Israel's U.S. Envoy: Award to Helen Thomas Shows Palestinians Aren't Ready for Peace

Long-time reporter, criticized for her 2010 anti-Israel comments, honored by the PLO's U.S. mission for her defense of the 'Palestinian position every step of the way.'

A decision by the Palestinian mission to the United States to honor journalist Helen Thomas proves the Palestinians inability to meet the "basic requisites of peace," Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren said on Tuesday.

Oren, responding to a Sunday ceremony in which Thomas was marked for her support of the "Palestinian position, said he "was appalled by the award ceremony given by the PLO delegation in Washington to Helen Thomas, who has been completely shunned by all decent Americans after making anti-Semitic remarks, along with teaching Palestinian children to hate the Jewish State and to glorify suicide bombers."

Helen Thomas, AP

"This atrocious act is an indication of the Palestinian Authority’s failure to meet the basic requisites of peace," he added.

Thomas, a senior White House reporter, drew fire in 2010 when, when asked of her opinion on Israel, she said: "Tell them that they need to get out of Palestine, and return home to Germany, Poland, and America."

As a result of her remark, an onslaught of public criticism forced Thomas to apologize and retire. Shortly after her retirement, however, Thomas claimed she said “eactly what she thought.” Following those comments, the Society of Professional Journalists decided to discontinue the yearly lifetime achievement award bearing Thomas’ name.

On Sunday, however, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization General Mission to the U.S., Maen Areikat, led a Washington ceremony honoring Thomas, recognizing what he said was her "long career in the field of journalism, during which she defended the Palestinian position every step of the way.”

The event was also attended by PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi, who presented the prize to Thomas, and indicated that the honor came directly from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

According to the Washington PLO office’s statement, Ashrawi “presented Thomas with the appreciation and blessing of the president and the Palestinian people, for all of her actions supporting Palestine in the West.”