Thursday, August 18, 2005

Front page dissonance

The Newark Star-Ledger has been going front-page, above the fold, on the Gaza pullout. (Today's example, for your consideration.) The headline for Thursday reads, "Tears Rain Down on Gaza."

For the moment, leave aside the consideration of right or wrong and think about the coverage. In print and broadcast newsrooms far and wide across our fruited plain, you would not struggle to find people who have been longing for this moment, to "end the occupation." It looks curious, to say the least, that they seem to be selling newspapers by exploiting the very mourning and dislocation they so hoped for. (This is hardly an accident. Behold Wednesday's coverage, and Tuesday's.) It's like reading about a group endorsing a politician without being told that the politician is majority stockholder of that group.

Returning to the larger issue, there's a reason for the pullout. It's not the relative scarcity of the settlers (about 8500, to average the numbers I've seen). It's not the failure of others to emigrate to the area. It's simple binary math - yes, or no - will Israelis live there, or Palestinians? They're leaving simply because there is no third option, Israelis and Palestinians. Such a thing is so obviously impossible that it can't even be seriously suggested: imagine if someone stood up in the Knesset and said, "Hey, we're all Semites, here. There's plenty of room for our Arab and Muslim neighbors, so why dislodge the Jewish families? Why send unarmed soldiers to disrupt their lives at great personal risk to themselves? Let them stay and welcome their new neighbors!"

Ummmm... don't mind Benjamin, there - he's a little simple.

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