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Friday, July 16, 2010

Today's Arab intransigence

As I've been mentioning this week, there have been recent statements from Palestinian Arab leaders absolutely rejecting the idea of direct talks with Israel, which President Obama called for.

Today we can add two more examples of Arabs willing to insult the US by utterly rejecting the call for direct negotiations.

One is from Fatah's official spokesman Fahmy Said Zarir.

The other is from the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa.

Notice that Obama is not asking for a single concrete concession. If Arab rejectionism against a return to direct negotiations - which was the status quo only a few years ago - is so harsh now, how can we expect any real, lasting concessions from any round of talks?

Even though the Palestinian Arab leaders (the "moderates" - not Hamas) have been very forthright in metaphorically throwing their shoes at Obama, the media is loathe to use the words "hardline" or "intransigent" or "extremist" when referring to Fatah. No, they reserve that for the side that wants negotiations, that has already made many real concessions on the ground, and that has consistently and genuinely shown a desire for peace.

That deceptive use of language is what frames the debate for hundreds of millions of consumers of the news. And that is a real problem.