National Interest Errs on Israel’s Capital, ‘Return’ of Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza

The National Interest, which says it seeks to “contribut[e] a vital stimulus towards fashioning a new foreign policy consensus based on civil and enlightened contention,” last week erred on two basic facts concerning Israel.

First, the Sept. 6 piece by Marco Túlio Lara, a regional security analyst at Le Beck International, erroneously refers to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital, using the common practice of referring to a nation’s capital as shorthand for the country (“Will Saudi Arabia Be Next to Normalize Relations With Israel“?).
The article errs: 
In November 2017, General Gadi Eisenkot, the Israeli army’s chief of staff at the time, stated that Tel Aviv was ready to exchange intelligence information with Riyadh to counteract Iran, adding that there were many shared interests between the two countries.
Of course, Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, is Israel’s capital. Numerous media outlets have corrected this very point in the past, including The Los Angeles TimesWashington PostAssociated PressReuters and The Guardian, among many others. Though even Arabic-language reports at Al Hurra and CNN were commendably corrected this summer in an encouraging first, National Interest has yet to correct despite CAMERA’s requests to editors last week.
In a separate factual error, Dov Zakheim, vice chairman of the Center for National Interest, which publishes National Interest, mistakenly referred to the “return” of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem to the Palestinians (“Sorry, Palestinians: It’s Not Your Dad’s Middle East“). He wrote:
For decades, especially after the 1993 Oslo Agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Middle East experts argued that the Arab world would continue to abide by the “three no’s” until there was a final two-state agreement that would return the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem to the Palestinians.
Eastern Jerusalem cannot “return” to the Palestinians because never in history has it been under Palestinian control. From 1948 to 1967, Jordan was in control of eastern Jerusalem. Prior to 1948, the entire city was under the control of the British Mandate. Before the British, the land was part of the Ottoman empire.
The story is the same for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It was only after the Oslo Accords, in the 1990s, that certain parts of the West Bank (Area A and Area B) went under Palestinian administration for the very first time ever in history.  Similarly, Israel’s 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip marked the first time in history that the coastal territory was under Palestinian governance. Therefore, a reference of a “return” of these areas to the Palestinians is a mischacterization.
Despite communication with editors last week, National Interest has neglected to correct this point as well.

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