Road Map Corrections

With past Israeli-Palestinian peace plans, the media tended to minimize or ignore Palestinian obligations while highlighting or exaggerating Israeli obligations. Intense media attention is now being paid to the recently released Middle East “road map” and similar errors are already creeping into the coverage.

For instance, on May 16, Wall Street Journal correspondent Guy Chazan erroneously reported:

Mr. Sharon has said Israel has 15 reservations about the plan, and won’t carry out one of its key requirements–dismantling Jewish settlements on land occupied by Israel since 1967–in the foreseeable future:.

In fact, the document does not call on Israel to dismantle “Jewish settlements on land occupied since 1967.” Rather, the plan stipulates:

+ GOI [Government of Israel] dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001.
+ Consistent with the Mitchell Report, GOI freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).

After CAMERA contacted the Journal, the paper commendably issued the following correction:

THE “ROAD MAP” plan backed by the U.S. requires the government of Israel to freeze all settlement activity and dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001. An International page article Friday incorrectly stated that the plan requires Israel to dismantle Jewish settlements on land occupied by Israel since 1967.

The Los Angeles Times also printed serious errors about Israel’s obligations as spelled out by the plan. On May 1, in an article entitled “Sponsors Quietly Unfold ‘Road Map for the Mideast,’ ” correspondent Henry Chu erroneously reported:

The plan is a timetable for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and end its settlements while Palestinians are to curb violence against Israel.

Likewise, with his colleague Ruth Morris, Chu incorrectly stated the next day:

The document calls on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and end its settlements.

CAMERA contacted the Los Angeles Times on Friday regarding Chu’s “road map” errors. On Saturday, the paper ran the following correction:

Middle East “road map” — Recent articles, including one in Friday’s Section A, stated that the Middle East peace initiative calls on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and end its settlements. The document calls on Israel to withdraw from Palestinian areas occupied after Sept. 28, 2000. The plan also calls on Israel to dismantle settlement outposts erected since March 2001 and freeze all settlement activity.