THUMBS DOWN to The Economist, for a November 1 article about settlements entitled “Swallowing All Before Them” which employs questionable pro-Palestinian sources, prejudicial terminology and misrepresentations to support the writer’s position. The article refers to Israel’s “colonisation” of the West Bank and “occupied East Jerusalem.”
The term “colonisation,” falsely connotes an imperial power creating outposts in foreign lands and disregards Jewish legal rights and historic ties to the territories immaterial of future political developments. Likewise, the phrasing, “occupied East Jerusalem,” ignores the legitimate underpinnings of Israel’s 35-year annexation of Jerusalem while implicitly accepting Jordan’s prior 19-year occupation.
The Economist also erroneously cites “settler-only bypass roads,” and misleads readers by presenting Israel’s prime minister as the one who “sparked a second intifada.” There are no “settler-only” bypass roads. Rather, Israel constructed roads which are meant to bypass areas where consistent Palestinian stone throwing and shooting has claimed lives of Israeli civilians. These roads are open not only to “settlers” but to all residents of pre-1967 Israel — both Arabs and Jews — and to those believed not to pose a threat.
By now, journalists are aware that it was not Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount that sparked the Palestinian violence. Palestinian officials themselves have acknowledged that Sharon’s visit was only a pretext and that the intifada was “planned in advance, ever since President Arafat’s return from the Camp David negotiations [in July, 2000]…” (PA Minister al-Faluji, 3/3/01)
While the article quotes the pro-Palestinian group B’tselem claiming that “the settlements’ territorial reach has now been extended to cover nearly 42% of the West Bank,” it disingenuously omits that actual built-up areas constitute only 1.7% of the area (the rest being empty lands and roads).
With such anti-Israel canards, The Economist seems more intent on pushing an agenda than in giving straight facts.