The Palestinian Authority is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise that rules over most Palestinians. The PA is dependent on foreign aid, much of it from the United States. Indeed, the U.S. government helped create the PA more than three decades ago. And for better or worse, the PA has remained a lynchpin of U.S. strategy and the much vaunted “peace process” that helped birth it.
But now that the PA is on the verge of collapse, its power and reach diminishing by the day, one of the foremost advocates of peace processing is nowhere to be found. In report after report, the Washington Post has not only failed to highlight the slow rolling collapse of the PA, but it has also failed to even note its very existence. It is as if the PA doesn’t exist.
Take, for example, a July 10, 2023 report by Jerusalem bureau chief Steve Hendrix and reporter Sufian Taha. That lengthy dispatch, on Israel’s recent counterterrorist operation in the town of Jenin, received star treatment. Running more than 1,000-words, the report appeared on the center of the front page and above the fold and featured six photographs.
The Post’s report was meant to highlight the plight of a Palestinian family living in Jenin. What it really highlights, however, is the Post’s penchant for misleading omissions.
In a thousand-plus words, the Post didn’t mention the Palestinian Authority, which rules Jenin, once. The Oslo Accords created the PA under the condition that it renounce and prevent terrorist attacks and work to resolve outstanding issues with Israel. These terms remain the basis for both the authority’s legitimacy and the considerable largesse that it receives—and often pilfers.
Yet, the PA has failed to live up to its promises. As CAMERA has frequently highlighted, PA leaders pay tax-deductible salaries to those who murder and maim Jews—or those they mistake for being Jewish. The PA’s official media, educational arms, and rulers, encourage anti-Jewish violence. And instead of preventing terrorist attacks, operatives from the Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF) have perpetrated them.
As CAMERA noted in a July 5, 2023 Washington Examiner op-ed, the PA has failed to build healthy and functioning institutions. PA President Mahmoud Abbas, an eighty-seven-year-old kleptocrat with a history of praising terrorist attacks, was elected to a four-year term in 2005. He has since failed to hold elections. The PA’s Legislative Council hasn’t met in a decade and a half. Dissidents and critics face banishment, harassment, or torture.
This sorry state of affairs has given Iran, which promises to destroy Israel, an opening. Rivals of Abbas, nearly all sponsored by Tehran, are flourishing in the PA-ruled West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Proxies of the Islamic Republic, like Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have been using towns like Jenin to plot and perpetrate attacks, while consolidating their hold. And elements of Fatah, including Abbas, have both praised and aided the groups seeking to replace them.
This is the backstory to why Israel has been compelled to carry out counterterrorist raids in the PA-controlled West Bank. In short: the Palestinian Authority isn’t doing its job. The PA has been encouraging terrorism, not preventing it. And it has been more than happy to publicly condemn the Israeli government, which is performing tasks that the PA can’t, or won’t, do.
And the media is complicit.
For years, the Washington Post has glossed over the PA’s support for terrorism—even authoring a misleading “fact-checker” column on the subject. For years, the Washington Post has failed to note the numerous instances of the Palestinian Authority rejecting U.S. and Israeli proposals for a Palestinian state in exchange for peace.
Indeed, the deteriorating situation in PA-ruled territories was readily foreseeable—CAMERA, among others, has been warning about it for years. The Post, however, has largely glossed over it. Indeed, not once in the last four years has the Post published a front-page story exclusively on the PA. By contrast, the newspaper has filed three front-page stories on Israel’s Jenin raid in the span of a single week.
As the saying goes: there are none so blind as those who will not see. And a Washington Post that refuses to acknowledge independent agency on the part of Palestinians is likely to ignore the very entity that rules over them.
It is much easier to simply blame the Jewish state. This, of course, treats the very Palestinians that the Post pretends to care about as cannon fodder. But for a media that is obsessed with castigating Israel, this seems to be an acceptable price to pay. Doing otherwise would require admitting that the Palestinian Authority and the so-called “peace process” have failed. And that is a truth that the Post and others can’t bring themselves to face.