They certainly don't need me to send them readers; I expect this will reverberate quite loudly over the next day or two (you can't ask for more in today's news cycles). One reason I'm linking is simply as a bookmark. Sooner or later I'll have occasion to parse the al-Zahar article, for its clarity of intent alongside its deft use of propagandistic tools.
A "peace process" with Palestinians cannot take even its first tiny step until Israel first withdraws to the borders of 1967; dismantles all settlements; removes all soldiers from Gaza and the West Bank; repudiates its illegal annexation of Jerusalem; releases all prisoners; and ends its blockade of our international borders, our coastline and our airspace permanently. This would provide the starting point for just negotiations and would lay the groundwork for the return of millions of refugees. Given what we have lost, it is the only basis by which we can start to be whole again.
The editorial is interesting for its clear-eyed and and no-nonsense assessment of al-Zahar's words and positions. It's also interesting for the very sharp tone it uses to castigate President Carter for his insistence on meeting with a clutch of high Hamas figures as he wanders around the Mideast, meddling.Most interesting for the purposes of this post, however, is to note that the editors of the WaPo asked themselves if they should publish the incendiary thoughts of al-Zahar:
We believe Mr. Zahar's words are worth publishing because they provide some clarity about the group he helps to lead, a group that Mr. Carter contends is worthy of being included in the Middle East peace process.They then leave no room for any subtlety or ambiguity as to how they read the text and Carter's actions.
Then you go and read the comments to the two articles. There are dozens of them, out of what must be at least tens of thousands of readers, and as always you need to wonder what significance to attach to them - never an easy question - but it is striking that most of the responders came to the opposite conclusion from what the editors of the paper intended.