Guardian’s obsessively critical coverage of E-1 construction proposal, by the numbers

News that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the start of planning for home construction in the area known as E-1, between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, received saturation coverage at the Guardian.

Between Dec. 1 and Dec. 4, the Guardian’s coverage included an official editorial, analysis by Middle East editor, Ian Black, reports by Harriet Sherwood, a ‘Live Blog‘ on the announcement and political fallout, a photo story and a video.

The coverage almost exclusively advanced the narrative that plans to eventually build homes in E-1 would represent a death knell to the Two State Solution, would literally cut the West Bank in two, and would deny access to eastern Jerusalem to West Bank Palestinians.

(Most of of these arguments were proven to be demonstrably false.)

westbank-e1

E-1 in (yellow), between Jerusalem (light gray) and Ma’ale Adumim (purple)

Here’s a statistical and narrative summary of the Guardian’s coverage of E-1

  • Total number of words in Guardian reports, analyses and commentaries on E-1 : Nearly 8,000
  • Total number of separate reports or commentaries on E-1: 14 
  • Number of reports or commentaries which were mostly or entirely negative towards Israeli plans: 13*
  • Number of false allegations suggesting that E-1 construction would cut the West Bank in two, or would cut off eastern Jerusalem from the West Bank: 7
  • Number of times the above allegations, suggesting that E-1 would cut the WB in two, and cut eastern Jerusalem from the WB, were refuted by someone sympathetic to E-1: 1
  • Number of times it was argued that E-1 construction would make the creation of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state impossible or undermine the ‘Peace Process': 30
  • Number of times the above allegations, suggesting that E-1 jeopardizes the ‘Peace Process’, were refuted:
  • Number of times it was noted that E-1 construction represented an Israeli consensus: 1

*Harriet Sherwood’s Dec. 3 report was somewhat balanced.

Does the Guardian own a map? Op-Ed falsely claims E-1 would cut West Bank in two

On December 3, we demonstrated that Harriet Sherwood’s allegation that proposed Israeli construction in the area of land (known as E-1) between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim would cut off eastern Jerusalem from the West Bank is simply untrue.

Sherwood wrote:

“The development of [land east of Jerusalem known as] E1 has been frozen for years under pressure from the US and EU. Western diplomats regard it as a “game-changer” as its development would close off East Jerusalem – the future capital of Palestine – from the West Bank.” [emphasis added]

As CAMERA noted:

[It is not true that] construction [in E-1] would cut off Palestinian areas from Jerusalem. Access to Jerusalem through Abu Dis, Eizariya, Hizma and Anata is not prevented by the proposed neighborhood, nor would it be precluded by a string of neighborhoods connecting Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem.

In an official editorial today, Dec. 4, ‘Israel-Palestine: Concreting over the solution‘, the Guardian repeats Sherwood’s erroneous claim that the E-1  construction “would sever the Palestinian state from its capital in East Jerusalem” and takes the false charge even further, arguing thus:

“Having spun the line that European governments had misunderstood Israels plan to create a settlement that would cut the West Bank in two and separate it from East Jerusalem, the prime minister’s office vowed that nothing would alter their decision.” [emphasis added]

The Guardian was under no obligation to consult Israel before making allegations that the proposed construction would cut the West Bank in two, but when making a specific geographical claim it does seem reasonable that (as “journalists”) they consult a map which could empirically prove or disprove their assertion.

So, would construction connecting Jerusalem to  Ma’aleh Adumim cut the West Bank in two:

No.

Here’s a map created by HonestReporting completely disproving the Guardian’s allegation:

westBank-E1

As HR observed:

“The Palestinian waistline — between Ma’ale Adumim and the Dead Sea, is roughly 15 km wide. That’s a corridor no different than the Israeli waistline. Indeed, that has never caused a problem of Israeli territorial contiguity.”

We will be in contact with Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott over this egregious error, and we suggest that you consider doing the same.

reader@guardian.co.uk

Harriet Sherwood falsely claims Israeli construction will cut E. Jerusalem off from West Bank

H/T Tamar

Harriet Sherwood’s Dec. 3 report, ‘UK summons Israeli ambassador over settlement plan’, repeats a disproven allegation concerning the alleged injurious impact to Palestinians of proposed Israeli construction near Jerusalem.

Sherwood writes the following:

“Britain is furious at Israel’s decision to take punitive measures, including the authorisation of the new homes and the development of land east of Jerusalem known as E1 for settlement construction.

The development of E1 has been frozen for years under pressure from the US and EU. Western diplomats regard it as a “game-changer” as its development would close off East Jerusalem – the future capital of Palestine – from the West Bank.” [emphasis added]

However, as CAMERA has demonstrated, the allegation that E-1 development would “close of East Jerusalem…from the West Bank” (also recently advanced by Ha’aretz and the NYT) is simply not true.

Here’s a map CAMERA used in their post highlighting the area in question.

e1 continguity

CAMERA explained, thus:

“The black X marks the approximate location of the new neighborhood near Ma’aleh Adumim. To the west of the X is Jerusalem. The red line surrounding the X is the planned route of the security barrier, which will encircle Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem.

Those who charge that Israeli building in Ma’aleh Adumim severs north-south contiguity disregard the fact that Palestinian-controlled areas would be connected by land east of Ma’aleh Adumim (marked on the map) that is at its narrowest point ~15 km wide.

Moreover, Israel proposes to build tunnels or overpasses to obviate the need for Palestinians to detour to the east through the corridor.

Ironically, many of those who argue for greater contiguity between Palestinian areas, at the same time promote Israeli withdrawal to its pre-1967 boundaries, which (even with minor modifications) would confine Israel to a far less contiguous territory than that of the West Bank. As shown on the map above, there is a roughly 15 km wide strip of land separating the Green Line (and the Security Fence) from the Mediterranean Sea (near Herzliya). Also shown is the circuitous route necessary to travel via this corridor between northern and southern Israel. (e.g. from Arad to Beit Shean.)”

Finally, CAMERA added the following:

“Nor is it true that the construction would cut off Palestinian areas from Jerusalem. Access to Jerusalem through Abu Dis, Eizariya, Hizma and Anata is not prevented by the proposed neighborhood, nor would it be precluded by a string of neighborhoods connecting Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem.” [emphasis added]

Please consider contacting the Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, to seek a correction to Sherwood’s false allegation.

reader@guardian.co.uk