CAMERA has prompted improved Agence France Presse language after an article yesterday which editorialized about settlement construction. Yesterday’s report, entitled “Israel considers rare Palestinian construction plan,” stated as fact a partisan view that settlements preclude the option for a two-state solution. The article closes:
Continued settlement construction by Israel in the West Bank has slowly eaten away at hopes for a two-state solution to the conflict.
The settlements are considered illegal under international law and are built on land that the Palestinians see as part of their future state.
Israel argues that Palestinian intransigence, violence and incitement are the main impediments to peace.
Illustrative image of homes in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank (Photo by Adam Levick)
While the Palestinian view is presented as fact: “Continued settlement construction by Israel . . . has slowly eaten away at hopes,” the Israeli view that Palestinian intransigence, violence and incitement has slowly eaten away at hopes for peace is cast as just that with the qualifying language, “Israel argues.”
Why the double standard?
Notably, the French
version of the same article more objectively reports (CAMERA’s translation):
Many countries regard the settlements as an obstacle to peace, and in particular to the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, as part of the so-called two state solution, embraced by a large part of the international community.
Following communication from CAMERA, AFP’s article today removed yesterday’s editorializing in which the view that settlement construction jeopardizes the two-state solution was depicted as fact. Today’s improved language attributes that position to Palestinians and many governments (“Israel okays homes for Palestinians, settlers before Kushner visit
Palestinians and many governments around the world warn that continued settlement construction by Israel in the West Bank is slowly eating away at hopes for a two-state solution to the conflict.
On a related issue, both yesterday’s and today’s article state as fact that settlements are illegal under international law, but there are multiple experts in international law who, along with Israel, dispute
this claim. The United States also does not maintain that settlements are illegal are international law.