Sunday, January 31, 2010

On Iranian financing of Hamas, Reuters, AP disagree. Who's right?

In one of a continuing series of stories on the killing of Hamas' weapons smuggling operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, Amy Teibel of AP writes:
Iran has acknowledged bankrolling Hamas but has never admitted to arming the militant group, which wrested control of Gaza from the rival Fatah faction in June 2007. Israel is convinced Tehran has become a main pipeline for arms to Gaza ever since the Hamas takeover.  [italics, ours]
In a story on the same topic, Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams write: 
Israel says its arch-foe Iran bankrolls attempts to ship weapons to Gaza by sea or land routes leading to the Egyptian Sinai. Iran says its support for Hamas is diplomatic only.  [italics, ours]
So, which media titan is correct?  Hamas has repeatedly admitted that it is supported with money and arms from Iran -- but has Iran acknowledged its funding for Hamas?  Yes:
"We still look forward to get support [from Iran] to break the political and economic sanctions," Khaled Meshaal said on Tuesday during a visit to Iran. Meshaal, who arrived in Iran early on Tuesday, told a press conference with Manouchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, that Iran had been giving financial and political support to the Palestinians since Hamas took office in March last year. Mottaki told reporters that Iran would continue to provide money to Hamas, but he did not give any figures. Iran is known to have given $120 million to Hamas since it took office following its victory in the Palestinian legislative elections.  [italics, ours]
Advantage, AP.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tom Perry slipping in assertions which have no basis in reality

An assertion:
is commonly used in advertising and modern propaganda. An assertion is an enthusiastic or energetic statement presented as a fact, although it is not necessarily true. They often imply that the statement requires no explanation or back up, but that it should merely be accepted without question.
In a story on the arrest of Mohammed Khatib for his role in organizing illegal and violent protests in Israel, Reuters correspondent Tom Perry writes:
The Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who opposes violence against Israel, wants more "popular resistance" against Israeli occupation and West Bank settlement policies.
This is not the first time Perry has issued the completely unsubstantiated assertion that Abbas (and Fatah) opposes violence.  Where is Perry's evidence for this notion?  He has none to offer.  In fact, Abbas has consistently voiced support (in Arabic) for Palestinian violence aimed at Israel:
We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation.
Fatah dictates the same in both its Constitution and decrees:
Another resolution stated that Fatah will not give up the armed struggle until all the descendants of those claiming to be of Palestinian Arab origin can live inside Israel.
Perry is keen to disseminate unsupported assertions but conspicuously silent on matters of record.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Has Reuters read the Hamas Charter?

One of the most demonstrable, insidious, and persistent myths associated with the Middle East conflict over the last 80 years is that the Palestinian Arabs seek an independent state -- alongside an independent Jewish state.  If this were truly the case, they would have had one as long ago as 1937 when the Peel Commission endorsed it.  They would have had one in 1947 when the Partition Plan was adopted by the United Nations.  They would have had one when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians 91 percent of the West Bank (also, Judea and Samaria) and all of Gaza at the Camp David Summit in 2000.  And they would have had one in 2008 when Israeli PM Ehud Olmert offered them 97 percent and 100 percent, respectively, of the same.  All of these offers, by Britain, by the UN, and by Israel, have been roundly -- and violently -- rejected by the Palestinian Arabs.

One would think that given this historical record of rejectionism, the media would come to recognize that the Palestinian leadership is not interested in an independent state alongside an independent Jewish state.  One would think that given what the democratically elected Palestinian leadership says publicly about their own objectives, it would be apparent to the media that the Palestinians are not interested in a state at all:
But even if the links have become distant from each other, and even if the obstacles erected by those who revolve in the Zionist orbit, aiming at obstructing the road before the Jihad fighters, have rendered the pursuance of Jihad impossible; nevertheless, the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!  [Hamas Charter]
Alas, if one thought that the media (Reuters) would come to its senses about the genuine goals of the Palestinian people, one would be sadly mistaken:
Egypt has become openly frustrated with what it views as Hamas's stubborn resistance to a pact that would mend the worst rift in decades in the Palestinian independence movement.
The "Palestinian independence movement", indeed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More Reuters errata

 Reuters' Ari Rabinovitch tells us:
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since late 2008 when Israel launched a three-week assault on Gaza in which 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.
No.  Peace talks have been stalled since two months earlier when PA President Mahmoud Abbas walked away from the table after refusing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's extraordinary offer of 97 percent of the West Bank (also, Judea and Samaria) for a Palestinian state and the PA unsuccessfully bid to have the Quartet dictate that a Palestinian state be established on the 1949 armistice lines with "East Jerusalem" as its capital.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has insisted Israel completely stop settlement building in occupied land before the talks can resume, and has rejected a temporary construction freeze ordered by Israel in November as insufficient.
No.  Abbas has insisted that Israel stop building on all land beyond the 1949 armistice lines, including private land that had been owned by Jews going back to before 1949.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reuters' Jeffrey Heller continues to correct course

We have in the past, been critical of Reuters' correspondent Jeffrey Heller for serial violations of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism including acute bias in his Middle East reporting.  Since the beginning of the New Year, Heller appears to be adjusting the content and style of his pieces to provide a more balanced account of events and to more closely conform to the prescriptions (and proscriptions) found in the Reuters Handbook.

As an illustration, Heller's story on Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Gush Etzion on Israel's Arbor Day includes a reference to Israel's name for the disputed territory (Judea and Samaria) otherwise known as the "West Bank", the latter being an alias assigned to the area by Jordan following its conquest in 1948.  Although the reference to Judea and Samaria appears as the last two words in his article and Heller sardonically characterizes the territory as one that "many Jewish settlers claim a God-given right to" (Judea and Samaria are an integral part of the land designated to be the Jewish National Home by the League of Nations), Heller at least mentions its alternate title.

For perhaps the first time, Heller also goes beyond the ambiguous phrase "reign in militants" to describe Palestinian obligations under the Road Map peace plan.  After citing the Israeli commitment to freeze all settlement activity, Heller accurately references the Palestinian commitment "to begin dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure" (though he fails to report that this commitment has not been met).

Finally, Heller appears to have abandoned his many fatuous attempts to relieve the Palestinians of responsibility for the current impasse in negotiations with Israel.  In the recent past, Heller had consistently been writing that peace talks "could not" proceed absent a complete halt in Jewish settlement activity.  We noted the farce of this notion here.  In his most recent story, Heller is more forthcoming:
The Palestinians refuse to talk with Israel until it stops all settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas it captured in a 1967 war.
Subtle but notable improvements all; we hope to see further quality gains.

UPDATE 1/27/10: One of our readers notes that Heller is still referring to the eastern part of Jerusalem as if it were a separate city, capitalizing "East".  We have written extensively about this in previous posts and clearly, we believe that this misnomer should be corrected as well; however, it is an improvement over Reuters' frequent use of the racist epithet "Arab East Jerusalem".

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Reuters clock runs backwards

In a story about an increase in Palestinian protests, Reuters' Tom Perry writes:
Israeli soldiers have fired dozens of teargas canisters at protesters who have in turn pelted them with rocks. Six villagers were arrested during the most recent Nabi Saleh protest, activists said.
This account would suggest that Israeli soldiers initiated the violence by firing teargas followed by Palestinian protesters responding with rock-throwing.  Is this credible?

No and no.

Perry then goes on to assert:
International criticism has also focused on a blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza, where conditions have gone from bad to much worse.
Perhaps Tom ought to take a shopping trip to Gaza.

Reuters parrots Arab euphemisms for murdering Jews

"armed struggle"

What do these terms have in common?  They're all euphemisms employed by the Arabs and dutifully parroted by Reuters to characterize the military and political goals of Fatah and Hamas:
Hamas will not recognise Israel despite new pressures on the group and will give priority to building resistance to the Jewish state, the Islamist group's leader Khaled Meshaal said on Friday.
Addressing a rally in the Syrian capital to mark the end of the Israeli attack on Gaza a year ago that killed 1,400 Palestinians, Meshaal said Hamas does not want another war with Israel but it will stick to armed struggle as a means to liberate occupied land.
Those excerpts from a story by Reuters' Khaled Yacoub Oweis on the latest affirmations by Hamas.  Note the absence of scare quotes around the terms, resistance, armed struggle, and liberate.  Scare quotes that Reuters scrupulously inserts when citing comments by Israeli leaders, as in this story:
Israel has complained to the United States, sponsor of the 2003 "road map" plan for Middle East peace, about both Fayyad and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying they had breached obligations under the plan to end such "incitement".
Thus does Reuters uncritically report (and adopt) the Arab lexicon while bringing journalistic skepticism to bear on characterizations and assertions made by Israel.

Of course, when Meshaal speaks of "liberation", what he actually means is this:
The Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine is an Individual Obligation
When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad. [Article 15, Hamas Charter]

And when Meshaal speaks of "struggle", what he actually means is this:
For our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave, so much so that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails. [Introduction, Hamas Charter]
But Reuters apparently feels those references are a bit too much for delicate Western ears and eyes so they go unreported.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Does Reuters read the news?

The lead paragraph in bold and oversized type in a story by Reuters' Nidal al-Mughrabi shouts out:
GAZA (Reuters) - Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip not only restricts imports to the enclave but has also crushed traditional exports like fruit, flowers, furniture and ceramics.
Apparently, al-Mughrabi is so busy demonizing Israel, he doesn't have time to read the news:
As of Sunday, more than 1.3 million carnation and more than 41 tons of strawberries left Gaza to European markets.
Carry on Nidal.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reuters said he said she said

As Reuters journalists, we never identify with any side in an issue, a conflict or a dispute. Our text and visual stories need to reflect all sides, not just one.
That from the Reuters Handbook of Journalism.  Now, consider Reuters' correspondent Douglas Hamilton's presentation of two public statements, one drawn from a press conference given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the other, a response to Netanyahu's remarks by Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat.  Hamilton first provides (out of sequence) the Erakat response:
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had on Wednesday "imposed further conditions on negotiations and announced Israel's intention to continue its occupation" of the West Bank whatever happens.  "Benjamin Netanyahu has said 'No' to a settlement freeze, 'No' to sharing Jerusalem, 'No' to the 1967 borders, 'No' to the rights of Palestinian refugees. Now he wants to retain the Jordan Valley," Erekat said in a statement. He was referring to a comment by Netanyahu that Israel would retain military control around any future Palestinian state that included the West Bank.  "We had hoped to hear a clear commitment to negotiations without preconditions. What we got instead was Mr. Netanyahu again trying to dictate their terms and preempt their outcome," Erakat said.
A thoroughly detailed quote with elucidation by Hamilton which most of us would agree cogently argues the Palestinian position.  Now compare with the excerpt Hamilton cherry-picked from Netanyahu's press conference:
Addressing the foreign press late on Wednesday, Netanyahu attacked the Palestinian leadership for rejecting U.S. calls to relaunch negotiations suspended for over a year. "The Palestinians have climbed up a tree," he said. "And they like it up there. People bring ladders to them. We bring ladders to them. The higher the ladder, the higher they climb."
Was Netanyahu as curt and acerbic at the press conference as the cherry-picked excerpt suggests?  Comparable in length and detail to that of Hamilton's presentation of Erakat's response, here's a slice of Netanyahu's comments in context:
What we’ve done in the nine months that we’ve been in office was one: to call immediately for peace talks, second: to remove hundreds of roadblocks, checkpoints… as a result the Palestinian economy has soared to about 8% growth. Third: I gave a speech at Bar-Ilan that formed a national consensus about the idea of peace, of a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state and fourth: we took an unprecedented step in the Cabinet to restrain the construction in the settlements for a ten month period.  During that time, what we’ve seen the Palestinian do is one: raise preconditions that didn’t exist for the sixteen years from the onset of the Oslo process. Two: incite their public and their people in their national media and by their official leadership in ways that are fully contrary to peace. Third: to promote the Goldstone agenda and these are all contrary to peace.
What a difference a bit of journalistic integrity makes, eh?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Propagandists at Reuters launch appeal to pity laden with errors of omission and of commission

An appeal to pity is a logical fallacy and propaganda technique designed to persuade by exploiting the natural tendency to sympathize with human beings who are ill, impoverished or downtrodden.  Rather than provide facts or evidence which would enable a reader to form a dispassionate and informed view on the authenticity, extent, and cause of the adversity, highly emotive stories and photos are deliberately deployed to manipulate the reader into docilely embracing the propagandist's advocacy agenda.  When it comes to the Palestinian Arabs, Reuters has elevated the appeal to pity to a rare art form.

In a story on a report by the Association for International Development Agencies (AIDA), a forum of international NGOs operating in the disputed territories of Gaza and the West Bank (also, Judea and Samaria), Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi and Douglas Hamilton quote Max Gaylard, United Nations "resident Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories", complaining that Israel is not providing Gazan Arabs with advanced medical care on a timely basis:
"It is causing on-going deterioration in the social, economic and environmental determinants of health," he said. "It is hampering the provision of medical supplies and the training of health staff and it is preventing patients with serious medical conditions getting timely specialized treatment."
Presumably, the "it" being referred to by Gaylard is the state of war between the Gaza-ruled terrorist group Hamas and Israel.  And yes, one might expect that given the firing of over 8,000 Hamas rockets and mortars into Israeli civilian communities and a religious mission to exterminate every last Jew, Israel might be somewhat guarded about allowing supplies into Gaza which could be converted into war materiel or throwing open its borders to Gazans seeking free medical care in Israel.

More flagrant however, is Reuters' uncritical parroting of this bald-faced lie:
"The humanitarian community is gravely concerned about the future of this generation whose health needs are not being met. The decline in infant mortality, which has occurred steadily over recent decades, has stalled in the last few years."
In fact, infant mortality in Gaza has declined 25 percent in recent years, from over 24 per thousand live births in 2003 to just over 18 per thousand in 2009:

Not only that, but life expectancy has been steadily increasing:

And the death rate has been falling:

Hmmm.  Quite odd for a territory AIDA suggests is suffering from "on-going deterioration in the social, economic and environmental determinants of health".

If Hamas used its ambulances to transport the sick rather than terrorists, the numbers might be even better.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dan Williams sanitizes Islamic fanatic

In a story on the jailing of Islamic Movement leader Sheik Raed Salah following Arab riots at the Temple Mount/al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Reuters' Dan Williams characterizes Salah as "an outspoken cleric".  In defense of Salah, Williams gives full voice to Salah's lawyer:
"The Israeli state, which is occupying al-Aqsa, is trying to distract from its real crime and to satisfy the mood in Israel by convicting the honourable Sheikh Salah".
Readers are not similarly treated however, to examples of the outspoken cleric's oratory:
"They [the Jews] want to build their temple at a time when our blood is on their clothes, on their doorsteps, in their food and in their drinks. Our blood has passed from one general terrorist to another general terrorist... We are not those who ate bread dipped in children's blood."
That from a Salah sermon in 2007 at which time he also urged Palestinians to start a third intifada in order to "save al-Aksa Mosque, free Jerusalem and end the occupation".

Salah was subsequently indicted for incitement to violence and racism.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reuters misleads (again) on the cause of suspended peace talks

In a previous post, we noted Reuters erroneous assertion that peace talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel under former PM Ehud Olmert had broken down as a result of the Gaza War last January.  We linked to two previous Reuters articles and a Wall Street Journal story demonstrating that in fact, the PA led by its President, Mahmoud Abbas, had effectively terminated negotiations with Israel as early as the Fall of 2008 following Abbas' refusal to accept Olmert's offer of a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank (also, Judea and Samaria) and the PA's inability to persuade the Quartet to specify that a Palestinian state be established on all territory beyond the 1949 armistice lines with the eastern part of Jerusalem as its capital.

In a story appearing on its website today, Reuters' Allyn Fisher-Ilan repeats the canard:
Abbas suspended talks with Netanyahu's predecessor over the Gaza war. 
As demonstrated above, this is a false reading of the historical record; the Gaza War was not the precipitating factor leading to a collapse in talks between the parties.  Negotiations had failed well before the war and it is likely that Abbas even supported and cooperated with Israeli efforts to end Hamas rule in Gaza.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

More photos Reuters won't show you

Reuters photographers frequently snap and publish pics of Palestinians violently protesting against a wide variety of perceived Israeli offenses, from Jews ascending the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to work being performed on the security barrier in places like Bil'in.

Much less so (if ever) do we see Reuters photos of Palestinians violently protesting against their Arab brethren.  So, thanks to Palestine Today, here they are in action on the border with Egypt:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Reuters has a short memory on Jewish history

One of the recurring themes in Reuters stories on the Middle East conflict is the notion that Jewish history in what is today Israel commenced with settlement in the 20th century.  This is akin of course, to the Palestinian narrative of Jews as Western interlopers and colonizers who came from Europe to usurp Arab land.  Reuters gives short shrift to the archaeological record of Jewish civilization and sovereignty in the area dating back centuries or the fact that over half of Israel's Jewish population descends from Mizrahim, Jews of Middle Eastern stock who remained in the region as part of the diaspora or were taken as slaves following bloody wars of conquest waged against the Jewish Kingdoms.

A case in point is yet another human interest story by Erika Solomon of Reuters sympathetic to Arab interests.  In her latest bid to demonize Israel for what she obviously perceives as maltreatment by the authorities, Solomon writes of Arab residents in Jaffa who are reportedly facing eviction by the greedy Israel Land Authority (ILA) which "stands to make a killing by selling their homes" so that bourgeois Jewish Israelis can buy and build on lots with million dollar beach views.  The problem for some of these Arabs, according to Solomon, is that they are officially classified as "protected tenants" whose right to the homes expired after two post-1948 generations.  On the other hand, it is clear from Solomon's story that in cases where full or partial ownership can be demonstrated, Arab residents now have property stakes that are worth an immense amount of money:
"They want us to buy them out. But guess how much they say that 40 percent is worth? Two million shekels ($540,000) or more! How am I going to get that kind of money?"... "They said we had rights to 60 percent of this property, because my husband's mother is second generation, but the other 40 percent is theirs," said Latifah [Hattab], whose single-level house sits on about 120 sq.m.
In other words, Hattab holds 60 percent equity in a home which the Israel Land Authority has valued at $1,350,000.  Solomon quotes Hattab as suggesting that the ILA wants her (Hattab) to buy out the remaining 40 percent interest and alleges that:
low-income families like the Hattabs cannot simply sell, or raise big loans, because their ownership is disputed
Solomon is silent on any alternatives that might be on offer to compensate Hattab for her $810,000 interest in the property.  Is this because none have been forthcoming from the ILA?  We can only speculate but think that's implausible given the ILA's acknowledgment of Hattab's ownership stake and the transparency with which it has valued the property.  Israeli civil law is quite clear on Hattab's rights in the matter which are the same afforded to Jewish homeowners and those afforded to property owners in all Western democracies.  In short, we don't know how this particular civil dispute will wind up but neither does Solomon and in the mean time, it's difficult to see what Solomon and a very wealthy Latifah Hattab are whining about.

The discussion above on land economics and the law is a digression however, from the original point of our post which is Reuters expunging of Jewish history in the land of Israel, Judea, and Samaria prior to the early 20th century.  Solomon writes:
Jaffa was a major port and cultural center of the Arab world before Tel Aviv was established in 1909 by Jewish settlers.
With this terse synopsis, Solomon assigns historical ownership of Jaffa to the Arabs and ignores centuries of control under many other cultures and civilizations including of course, the Jews going back to the time of King David when cedars from Tyre were brought in to Jaffa for use in the construction of the First Temple.  The rest of Jaffa's history prior to the arrival (dare we say "settlement") of the Arabs is just as vibrant.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reuters regressing with use of racist epithet

Less than a week since we commended Jeffrey Heller and Reuters on their decision to omit the tendentious term "Arab East Jerusalem" from an article on Jewish building outside of the 1949 armistice lines, Reuters correspondent Dan Williams and Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald are back in the mire:
Israel captured Jerusalem's Old City and the rest of Arab East Jerusalem from Jordanian control in 1967.
Remember, "Arab East Jerusalem" is a fabrication intended to deceive the reader into viewing the eastern part of Jerusalem as Arab property.  The term derives from the ethnic cleansing of Jews following the invasion and conquest of Jerusalem by the Arab Legion under Jordanian command in 1948-49.  Here's how Wikipedia describes the scene:
A few days before the war, Legion troops were involved in the Kfar Etzion massacre. At Latrun, the Legion blockaded the Jerusalem highway. On May 28, 1948, they conquered the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City (i.e. inside the walls of the Old City), expelled the Jews who lived there and took part in the destruction of the Synagogues therein. The Legion also secured the West Bank for Transjordan.
Deploying the alias "Arab East Jerusalem" to describe the eastern portion of the city is like characterizing American cities where blacks were expelled between 1890 and 1930 as "Caucasianland" or referring to the south side of Chicago as "Negroidville".  If that makes you shudder, Reuters racist reference to "Arab East Jerusalem" should as well.

Jewish families leaving the Old City of Jerusalem through Zion's Gate. June 1948. John Phillips, LIFE Magazine.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jeffrey Heller specifies Israeli commitments; vague on Palestinian commitments

In a story this week on comments by US Middle East envoy George Mitchell that the Obama administration might attempt to pressure Israel into concessions by threatening to withhold loan guarantees, Reuters Jeffrey Heller wants readers to be very clear on Israeli commitments under the 2003 Road Map peace plan:
Obama and Netanyahu have clashed over the president's demand -- since softened -- that Israel halt all settlement activity on land captured in the 1967 war, in line with a 2003 U.S.-backed peace 'road map'...
But Heller is apparently not as concerned that readers fully understand Palestinan commitments under the same plan:
[The Road Map] also called on the Palestinians to rein in militants
This is not the first time Heller has slyly understated Palestinian obligations so we'll fill in the gaps for him.  Under Phase I of the Road Map:
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 only has the Palestinian Authority failed to meet this commitment, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party have formally embraced the declared terror group Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade as their "armed wing" to threaten Israelis.

Heller is conspicuously silent on this but we think readers deserve the full story.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

In 2010 what's new, what's not

Following the holiday break, many of Reuters Middle East correspondents are back on the job so we thought we'd take a look at how they're approaching their subject in the New Year.  When it comes to reporting on Jewish settlements anywhere in Mandatory Palestine outside of the 1949 armistice lines, it's often Jeffrey Heller that does the writing.  As we've noted in the past, Heller appears to have a peculiar obsession with Jews living beyond the armistice lines (the reference to 1967 'borders" is a misnomer as the Arab states refused to recognize Israel or respect her original borders and the armistice lines simply denote the divide separating opposing armies at the point fighting halted).

In a story appearing on the Reuters website on Tuesday, Heller reports on Israel's plans to construct four apartment buildings in the eastern portion of Jerusalem.  Anywhere else in the world, such an announcement would barely merit a mention (see if you can locate a Reuters article on Indian construction in Kashmir) but when it comes to the Jewish state, it's often front page news so let's take a look at Reuters' handling of the story.  Heller writes:
Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They say Israeli settlements could thwart their hopes for a viable homeland.
The reference here to Jewish residences in the eastern part of Jerusalem (which Heller erroneously demarcates a separate city) as "settlements" is clearly intended to characterize them as interloping.  For example, Heller selectively cites history ("some 200,000 Israelis already live in East Jerusalem and nearby areas of the West Bank that Israel captured in a 1967 war") without mentioning that thousands of Jews lived in the city for centuries prior to being ethnically cleansed by the Arab Legion in the earlier 1948 war.  Heller's treatment leaves readers with the impression that the eastern portion of the city is by rights, Arab property, and that Israelis, i.e., Jews, have only recently (and illegally) settled there.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The photos above depict the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem prior to, and following ethnic cleansing by the Arab Legion.

The good news is that as compared to previous stories on the same general subject, Heller has made two material changes in his approach.  First, he has dropped use of the racist misnomer "Arab East Jerusalem" in favor of reference to the non-existent but neutral destination "East Jerusalem".  Secondly, consistent with the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, he has cited Israel's title for the disputed territories, Judea and Samaria.  We commend Heller and Reuters for these quality adjustments.