Deja Vu All Over Again: How Could They Turn Down Such An Incredibly Generous Offer?
Even if you're an American who sees everyday how our elite media and their government sources live in each other's pockets, you still have to admire the seamless way that Israeli government figures and respected, "independent" news media cooperate in disseminating the latest propaganda.
I wrote yesterday about the "peace proposal" that Olmert spoon-fed to Ha'aretz on Monday. (Specifically, about how Olmert wishes everybody to know that he generously offered 93 per cent of the West Bank, but won't put anything down on paper because this would show at a glance that the offer he is making - a Palestinian state on a reduced West Bank that has been stripped of all those elements that allow for viable statehood - is the same old non-starter that's been on the table for 41 years).
The purpose of Olmert's leaking the vague outlines of a "generous" plan, without detailing what the less-generous aspects are, is to propagate his own version of the "I offered them everything but they refused" myth. That myth was pioneered very effectively by Ehud Barak, when he too realized that he did not have what it takes to be the PM who would lead Israel away from the national disaster of the settlement project, and needed to blame someone else for his failure. For Olmert, as with Barak, you are simply meant to get that "93%" number pounded into your head by sympathetic propaganda outlets - who never tell you what that 93% per cent really translates to on the ground - and then be suitably outraged when it is rejected by those intransigent Palestinians who surely don't want peace and deserve all they get.
It really didn't take Ha'aretz long to get into propaganda mode. Monday, Ha'aretz published the selective "peace plan" story that Olmert fed it. By Tuesday, just look how Ha'aretz was characterizing Olmert's "offer" and the PLO's reaction to it (click screen grab to enlarge):
"An astounding 'no': Palestinians reject PM's offer to return 93% of the West Bank, calling it a 'waste of time' ".
Less than 24 hours after publishing the original story, without ever giving you enough detail to know what exactly Olmert's "93% of the West Bank" really looks like on the ground, Ha'aretz is already telling you 'We offered them everything but - incredibly - they refused!'.
This is exactly how the "Generous Offer" fairy-tale was disseminated last time around: as a cooperative effort between politicians and sympathetic media outlets, designed to enable an Israeli government that does not have the courage to reach a negotiated end to the Occupation to withdraw from negotiations without being held responsible. And I told you a year ago that they would try this again.
This is dedicated to anyone out there who still clings to the idea of Ha'aretz as a "liberal", "progressive", "pro-peace" newspaper.