian territories are divided between the terrorist organization Hamas, which administers the Gaza Strip, and the Fatah-controlled West Bank.

Yet when Hamas -- which Globalsecurity.org estimates receives roughly $3 million from Iran per year -- was mentioned in Schneider's article, it was described merely as an "Islamist Palestinian movement that controls Gaza." 

No matter, the onus, as far as the world is concerned, is on Israel, insisted Schneider, painting the Israeli government as though it were on the political fringe:

Coalition agreements signed by Netanyahu, Lieberman and the other coalition partners in recent days make no mention of a Palestinian state. Included instead are promises to abide by previous "international agreements"; a commitment to toppling Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian movement that controls Gaza; and efforts to "prevent the nuclear armament of Iran." Sixty-nine members of the 120-seat parliament, or Knesset, voted Tuesday to approve the new government. 

Western governments are also wary of Iran's nuclear program and agree that Hamas -- which won Palestinian elections in 2006 -- needs to stop firing rockets into Israel and recognize the Jewish state before it can become part of any negotiations.

But E.U. officials have said that Netanyahu's refusal to commit to an independent Palestinian state would have consequences, such as the disruption of improved trade ties. The Obama administration has not made its Middle East policy explicit, but there are strong hints of the direction. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has criticized aspects of Israeli settlement policy, and President Obama last week called progress toward an independent Palestinian state "critical."

To the Washington Post, the Netanyahu government's moves to preserve Israel's security, indeed, its existence, is secondary to the frustrations of the Obama administration and its European counterparts.

Foreign Policy Israel/Palestine Washington Post Howard Schneider Benjamin Netanyahu