Friday, August 26, 2005

New York Times Fabricates Condoleeza Rice Quote

Last week the New York Times published a "quote" from Condoleeza Rice which has angered many who want good things for Israel. Condoleeza was quoted as saying of the Disengagement, "It can not be Gaza only."

I never posted on that story, because it did not fit with the Condoleeza Rice we have come to know. While I do post some outlandish stuff here from time to time, I generally only do so when I am hearing the same information from multiple sources, or when the information fits in with a pattern of information I have been receiving.

Anway, I'm glad I didn't post on the Condi story. Because IT WASN'T TRUE. The New York Times fabricated the quote.

Well, imagine that.

From Jewish Pundit via Little Green Footballs:

Last week, The New York Times published a story on their exclusive interview with Condoleezza Rice.

The first two paragraphs portrayed a Secretary of State focused, in the midst of a traumatic Israeli withdrawal, on signaling Israel that another one was next:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday offered sympathy for the Israeli settlers who are being removed from their homes in Gaza but also made it clear that she expected Israel and the Palestinians to take further steps in short order toward the creation of a Palestinian state."Everyone empathizes with what the Israelis are facing," Ms. Rice said in an interview. But she added, "It cannot be Gaza only."

Since the Roadmap calls for the dismantlement of Palestinian terrorist capabilities and infrastructure in Phase I -- and does not require Israel to remove a single settlement (other than certain “outposts”) during that phase -- Rice’s comments seemed gratuitously insulting. One would have thought she would emphasize the need for the Palestinians -- after a unilateral Israeli withdrawal that went far beyond their initial Roadmap requirements -- to comply with their own Roadmap obligations.

On the day of the Times story, a commenter at posted this comment: “This just doesn't sound right, or like Dr Rice. . . . She doesn't screw up like this.”

Indeed, it didn’t . . . she doesn’t . . .and in fact the Times made the quote up.

The transcript of the interview was posted by the State Department this week. It shows that the purported quote -- made the centerpiece of the Times story -- was constructed by the Times from two separate, unrelated comments by Rice -- one taken out of context, the other not even accurately quoted.

The first part was lifted from Rice’s response to the Times’ question about how she could “assure that [Gaza] is not the last step for a good while?”

I know, in having talked to [Sharon and his government] and watched how hard and I think everybody empathizes with what every Israeli has to be feeling and with people uprooting from homes that they have been in for a generation and the difficulty and the pain that that causes. And so I watched Prime Minister Sharon's address to the nation and it was really remarkable statesmanship.

* * *

And it's very easy to kind of move on to the next thing, but if you stop and reflect and pause, it also helps you to see that because -- and, you know, and we all hope that it continues to go relatively smoothly -- that because of this experience you would hope that confidence and trust between the Palestinians and the Israelis is also grown up because they had to have practically daily contact and meetings at every level of government in order to be able to pull this off. And if they indeed do, I think you will have created conditions and a level of trust that is unparalleled between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

* * *

So I don't think you're going to see just something stop. I do think you'll have some momentum coming out of this.

The Times then asked other questions, including “And so what should Israel do right now, after Gaza?” [can you discern a certain theme to the Times’ questions?] and then [continuing with the same theme] “Do you think you’ll go back there in the fall to keep the momentum going?”:

Let’s see, you know, what’s required. . . . But by no means do I think that this is the end.

The other thing is, just to close off this question, the question has been put repeatedly to the Israelis and to us that it cannot be Gaza only and everybody says no, it cannot be Gaza only.
There is, after all, even a link to the West Bank and the four settlements that are going to be dismantled in the West Bank. Everybody, I believe, understands that what we're trying to do is to create momentum toward reenergizing the roadmap and through that momentum toward the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state.

It was not Rice dictating to Israel that it “cannot be Gaza only.” She was stating what others had been “repeatedly” telling Israel and the United States, and responding that there were four settlements in the West Bank being dismantled, with a Roadmap for the future.

Given the requirement in that Roadmap that the Palestinians dismantle terrorist capabilities and infrastructure in Phase I, it is strange that the Times did not see fit to quote extensively from the following portion of the interview -- and indeed why they did not highlight it in the lead paragraphs of their story:

SECRETARY RICE: . . . [Y]ou cannot simply let a terrorist organization sit forever, that you cannot -- that there is an obligation in the roadmap to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism, not just coexist with it. . . . And so that is one of the most important next elements. I know that the Palestinians have been concerned and so are the Israelis, to have calm in this period of time. It has been a good thing that thus far the Palestinian factions have more or less respected that calm, but that isn't a substitute for the dismantling of the terrorist organizations, because as Abu Mazen himself has said, you can only have one authority and one gun.


SECRETARY RICE: So the answer to the question, what comes next, is that one of the obligations in the roadmap is that the Palestinian Authority should have unified security forces that are all under the authority of the Palestinian Authority and its leadership, its elected leadership. There will be elections in January. But the Palestinian Authority is going to have to deal with the infrastructure of terrorism, that's one of its obligations.

QUESTION: So the -- is it still then the U.S. position that disarmament, dismantling are the next steps for Israel in the expected steps on the right --

SECRETARY RICE: No, I'm not talking about a sequencing here because the roadmap is assiduously not sequencing one step after another. It gives, in parallel, certain obligations to both sides. And the obligation of the Palestinians has to do with the dismantling of terrorist infrastructure and organizations and they're going to have to do it.

I guess the word "fabricate" isn't quite accurate in describing what the NYT did to Condi. They, instead, seem to have Pre-fabricated the quote. You know, as in, built a pre-fabricated house of component parts, and then drove it to the site, and erected it for all to see.

It seems as if the New York Times is hell-bent on making sure the public isn't aware that the Palestinians are OBLIGATED to dismantle the terrorist organizations. Why would the New York Times not want the public to know that? Why would the New York Times instead decide to twist Condi's words beyond all recognition?

The implication the New York Times headline gave was that Condoleeza Rice had decided to sidestep United States policy in the Road Map to Peace, and instead insist that Israel give endless concessions to the Palestinians with nothing in return. Why would the New York Times give that impression unless that's what they would like to see happen? And why would they want that to happen? Why would they want Israel to just continue to give one plot of land after another to the Palestinians, without any hope for peace?