Thomas, centre, has covered every US president since John F Kennedy (Reuters)

Veteran US press corp reporter Helen Thomas has announced her resignation in the wake of recent off-the-cuff comments she made to a roving rabbi with a camcorder. Add me to the list of those who are far more saddened by the overblown fallout surrounding her remarks than about the remark itself, only part of which was inflammatory. To recap, in the video clip she is asked whether she has any comments about Israel, to which she replies:

Tell them to get the get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people [the Palestinians] are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not Germany, it’s not Poland.” [Where should they go?] “They should go home, to Poland, Germany and America.”

Not surprisingly, the part about the occupation gets buried in the brouhaha. My reading was that because she said Palestine she referred to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) — including East Jerusalem — and in that case the illegal settlers, for many of us, should indeed move back to Russia, Poland, Israel ‘proper’ (internationally recognized 1967 borders) and the US. Part of the problem is the ambiguity: was she referring to Palestine as the whole of Israel? She might have but I doubt hers was the maximalist position. Even those who still advocate a two state solution as tenable should give her the benefit of the doubt unless she indicates otherwise.


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