NYT editorial praises US envoy, blasts Netanyahu

The New York Times accuses Israel of trying to 'preclude a Palestinian state,' says its response to Shapiro's critiques were 'unfair.'

Cynthia Blank ,

New York Times office
New York Times office
Flash 90

The New York Times (NYT) Editorial Board praised on Friday US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro's harsh criticism of the Jewish state, attacking the Israeli government for its "unfair rebukes" of Shapiro's remarks. 

Last Monday, Shapiro accused Israel of two different "standards" of law in Judea and Samaria, asserting Israel's "settlement" policies left the US government both "concerned and perplexed" about its commitment to a two-state solution. 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office denounced Shapiro's remarks as both "unacceptable and incorrect." 

Noting that Israelis are "understandably on high alert to defend themselves" amid a nearly four-month long wave of Arab terror, the NYT editorial added that "Palestinians have been victims of assaults and acts of vandalism by Jewish extremists." 

Referencing both the brutal stabbing which killed mother-of-six Dafna Meir as well as the deadly Duma arson in which three members of a Palestinian family were killed, the editorial board stressed, "None of this is acceptable."

Shapiro "correctly identified a serious problem," the editorial continues. "Since 1967, there has been a dual legal system in the West Bank in which Palestinians are subject to military courts, where, experts say, they are almost always convicted. Israeli settlers fall under the Israeli civilian judicial system, with its greater rights and protections." 

"The disparity is likely to become more acute if Israelis abandon the two-state solution in favor of a single state, as some in Mr. Netanyahu’s cabinet desire," the NYT editors add. 

The editorial then accused Israel of "moving quickly to establish facts on the ground that preclude a Palestinian state, leaving Palestinians increasingly marginalized and despairing." 

It also blasted Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's NGO Transparency Law - which has also faced criticism from Shapiro - as "odious" for its purported "[clear intention] to intimidate government critics."

"The administration is hoping to prod Israelis and Palestinians to think hard about the future they are creating," the editorial concludes. "Tragically, it may already be too late for the one formula that has the best chance of establishing a durable peace: two independent states, side by side."