By Schmoel Yitzhak
* HAS HAARETZ GONE MAD?
Finding something roughly equivalent to kind words about Bibi Netanyahu is like discovering a glacier embedded in the Libyan desert.
It just doesn't happen.
But as any bookmaker will tell you, sometimes the longshot does come through and, alas, Haaretz's Israel Harel actual fingered Mahmoud (Bobo) Abbas as the negotiating culprit in the latest non-round of Palestinian-Israeli talks.
"Netanyahu," writes Harel, "has given you, gratis, the ultimate recognition that no previous Likud leader ever dared to grant; a declaration of your right to an independent state in the Land of Israel. Yet even the miniscule price the Americas asked of you -- direct talks -- you refused to pay.
"When you continued to refuse, Netanyahu froze construction in the settlements. But even then you did not return to the negotiation table. And if you reaped two strategic achievements such as these while giving nothing in return, why should you hurry? The lemon can be squeezed again and again."
Maybe yes, maybe no. What matters here is that Haaretz -- which often seems like an extension of the PA's p.r. department -- has at least someone who momentarily gets it.
If Bibi has wised up -- a point we harshly question -- he'll say, "enough is enough" in any language Bobo Abbas and his puppeteer, Barack Obama, can understand.
The Abbas Deal-making Game would be rejected in Court of Logic because it's patently absurd and illogical.
As Harel points out, Israel's Prime Minister delivers a concession and, in return, he receives from the Palestinian President a big fat yawn.
Then, Bibi blinks and offers yet another concession, ostensibly figuring that Bobo didn't hear him the first time.
So, what do you think Netanyahu gets in return?
Redundancy. Another yawn -- only larger and more obese than its predecessor.
A reasonable jurist in the Court of Logic would render this decision: "Bobo; get real or get out of sight!"
P.S. Let's not kid ourselves, nor let Obama kid himself, Abbas is a cardboard leader, propped by the American president. Bobo has nil influence on Gaza and Hamas.
And since Hamas is at WAR with Israel, talk of peace with the Palestinians is as academic as Oxford University!
* IS IT TIME FOR THE TIMES TO CHANGE?
A few years ago a solicitor for the New York Times phoned me and suggested that I subscribe to the alleged "newspaper of record."
Rather than hang up on the poor sap, I let him know in no uncertain verbs that I stop buying his merchandise months ago because of its unfair tilt against Israel.
After listening to his mumbo-jumbo, um-haks and sputtts, I told him, "Thanks, but no-thanks" and then politely hung up.
Since then, New York City's only morning broad-sheet has tilted so egregiously in favor of Israel's foes, it reads more like Haaretz than Haaretz.
But, as we've all learned, change is as possible as the first bud of spring or, if you will, the last rose of summer. Could this, however, be true at The Times?
Doubtful, but one can hope and that woeful wish is rooted in the news that Arthur Brisbane has been hired to be the Times' public editor. Which means that he's supposed to be the paper's sentinel for fair play in print or, as he's touted, to uphold "the highest standards in journalism."
Anyone who believes that -- when it comes to coverage of Israel -- Brisbane will deliver on that fair play pledge simply doesn't know how to spell CYNIC.
Nevertheless, we won't judge Brisbane until he gets a few editions under his computer.
Still, to give the man something with which to work, we suggest that he check out Andrea Levin's July 29th Jerusalem Post piece aimed squarely at Brisbane and his task ahead.
Citing chapters and verse, Levin -- executive director and president of CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America -- wonders whether the Times' public editor is capable of handling his challenge.
Specifically, she pointedly rips Times' Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner for a "strikingly jaundiced view of Israelis generally."
In one article dealing with a poll showing Israelis dismay with Obama policy, Bronner said it reflected collective public "prejudice" and "racism."
Talk about prejudice; Bronner has shown the way while Levin nails him with the facts.
"The incendiary charge is belied empirically by poll data showing Israelis had actually favored over John McCain in the 2008 election," asserts Levin, "and until the late spring of 2009 continued to approve quite enthusiastically of the young American president."
That's just one of several points made by Levin. Now we'll see whether Brisbane will see the light or play ostrich when it comes to his paper's anti-Israel stance that has grown worse by the years.
* NO GRATIS FOR GRADS:
There was a very, very sensible reason for Cast Lead, Israel's invasion of Gaza.
Thousands upon thousands of rockets had been fired by Hamas and its affiliates at Israel.
The Israeli city of Sderot suffered years of collective trauma while Judge Goldstone remained significantly mute.
Since neither the holier-than-thou European union, Oliver Stone nor Helen Thomas cared to do anything about it, there was only one thing for the targeted country to do and, thus, Israel fought back.
One would have thought the result of a forced-upon-Israel truce would have wrought peace but that kind of thinking is for Pollyanna and not realists.
So, why should one be surprised that, once again, grad rockets are being fired at -- and landing in -- Ashkelon while mortar shells are exploding in the Negev?
My suggestions for Prime Minister Netanyahu are rather simple. To wit:
1. Do not turn the other cheek.
2. Issue an ultimatum to Hamas -- and the rest of the world: shoot one more rocket or mortal shell at Israel and you will get 100 in return. Double and triple the response if it continues.
3. Ignore Goldstone.