The Guardian plays crooked lawyer for the Palestinians

A few months ago we published an essay arguing that, in the event talks between the two parties break down and another is Intifada is initiated by Palestinian leaders, we can expect the Guardian to morally justify the violence.  

What we didn’t address at the time was our similar confidence that their editors, reporters and commentators would blame Israel for the break down in talks.

Sure enough, as talks have all but broken down (due to unilateral Palestinians acts hours before the Israeli government was set to approve an American brokered deal to extend talks to 2015), the Guardian published an official editorial which parrots the discredited claim that an Israeli announcement for new home tenders in east Jerusalem was the culprit.

Here are the relevant passages in the Guardian editorial (The Peace Bubble Bursts, April 11):

[Kerry's] determined concentration on peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, his repeated trips to the Middle East, and many months of hard work by a small army of advisers, drafters and facilitators, have ended not in a bang but a whimper

The “poof” moment was Israel‘s announcement of permits to build 700 new homes for settlers in East Jerusalem, a clearly provocative move given the Palestinian demand for a halt, or at least a pause, in settlement activity, and their insistence that East Jerusalem should be the capital of a Palestinian state

Of course, the claim that an “announcement of permits to build [708] new homes for settlers in East Jerusalem” effectively ended the talks is not even remotely accurate. 

First, Israel never agreed to so much as curtail the construction of homes beyond the green line (in Jerusalem or the West Bank) in the initial agreement brokered by Kerry to begin talks last July. They agreed to release Palestinian prisoners, but made no such guarantees regarding ‘settlements’.

Second, the east Jerusalem homes were reportedly a reissue of an earlier pronouncement permitting these new apartments in Gilo to be built, which, as Adam Kredo noted, means “that the substance of the decree [on new homes in east Jerusalem] had not changed for months and had not [previously] been a roadblock to the peace talks”.  

Third, other such ‘settlement’ construction announcements during negotiations have been made by Israeli authorities without major incident – due, again, to the fact that Israel never agreed to curtail such activity – prior to the east Jerusalem tenders.  This includes a January announcement that tenders were released for the construction of 600 homes in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

Finally, it’s important to note that the 708 housing tenders were issued for Gilo, a neighborhood in Jerusalem which almost everyone (including the Palestinians) agrees will remain under Israeli control upon a final status agreement.  In fact, the Guardian should look back at their own reports of the leaked Palestinian notes during negotiations between Abbas and Olmert in 2008 (known as the Palestine Papers), where they confirmed that Palestinians leaders agreed that Gilo would remain Israeli.

Here’s a passage from a Jan 23, 2011 Guardian report by Seumas Milne and Ian Black:

The concession in May 2008 by Palestinian leaders to allow Israel to annex the settlements in East Jerusalemincluding Gilo, a focus of controversy after Israel gave the go-ahead for 1,400 new homes – has never been made public.

Here’s the map they published showing the Jerusalem neighborhoods in Jerusalem (in blue) which (Palestinians agreed) would be Israeli under the plan.  As you can see, the neighborhoods (beyond the green line) which Israel would retain include the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, East Talpiot, and Gilo.

mapsIn short, the Guardian’s risible suggestion that 708 housing tenders for Gilo caused the peace talks to fail does not represent the dispassionate analysis of ‘professional journalists’, but, rather, the deceit and sophistry of a crooked lawyer.

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Guardian columnist compares Israel to an autistic child

Here’s the headline of a Nov. 1 column by the Guardian’s Giles Fraser,

austistic

Fraser was evidently inspired to explore such analogy by his dismay over Israel’s recent decision to build homes in its capital:

This week the Israeli government announced final approval for 1,500 new apartments in East Jerusalem. Much of the rest of the world – even the US – complains vigorously about all this highly contentious settlement building. But it makes little difference. Israel doesn’t listen. It just keeps on doing its own thing, indifferent to the calls of the international community. The impression given is that Israel doesn’t give two hoots what anybody else thinks.

Naturally, Fraser fails to mention the 104 Palestinian prisoners – convicted of murder, attempted murder or being an accessory to murder – who Israel agreed to release (despite the anguished pleas of terror victims’ families) in order to please the ‘international community’ and resume peace talks – a fact inconsistent with his caricature of a country not giving “two hoots” about what others think.

Now, for Fraser’s pseudo-intellectualizing:

It is, claims French academic Diana Pinto in a recent book, a form of national autism. Back in 2009, French Europe minister Pierre Lellouche called British foreign policy “autistic” for being introverted and self-absorbed…

Her argument begins by noting that Israel is brilliant scientifically and technologically. Amazingly, for so tiny a place, it has more companies listed on the Nasdaq, the hi-tech stock market, than all of Europe combined. This start-up revolution has, she insists, replaced the kibbutz as Israel’s “conceptual motor”. Israel works fantastically well in cyberspace. Perhaps it always has. Zionism, until very recently, has long been a dream, a sort of virtual reality. Those who have, for centuries, been hounded as aliens in other people’s lands, might have learnt to live more freely in the imagination than in the harsh reality of poverty and pogroms.

But the flip side of all this prodigy-like technological mastery is a lack of empathy, an inability to meet the gaze or to enter into the emotional reality of its neighbours. In this Rain Man caricature, Israel lives in an existential bubble, cut off (by a wall, both mental and literal) from its surroundings.

Of course, it was the unimaginable lack of empathy of Palestinian terrorists – who indiscriminately targeted Israeli men, women and children in waves of sadistic suicide bomb attacks in the early and mid 2000s – which necessitated the security fence in the first place.

6a010536b72a74970b0134853987b2970c

Passover massacre, Netanya, 2002

Later, Fraser’s argument gets even stranger, as he suggests that even Judaism’s lack of interest in proselytizing also suggests a lack of empathy.

This introversion Pinto links with Judaism’s lack of interest in religious conversion. “Any attempt to convert others implies finding the best way to interact with them by penetrating into their deepest values and symbols … in brief, dialoguing. 

Now, for the finale in Fraser’s efforts at “dialoguing” with those ‘stiff-necked’ Israeli Jews:

Autistic personalities rarely dialogue.” In other words, Israel lives in its own little cyberspace, a loner that doesn’t play well with other people.

So, to conclude, Fraser posits that Israel is not unlike a child – with arrested cognitive development – who doesn’t play well with others!

Of course, only someone suffering from the most pronounced political myopia could fail to acknowledge that it has been Israel’s neighbors – through 65 years of war, terrorism, antisemitic indoctrination, boycotts, and other forms of racist violence and exclusion – who have been guilty of “not playing nicely with others”.

Perhaps Fraser can write a follow-up post, psychoanalyzing Arabs (and Palestinian Arabs) who clearly prefer wallowing in their malign obsession with Israel (and their own sense of victimhood) than learning to accept (and benefit from) a normal relationship with the Jewish state.

In fairness, Fraser walks back his argument a bit towards the end of his column by citing a Cambridge University professor who was critical of his Autism analogy. Nevertheless, the fact that such a facile (and remarkably bizarre) hypothesis ever saw the light of day in a ‘mainstream’ UK broadsheet in the first place speaks volumes about the strange obsession with Jews and Israel by a significant segment of the British Left.

Indy legitimises ludicrous charge that Israel is ‘ethnically cleansing’ Jerusalem

If facts and logic governed the media’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, then recent claims by Palestinian spokesperson Hanan Ashrawi that new Israeli homes in the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo represent a “policy of ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem” would be dismissed as the agitprop of the intellectually unserious.

However, not only was there no indication of incredulousness in the face of such absurd charges in The Independent’s Aug. 26 report by Ben Lynfield, but it was actually used in the headline:

headline

As we explained in a recent post, the broad charge, believed by an astonishing number of “sophisticated” Europeans, that Israel is engaged in a project of “extermination” against the Palestinians, is one of the most easily disprovable hypotheses encountered in the cesspool of anti-Zionist narratives.

Though demographic evidence alone, showing that the Palestinian population has grown dramatically in the West Bank and Gaza since 1948, demonstrates how preposterous these claims are, the mere lack of empirical evidence has never served as much of a barrier to those committed to assaulting the Jewish state’s legitimacy.  Indeed, the laziness of ‘professional’ journalists covering the region, who typically fail to critically scrutinize such hyperbole, ensures that there is no disincentive for the practitioners of delegitimization to continue advancing these hateful smears.

The non-ethnic cleansing of Muslims from Jerusalem:

In response to Ashrawi’s charge, a real journalist could of course look at population statistics demonstrating that the number of Muslims in Jerusalem, both in total numbers and as an overall percentage, have increased dramatically since 1948.  Specifically, the Muslim population of Jerusalem increased from 1967 (when Israel unified the city) to 2011, from nearly 55,000 to over 291,000, while the Jewish population increased by a slower rate – from under 196,000 to 650,000.

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Jewish Virtual Library Graph, based on figures from the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics

The non-ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Jerusalem:

As far as the total Arab population (Muslims and non-Muslims), per the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, “there has been a decline in the proportionate size of Jerusalem’s Jewish population, with a concomitant increase in the proportion of the Arab population.” Specifically, the proportion of the Jewish population fell from 74% in 1967 to 64% in 2009. Simultaneously “the Arab population in the city rose from 26% in 1967 to 36% in 2009.”

Here’s a graph illustrating the increase in Arabs (and Jews, and others) in Jerusalem between 1931 and 2009:

graph

Graph via the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies

(Additionally, current population figures suggest that Palestinian Arabs outnumber Jews in east Jerusalem by a ratio of roughly 3 to 2.) 

As you can see, whatever your views on Israel’s decision to build homes in communities in “east” Jerusalem (parts of the city previously controlled by Jordan), the charge that such construction, on lands which are currently uninhabited, constitutes the “ethnic cleansing” of either Muslims or Arabs is nothing but a lie. 

If the toxic influence of pro-Palestinian propaganda wasn’t so severe, the charge that Israelis are engaged in anything resembling the ethnic cleansing of Muslims or Arabs would be regarded with the suspicion and contempt that typically greets other discredited anti-Zionist and antisemitic conspiracy theories.

CiF Watch prompts correction to inaccurate Indy headline about settlements

Yesterday, we posted about a report at The Independent which included a headline falsely claiming that Israel had recently announced the construction of “900 more settlements“.  As we noted, what Israeli authorities had actually announced was “900 more homes” in existing neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.

Here’s the original headline:

Shortly after our communication with Indy editors, the headline was corrected, and it now reads as follows:

headline

We commend Indy editors for promptly responding to our complaint.

 

Misleading Indy scare headline: Israel to build “900 MORE SETTLEMENTS”

True, the accompanying text of an Aug. 14th story by the Indy’s Ben Lynfied does note that Israel has merely announced their intention to build 900 more homes in (eastern) Jerusalem neighborhoods – but that’s not what the headline tells readers:

original headline indy

As anyone even vaguely familiar with the issue should know, there are 120 or so such ‘settlements’ – Israeli communities built across the green line – in total. So, it’s quite curious how “900 homes” was translated by editors into “900 settlements”.

Moreover, whilst some may claim such errors merely reflect the innocent mistakes of editors, it seems fair to ask why such mistakes are ubiquitous, and seem to nearly always result in errors which show Israel in a less favorable light.  

Finally, given that the homes (in existing Jerusalem neighborhoods) will likely “not be ready for habitation for another couple of years”, and the current round of peace talks are scheduled to last 9 months, it’s questionable how – per the Indy headline and accompanying text – such planned construction can reasonably be characterized as undermining hopes for a final agreement.

But, of course, such loaded headlines, whatever their motivation, are clearly not meant to contextualize news in a manner which will provide readers with an accurate understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. 

Jewish Empire? The Guardian refers to communities in Jerusalem as “colonies”.

Whilst we’re all too used to Guardian reports which demonize Israeli communities on the ‘wrong’ side of the 1949 armistice lines, we occasionally notice that their reporters at times adopt language about the ‘settlements’ in Judea and Samaria which parrots that of the most extreme anti-Zionist activists.  

A perfect example of this rhetorical expression of pro-Palestinian sympathy was Harriet Sherwood’s use of the term “political prisoners” in a Guardian story in May to characterize the pre-Oslo prisoners, all of whom were convicted of (mostly terrorist related) murder, accessory to murder or attempted murder.  Though we were able to influence the Guardian to remove that grossly inaccurate term from the article in question, we recently came across another example of the propagandistic manipulation of language in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

In “Middle East peace talks: prisoner release and new settlement push raises temperature, August 11th, Harriet Sherwood writes the following: [emphasis added]

“Eight hundred of the new homes will be built in colonies across the pre-1967 Green Line in Jerusalem – the part of the city the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state. Construction could take two years. All settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.”

Similarly, a month earlier in “EU takes tougher stance on Israeli settlements“, Sherwood wrote this: 

“The European Union has dealt a harsh blow to the Israeli settlement enterprise in a directive that insists all future agreements between the EU and Israel must explicitly exclude Jewish colonies in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.”

Of course, the word “colonies”, as it is normally understood, typically refers to a group of people from one country who settle in a foreign country distant from their homeland – an accurate characterization of the former British Empire, for instance.  Indeed, by the early 20th century Britain had ‘acquired’ foreign colonies representing over one-quarter of the world’s land mass, including territories in Africa and Asia thousands of miles from the British mainland, with large indigenous populations.

The neighborhoods in “East” Jerusalem to which Sherwood refers – areas such as Pisgat Ze’ev and Gilo which non-Jews, including Israeli Arabs, will also live - are currently uninhabited and are adjacent to existing Israeli neighborhoods.

map of jerusalem borders 67 before and after

To refer even to Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) as “colonies” is ahistorical, given the historical Jewish connection to these ancient lands, but to impute such a pejorative status to such neighborhoods in Jerusalem is nothing more than extremist agitprop – denying Jews’ religious and historical connection to the city (literally the epicenter of the faith), as well as Jews’ continuous presence there for thousands of years.

The only time of course that “Arab East Jerusalem” was indeed completely Arab (without any Jews) was after the Arab-Israeli War in 1948-49 during which they were forcefully expelled by the Jordanians – a Judenfrei status which only ended in 1967. 

To refer to neighborhoods in Jerusalem where Israelis live as “colonies” not only grotesquely distorts history and ordinary language, but also echoes the hateful anti-Zionist rhetoric of Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada and Ben White - those who continually attempt to undermine not only the legitimacy of the “settlements” but the very right of the Jewish state to exist within any borders. 

The Guardian asks if 4.9 million Palestinian “refugees” will “return” to cities…where they never lived.

Those who get their news from the mainstream media (or the Guardian) could be forgiven for believing that there are nearly 5 million Palestinian refugees from the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli War.

So often is that figure bandied around that most don’t understand that it only reflects the number of Palestinians qualifying for “refugee” benefits under the bizarre formula of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency by which the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (ad infinitum) of actual refugees continue to inherit this status.  This designation is even bestowed upon those Palestinians who are already citizens of other countries.  

Mural in Dheishe refugee camp

Mural in Dheishe “refugee” camp

(Using such demographic calculus, one could argue that – based on the number of Israelis whose ancestors fled Europe during the Holocaust, or fled Arab countries due to antisemitic persecution – the majority of Israeli citizens are “refugees”.)

Indeed, the number of actual Palestinian refugees from the Arab-Israeli War, out of the initial 750,000 or so after the war, is estimated to be closer to 30,000.

This data is important to remember as we follow media reports on recently renewed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians – specifically the issue of how to deal with Palestinian demands that some or all of the “refugees” be allowed to “return” to Israel. 

Unsurprisingly, Harriet Sherwood’s two recent reports on negotiations in Washington both included passages with characteristically misleading information on the issue.

A July 29th story by Sherwood titled Middle East peace talks rebooted as Netanyahu and Abbas mull legacies‘ included the following:

the issue of borders is relatively simple compared with what seem to be unbridgeable gaps concerning Jerusalem, which both sides want as a capital, but whose division or sharing is adamantly rejected by Israel, and the matter of whether at least some of the 4.9 million Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the diaspora will be allowed to return to their pre-1948 homes, as the Palestinians insist.

Additionally, her July 30th report, Middle East Peace Talks Under Way‘, included this:

Other, even more difficult, issues – such as the future of Jerusalem, which both sides want as a capital, and whether any of the 4.9m Palestinian refugees can return to their former homes, now in Israel – would have to be addressed over the coming months.

Of course, both passages would leave the average reader with the false impression that there are 4.9 million Palestinians who had homes in Israel, when, in reality, the overwhelming majority of them were obviously born after 1949 and never set one foot within the boundaries of the Jewish state.  

Whatever the outcome of current negotiations between the two parties, and regardless of any diplomatic comprises proposed by either side to achieve a symbolic settlement of the “refugee” issue, Israel naturally won’t let Palestinian Arabs “return” to homes that they never actually owned, in cities where they never once lived. 

Finally, it’s interesting to note that the Guardian has, on two recent occasions, completely whitewashed the historically undisputed ethnic cleansing of Jews by Arab rulers in the years following the 1948 war, yet parrots a Palestinian narrative falsely imputing such a victim status onto millions of Palestinians who never during the course of their lives were actual refugees.

The Guardian narrative is at times as ahistorical as it is ideological.

The Guardian AGAIN whitewashes the ethnic cleansing of Jews

We recently posted about a stunning omission at the Guardian, an entry at their data blog which in effect erased the plight of hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees in the latter half of the 20th century from the pages of history.  The July 25th report, edited by Mona Chalabi, was titled What happened to history’s refugees?‘, and included, in a supposedly complete list of history’s refugees, the following events: Israelites: Canaan (740 BC), Edict of Fontainebleau (France 1685), Muhacirs (Ottoman Empire 1783), Pogroms (Russia 1881), WWI (Europe 1914), WWII (Europe 1945), and the Nakba (Palestine 1948).

It then skipped right over the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab lands and listed, as the next refugees crisis in the 20th century, Idi Amin’s Order (Uganda 1972) – Amin’s expulsion of more than 50,000 Asians from the country.

The Guardian data blog completely omitted the expulsion of more than 800,000 Jewfrom Middle Eastern and North African countries between 1948 and 1972, an undisputed event in which Arab leaders (beginning in 1948) conspired to target the Jewish populations in their respective countries.  This antisemitic persecution included confiscating Jewish property and assets, and stripping Jews of their citizenship – forcing them to flee their homes and surrender their nationalities. Whereas in 1948 there were 850,000 Jews in Arab states, today there are less than 7,000.

This Arab collective punishment against innocent Jews was initiated of course to exact revenge for the ‘sin’ of the Jewish state’s rebirth.

Additionally, Harriet Sherwood published a report at The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) on Saturday which again erased the Arab expulsion of Jews in the period after Israel’s birth.  The piece is titled ‘The new Jerusalem‘, July 27, and focuses on “the problem” of Jews who are (legally) purchasing property from Arabs in eastern Jerusalem – imputing, naturally, the darkest motives to everyday commercial transactions in the Israeli capital.  Indeed, as the following passage from her report indicates, Sherwood seems intent on characterizing Jews’ desire to live in neighborhoods outside of the 1949 armistice lines as something akin to ethnic cleansing.

Around 1,000 Jewish settlers now live among 31,000 Palestinians in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, taking over homes that have been inhabited by Muslim families for decades or even centuries, and flying Israeli flags from the walls and rooftops of their properties. They are the frontline fighters in a broader battle – backed by the Israeli government, city authorities and security services – to ensure Jewish control of Jerusalem and to drive its Palestinian population down to a minimum.

Sherwood of course doesn’t provide much in the way of details about this ‘Israeli plan’ to drive Palestinians from Jerusalem, but suffice to say that if there were such a scheme population figures would indicate that it is failing miserably.  

Per the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies:

Over the years, there has been an evident decline in the proportionate size of Jerusalem’s Jewish population, with a concomitant increase in the proportion of the Arab population. The proportion of the Jewish population fell from 74% in
1967 to 72% in 1980, to 68% in 2000, and to 64% in 2009. Simultaneously the Arab population rose from 26% in 1967 to 28% in 1980, to 32% in 2000, and to 36% in 2009.

But, not only does Sherwood suggest, without evidence, an Israeli attempt to purge the city of Palestinians, but when in the course of her narrative there’s an opportunity to provide balance and context, and detail the expulsion of Jews from eastern Jerusalem in 1948, the Guardian reporter merely writes the following:

at the end of the war following the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948, Jerusalem was divided, with the Old City on the Jordanian-controlled eastern side of the armistice line, known as the Green Line. The Jewish population within the ancient stone walls sank to zero.

Why the Jewish population “within the ancient stone walls” magically “sank to zero”, she of course doesn’t say.

Readers aren’t told that on May 28, 1948 the Jewish Quarter of the Old City fell to the Arab Legion and upon its capture Jews were expelled from eastern Jerusalem and barred from returning, or even visiting Jewish holy places – and that the Jewish Quarter of the Old City was all but destroyed.  

Expelled Jews shoved out of Zion Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem after the Arab conquest of 1948.

Expelled Jews shoved out of Zion Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem after the Arab conquest of 1948.

Additionally, in the immediate aftermath of the expulsion, the following occurred:

Fifty-eight synagogues—some hundreds of years old—were destroyed [by the Jordanians], their contents looted and desecrated. Some Jewish religious sites were turned into chicken coops or animal stalls. The Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, where Jews had been burying their dead for over 2500 years, was ransacked; graves were desecrated; thousands of tombstones were smashed and used as building material, paving stones or for latrines in Arab Legion army camps. The Intercontinental Hotel was built on top of the cemetery and graves were demolished to make way for a highway to the hotel. The Western Wall became a slum area.

In short, any trace of Jewish life was destroyed. The misnomer “historically Arab East Jerusalem” is of course based on this 18 year historical blip when the city was forcibly rendered Judenrein - a moral injustice which was only brought to an end when Israeli soldiers liberated the city on June 7, 1967.   

Did the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent really not know any of this?  

In an over 1800 word story, did she not consider providing her readers with even a brief mention of the cleansing of Jews, or that such context would help readers understand Israel’s hesitancy to relinquish sovereignty over the birthplace of Judaism, a city representing nothing short of the spiritual epicenter of their faith?

For the second time in a week the Guardian has attempted to expunge from the public record an indisputable saga regarding the ethnic cleansing of Jews – innocent victims of Arab malevolence who reluctantly continue to assume the role of history’s forgotten refugees.

How big is E-1? The geographic reality of an alleged “impediment to peace”

A guest post by AKUS

There’s been a lot of talk at the Guardian – and in the mainstream media - about the tiny area of land (known as ‘E-1′) outside Jerusalem (encompassing a mere 12 square kilometers of land out of more than 5,600 square kilometers of territory in the West Bank), so I thought it might be worth putting it in perspective:

Here’s a map showing E-1 taken from Ha’aretz (Q&A: What is area E-1, anyway?) which has the advantage of showing E-1 in bright red:

1

Here is the same image overlaid on a true map of Jerusalem and surroundings.  The guide in the bottom left hand corner gives a better idea of the distances and area involved – about 2 miles/4km from central Jerusalem, and between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim:

2

For clarity, here is the E-1 area extracted from the map provided by Ha’aretz and overlaid on the same map of Jerusalem and surroundings:

3

By way of comparison, here is the E-1 area overlaid on a map of Manhattan – it is less than 4 times larger than Central Park:

4

To make the scale of E-1 a little more obvious, let’s zoom out to include most of Manhattan and surroundings:

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And here is E-1 overlaid on a portion of the map of Israel to the same scale:

6

Is the world-wide fuss over an area between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim, less than four times the size of Central Park, and a fraction of the size of Manhattan, that the Palestinians know will be included in the area of Israel if an agreement is ever reached, really worth making?

CiF Watch prompts Guardian correction to Ashrawi claim regarding ‘Jews only’ homes

correction pageOn Nov. 29, we published a post titled ‘Hanan Ashrawi lies at ‘Comment is Free’ about homes for Jews only in Jerusalem‘. 

We focused on Ashrawi’s implicit claim, in her ‘Comment is Free’ essay (Supporting Palestine at the UN today is a vote for peace in the Middle East, Nov. 29) that new homes being planned for the eastern section of Jerusalem were being built for Jews only.   

Here are the first two paragraphs from the original, unrevised version of Ashrawi’s piece at CiF:

jewish citizens

After arguing in our post that Ashrawi’s claim (that new Israeli homes in eastern Jerusalem would be reserved for ‘Jews only’) was false, we also contacted the Guardian’s readers editor to point out the error.  

On Dec. 21, the Guardian published this correction.

correction

As we pointed out in our post, the overwhelming majority of land in Israel is owned by the government, and administered  by the Israeli Land Administration (ILA).  The ILA leases the land out to all Israeli citizens (Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Druze, etc.), legal Israeli residents (including Arabs living in eastern Jerusalem) or foreigners who would qualify for citizenship under the ‘law of return’.

Ashrawi was slyly attempting to con CiF readers into believing that new homes in eastern Jerusalem would be leased to residents based on a discriminatory policy in order to buttress her broader narrative of Israeli racism.

However, as we learn continually from reading the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’, the mere lack of evidence is not a serious impediment to those wishing to advance preconceived conclusions of Israeli guilt.

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

Guardian interrupts ‘live blog’ on Mid-East uprisings with news that Jews might build homes

The Guardian’s ‘Live Blog‘ on the Middle East uprisings took a detour today from its typical updates on civil war, regional conflagrations and revolution to report on Israeli plans to build homes, sometime in the future, in an area between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem: (Screenshots taken from the Guardian page within the past hour)

top

Here’s the terrifying photo used by the Guardian to illustrate the regional “crisis”:

2

Requisite “death of the two-state solution” quote by a highly politicized NGO.

3

A report by Harriet Sherwood repeating the lie that Israeli construction would cut off eastern Jerusalem from the West Bank.

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Here’s the dramatic news that isn’t happening:

4

Russia is “alarmed” by the news.

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More Israeli ambassadors summoned. 

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And, below the shocking reports from Jerusalem, in other, far less important news:  Lebanon and Syria risk igniting a dangerous military confrontation, and Islamists in Egypt organized a mass rally meant to intimidate the highest court in the country.   

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Finally, if want to know what else is happening in Israel, here are the top stories on the Guardian’s Israel page:

other news

The Guardian’s Seumas Milne defends Palestinians’ right to kill Israelis

Guardian Associate Editor Seumas Milne just published an essay at ‘Comment is Free’ brimming with anger at Israel, and crowing about the glory of Hamas “resistance”.

In ‘Palestinians have the right to defend themselves‘, Nov. 20, Milne lashes out at Western leaders who have dared to proclaim that Israel has every “right to defend itself”, mocks reports by the “western media echo[ing] Israel’s claim that its assault is in retaliation for Hamas rocket attacks”, and condemns Netanyahu for “unleash[ing] a new round of bloodletting” which he attributes, naturally, to the upcoming Israeli elections.

Milne vilifies those who “portray Israel as some kind of victim with every right to ‘defend itself’ from attack from outside its borders” as engaging in “a grotesque inversion of reality”.

Declaring Gaza still “occupied”, Milne defends Hamas “resistance”, thus:

“So Gazans are an occupied people and have the right to resist, including by armed force (though not to target civilians), while Israel is an occupying power that has an obligation to withdraw – not a right to defend territories it controls or is colonising by dint of military power.

Even if Israel had genuinely ended its occupation in 2005, Gaza’s people are Palestinians, and their territory part of the 22% of historic Palestine earmarked for a Palestinian state that depends on Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem. Across their land, Palestinians have the right to defend and arm themselves, whether they choose to exercise it or not.”

Seumas Milne is arguing that Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and ‘East Jerusalem’ have the right to murder Israelis.

And, if you’re wondering about the one qualification in Milne’s essay – that civilians can’t be intentionally targeted – a subsequent passage seems to clarify his meaning.

“Emboldened by the wave of change and growing support across the region, Hamas has also regained credibility as a resistance force, which had faded since 2009, and strengthened its hand against an increasingly discredited Palestinian Authority leadership in Ramallah in Ramallah. The deployment of longer-range rockets that have now been shown to reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is also beginning to shift what has been an overwhelmingly one-sided balance of deterrence. [emphasis added]

The Hamas rocket attacks he’s so proud of – ‘operations’ he’s hopeful may change the balance of power in the region – seem to fall outside of his definition of prohibited acts (which target civilians) and thus consistent with the overall Palestinian right of armed “resistance”.

Based on his text it seems the following is definitely justifiable:

  • Suicide bombings and other armed attacks which target the hundreds of thousands of Israelis serving in the IDF

And, the following is most likely justifiable:

  • Rockets launched indiscriminately at Israelis cities

While Milne’s justification, under the Guardian’s imprimatur, for the intentional killing of citizens of the Jewish state is not surprising in light of his history of praising anti-imperialist “resistance movements” across the globe, the mere fact that his latest argument is derivative - consistent with his broader political orientation – doesn’t make it any less repulsive.

 

Did the Guardian just implicitly recognize “East” Jerusalem as part of Israel?

It’s been a tough year for the Guardian’s “research” department.

Earlier in Oct., the Press Complaints Commission concluded that the Guardian’s “unequivocal statement” in their “Style Guidethat “Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel” was incorrect and therefore breached “the Editors’ Code of Practice.”

Here’s what their Style Guide stataed about Jerusalem a few months ago.

Thanks to action by Honest Reporting, in taking the complaint to the PCC, their Style Guide now reads as follows:

Ok, they don’t refer to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but this is the Guardian, after all, and we’re always pleased when even a small dose of reality penetrates their ideological bubble. 

However, the small admission that Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital didn’t prepare us for what follows.

You see, the Guardian typically refers to the section of Jerusalem illegally occupied by Jordan between 1949 and 1967 as “East Jerusalem”, inspired by the belief that a future Palestinian state will inevitably include a capital in that part of the city, and that any Jews who live there are illegal “settlers”.

They even have an East Jerusalem page:

Typical is a report by Harriet Sherwood in 2010, titled Jerusalem “Western Wall Development plan opposed by Palestinians as illegal“, which included this passage:

“Jerusalem’s key Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites lie in and around the Old City, just on the eastern side of the “green line” or pre-1967 border. Israel captured and later annexed East Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967 in a move not recognised by the international community.”

However, Sherwood left out quite a bit.

In the aftermath of Israel’s War of Independence, Jerusalem was arbitrarily divided, and Jews living on the “east” side were expelled by Jordanian forces, and dozens of synagogues (and other physical traces of Jewish life) were destroyed.

This map of the 1949-1967 boundary between “East” and “West” Jerusalem shows that the line cut off the Old City from Israel, including the Jewish Quarter, as well as Judaism’s holiest site (The Temple Mount).

The misnomer of “historically Arab East Jerusalem” – based on a geographical reality imposed by Arabs for a short 18 years in its long history – has become so part of the official meme that the UK Advertising Authority ruled in 2010 that an Israeli tourism ad featuring the Western Wall, Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock was a violation of advertising laws.  

The Advertising Authority ruled that the historic Jewish locations were, in fact, located in “East Jerusalem and part of the occupied territories.”

So, given the Guardian’s strict adherence to such absurd narratives about the Israeli capital, I was shocked to find the following caption in an Oct. 3 edition of the Guardian’s series, “Picture Desk Live”.

While the “holiest site” in Judaism is actually the Temple Mount, and not the retaining wall where Jews are seen praying, this is a minor fact compared to the text at the end of the caption. Indeed, I had to look at the caption twice as I truly didn’t believe my eyes the first time.

Amazingly, the Guardian evidently now recognizes “East” Jerusalem as part of Israel!

So, now that they have started “Judaizing” Jerusalem, I think it’s reasonable to wonder what other concessions to Zionism we can now expect?

Will their reporters start referring to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria?

Will “settlers” now be called “Israelis”, and “settlements” now called “Yishuvim”?

Will Harriet Sherwood begin to characterize Palestinians who murder innocent Israeli civilians as “terrorists”, instead of “militants”?

Alright, perhaps I’m over-reacting just a bit!