We’re well into the news second cycle after the first acknowledgment by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that in 2008, he refused to sign a map offering his people a state in the equivalent of all of the West Bank, all of Gaza, a link between the two, and the Arab parts of Jerusalem–and still no coverage of this development in world media.
If you search for it, all you’ll find are this and this. The first one is my blog from last night. The second is a post by The Tower, which picked up my blog. That article includes this photo of the map Abbas himself drew after hurrying back to his office in the wake of refusing to initial the map Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered him. You can see clearly Abbas’s recollection of the territories Israel would have given the Palestinians in exchange for settlement blocs. So clearly, he understood it, though he told his interviewer that he didn’t sign it because he’s not an expert with maps.
So the question becomes–why is no one else interested in this? So far I’ve determined that a leading news agency was aware of the program on Israel TV Channel 10 last night, someone watched it, but no story was written. I’m told one of the news agencies will put out a story at some point today. Make no mistake–this disclosure warranted news bulletin treatment in real time.
There is, of course, a pattern here. I discovered the offer with the map in March 2009, four months after it was offered. Israel had wanted to keep it quiet, since releasing it would have made it the starting point of the next round of Palestinian demands. Yet my bosses at The Associated Press banned me from writing about it, claiming that it’s not news, there was no such offer, and Abbas did not reject it. If you needed any further proof that all three of those contentions are and were ridiculous, now you have it, in the voice of Mahmoud Abbas himself.
So why isn’t this news? I suspect it’s a combination of short-staffed news bureaus and the classic idea that if Abbas turned it down, it’s because the Israelis were wrong. They always are. That’s not news.
And that’s why I left journalism.