Sometimes when you read reports about the Middle East, you get the impression that corporate journalists think Palestinians are another species entirely. Here's the New York Times' Mark Landler (3/4/09) explaining the theory of how better relations with Syria could help create a peace deal between Israel and Palestine:
By seeking an understanding with Syria, which has cultivated close ties to Iran, the United States could increase the pressure on Iran to respond to its offer of direct talks. Such an understanding would also give Arab states and moderate Palestinians the political cover to negotiate with Israel. That, in turn, could increase the burden on Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, to relax its hostile stance toward Israel.
Israel just recently launched an assault on the Gaza Strip that killed nearly 1,300 Palestinians, including 280 children under the age of 18 and 111 adult women. The Israelis killed roughly 1 out of every thousand residents of Gaza; the equivalent death toll in the U.S. would be almost 300,000.
If you were writing about human beings, you would assume that those massive losses, rather than a lack of "political cover," would probably result in a "hostile stance" toward the country that inflicted them. Since Landler doesn't seem to think that those deaths are a significant factor in the political situation, he must think he's writing about a very different sort of creature.