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Palestinians depicted unfairly in strife with Israel

Have Arabs become the new "white man's burden"? If they are not held in disdain or worse, reviled, how can the manner in which many American journalists interpret the history and present events taking place in Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East go unquestioned, particularly at a time when more and more innocent civilians and American soldiers are being killed?

Does presentation of a flawed image of pristine and guiltless Israelis eternally tormented by mindless and unprovoked Palestinians somehow help bring two warring factions together? Quite the opposite: The media's inclination to exclude the details of significant current events and historical information when either or both acknowledges Israel's culpability in the conflict only provokes further violence while suggesting that Arab oppression does not exist.

The integrity of the recent Buffalo News editorial, "Israel again offers peace," I believe, would have been questioned even if it had been published in the Jerusalem Post or Haaretz. Are we expected to believe, as the title suggests, that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's meager offer of peace follows a panoply of earlier stunning offers made to a diminishing Palestine people?

Israeli diplomacy was never a viable means of securing an honorable peace, even in the Oslo years in the '90s, when illegal Israeli settlements doubled. A careful and unprejudiced review of the sad history of the never-ending conflict will bring into focus tragic episodes involving the deaths of Israeli civilians, victims of desperate suicide bombings.

But where in this imbalanced and disingenuous editorial is mention made of a far greater number of civilian Palestinian fatalities -- men, women and children, victims of home demolition and reckless reprisal attacks against Israel's many political enemies? To omit this part of the dark chapter in the Israeli/Palestinian story is to go beyond racism to a "place" where Arabs in that region are reduced to evil figures in a video game or, perhaps worse, human pestilence.

Illogical and seemingly programmed, the writer makes the astounding claim that "Israeli policy may be, at various times conducive to settling the differences, but the Palestinians' hot-metal response never varies," and so the victims become the only victimizers.

Some of the most courageous voices in the Middle East come from Israelis themselves. Ilan Pappe, senior lecturer at the University of Haifa, writes on the brutal victimization of Arabs living in Gaza: "The [Israeli] leadership, particularly the army, sees it [the Gaza Strip] as a prison with the most dangerous community of inmates, which has to be eliminated one way or another."

His poignant plea for an end to the suffering of Palestinians -- "In the name of the Holocaust memory, let us hope the world will not allow genocide of Gaza to continue" -- is in dramatic contrast with the vacuous and deceptive Buffalo News editorial.

Norm Tederous lives in Williamsville.

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