BERNARD COLUMN: Palestinian American journalist shot

Published 9:30 am Saturday, May 28, 2022

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By Jack Bernard
Bernard is a retired corporate executive

I’m an active journalist with over 1200 columns in print. I firmly believe in freedom of the press and free speech. Therefore, I am particularly disturbed about the killing of a Palestinian American reporter covering protests in Israel and the West Bank. It was an avoidable calamity.

The Israelis initially stated that it was a Palestinian bullet that hit her. They have pulled back on that assertion. So, until we know for sure, let’s assume it was a misguided Israeli sniper. If so, he obviously was not acting under orders. Killing a journalist, and an American at that, is a total PR nightmare for Israel, one that they do not need now or ever. He must be identified by Israel and brought to justice by them ASAP.

On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority reaction has been less than optimal. Abbas has refused to help form and participate in a joint committee to look into the shooting, identifying exactly what happened and why. Consistent with his past performances, he would rather play up the shooting for political purposes.

The violent situation in Israel and Palestine has recently gotten worse, as identified by the UN. But, as usual, the clearly biased and naïve UN incorrectly and blindly places 100% of the blame on the Israelis. However, there is plenty of blame to go around. 

The fact is that there has been an obvious uptick in Palestinian instigated violence in both Israel and the occupied West Bank. As of a month ago, fifteen Israelis have been murdered by terrorists in 2022. Innocent civilians were killed, including mothers and children. The Israelis have responded with force, tracking down perpetrators and, in some cases, violent protestors. Forty Palestinians have died.

The facts are that this violent conflict will continue until a reasonable and realistic peace agreement is reached, agreed on by all sides. My opinion is that the current settlement expansion will ultimately be bad for Israel. If it does ultimately annex the West Bank, the nation will be faced with a choice. Give all residents full citizenship (which gives Palestinians a major say in the future of Israel) or create a system whereby there are two levels of rights (Jews and Arabs). An apartheid system of this sort is clearly against Jewish teachings and would undermine the moral legitimacy of the state.

But peace will never be reached by using what the UN naively outlines as actions needing to be done right now, prior to any peace agreement. Ignoring facts on the ground, the UN wants Israel to unilaterally end its Gaza blockade (BTW, Egypt is also blockading Hams, but the UN ignores this inconvenient fact), cease/remove settlements, give Palestinians freedom of travel, halt “disproportionate use of force” and enable free Palestinian elections (including in Jerusalem, previously annexed by Israel).

Is there a solution to this problem? Not an easy one. And clearly not what the Arab dominated UN advocates.

The only way that the Palestinians will get a state is for them to sign a peace treaty with Israel. However, peace will only come about when Israel has one reliable partner with which to negotiate. Right now, it certainly does not. 

Hamas is an uncompromisingly violent terrorist group controlling the Gaza strip. It wants the Jews to be driven into the sea. The Palestinian Authority on the West Bank is a corrupt entity which governs only because President Abbas refuses to hold elections. If they were held, it’s a certainty Hamas would prevail.

Instead of counterproductive efforts, like the BDS movement, those nations and groups who claim to care about the Palestinian people need to help create this reliable partner. Until that happens, there will be no peace and no viable Palestinian state.