NBC Relays 'Palestinian Dream' of State to Be 'Free,' Ignores Calls for Removing Jews from Palestine

Andrea Mitchell on Friday and Martin Fletcher on Sunday filed reports on the NBC Nightly News filling in viewers on the Palestinian Authority's upcoming plan to go to the United Nations and seek recognition of statehood or at least U.N. membership as the U.N. convenes this week. Both reports ignored last week's prediction by the Palestinian Authority's envoy to the U.N. that Jews would be removed from a Palestinian state.

While Mitchell conveyed Palestinian complaints that " they've had negotiations before, decades of them, and they have nothing to show for it," and Fletcher similarly relayed that "Their leaders say they have no alternative but to try something new - the 20 years of peace talks have gotten them nowhere," neither report informed viewers that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been the major obstacle in the resumption of negotiations as he has refused to engage in talks unless the Israeli government halts construction within the borders of already existing Jewish settlements.

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Although Fletcher's report did at least include a clip of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu calling for talks with the Palestinian Authority, the NBC corresondent still seemed to suggest both sides were resisting talks as he recounted that "American negotiators are still trying very hard to get Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table."

And, in spite of the authoritarian nature of the Fatah-run West Bank and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, Fletcher began his report by relaying the spin that a Palestinian state would be a place for Palestinians to be free:

MARTIN FLETCHER: Palestinians call this their moment of truth. Bethlehem today kicked off a week of West Bank rallies in support of their bid to join the United Nations as a full member state, the Palestinian dream. Flag makers are working around the clock. Fawad
Anid wants the Palestinian flag to hang from every car and house.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: I'm so happy and excited at the same time because I want to have a Palestinian country to live in and to be free.

Notably, in recent months, polls have shown that many Arabs living in East Jerusalem would be willing to leave their homes to remain within the borders of Israel if East Jerusalem were to be handed over to the control of a Palestinian state.

Below are complete transcripts of the reports from the Friday, September 16, and Sunday, September 18, NBC Nightly News:

#From Friday, September 16:

KATE SNOW: Now to a threat that could put the United States in a difficult position on the world stage when the U.N. meets here in New York next week. The biggest issue on the table, Palestinian statehood. Today Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas threatened to bring the issue to the Security Council for a vote, which sets the stage for a potential showdown the U.S. and Israel are eager to avoid. Our chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell is at the State Department tonight. Andrea, what is the U.S. trying to do to stop this proposal?

ANDREA MITCHELL: Well, Kate, the U.S. is working frantically in the next couple of days to try to persuade the Palestinians not to go to the Security Council. They're telling President Abbas that the way to statehood is through negotiations, through overcoming all of the
remaining obstacles with Israel - like what will the borders of a new state be and who will control what parts of Jerusalem - but not by just declaring a state. That said, the Palestinians say that they've had negotiations before, decades of them, and they have nothing to show for it. The U.S. is promising this time to get those talks restarted and to fast track them. If it does go to the Security Council, the U.S. says it will veto it, but it doesn't want to be put in that isolated position, siding with Israel against the rest of the world. The fallback position for the Palestinians would be to go to the General Assembly, the much larger group. That said, it would be largely symbolic, and the U.S. doesn't want that to happen either. So
this is, as you say, shaping up as quite a showdown next week.

#From Sunday, September 18:

LESTER HOLT: There will be high drama here in New York this week as world leaders converge for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. Tonight, U.S. and European diplomats are scrambling to avoid a showdown after the Palestinians announced plans to ask for statehood and U.N. membership. More now from NBC's Martin Fletcher.

MARTIN FLETCHER: Palestinians call this their moment of truth. Bethlehem today kicked off a week of West Bank rallies in support of their bid to join the United Nations as a full member state, the Palestinian dream. Flag makers are working around the clock. Fawad
Anid wants the Palestinian flag to hang from every car and house.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: I'm so happy and excited at the same time because I want to have a Palestinian country to live in and to be free.

FLETCHER: But many Israelis think no good can come of this.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: They don't want peace.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: I think it will be war.

FLETCHER: Israel and America warned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas not to call for a Palestinian state in the Security Council.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I call on President Abbas to resume peace negotiations, direct negotiations, right now without any preconditions.

FLETCHER: Inspired by people's revolts in Arab neighbors - Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen - Palestinians also want change. Their leaders say they have no alternative but to try something new - the 20 years of peace talks have gotten them nowhere.

MOHAMED SHTAYEH, SENIOR PALESTINIAN OFFICIAL: We will take all measures to assembly, channel it in a way that does not lead into bloodshed.

FLETCHER: This puts Palestinians into a direct confrontation with the United States. Washington has said it wants more peace talks and will veto a call for a Palestinian state.

JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE SPEAKER: Our commitment to Israel should be no less strong today, and, if anything, it should be stronger than ever.

FLETCHER: American negotiators are still trying very hard to get Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. President Obama is aware that any American veto will certainly satisfy Israel but would also pit America against most of the rest of the world. Martin Fletcher, NBC News, Tel Aviv.