Responding to terrorist bombings of the U.N. headquarters in
Baghdad and an Israeli civilian bus in Jerusalem on August 19, the August 20
Washington Post lead editorial, Terror in the Middle East, started
Both attacks were
the works of terrorists who saw nothing wrong with taking innocent life to make
a political or propaganda point. Both were designed to set back the cause of
peace in the region.
Its segment on Israel also ended strongly, correctly
asserting that the organizations dedicated to terror must be dismantled,
as the road map insists.
Unlike many Post news stories, the editorial accurately
refers to terrorists and terror, not to militants, activists, or only neutrally
But in between, the editorial derails.
The attack in Jerusalem came after a period of
relative calm, during which radical Palestinian groups had promised to observe
a ceasefire ....
According to the Israel Government Press Office, from the
start of the cease-fire on June 29, to August 13, five Israelis and
one foreign national were killed in 180 terrorist attacks, three of which were
suicide bombings; 120 of which were shooting attacks. Another 40 attempted
assaults were prevented by security forces. More than 200 terrorists were
arrested. As CAMERA has noted elsewhere, even without allowing for the fact
that the United States is 45 times larger than Israel, such a "relative
calm" in this country would force the terrorism alert code to peak at the
The editorial alleged that both bombings were
despicable acts intended to thwart the will of majorities of
Palestinians, of Israelis, of Iraqis who do not share the
1) Reliable public opinion surveys have indicated repeatedly
that a majority of Israelis favor a compromise peace with the Palestinian Arabs
even if large concessions are required of Israel.
2) Public opinion in post-Saddam Iraq has yet to be reliably
sampled and reported.
3) A survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy
and Survey Research among adults in the West Bank and Gaza found that in July
2003, 60.9% opposed an end to violence and terrorism or action by
the Palestinian Authority to arrest or restrain those who conduct and
plan violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.
According to Post editorial writers, radical
Palestinian groups declared a truce because the pressure was
overwhelming from the majority of Palestinians who do not share their
goal of Israel's destruction.
1) There is no substantive basis for asserting that a
majority of Palestinian Arabs would not prefer the transformation of Israel
from a sovereign Jewish state into something less, if not its complete
elimination. While a recent poll by Khalil Shikaki of the Palestinian Center
for Policy and Survey Research indicated that only 10% of Palestinian refugees
(and their descendants) say they would actually move to Israel if given the
chance, 95% indicated that the so-called right of returnis sacred
and must be part of any agreement with Israel. Since no one knew at the time
they took the poll how many refugees or their descendants would choose to move
to Israel, this means that 95% insisted on the possibility of millions of
Palestinian Arabs moving to Israel and completely changing the demographics of
2) As widely reported, Palestinian terrorist groups declared
a three-month cease-fire because frequent Israeli raids and
targeted assassinations had devastated their ranks and they needed time to
regroup and rearm; Bush administration insistence that they disband echoed U.S.
anti-terrorism rhetoric before America's invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq; and
they use cease-fire talks to maintain dialogue with Palestinian
Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.