THUMBS DOWN to Holger Jensen, News International Editor at the Denver Rocky Mountain News, for collecting in one grab-bag article (October 10, 1999) a host of canards about Israel and the Palestinians. “A Difficult Trail to Peace,” begins by introducing “the Palestinians, whose land [Israel] took to create a Jewish nation.”
From this, Jensen launches into a spurious review of the Oslo negotiations, refugees, Jerusalem, water rights, Lebanon. Among the many errors strewn about is the false claim that Israel, “methodically altered [Jerusalem’s] demographics” after 1967, by “maintaining a strict quota on the construction of Arab housing.” Unless Jensen means the Israelis “methodically altered” the city to their own disadvantage, the facts belie his charge: Jerusalem is now less Jewish and more Arab than it was in 1967 and Arab building has outpaced Jewish construction.
Another bogus charge by Jensen: “Jewish settlements, which house less than 10 percent of the West Bank population … use as much water as is allocated to 2 million Palestinians.” Water expert Arnon Soffer, reports that West Bank Palestinians use about three times as much water as do the Jews. (Palestine-Israel Journal, 1998)
Jensen also misrepresents the Palestinian refugee issue, claiming “U.N. Security Council Resolution 194 of December 1948 … affirms the right of Palestinian refugees to return and/or to get compensation for the land they lost to the creation of the state of Israel.” First, resolution 194 was a non-binding decree by the General Assembly, not a binding one by the Security Council. It did not specify “Palestinian” refugees; it did not call for collective return of a people but referred to individuals; it included reference to “resettlement” by “Governments or authorities responsible,” meaning refugees were also to be settled in Arab states.
Coloradans deserve better news on the Middle East than the slipshod accounts by Holger Jensen.