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
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday offered sympathy for the Israeli settlers who are being removed from their homes in"Everyone empathizes with what the Israelis are facing," Ms. Rice said in an interview. But she added, "It cannot be
but also made it clear that she expected Gaza and the Palestinians to take further steps in short order toward the creation of a Palestinian state. Israel only." Gaza
Since the Roadmap calls for the dismantlement of Palestinian terrorist capabilities and infrastructure in Phase I -- and does not require
On the day of the Times story, a commenter at LibertyPost.org posted this
On the day of the Times story, a commenter at LibertyPost.org posted thiscomment: “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 [
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
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
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. Gaza
It was not Rice dictating to
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
position that disarmament, dismantling are the next steps for U.S. in the expected steps on the right -- Israel
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.
Instead of manufacturing a lead quote to fit their own priority, the Times might have informed its readers that Rice emphasized the dismantlement of Palestinian terrorism four times -- in response to questions from the Times that sought to emphasize next steps by
“[T]here is an obligation in the roadmap to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism, not just coexist with it”
“[A cease-fire] isn’t a substitute for the dismantling of the terrorist organizations”
“So the answer to the question, what comes next, is . . . the Palestinian Authority is going to have to deal with the infrastructure of terrorism, that’s one of its obligations.”
“[T]he obligation of the Palestinians has to do with the dismantling of terrorist infrastructure and organizations and they’re going to have to do it.”
That would have been news that was fit to print.