Lost in Translation: Deutsche Welle Arabic Falsely Cites ‘New Settlements’

Nov. 15 UPDATE:

Deutsche Welle Marginally Improves Arabic, Corrects English on 'Palestinian Territories'

In response to communication from CAMERA Arabic, Deutsche Welle introduced a marginal improvement to the Arabic article, which now refers to "new settlements units" as opposed to "new settlements." In addition, editors of the English edition commendably amended the video which had erroneously referred to "settlements in the Palestinian territories." The video now accurately refers to "settlements in the West Bank." Furthermore, the erroneous reference to 700,000 Israelis living in settlements was corrected to 400,000. The Arabic video, however, was not corrected.

Deutsche Welle's Oct. 28 coverage concerning Israel's approval of the construction of 3,000 new residential units for Jewish communities in the West Bank carried two very different headlines in English and in Arabic.

The English headline accurately states: "Israel green-lights 3,000 new settler homes in West Bank."

In contrast, the Arabic headline, accompanying the Arabic version of the same video, falsely states: "Israel: Government approves building new settlements" (CAMERA Arabic's translation; emphasis added.)

The Arabic subheadline, on the other hand, accurately states: "Israel intends to build about 3,000 homes for settlers in the West Bank in defiance of the strongest criticism to date on the issue from Joe Biden’s U.S. Administration.”

A screenshot of DW's erroneous headline citing "new settlements"

As CAMERA has repeatedly noted, “new settlements” (in plural) have not been a part of the West Bank’s political landscape for almost three decades, as construction of new residences is limited to pre-existing settlements. Amichai. approved in 2017, is the only “new settlement” in decades.

Among the media outlets that corrected identical or very similar errors in response to communication from CAMERA, are The New York Times (twice: here and here), the Wall Street Journal, the Detroit News, the Australian Broadcasting Cooperation, NPR, the Christian Science Monitor, the Jerusalem Post, MSNBC, CNN,  VOA. Fox News last month corrected its coverage of the exact same story that Deutsche Welle Arabic miscovered.

Though CAMERA Arabic has brought the erroneous Arabic headline to the attention of Deutsche Welle, the German media outlet has yet to correct.

Separately, Deutsche Welle's video erroneously claimed, in both English and Arabic: "700,000 Israelis already live in settlements in the Palestinian territories. . . " In fact, according to anti-settlement organization Peace Now, 441,600 Israelis live over the Green Line in the West Bank. The news agency is apparently inflating the number of Israelis living in "Palestinian territories" by including Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the Green Line, including the Jewish Quarter, as residents of "Palestinian territories."

Moreover, the designation of the West Bank as "Palestinian territories" is itself a correction-worthy error. The West Bank's rightful and ultimate disposition remains under contention, and so designation of the disputed West Bank as “Palestinian lands” is a violation of journalistic impartiality. Since 1967 and until the Trump plan, the West Bank’s status was to be resolved by negotiations anticipated by U.N. Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian interim accords, the 2003 international “road map” and related diplomatic efforts taking 242 and 338 as reference points. The co-authors of resolution 242, U.S. Under Secretary of State Eugene Rostow, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Arthur Goldberg, and British ambassador Lord Caradon made clear at the time and subsequently that Jews and Arabs both had claims in the territories, no national sovereignty over the territories had been recognized since the end of Ottoman rule and negotiations would be necessary to resolve competing claims.

Media outlets which previously corrected after erroneously referring to disputed West Bank as "Palestinian land" include Voice of America, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

See also "Financial Times Amends Article Omitting Terror Conviction of 'Human Rights Defender'"

For the Arabic version of this post, please see CAMERA Arabic.