Roger L. Simon

What did Abbas say?

I first learned seriously to distrust CNN as a journalistic enterprise when Eason Jordan made his appalling admission in The New York Times – the cable network had cooperated with Saddam and soft-pedaled his activities in order to gain access to the fascist dictator’s Iraq. It’s hard to believe an organization after that, so I became slightly suspicious today when I read their reporting on the television address to his people by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. To quote the network

“Today Gaza, tomorrow the West Bank and (East) Jerusalem,” he said, referring to the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.

The paratheticals around ‘East’ are there in the CNN text. But what did Abbas actually say? How do we – or CNN – know he was really talking about East Jerusalem and not Jerusalem in its entirety. We do know that Yasir Arafat played this game many times, talking one way to the Western world and another talking to his people in Arabic – as Abbas was here. We are relying on CNN, of all organizations, to tell us the paranthetically-enclosed ‘East’ was intended. Perhaps someone who knows Arabic and is familiar with the speech can help us out here. What did Abbas say?