Sunday, September 25, 2011

Alastair Macdonald, historical revisionist (part I)

Disgraced former Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald compiles a series of "key dates" associated with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and international attempts to resolve it.  Macdonald's timeline well-illustrates Reuters' wholesale adoption of the Arab narrative of the conflict and the agency's continuing efforts to blot out historically accurate or competing accounts.  Macdonald begins his timeline in 1948:
1948 - Great powers recognise Israel. Arabs reject U.N. partition plan that gives Jews 56 percent of Palestine. War breaks out, leaving Israel with 78 percent of land and half of Palestine's Arabs as refugees.
Conveniently ignoring the quarter century of international resolutions and land allocations preceding the United Nations Partition Plan, Macdonald omits the League of Nations adoption, in 1922, of the Palestine Mandate, which called for a Jewish sovereign in the territory and "close settlement of the land" by Jews.  Just prior to that time, Palestine had actually been about five times the size of the territory ultimately divided by the Partition Plan, with 78 percent of the land subsequently handed to the Hashemite Arabs as what is today, Jordan.  Much of what remained of the Mandate was reserved for the Palestinian Arabs who rejected it in favor of a winner-takes-all war with Israel.  Thus, the Jews actually received substantially less than 22 percent of Palestine, not the 56 percent Macdonald falsely asserts.

And of course, war between the Arabs and Israel did not passively "break out"; it was launched by the Arab states, assisted by the Palestinian Arabs, in an effort to exterminate the Jews and destroy Israel.
1967 - In what it calls pre-emptive strikes on Arab states, Israeli forces seize rest of British-mandate Palestine, taking West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and Gaza Strip from Egypt. Israel captures Golan Heights from Syria.
Macdonald attempts to obfuscate the historical record associated with the 1967 Six-Day War by suggesting that there is no objective evidence of an impending Arab attack against Israel ("in what it calls pre-emptive strikes").  Here, the Reuters desk editor is withholding from readers, the well-established historical fact that Israel's military strike against the Egyptian air force followed Egyptian President Nasser's stationing of over 100,000 troops and all seven of its army divisions on the Israeli border in contravention of U.N. decrees.

Macdonald then extends his previous false representation of the land mass of Palestine by asserting that the 1967 war resulted in Israel controlling the "rest of British-mandate Palestine".  As discussed above, Palestine had originally been over five times the size of the territory won by Israel in the war.

And as noted in many of our posts, Macdonald's characterization of "East Jerusalem" is a fiction, intended to disguise the abbreviated period of 19 years, between 1948 and 1967, that Jordan illegally occupied the city of Jerusalem and ethnically cleansed the area of Jews.  Only during this brief period was the occupied area known as east (small "e") Jerusalem.


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