The following story was issued by Hearst News Service today.
HELEN THOMAS ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
WASHINGTON, June 7, 2010 – Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately.
Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet.
Thomas later issued a statement: “I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.’’
Thomas will mark her 90th birthday on Aug. 4.
via Hearst Corporation.
Thomas told a rabbi at a White House event last week that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back to Germany and Poland.
“I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Thomas said in a statement on her Web site. “They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”
Thomas’s comments provoked sharp criticism within the close-knit world of White House reporters, and drew a rebuke from the White House podium Monday. With her seat conspicuously empty at the daily briefing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs assailed Thomas for her words.
“Those remarks were offensive and reprehensible,” Gibbs said, noting that Thomas has apologized. Her sentiments “do not reflect certainly most of the people here and certainly not those of the administration.”
Thomas, 89, who has covered the White House for decades, canceled a speech over the weekend and was dropped by a speakers’ bureau that represented her. The controversy comes at a precarious moment in the Middle East, after an Israeli assault on an aid flotilla that left 11 dead and prompted an international outcry.
The Board of the White House Correspondents Association also issued a statement Monday calling her comment “indefensible.”