More Middle East Moral Equivalency from the NYT

The Times reverts to old habits as another round of peace talks get under way, blaming Israel for recalcitrance and glossing over Palestinian terrorism.

Déjà vu: As yet another round of peace talks get under way this week among Arabs nations and Israel in Annapolis, Md., the Times reverts to its " target="_self">old ">slanted take on Middle East matters, blaming Israel for recalcitrance over settlers and the right of return for Palestinians, while glossing over atrocities committed by Palestinians.

Tuesday's Times leads with a "news analysis" by reporter Steven Lee Myers, "Seeking Mideast Path," in which Myers blamed Bush for not negotiating with the late Palestinian (terrorist) leader Yasir Arafat.

"Mr. Bush's aides often point out that in 2002 he was the first American president to declare support for a Palestinian state. That is true, but they fail to mention that he did so while refusing to negotiate with Yasir Arafat, then the Palestinian leader, effectively endorsing a deadly stalemate.

"A recurring criticism of Mr. Bush is that he has so clearly tilted American policy toward Israel that the United States is no longer seen as an honest broker, emphasizing Israel's security over Palestinian grievances."

Meanwhile, the headline to Tuesday's Isabel Kershner and Taghreed El-Khodary's inside story marked a return to the Times' notorious moral equivalency, in which peaceful Israelis and Palestinian terrorists are conflated. "Hard-Liners in Gaza and Jerusalem Resist Peace Talks." (The online headline is different from the print version.)

"The leaders of Hamas espoused a hard line against Israel at a conference that they and the militant Islamic Jihad faction convened in Gaza on Monday, the eve of the American-sponsored Middle East peace gathering in Annapolis, Md."

Hamas' victory in Palestinian elections last year seems to have made them into a responsible party in the Times' eyes, not an anti-Israeli terrorist group. Yet Israeli groups opposed to concessions to Palestinians were labeled "right-wing" three times by Kerhsner and El-Khodary.