Oxfam spokesperson owned by SodaStream’s Daniel Birnbaum on BBC Newsnight

Back in the 60s, anti-war activists sometimes used the pejorative phrase “you have to burn the village to save it” to condemn US military tactics in Vietnam, to (unfairly) characterize the alleged destruction of North Vietnamese villages for the larger purpose of purging Viet Cong forces from the area.  

While such sloganeering was something of a specialty within the anti-war movement, that particular sentiment comes to mind when considering the mindless, destructive campaign by Oxfam, and like-minded pro-BDS groups, against the SodaStream factory in Mishor Adumim.

As you’ll see in the following clip of a segment on BBC’s Newsnight, which aired last night, Oxfam (an anti-poverty organization!) would evidently rather see 500 Palestinians fired from their jobs than tolerate the presence of a successful Israeli owned factory in Area C of the West Bank.  

Though there are some anti-settlement lies that go unchallenged during the debate, the hypocrisy and moral obtuseness of Oxfam and the broader anti-SodaStream movement is clearly revealed in the exchange between Newsnight host Jeremy Paxman, Oxfam’s Director of Policy Ben Phillips and SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum.

h/t Elder

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CiF Watch prompts correction to false Indy claim that US views settlements as ‘illegal’

A Feb. 2 story at The Independent by Jonathan Owen, titled ‘Scarlett Johansson split with Oxfam may deter celebrity charity work‘, included the following passage:

One of SodaStream’s main factories is in Ma’aleh Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank which bodies such as the UN, the EU and the US government say are illegal under international law.

However, while it is true that UN and EU officials typically characterize Israeli communities across the green line as “illegal” – based on extremely specious legal logic – this is not true of the US, which has consistently refrained from rendering a legal decision about their status, opting instead recently for the more generic term, “illegitimate”.

Even the New York Times has acknowledged this distinction:

The United States has not taken a position on the settlements’ legality for several decades, saying instead, according to the State Department, “We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.”

The Indy’s own Middle East reporter, Robert Fisk, acknowledged it, as did ABC News, Christian Science Monitor, Al Jazeera and Al-Alam, just to name a few.

As Elliott Abrams, writing for the Council on Foreign Relations, explained: 

The U.S. position has fluctuated over time. In the Reagan years, the United States said the settlements were “not illegal.” The Clinton and George H.W. Bush administrations avoided the legal arguments but criticized the settlements frequently. President George W. Bush called the larger settlement blocs “new realities on the ground” that would have to be reflected in peace negotiations.

More recently, the official U.S. attitude has been more critical. In 2011, the Obama administration vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling the settlements “illegal” but former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice then denounced “the folly and illegitimacy” of continued Israeli settlement activity. “The United States of America views all of the settlements as illegitimate,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in August 2013.

The United States is the main broker of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, so American officials have tended toward pragmatic approaches. U.S. officials have viewed settlement expansion as an obstacle to peace talks and the conclusion of a comprehensive peace agreement, and opposed it on those practical grounds.

U.S. officials have tried to avoid an argument over the legal status of the settlements, instead urging that expansion is a bad policy. The use of the term “illegitimate” rather than “illegal” suggests a desire to express disapproval as a political judgment without getting bogged down in arguments over the international legal status of the Palestinian territories and Israel’s actions in them.

After we contacted Indy editors to complain about their characterization of the US position, they agreed to revise the passage in question.  It now reads:

One of SodaStream’s main factories is in Ma’aleh Adumim, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank which bodies such as the UN and the EU say are illegal under international law.  The US government regards such settlements as ‘illegitimate’.

We commend Indy editors for their prompt decision to correct this false claim.

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Guardian caves to anti-Israel bigots, revises SodaStream article to please Ben White

Yesterday, CiF Watch prompted a correction to a false claim by Guardian Middle East editor Ian Black that the SodaStream main office was located in Ma’ale Adumim, when in fact that industrial park in greater Ma’ale Adumim (known as Mishor Adumim) is simply the location of one of their 20 factories. Their headquarters, as we noted, is in Lod, near Ben Gurion Airport.  (CiF Watch prompted a previous correction to the same error, by another Guardian contributor, in Oct.)

However, upon reviewing the language of the correction we prompted on the Guardian’s Correction page, we noticed an additional editor’s note relating to another SodaStream related story:

correction

According to (occasional) ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Ben White, per his following post at Electronic Intifada, he was the activist who prompted the revision:

Responding to my correspondence, The Guardian’s Readers’ Editor has amended an article written last week by Matthew Kalman.

Kalman’s article reported on the controversy over Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson ditching her role as humanitarian ambassador for the charity Oxfam, which objected to her endorsement deal with SodaStream, an Israeli company with a factory in a settlement in the occupied West Bank.

The piece, “Oxfam under pressure to cut ties with Scarlett Johansson over SodaStream ad,” now appears with the following appended text:

“In a sub-heading and in the body of the text campaigners seeking to pressure Oxfam to sever ties with Scarlett Johansson were described as “anti-Israel.” To clarify: the campaigners are opposed to settlements”

Remarkably, the Guardian Readers’ Editor upheld the objections to Kalman’s original characterization of the anti-SodaStream activists as “anti-Israel”, and bought the argument that they are only opposed to ‘the settlements’.  

To give you a sense of how extraordinarily misleading such a benign characterization is, here’s a brief summary of the ideological background of some of the more prominent BDS activists and groups involved in the anti-SodaStream campaign:

Ben White: White, who evidently prompted the Guardian correction and is one of the most vocal activists campaigning against SodaStream, opposes the existence of a Jewish State within any borders, and is even on record expressing sympathy towards anti-Semites:

Ali Abunimah: Abunimah is the co-founder of Electronic Intifada, has expressed sympathy towards Hamas, rejects Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State within any borders, has likened Zionism with Nazism and has explicitly called for the start of a 3rd deadly Palestinian intifada.

Here are additional anti-SodaStream campaigners – that is, those who would prefer that 500 Palestinians workers get laid-off, rather than there be any Jewish presence at all across the green line:

Palestinian BDS National Committee, a radical movement which opposes all forms of normalization between Palestinians and Israelis, and supports the unlimited ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees and their millions of descendants, a tactic designed to erase Israel’s Jewish identity.  

Palestine Solidarity Campaign: a marginal, radical movement based in the UK, which supports the cultural, academic and economic boycott against Israel, and opposes the existence of a Jewish State within any borders. Further, PSC members have taken  part in convoysflotillasflytillas, and various demonstrations and events organized by supporters and members of terrorist organisations. 

Code Pink: A radical left group whichworks with the pro-Hamas Free Gaza Movement, and signed the so-called Cairo Declaration to End Israeli Apartheid, a document which opposes Zionism and calls for the unlimited right of return for millions of Palestinian ‘refugees’. (See this clip of Hamas welcoming a Code Pink delegation to Gaza in 2009)

To recap: Most of the activists aligned against SodaStream have either expressed sympathy or outright support for Islamist terror groups, support the boycott and complete isolation of Israel, oppose any cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians, and reject the very right of Israel to exist as a Jewish State. 

Only in the mind of Guardian editors would such hateful views – some which are indistinguishable from the ideologies of violent extremist groups – not qualify as “anti-Israel”.

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Financial Times has a meltdown over SodaStream model of co-existence

Yaacov Lozowick recently quipped that “the Israeli-Arab conflict famously makes many otherwise reasonably normal people lose their marbles”, and a recent Financial Times (FT) editorial (behind pay wall) is more evidence that even the putatively sophisticated often unravel when encountering any Israeli presence on the ‘wrong side’ of the 1949 armistice lines.

ft

The FT writes:

The decision by actress Scarlett Johansson to stop being an ambassador for Oxfam, the social justice charity, and continue as brand ambassador to SodaStream, an Israeli company that makes home-carbonated drink dispensers at a plant in the occupied West Bank, might be dismissed as a storm in a fizzy cup. It should not be.

The Lost in Translation star has accidentally turned a searchlight on an important issue – whether it is right or lawful to do business with companies that operate in illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land – as well as inadvertentlsprinkling stardust on the campaign to boycott Israel until it withdraws from the occupied West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem – a separate issue, at least so far.

First, the SodaStream factory is located in an industrial park within greater Ma’ale Adumim and, even according to Peace Now, only 0.5% of the settlement territory was built on Palestinian land. Additionally, while the fate of the disputed territory will be decided by negotiations between the two parties, it’s important to note that Ehud Olmert’s generous offer to Mahmoud Abbas in 2008, which included a contiguous Palestinian State in 93% of the West Bank, included Ma’ale Adumim as part of Israel.

Further, the phrase “Arab East Jerusalem” is of course a misnomer, as the only time “East Jerusalem” was ‘Arab’ (that is, 100% Jew-free) and separated arbitrarily between “East” and “West” in its entire history was between 1949 and 1967, the short period when Jordan controlled that part of the city (after expelling all the Jews).

The FT editorial continues with this flourish:

It is disingenuous to romanticise settlement enterprises. The occupation imprisons thousands of the Palestinians’ young men, gives their land and water to settlers, demolishes their houses and partitions the remaining territory with scores of checkpoints and segregated roads

In addition to the fact that such risible prose is nearly indistinguishable from what’s typically found at hate sites like Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada, the distortions and obfuscations are remarkable.  First, what “imprisons thousands of Palestinians young men” is not “the occupation” but (assuming this is a reference to security prisoners) rather, their own premeditated acts of terror against Israeli citizens – violence for which Palestinians bear sole responsibility.

Additionally, those advancing the myth of settlers stealing Palestinian water – definitively refuted by several reputable sources – always neglects to mention that the water quota for the West Bank was mutually agreed upon in the Oslo accords, and that Israel has in fact consistently supplied more water to the PA than required. Further, contrary claims made to the contrary, the difference in per capita consumption of water between Israeli settlers and Palestinians is actually negligible.

Also, note the claim regarding “segregated roads”, an allusion perhaps to the canard - retracted by multiple media outlets over the years due to the work of CAMERA – of so-called ‘Jews-only roads’. There are no such racially segregated roads in the West Bank, or anywhere in Israel.

The FT editorial concludes thus:

There are almost no basic foundations for an economy. The way to create Palestinian jobs is to end the occupation and let Palestinians build those foundations – not to build “bridges to peace” on other people’s land without their permission.

This is a truly strange passage, suggesting it seems that, much like Oxfam, editors at the FT would rather see 500 Palestinians lose their jobs than countenance the existence of any Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.

Perhaps FT editors could have spoken to SodaStream employees like Ahmed Nasser, who was quoted in Ha’aretz recently boasting that she “can bring a million [other Palestinians] who want to work here,” or to Journalist Josh Mitnick who visited the SodaStream factory and noted that “SodaStream workers and local Palestinians were downright peeved when asked about the efforts of solidarity activists and their own government to boycott SodaStream”.

As Yaacov Lozowick concluded about the row:

In any other context, worldwide, a private company maintaining a factory in an underdeveloped country so as to take advantage of its lower labor costs would be regarded as a boon for the hosting country (if perhaps not for the rich country the factory had previously been in). SodaStream, however, isn’t paying hundreds of Palestinian workers what they’d get from a Palestinian employer. It’s paying the Palestinian laborers Israeli wages, with the social benefits mandated by Israeli law….If ever there is peace between Israel and Palestine, Israeli owned factories in Palestine employing Palestinians is precisely the sort of thing everyone should be wishing for. 

The Financial Times, it should be noted, is the British equivalent of the U.S.-based Wall Street Journal, focused primarily on business and financial news, and in any other context the paper would presumably be lauding a case like SodaStream (the largest private company employing Palestinians in the West Bank) as a textbook example of the kind of foreign direct investment championed by economists and international development advocates.

However, as Lozowick observed, when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, normal discourse and rational thought often devolve into agitprop, hyperbole and activist-inspired platitudes.

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CiF Watch post prompts second correction to Guardian story about Bab al-Shams

As always, a h/t to the team at CAMERA 

On Jan. 14 we reported on a Guardian correction (prompted by an earlier CiF Watch post) to a story written by Harriet Sherwood on Jan. 13 about the removal of Palestinian protesters from a tent city named Bab al-Shams – located in an area between the cities of Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim known as E-1.

correctThe Guardian corrected Sherwood’s false claim that Palestinians were “arrested” by Israeli police during the evacuation.

Today, following a post published on Jan. 15 – as well our communication with the Guardian – they made another correction to the same story, removing text falsely suggesting that Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered the evacuation of Palestinian protesters from the tent city in violation of a Supreme Court ruling.  

As we noted, the Supreme Court order in question only referred to the removal of the tents, not the evacuation of the protesters.

The article by Harriet Sherwood now includes this at the bottom of the piece.

“This article was amended on 14 January and 17 January 2013. Activists were detained but not formally arrested. In addition a sub-heading and text were amended to make clear the Supreme Court injunction referred to tents rather than the protesters. This has been corrected.”

 

Guardian story on Bab al-Shams falsely suggests Israeli PM violated court order

Yesterday, we reported on a Guardian correction, prompted by an earlier CiF Watch post, to a story written by Harriet Sherwood on Jan. 13 about the recent removal of Palestinian protesters from a tent city named Bab al-Shams – located in an area between the cities of Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim known as E-1.

Less than 24 hours after our post, which challenged claims made in the story that Palestinians were arrested by Israeli police during the evacuation, Guardian editors removed the inaccurate information and noted the correction in the ‘Corrections and clarifications‘ section of their website.

However, there’s one additional substantive mistake in Sherwood’s story which requires correction.

Note the language used in the strapline:

strapline

So, is Sherwood suggesting that the eviction carried out, under the orders of the prime minister, in violation of an Israeli Supreme Court ruling and thus not in accord with the rule of law?

Here are the relevant passages from the report which mention the Supreme Court:

On Saturday evening, Netanyahu demanded the Israeli supreme court overturn an injunction preventing the removal of the protesters, and ordered the area to be declared a closed military zone.

The activists sought legal protection from the supreme court, which granted an injunction against eviction and gave the state of Israel up to six days to respond.

Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti, who was among those detained, said the eviction was “proof that the Israeli government operates an apartheid system. Firstly it decided that supreme court decisions do not apply to Palestinians.

A reasonable person reading the strapline and subsequent text would likely conclude that Netanyahu, furious at a court’s decision explicitly forbidding the removal of Palestinian protesters from the tent city, decided to simply ignore the court order. 

However, such a conclusion would be erroneous.

As CAMERA reported, “the court injunction, issued Friday (Jan. 11) by Justice Neal Hendel, and available in Hebrew on the High Court’s Web site, merely forbade the removal of the tents that the Palestinian activists had set up”, and not the protesters themselves.

Further, per the Supreme Court ruling, even the tents could be legally removed “so long as the state replied to the court within six days that there was a security need”.

Here’s the text from the ruling:

“After studying the petition I hereby impose a temporary injunction according to clause 1 — preventing the evacuation or destruction of tents that were erected by the petitioners on a-Tur lands, east of Kfar al-Azeem, unless an urgent security need arises.

The respondents [the state] will respond to this temporary injunction within six days.”

The bottom line is that, contrary to the clear suggestion in Harriet Sherwood’s report that Palestinians were removed from the protest site illegally (a narrative also parroted by Ali Abunimah at Electronic Intifada), the court order pertained to the tents, not the people.  

Any way you parse it, the Guardian clearly needs to make another correction to the story.

Following CiF Watch post, Guardian corrects story on protest at Bab al-Shams

H/T CAMERA

On Jan. 13, we criticized a story by Harriet Sherwood (‘Israel evicts E1 Palestinian peace camp activists) about Palestinian protesters who set up a tent city named Bab al-Shams – in the area between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim known as E-1 – and who were removed by Israeli police.  

We noted that Sherwood’s report included the false information that “all” of the Palestinians were arrested when, in fact, nobody was arrested.

Here are the two relevant passages in Sherwood’s report:

According to activists, a large military force surrounded the encampment at around 3am. All protesters were arrested and six were injured, said Abir Kopty.”

Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti, who was among those arrested, said the eviction was “proof that the Israeli government operates an apartheid system.

The strap line for the story also reported that protesters were “arrested”.

We noted that Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that there were no arrests made — a statement (which he later confirmed to CAMERA) accurately reported by several Arab media outlets. According to Rosenfeld, a few activists were detained briefly, and then released.

We asked our blog’s followers to contact the Guardian’s readers’ editor to request a correction and, sure enough, less than 24 hours after our post, the story was revised, and the language about “arrests” removed (including in the strap line).

Sherwood’s report now includes this footnote:

This article was amended on 14 January 2013. Activists were detained but not formally arrested. This has been corrected.

As always, many thanks to our loyal readers for working with us in our ongoing efforts to keep the Guardian accountable to basic standards of accuracy.

Harriet Sherwood falsely reports on alleged arrests of Palestinians at ‘Bab al-Shams’

Harriet Sherwood’s latest report, ‘Israel evicts E1 Palestinian peace camp activists, Jan. 13, about Palestinian protesters who set up a tent city, named Bab al-Shams, in the area between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim known as E-1, and were recently removed by Israeli police, began as follows:

“The Israeli state has swung into action against a group of Palestinian activists who established a tent village on a rocky hillside east of Jerusalem, with hundreds of security officials carrying out an eviction under the orders of the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

According to activists, a large military force surrounded the encampment at around 3am. All protesters were arrested and six were injured, said Abir Kopty.”

Further in the report, Sherwood added the following:

Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti, who was among those arrested, said the eviction was “proof that the Israeli government operates an apartheid system.

However, according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, there were no arrests made — a statement which was accurately reported by several Arab media outlets and which Rosenfeld confirmed today to CAMERA. According to Rosenfeld, a few activists were detained briefly, then released.

Today, CAMERA prompted a speedy correction to a CNN report which also included false allegations about protester arrests.

As CAMERA noted in their post about the original CNN error, even  Al Jazeera, “hardly a source known for reporting skewed in Israel’s favor” reported the story accurately, writing the following:

“Several activists were detained during Sunday morning eviction, including Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Al Jazeera’s correspondent, reporting from Jerusalem, said.

Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson, reporting from Jerusalem, said the activists who were detained were driven to Qalandiya checkpoint and then released.”

Additionally, here’s how the Arab News reported it:

“Hundreds of Israeli police came from all directions, surrounding all those who were in the tents and arresting them one by one,” Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti told AFP.

But police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that no arrests had been made.

And, here’s the relevant passage from a report by the Egyptian site, Ahram Online:

“Hundreds of Israeli police came from all directions, surrounding all those who were in the tents and arresting them one by one,” Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti told AFP.

But police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that no arrests had been made.

“They were told they were trespassing and carefully escorted from the site one by one,” he said. “Nobody was hurt on either side.”

It appears as if Sherwood merely took the statements by Palestinian activists at face value without even attempting to corroborate their claims.

Please consider writing a respectful email to the Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, asking for a correction to Sherwood’s false claim.

reader@guardian.co.uk

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:

5

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?

My appearance on Tamar Yonah’s show: Building in E-1, poll on Israeli Arabs & my banning at CiF

I was interviewed by Tamar Yonah yesterday on her Israel National Radio show, discussing the Guardian’s misrepresentation in reports on Israel’s plan to build homes between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim, the results of a poll about Arab citizens of Israel, and my banning at ‘Comment is Free’.

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