01 August 2014

Gaza myths and facts: what Peter Beinart wouldn't tell you

G K Chesterton — 'Where does a wise man hide a leaf? In the forest. But what does he do if there is no forest? He grows a forest to hide it in.'
The Innocence of Father Brown, one of my fave books, was written more than 100 years ago. Since then, both wordsmiths and ideologues have made some serious strides forward, and leaf hiding became an obsolete technique (although still useful in many cases). The new age method of deception is more sophisticated: you grow a forest to hide the fact that a leaf was taken off a tree.

Yes, I refer to the technique of clipping the narrative that I have tried to illustrate recently. But in the case of an article in Haaretz Gaza myths and facts: what American Jewish leaders won't tell you, the clipping maneuver was performed on another level altogether. Peter Beinart (the new acquisition of Haaretz) has gone out of his way, producing a humongous (almost 2,500 words!)* essay to prove that Israel dealt with Gaza in bad faith from times immemorial. In some lesser university the essay would have counted as a doctoral thesis - but prof Beinart doesn't need it for such a lowly purpose.

The article goes into unimaginable number of details - since 1967 war and up to prove the main point (until a mere mortal loses the view of the main point, I have to confess). Every bit of relevant history is sucked into this maelstrom of an essay. Including even the unfortunate greenhouses, whose fate was sealed by the unjust Israeli blockade. In short - everything you may want to know about the Israeli bad faith.

Thus the forest is (was) grown. A huge one, where every Israel-basher could find his own path to fulfillment. And no one (aside of you and I, my dear reader) will discover that a quite important leaf was stolen by the author of the essay. So, to cut to the chase, what is that leaf?

Simply enough, it is the agreement on Gazans' right to free movement, reached toward the disengagement in 2005, and I shall quote here to save you all some clicks:
Content of the Agreement

  • The Agreement on Movement and Access determined that the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt would be opened as soon as possible under control of the PA, and under supervision of a third party (being the European Union). Goods were also permitted transit at the Karni crossing.
  • A "Safe Passage" would be established between Gaza and West Bank.
  • The number of "obstacles to movement" in the West Bank would be reduced to the maximum extent possible to be completed by 31 December 2005.
  • The construction of a seaport in Gaza could commence.
  • The parties would continue discussions on the establishment of an airport.
  • The Agreed Principles for Rafah Crossing provided details concerning the Rafah crossing.
  • Only people with Palestinian ID, or foreign nationals, by exception, in certain categories, subject to Israeli oversight, were permitted to cross in and out. The PA should notify the Israeli authorities 48 hours in advance of the crossing of a person in the excepted categories.
  • Rafah would be used for export of goods to Egypt, subject to rigid control. Imports should be cleared by PA customs officials at Kerem Shalom under the supervision of Israeli customs agents.
I wouldn't go here into the whys of the agreement never being implemented (after all Peter Beinart has to bring food home, and his next mega-article may very well tell us the sordid story of Israeli bad faith on this matter). I would only like to ask prof Beinart one question: why do you engage in falsification of history, Peter?

You know what: all in all, I much prefer to relax and to watch the speaker presented below: a direct, no nonsense approach, short and to the point. And believe you me, he is not hiding (or stealing) any leaves...

(*) As you might imagine, a piece of this size is a huge target for good old-fashioned fisking. But I promised a friend no fisking, so there...


Dick Stanley said...

What a pity. A good, old fashioned fisking would be just the thing. Although, in this case, where the culprit is being paid by the word (apparently) it might take up all your bandwidth.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Indeed. The man is not stupid, and he hid a few pearls in the pile of rubbish. But I consider one glaring lie to be enough in this case.

Dick Stanley said...

Wow. It'd be back to outhouses for sure.

SnoopyTheGoon said...


David All said...

Yep, that would really get all the Johns from 12 years old on up to leave town in a hurry. How about changing that to Jack for the next night?!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I shall pass the suggestion to the relevant people.