Times reporter Trip Gabriel, covering the Gingrich campaign, inflated conventional pro-Israel anti-"peace process" opinions delivered by Newt Gingrich into diplomatic drama in Saturday's 'Gingrich Suggests a Reversal of Mideast Policy .'
Does Newt Gingrich believe in a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Democratic and Republican administrations since the 1990s have adopted that framework for peace in the Middle East, but Mr. Gingrich suggested that he might break with it, calling Palestinians an 'invented' people and the current stalled peace process 'delusional.'
He also said the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, which has pledged to respect Israel's right to exist, really harbors 'an enormous desire to destroy Israel.'
Gabriel followed up on Sunday under the innocuous headline 'Gingrich Says He Supports 2-State Solution .'
A day after Newt Gingrich made comments implying that he opposed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, provoking wide criticism, his campaign tried to carry out some damage control.
Mr. Gingrich told a Jewish television channel that Palestinians historically were an 'invented' people and that the Palestinian leadership sought to destroy Israel. The statements suggested that Mr. Gingrich did not agree with long-standing American and Israeli policy in favor of negotiating an independent and peaceful Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Middle East experts said the views that Mr. Gingrich originally expressed were inaccurate and counterproductive. Palestinian authorities were outraged. 'These are extremely trivial, demeaning and ridiculous remarks,' the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, said in remarks quoted by the Ma'an News Agency. 'Even the most extremist settlers of Israel wouldn't talk in such a ridiculous way.'
As Mr. Gingrich heads into a Republican debate Saturday night in Iowa, where he is leading in polls and likely to be a target for rivals, the issue has the potential to be a distraction to his surging campaign.
A 'distraction,' only if the Times chooses to make it one. Gabriel didn't consider that actual conservatives probably agree with Gingrich.