Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Heller and Fisher-Ilan in propaganda overload mode

We've cited many times, Reuters obsessive-compulsive efforts to delegitimize Jewish settlements in Judea and Samara (the "West Bank").  The agency's typical narrative (delivered in this story by correspondents Jeffrey Heller and Allyn Fisher-Ilan) goes something like this:
The World Court deems settlements as illegal under international law, including the Geneva Conventions, a ruling Israel disputes. The United States and European Union have commonly viewed the settlements as obstacles to peace and urged their cessation.
As we noted here, though it has an impressive Utopian-sounding name, the World Court actually has no standing to rule in binding fashion on the legality of Jewish settlements.  And as we noted here, the "Geneva Conventions" pertain solely to land belonging to a sovereign state, which the unallocated Palestinian territories most decidedly are not.  Thus, both references are actually irrelevant to the legal question and therefore, red herrings (first propaganda technique).

The institution actually having authority over the issue of the international legality of Jewish settlements in the territories is the United Nations Security Council which, via its predecessor, the League of Nations, has resolved that they are entirely legal.  Heller and Fisher-Ilan do not mention this historical fact which reflects, on their part, selective omission or card stacking (second propaganda technique).

By pointing to a host of pseudo-authorities on the matter: institutions, laws, and countries, Heller and Fisher-Ilan are attempting, 1) to mislead readers into believing that Jewish settlements are illegal as well as the reason there has not been peace between Israel and the Arabs, and 2) to manipulate readers into "joining the crowd" with these false notions.  These rhetorical devices are known as appeal to authority and bandwagon, respectively (third and fourth propaganda techniques).

Heller and Fisher-Ilan repeat the selective omission/card stacking propaganda technique with this fallacious line:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says Israel must freeze settlement activity in line with a 2003 U.S. and European-backed peace "road map" that also calls on Palestinians to curb violence against Israelis.
What the "road map" peace plan actually stipulates with respect to Palestinian obligations is the following:
Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.
Not a marginal call to "curb violence against Israelis" but a host of directives compelling the Palestinians to dismantle their terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.  Something they have failed or refused to do.

Thus, the most mendacious line of all in Heller and Fisher-Ilan's story is the lede:
Factbox: Facts about Israel's Jewish settlements

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