Saturday, October 17, 2009

A study in deceit, part I

In late September, we commented on a story Reuters ran about Palestinians working on a building site in the Jewish community of Beitar Illit. We recently came across a companion video Reuters produced at the time which ostensibly includes footage of the same community and interviews with the Palestinian laborers.

The 1 minute 48 second video parallels the storyline of the original article but provides additional insights into just how mendacious Reuters is in its reporting on the Middle East conflict.

Helen Long of Reuters begins by averring that,

The building of new Jewish homes in the West Bank has long been a stumbling block to peace.

This assertion has been recited in hypnotic fashion so frequently by Reuters and other Palestinian advocates, it is now accepted as an article of faith but let's stop the action here for a moment and consider whether it is actually consistent with the historical record.

Quite apart from the fact that Jews have been building and living in the area commonly known as the "West Bank" (also, Judea and Samaria) for centuries*, one need only look at the period from 1949 to 1967 to see that Long's assertion is patently false. For during this 18-year period, Jordan ruled the entirety of the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem -- Jews were ethnically cleansed and settlements were prohibited -- and yet the Arabs refused to make peace with Israel.

Even if one assumes that Long is referring specifically to the Palestinian Arabs, the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded in 1964, three years prior to the war which left Israel victorious and made it possible for Jews to return to the West Bank and Old Jerusalem. Thus, it could not be (then non-existent) Jewish settlements the Palestinians were intent on violently expelling, but rather a Jewish sovereign anywhere in the region.

Ironically, as recently as 1993 when the Oslo Accords were signed between Israel and the PLO, Yassir Arafat did not demand a halt to, or dismantling of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Contrary to popular mythology, the Accords contain no ban on settlements.

Part II to follow.

*Photo of the remains of the Jewish fortress Beitar, destroyed circa 2nd century AD, 6 miles from Beitar Illat

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