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An e-newsletter delivering updates and analysis on current issues about Israel and the Middle East conflict

December 7, 2010

The Palestinian ruling party, Fatah, says "NO!" to peace, but the media refuse to report it. Wonder why?

Dear Friend of Israel, Friend of FLAME:

As you know, the media have had a field day reporting on the infamous classified cables published last week by Wikileaks, many of which make Israel look like one of the good guys. After all, these leaks reveal that:

Check Mark It's not only Israeli leaders who compare Iran's Ahmahdinajad to Hitler: U.S. diplomats and Arab leaders also use the Hitler analogy when warning about the dangers of appeasing Iran
Check Mark Egytptian President Hosni Mubarek is more worried about Hamas than about Israel and is staunchly opposed to Iran's increasing influence in the Middle East
Check Mark While Israel is deeply worried about Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons, it's the Arabs who have been begging the U.S. to "cut off the head of the snake" militarily
Check Mark Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is, according to U.S. diplomats, not anti-Israel based on Turkey's domestic politics or even geo-political concerns, but rather on a personal, visceral hatred of Israel.

But what's really surprised me is the American media's nearly complete neglect of a momentous story that should have broken last week, following the Palestinian ruling Fatah party's Fifth Revolutionary Council: At this event, Fatah leaders said "No!" to nearly every fundamental issue necessary to ensure Israel's security and a Middle East peace:
• No recognition of Israel as a Jewish nation
• No compromise on the return of refugees (actually the progeny of refugees following Israel's war of independence 63 years ago)
• No compromise on borders: All Israeli communities east of the 1967 cease-fire lines must be expelled

This week's FLAME Hotline---an editorial in the Jerusalem Post---exposes this and several other alarming facts that should influence our government's posture and the opinions of the American people on the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Unfortunately---outrageously---the world press has not covered these facts and events.

Please review this article, then pass it along to your friends using the "Forward to a Friend" button at the bottom of the article. Then please take just five minutes more to write a short letter to the editor of your local newspaper spelling out one this main point:

Recent declarations by the ruling Palestinian Fatah party prove that the Palestinians don't want peace. Until the Palestinians accept the state of Israel, President Obama is wasting his time trying force a peace in the Middle East.

Thanks for your continued support of Israel and FLAME!

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Director, FLAME


No doubt about it: The public relations battle to win the hearts and minds of the American people to support Israel is critical . . . and it's difficult. But we're doing it! Have you seen FLAME's latest hasbarah---our ad on "Israel and the United States: Is Israel an asset or a burden to our country?"---which has appeared in publications nationwide, including college newspapers, with circulation in excess of 5 million? Please take a look at it, and if you agree that FLAME's brand of hard-hitting public relations on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able---with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible---and remember, too, that the year end is an ideal time to make a tax-deductible donation.) To donate online, just go to Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs---from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

Fair press for peace

The vast majority of local and international news outlets have so far refrained from reporting at all on Fatah's hard-line declarations.

Editorial, Jerusalem Post, November 29, 2010

The Fifth Fatah Revolutionary Council did not have an auspicious beginning. Participants kicked off discussion by giving special honor to Amin al-Hindi, one of the masterminds of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of 11 Israeli athletes, who died earlier this year. What followed was sheer intransigence on the part of the 120-member Palestinian "congress," which represents "moderate" Palestinian opinions - as opposed to the radical Islamic Hamas, which openly calls for using violence to bring about Israel's demise.

After two days of meetings in Ramallah this weekend, Fatah, which makes up the backbone of the Palestinian Authority leadership, issued a resounding "no" to compromise, further dimming even the faintest hopes for a negotiated peace with Israel.

The Fatah council derogatorily rejected recognition of "the so-called Jewish state" or any "racist state based on religion." It reasserted the "right of return" which, if implemented, would facilitate the end of a Jewish majority within the pre-1967 Green Line by allowing about four million Palestinian refugees and their offspring to settle in Israel proper.

Land swaps as part of a peace agreement were ruled out as well. Large settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, such as Gush Etzion, Ma'aleh Adumim and other cities located just over the Green Line, consisting of no more than five percent of the West Bank, where about 80% around 320,000 Jews live, must be uprooted and settlers must be expelled, it decided. "Illegal settler gangs can't be put on an equal footing with the owners of the lands and rights," declared the council.

Israeli and US understandings, starting in December 2000 with the "Clinton parameters" and continuing with former US president George Bush's declaration that any permanent peace deal would have to reflect the West Bank's demographic realities, were effectively dismissed. In what sounded more like a battle cry than a declaration, Fatah essentially articulated its intent to do everything short of relaunching an armed struggle to undermine the existence of the Jewish state.

THE FATAH council's articulation of such an extremist position has far-reaching ramifications for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. That's why Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh's report on the council's decisions appeared at the top of this newspaper's front page on Sunday.

By bizarre contrast, the vast majority of local and international news outlets have so far refrained from reporting at all on Fatah's hard-line declarations. While news media usually respond quickly and amply to steps taken by Israel that are perceived as potentially detrimental to the peace process, the silent treatment of the Fatah decisions reflects a media norm, in which Palestinian incitement and intransigence is often downplayed or completely ignored.

Just last Monday, for instance, this paper was the first to report on the PA Ministry of Information's outlandish "study" claiming that the Western Wall, known to Muslims as Al- Buraq Wall, constitutes Wakf property and that "the Zionist occupation falsely and unjustly claims that it owns this wall." Some other news outlets reported this several days later; others not at all. Similarly, a survey commissioned by the Israel Project, indicating highly antagonistic Palestinian attitudes toward Israel, barely received media attention when it was released earlier this month.

Two-thirds of Palestinians living on the West Bank and Gaza agreed that "over time, Palestinians must work to get back all the land for a Palestinian state." Sixty percent said that "the real goal should be to start with two states but then move it to all being one Palestinian state." Fifty-six percent agreed that "we will have to resort to armed struggle again."

When news reporters and editors fail to give the proper space to revelations of Palestinian extremism and intransigence, they help perpetuate prejudices against Israel. Not only is skewed journalism a betrayal of the profession and those who rely on it, in this case it hurts the peace process by untenably misrepresenting the imperative for compromise by the Palestinian leadership and their public, thereby dooming hopes for negotiated progress.

Palestinians must come to terms with the legitimacy of Jewish rights to sovereignty in this sliver of land if they are to internalize the need for compromise and thus walk the path to peace. That process of recognition requires the disseminating of an honest narrative by the Palestinian leadership.

And that, in turn, requires the international community to, first, understand accurately the nature of current Palestinian hostility to the notion of a legitimate Israel and, second, to impress on the leadership the need for change.

The extent of the challenge was made perfectly clear over the weekend by Fatah's Revolutionary Council. Too bad that most of the world has not heard about it.


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