2014 Blog Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 36,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The New York Times Picture of the Year, 2014


The year 2014 was notable for the global escalation in terror and death compared to prior years.

  • Islamic State/ ISIS created killing fields in Iraq, executing and beheading hundreds of people which it recorded and aired on the Internet. The group massacred and destroyed entire villages that existed for centuries.
  • Boko Haram in Nigeria killed hundreds of Christians and abducted hundreds of girls.
  • The ongoing war in Syria had a death toll approaching 200,000 people including over 10,000 children.
  • Israel responded to attacks from Gaza for the third time in eight years as Hamas continued rocket fire into Israeli towns. An advanced Hamas terror tunnel network extending into Israel forced a ground invasion into Gaza which claimed over 2000 lives.
  • Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, as Ukraine turned to the world for support but received virtually nothing.
  • Wars in Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan and other countries continued to claim thousands of lives.

The year also included near break-out race riots in the United States as several unarmed black men were killed by white police officers. In Africa, the deadly disease Ebola killed thousands.

Various news agencies highlighted the most significant news events which ranged from Ebola to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They selected new events that impacted thousands of people in 2014 which had potentially long-term consequences.

The New York Times year-end review posted dozens of pictures of conflicts around the world to encapsulate 2014.  In my opinion, the NYT picture that  summed up a dominant theme in its reporting for 2014 was the picture above, of a 15-year old Arab surrounded by Israeli policemen. For the New York Times, the stories on its cover pages in 2014 repeatedly told the story: that Israel attacks Arab youths.

The large color picture was displayed on its cover page on July 7, 2014. The bruised 15-year old Arab boy was being escorted out of a police station where he had been detained after throwing stones in a riot. There are several things that make the front-page treatment of the teenager note-worthy:

  • On that same day, over 100 people were killed in attacks in Kenya, Uganda and Yemen. Small stories appeared on the inside pages of the Times to discuss the scores murdered.
  • When Boko Haram killed hundreds, it also did not make the front page.
  • ISIS beheadings of journalists did not make the front page.

The beating of an Arab youth by Israeli forces was given more prominence and therefore deemed more important than those other world events.

This New York Times news story came shortly after three Israeli teenagers were abducted and murdered by Palestinians. The New York Times never placed even a small black-and-white photo of any of the three Jewish teenagers on the front page. Their plight was also not viewed as important by the Times.

Over the course of the next several weeks as Operation Protective Edge unfolded, the New York Times continued to put pictures of Palestinian children on the front page of the paper. Throughout July (July 11, 14, 17, 21, 22, 24 and 29th) the paper had pictures of Palestinians suffering on the front page. It took until July 29 – buried on page A6 – for the Times to write about and post a single picture of the Hamas terror tunnel network that was a main factor in launching the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza.

Further, Palestinian leadership, whether Hamas leaders such as Khaled Mashal or acting Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, never were pictured on the pages of the Times during Operation Protective Edge (the only leader to be pictured was Ismail Haniya on September 4 page A10, well after the fighting had stopped). The paper only showed pictures of Arab civilians. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s picture was shown often (July 7 twice; July 22; July 27; July 29; August 7), as were Israeli police and soldiers. The overall message of the New York Times was clear: the Israeli government was attacking Palestinian youths and civilians; it was not a war between opposing government authorities.

The Times news stories and editorials built additional narratives onto this theme, regardless of inaccuracies. In attempts to make the Israeli government seem callous to the conditions of Arab youth, an article and editorial on July 7 and July 8 stated that “days of near silence” passed before Israel Prime Minister spoke about the killing of an Arab teenager by Israeli radicals. This was completely untrue and it took days for the NYTimes to print a correction (below).

The NYT editorial board led with a piece on July 19 entitled “Israel’s War in Gaza”.  It was not called “Hamas’ War against Israel”, nor was it called the “War Between Hamas and Israel”.  The Times continued to paint the battle as an aggressive Israeli action against a populace.

In case there was any confusion in the New York Times message to its readership, it included another small picture of Netanyahu near its large picture of the year. (By way of comparison, did you ever see the NYT post a picture of US President Obama near an article about drone strikes or deaths in Afghanistan that he specifically ordered and oversaw?)

The New York Times tried to defend its coverage of the Gaza conflict by printing an editorial on November 23, 2014 entitled “The Conflict and the Coverage”.  Not surprisingly, it attempted to defend its poor media coverage and that it tried too hard to offer “symmetry” in the conflict. It claimed that the paper has “baseline beliefs that Israel has a right to exist and that the Palestinians deserve a state of their own.” The charitable Times board believing that “Israel has a right to exist,” clearly doesn’t extend to: believing that Israel has a right to defend itself; that it was reluctantly pulled into a battle in Gaza; that it sought to minimize Arab casualties; that Hamas is rabidly anti-Semitic; that Hamas leaders are intent on destroying Israel and killing Jews; and that Arab leadership was responsible for the war and deaths of both Israelis and Palestinians.



Times moved picture down in online of story: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/07/world/middleeast/israel-palestinians-muhammad-abu-khdeir.html

Every Picture Tells a story: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/every-picture-tells-a-story-dont-it/

Bibi as a killing monster: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/every-picture-tells-a-story-part-ii/

The NYT buried pictures: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/the-new-york-times-buried-pictures/


NY Times Correction: July 9, 2014

An article on Monday about the arrest of six Israelis in the killing of a Palestinian teenager referred incorrectly to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s response to the killing of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. On the day of the killing, Mr. Netanyahu’s office issued a statement saying he had told his minister for internal security to quickly investigate the crime; it is not the case that “days of near silence” passed before he spoke about it. The error was repeated in an editorial on Tuesday.”



The Legal Israeli Settlements

Many people have argued that it is illegal for Israelis to live beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines (east of the Green Line, EGL/Judea and Samaria/West Bank).  The question of “legitimacy” (not legality) has been repeated often by the USA’s Obama Administration.  Those comments are more harsh towards Israel than prior American administrations that simply viewed new settlements as “unhelpful” to a peace agreement between Israel and the Arab states.  Jimmy Carter was the only US president that actually called the settlements “illegal”.  Below is a review of the international laws that apply towards the settlements.

Street sign in Judea and Samaria

Fourth Geneva Convention

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention deals with the treatment of “occupied territory“.  It is unclear whether it applies to territory obtained in both offensive and defensive wars, but this review will assume that the law stands in either case.

The majority of Article 49 is about the treatment of the inhabitants of the occupied territory and not about the “Occupying Power” transferring in its own population.  The opening paragraph:

“Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons
from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”

This paragraph does not relate to Israelis living in EGL for several reasons:

  • The language is about people from the occupied territory, not to the occupied territory.  It underscores the flagrant illegal eviction of Jews from Judea and Samaria by the Jordanians in 1949.
  • As the Arabs living in EGL were not forcibly transferred to any country, Israel did nothing counter to this law.

The next paragraphs deal with exceptions to the main directive stated above for military reasons:

“Nevertheless, the Occupying Power may undertake total or partial evacuation of a given area if the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand. Such evacuations may not involve the displacement of protected persons outside the bounds of the occupied territory except when for material reasons it is impossible to avoid such displacement. Persons thus evacuated shall be transferred back to their homes as soon as hostilities in the area in question have ceased.”

  • The law permits operations involving security.  This clause allows the building of the security barrier inside the West Bank that Israel erected in reaction to the Second Intifada, and relocation of people impacted to construct such barrier.

 “The Occupying Power undertaking such transfers or evacuations shall ensure, to the greatest practicable extent, that proper accommodation is provided to receive the protected persons, that the removals are effected in satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition, and that members of the same family are not separated. The Protecting Power shall be informed of any transfers and evacuations
as soon as they have taken place. The Occupying Power shall not detain protected persons in an area particularly exposed to the dangers of war unless the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand.”

  • These paragraphs seek to protect people, even in the case of a necessary evacuation.  The only Arabs that Israel moved out of the West Bank were people who were arrested and therefore not relevant to this clause.

As seen above, almost the entirety of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention has to do with the local population- in this case, a theoretical transfer of Arabs out of EGL/Judea and Samaria/West Bank.  Only the last paragraph addresses the civilians of an “Occupying Power”.

 “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own
civilian population
into the territory it occupies.”

  • Israelis moving and living in EGL/J&S do so of their own free will.  The government does not “deport or transfer its own civilians” to EGL.
  • The “territory” in question, Judea and Samaria, was settled by Jews long before the Jordanians occupied the area and evicted the Jews. As such, Jews were part of the indigenous population before being illegally evicted in 1949. Returning to the region is in keeping with Article 49’s goal above stating “Persons thus evacuated shall be transferred back to their homes as soon as hostilities in the area in question have ceased.
  • Additionally, this territory was never a distinct country, but part and parcel of the Mandate of Palestine which specifically called for “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”  As such, Jews moving to Judea and Samaria is part of the ongoing provision established internationally in 1922.

The Hague Regulations

Another law that people contend relates to Israel’s administration of EGL/West Bank is Article 55 of the Hague Regulations:

 “Art. 55. The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.”

This rule clearly affirms Israel’s role as administrator for public lands.  The Hague regulations – and this provision in particular – deal with situations that are temporary in nature, and are impractical for those that last for decades.  To wit, the Arab population in the West Bank has grown four times since 1967, in one of the largest population increases on the planet. New infrastructure was established to accommodate the growth in the region, and Israel authorized these new homes, roads and other infrastructure, thereby necessitating a change to public lands.

In terms of minimizing the changes to public lands, it is unclear whether the role of Israel is to maintain a status quo according to the laws of Jordan, which illegally seized and annexed the area, or to administer the region according to British laws which had an international mandate before the Jordanians took control.

  • The Jordanians took this area in an offensive war against Israel in 1948-9
  • The Jordanian annexation in 1950 was never recognized by the United Nations
  • The area in question was part of the internationally approved British Mandate of Palestine (from 1922-1948).

Therefore, to comply with Article 55 above, which rules were appropriate for Israel to maintain: the illegal occupying Jordanian laws of 1949-1967 or those accorded in international law in the British Mandate 1922-1948?

If the British laws regarding property were to be maintained, then those laws state that no person should be forbidden to live in any part of the entirety of the Mandate (including Gaza, Israel and the West Bank) on the basis of religion, per Article 15 of that 1922 Mandate:

“The Mandatory shall see that complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, are ensured to all. No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.”

As it relates to the use of public lands (which is the focus of Article 55 of the Hague Regulations), the British Mandate clearly states that public land is to be used for Jewish settlement:

“The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”

Administration under British law encouraged Jews to live throughout Judea and Samaria, including state lands, and it can therefore not be illegal for any Jew to live there.

The only possibility that Jews moving to and living in the West Bank could be considered illegal, was if Jordanian law was to be maintained in the area.  However, even if one were to assume that despite the Jordanian’s forcible seizure and illegal annexation of the area, that their laws should still be maintained, could any law possibly suggest that it be a requirement to maintain particular laws that were flagrant violations of the Geneva Convention such as the racist Jordanian laws that evicted and barred Jews from living in the land?

Even further, if Israeli actions of Jews moving to EGL/West Bank were somehow considered illegal (which is not the case), Article 3 of the Hague Resolution states that a “belligerent party which violates the provisions of the said Regulations shall, if the case demands, be liable to pay compensation,” so remedy would be a fine, not eviction of the Jews.

(Also note that Hague Regulation Article 40, specifically gave Israel the right to attack Jordan after Jordan broke the 1949 armistice agreement in 1967.)

United Nations Reinterpretation for Israel

Since 1967, the United Nations crafted various resolutions condemning Israel for a wide variety of perceived “sins” such as the infamous “Zionism is Racism” resolution in 1975.  Many resolutions have inverted the meaning of the Geneva Convention such as a UN Security Council Resolution in 1980 which “Deplor[es] the decision of the Government of Israel to officially support Israeli settlement in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967.”  It continued further:

“[A]ll measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have
no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the
Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive,
just and lasting peace in the Middle East;”

Arguing that “new immigrants” (many of whom were actually returning residents from 1949) are a threat to the security of the existing population is xenophobia at its most extreme.  Arguing that is a “flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention” is disproved above.

Status of Jerusalem

The inclusion of Jerusalem in the United Nations attacks on Israel is telling.  Greater Jerusalem and Greater Bethlehem were planned to be an international “Holy Basin” according to the UN 1947 Partition Plan – neither Arab nor Israeli.  After Jordan attacked Israel and seized the eastern half of Jerusalem and annexed it, the United Nations remained silent.  The UN issued no declaration against the Jordanian invasion and land grab for the entire period it held the territory through 1967.  However, when Israel took control of Jerusalem and later annexed it in 1980, the United Nations went on tirades about the illegal nature of Israel’s authority. The UN’s motions are absurd and duplicitous in granting tacit approval to the Jordanian Arab illegal annexation of Jerusalem and condemning Israel for its annexation. If Jordan’s offensive war to take a planned international city was viewed as permissible, how can Israel’s defensive war be viewed any less so?

The ongoing dynamic in Jerusalem is also different than the rest of EGL/West Bank since the eastern part of the city was annexed by Israel and all of the residents were offered citizenship (almost all of the Arabs declined and took residency papers instead). As such, clauses in international law about offering citizenship to people are not applicable to the eastern half of Jerusalem (while still relevant in the remainder of EGL/West Bank).

As reviewed above, Israel abides by the global rules of international law relating to Jews living in EGL.  However, the United Nations reinterpretation of law solely as it relates to Israel – whether for national movements like Zionism, or for allowing Jews to move and live freely like other peoples in lands they lived in for thousands of years – is not law, but anti-Semitism.


Fourth Geneva Convention: https://www.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/c525816bde96b7fd41256739003e636a/77068f12b8857c4dc12563cd0051bdb0?OpenDocument

Hague Resolution: https://www.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/WebART/195-200065?OpenDocument

Hague Resolution Article 3: https://www.icrc.org/applic/ihl/ihl.nsf/ART/195-200004?OpenDocument

Hague Resolution Article 40: “Any serious violation of the armistice by one of the parties gives the other party the right of denouncing it, and even, in cases of urgency, of recommencing hostilities immediately.

British Mandate of Palestine: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/palmanda.asp

Israel-Jordan Armistice agreement: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/arm03.asp

UN Security Council Resolution 465 (1980): http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/5AA254A1C8F8B1CB852560E50075D7D5

UN Security Council Resolution 476 (1980) attacking Israel on Jerusalem: http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/6DE6DA8A650B4C3B852560DF00663826

UN call that Zionism is racism (1975): http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/761C1063530766A7052566A2005B74D1

FirstOneThrough article on the Green Line: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/the-green-line/

FirstOneThrough article on Judea and Samaria/ West Bank terminology: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/names-and-narrative-the-green-line-west-bank-judea-and-samaria/

Summary of US administrations attitudes towards Israeli settlements: http://www.cmep.org/content/us-statements-israeli-settlements_short#Obama

The Green Line

Much of the ongoing debate about the Israeli-Arab conflict surrounds Israel’s borders. The Arabs seek the creation of  a new state of Palestine, up to the “1967 borders.”  That term has also been used by US President Obama as a basis for a peace formula.  However, the term and plan are flawed at its core, as the “1967 borders” were deliberately and specifically never declared borders by the warring parties in 1948-9, for different reasons.

In 1922, the predecessor to the United Nations declared in the British Mandate the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people“.  Because of the 1936-9 Arab riots, the British back-tracked from the original international plan and began to devise a solution that created only small enclaves for Jews within an Arab state.  By 1947, their actions set in motion a compromise plan by the United Nations that would have created distinct Jewish and Arab states.  That plan was rejected by the Arabs. When the British withdrew from Palestine in May 1948, the Jews declared an independent state and five Arab countries went to war against Israel to destroy the nascent Jewish state.

The end of the war in 1949 did not fix borders, but established armistice lines where the fighting concluded. No peace deals were signed between the warring parties as each sought ultimately different borders: the Arabs still sought the complete destruction of the Jewish state; the Israelis wanted borders that were more defensible.

The 1949 Egyptian Armistice Agreement stated clearly that: “The Armistice Demarcation Line is not to be construed in any sense as a political or territorial boundary,…The basic purpose of the Armistice Demarcation Line is to delineate the line beyond which the armed forces of the respective Parties shall not move.”  The Jordanian Agreement had similar language.

From Israel’s perspective, as it was subject to constant attacks, riots, wars and blockades to destroy the country, it viewed the 1949 Armistice lines as insufficient to provide it effective security.  The sentiment was best summarized by Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eben to the UN Security Council in 1967, after the Arab armies once again set out to destroy Israel.

Why does accuracy matter?  How would a Palestinian call for the establishment of a new state of Palestine along the “1949 Armistice Lines” or the “Green Line” be any different than calling for such action along fictitious “1967 Borders”? Because the 1949 Armistice Lines underscores fundamental truths:

  • that Palestine never existed as a distinct country
  • that Palestine was not ruled by Arabs, but by the British and Ottomans before 1948
  • that five Arab armies from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq attacked Israel in 1948 in an attempt to destroy it
  • the “West Bank” is a newly defined term on newly conquered territory
  • highlights that the “Palestine Question” has always been a civil war- about the allocation of land between Jews and Arabs in an area that was once part of the Ottoman Empire
  • the “armistice lines” were never a border and never intended to be a border

The deliberate use of the term “1967 borders” gives a false impression that those lines were at any time approved and permanent. Further, using the term “West Bank” for the area east of the Green Line, makes that area appear to have been an actual Palestinian Arab entity, and as such, implies that the “occupied territory” is occupied Palestinian Arab land. Those conclusions are all false, and all fall away by using the proper Green Line/Armistice Lines terminology.


Palestinian call for 1967 borders: http://palestinianmissionuk.com/news/president-abbas-calls-on-quartet-to-recognize-1967-borders/

Obama call for 1967 borders: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/world/middleeast/20speech.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

1922 UN British Mandate: http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/2FCA2C68106F11AB05256BCF007BF3CB

1939 British White Paper: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/brwh1939.asp

1947 UN partition plan: http://unispal.un.org/unispal.nsf/0/7F0AF2BD897689B785256C330061D253

1949 Egypt-Israel Armistice agreement: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/arm01.asp

1949 Jordan-Israel Armistice Agreement: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/arm03.asp

1967 Abba Eben to UN Security Council on constant threat of Arab states: http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/mfadocuments/yearbook1/pages/19%20statement%20to%20the%20security%20council%20by%20foreign%20mi.aspx

1969 Abba Eben Auschwitz borders: http://www.mefacts.com/outgoing.asp?x_id=10191

2002 Arab peace initiative does not use the term “1967 borders”: http://www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/league/peace02.htm

FirstOneThrough article on “West Bank” and “Judea and Samaria”: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/names-and-narrative-the-green-line-west-bank-judea-and-samaria/

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

The New York Times has taken more concerted efforts to balance the narrative between Muslims and Jews regarding the holy city and sites in Jerusalem. It has not taken such efforts elsewhere where it only uses an Arab narrative.


The holiest site in Judaism is “The Temple Mount” in Jerusalem, due to the fact that it was the location of Judaism’s two temples which existed from roughly 954BCE to 70CE. The Jewish King Herod built the Temple Mount platform specifically for Jewish use to ease access and flow to the Second Temple. To this day, it continues to be the direction of all Jewish prayer.

In Islam, that holy site is called the “Noble Sanctuary”, or “Bayt al-Maqdes” or “Al-Haram al-Sharif”. It is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina, both located in Saudi Arabia. The Noble Sanctuary holds the Al Aqsa Mosque and the shrine known as the Dome of the Rock.

Historically, the New York Times would reference the names that both religions ascribed to the holy site, typically with the Jewish name first (the Temple Mount), and later in the article, it would use the Islamic name (Noble Sanctuary). More recently, the Times would use both names in the same sentence, and occasionally use the Islamic name first, followed by the Jewish name.


However, when it comes to other sites in the region with different names from the two peoples, the Times excludes the Israeli terminology: specifically, “Judea and Samaria”. For such region, the Times will only use the term “West Bank”, except if an Israeli is quoted using the name Judea and Samaria.

Interestingly, the West Bank never existed as an entity until 1949, and was never even referred to by the United Nations Security Council until 1953. In comparison, Judea and Samaria, which cover more area than just the West Bank, have existed for thousands of years.

The “West Bank” came into existence after five Arab armies attacked Israel in 1948. The armistice lines established in 1949 at the end of the war with Jordan became known as the “Green Line” as the line was drawn in green on the maps. The haphazard demarcation did not follow any historic, political or geographic contours, but was simply where the warring parties stopped fighting. The area east of the green line eventually became known as the West Bank.

In the years following the 1948 Arab attack on Israel, every United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution regarding the “Palestine Question”, never mentioned Palestinians as a discrete people or the “West Bank” and Gaza as entities. Each resolution referred to the various parties in the conflict being Israel, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The term “west bank (in lower case) of the Jordan” only showed up for the first time in 1953.

The term “West Bank” is an Arab artifice and highlights the short, violent and illegal Arab rule of the area:

  • It was achieved in an offensive war to destroy Israel
  • The duration of Arab rule only lasted for 18 years 1949-1967
  • Arab rule of the West Bank was never internationally approved (the UNSC never voted on the April 1950 Jordanian annexation of the area)
  • Was administered counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention (the Jordanians and Palestinians deported all of the Jews out of the territory)

The exclusive use of the term “West Bank” gives a false impression that the territory has a long history of Palestinian Arab rule. Further, in never using the term “Judea and Samaria” for the region, the UN, the New York Times and others, distance Jews and Israelis from lands that they lived in for thousands of years.

As the New York Times and other publications now give equal weight to “the Temple Mount” and “Noble Sanctuary”, they should do the same for “West Bank” and “Judea and Samaria”. Alternatively, it could use neutral nomenclature such as EGL- East of the Green Line.



2014 NYTimes Noble Sanctuary first, then Temple Mount (11/19/14): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/19/opinion/horror-in-israel.html

2014 NY Times mentioning Temple Mount and Noble Sanctuary at the same time (10/31/14): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/31/world/middleeast/israel-palestinians-jerusalem-temple-mount-al-aksa.html

(11/7/14): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/world/middleeast/israel-jordan-jerusalem-al-aqsa-temple-mount.html

(11/23/14): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/23/world/middleeast/mistrust-threatens-delicate-balance-at-a-sacred-site-in-jerusalem-.html

Only calling it the “Al Aqsa compound” and not the “Temple Mount” (9/17/14): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/18/world/middleeast/unrest-by-palestinians-surges-in-a-jerusalem-neighborhood.html?_r=0

2013 NYTimes mentions Temple Mount and only later Noble Sanctuary (10/15/13): http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/15/world/middleeast/ten-jewish-men-arrested-at-temple-mount.html

(9/22/13): http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/22/world/middleeast/jews-challenge-rules-to-claim-heart-of-jerusalem.html?pagewanted=all

2009 NY Times only mentions Temple Mount (10/26/09): http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/26/world/middleeast/26mideast.html

UN mentioning “west bank of Jordan” for the first time in 1953: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/101%281953%29

Related FirstOneThrough articles:

The Green Line

The EU’s Choice of Labels: “Made in West Bank” and “Anti-Semite”

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

Changing the Israeli Knesset

The Israeli government is heading for another change. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the firing of two cabinet members and lawmakers voted for the effective dissolution of the current legislature.

The last Israeli elections held in January 2013 brought several changes to Israeli politics:

  • Likud combined with the Yisrael Beitenu party to win a collective 31 seats (21 for Likud and 11 for Israel Bietenu)
  • A new party, Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid won 19 seats
  • Bayit Yehudi, headed by Naftali Bennett, continued to grow in strength, up to 12 seats
  • The Shas party was excluded from the government for the first time since 2006
  • The ruling coalition deliberately excluded the ultra-orthodox (Haredi) parties as they attempted to force changes in their participation in community service or military draft

The main factors that motivated the Israeli public was the economy, which was viewed as leaving too many people behind. As such, it was the first election in Israeli history that did not focus on security or a peace process. The Arab Spring enveloping the Middle East, and the inability of acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas to reign in Hamas and manage Gaza, made the possibility of a resolution with Palestinian Arabs seem remote.


The new elections are called for March 17, 2015. Current polls suggest that Likud would win 22 seats (up from 20), Yesh Atid winning 9 seats (down from 19), Jewish Home would win 17 seats (up from 12), making for a more-right leaning coalition.

Enjoy the FirstOneThrough music video with music by David Bowie: The Changed Israeli Knesset.



Netanyahu poll: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-02/netanyahu-to-call-early-israel-vote-fire-ministers.html


The United Nations Audit of Israel

The obsession of the United Nations with Israel is well documented.prosor

Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor

Various UN bodies sanction Israel in every session over any real or perceived issue. Meanwhile, the organization ignores mass slaughters and human rights abuses that occur daily throughout the world. When well-meaning people point out the singular focus on Israel, the Israel-bashers contend that such complaint is not a defense- it is just “whataboutary”.


If black people in Missouri were pulled over by police at 70 times the rate of white people, the police department would come under attack for abusive and discriminatory behavior.

If a particular person with financials similar to other people, was audited by the IRS every year, the agency and government would be investigated.

Just a few examples of UN uniquely targeting Israel:

A First One Through video about the many actions and sanctions against Israel, “I hate Israel – the UN told me so”




UN Human Rights Council: 56 out of 103 resolutions against Israel. http://time.com/3060203/united-nations-human-rights-council-israel/


UN interpreter surprised by number of anti-Israel resolutions: http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/diplomania/.premium-1.558302

Honor Killings in Gaza

The Unmentioned Murders of the Middle East

Honor killings have a sad history throughout the Muslim world. Many families deliberately and systematically kill wives and daughters if there is any suspicion of the women bringing “dishonor” to the family. The cause of such shame may come from actual or feared adultery, refusal to marry a designated spouse, or even dressing inappropriately. The cultural rationale for the honor killings is that by murdering the offending women, honor is restored to the families.

Gaza and the West Bank are similar to other parts of the Muslim world regarding the reasons for honor killings. However, the recent spike in the number of killings in the territories has been very dramatic and atypical. In 2011, there were five such murders in the territories. The number of homicides jumped to 13 in 2012, and doubled again to 27 in 2013. In just the first two months of 2014, 8 honor killings were reported by Palestinian media sources, a pace that would have put it on course for nearly doubling again.

By comparison, in Afghanistan an estimated 150 women are killed each year in honor killings. Afghanistan has over eight times the population of Gaza and West Bank, and 18 times Gaza alone. Therefore, on a proportionate basis, the Palestinians now kill twice as many women in honor killings as Afghanistan (or over three times as many if one only counts Gaza where most of the murders take place).

Adding insult to these horrific murders increasing popularity, was the lax way such murders were treated in Palestinian courts. According to the Palestinian Law (Article 340), the killers were not subject to any punishment.

He who discovers his wife or female relative committing adultery and kills,
wounds or injuries one or both of them is exempted from any penalty,
and he who discovers his wife, or one of his female ascendants or descendants
or sisters with another in an unlawful bed and he kills, wounds or injures one
or both of them, benefits from a reduction of penalty

The terrible jump in honor killing of women in Gaza and the West Bank did not make it to the pages of The New York Times. The courts absolution granted to the murderers was not a subject that the Times decided to cover. In 2011. In 2012. In 2013. In 2014.

The closest the New York Times came to an article about the Palestinians’ disregard for a woman’s life in the territories was in an article by Jodi Rudoren in October 2012. That article was about a particular women’s rights advocate. While one would imagine some specifics about the lack of women’s rights and a review of honor killings being covered in such an article, there was barely any mention.

  • There was no description of honor killings
  • No report on the increasing number of killings
  • No review of Palestinian Law absolving the murderers

Instead, Roduren chose to describe the difficulty of a specific woman acting as a rights advocate in Gaza (as opposed to the hardship all women face in Gaza). Of course, according to Roduren, the main source of the hardship was Israel:

  • ““psychological siege” imposed by a combination of Israeli restrictions on travel and trade”
  • “lost a personal battle last month when Israel’s Supreme Court rejected a petition by her and three other women to study in the West Bank.”
  • “the resistance of the Israeli occupation as a priority,”
  • Israeli court ruled, 2 to 1, against the four women
  • “Israeli warplane hit an apartment building”

So what does a reader take-away from the New York Times?

    1. While the New York Times occasionally covered stories of honor killings in Afghanistan or Pakistan, it never covered those killings in Gaza, despite the greater prevalence in Gaza.
    2. When the paper had a chance to describe the honor killings in Gaza in an article about a woman’s rights advocates, it opted not to do so.
    3. The thrust of the sole article on the morbid topic laid most of the blame on Israel, as opposed to the Palestinians themselves

Hooray New York Times. You gave a pass for Mulim misogyny and murder meted out by Palestinians. Absolution of the Arab sins came from Jews just across the Green Line.

It would be much more convenient for the left-wing fringe if Israel bordered Pakistan and Afghanistan as well, so they could blame Jews for the entire reprehensible ritual.



Jump in 2014 Honor Killings and Palestinian Law Article 340: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/03/palestine-honor-crime-women-abuse-law-abbas.html#



Jodi Rudoren NY Times 2012 article on Honor Killings: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/13/world/middleeast/andalib-adwan-shehada-a-bold-voice-for-gaza-women.html

CNN coverage of honor killings back in 2009: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/07/30/mideast.honor.killings/

Pope Francis in Turkey

The news agencies reported on Pope Francis’ visit to Turkey in November 2014. Remarkably, the major media outlets such as CNN, BBC, and The New York Times did not report on the extreme hardened Islamic moves that have taken place in Turkey over the past several years, nor other abuses:

  • No mention of the Turkish persecution of the Kurdish minorities
  • No mention of Turkey’s illegal invasion and ongoing occupation of northern Cyprus
  • No mention of the Turkish genocide of the Armenians
  • No mention of rightward shift of Turkish government:
    • Banning kissing in public
    • Banning Youtube
    • Banning Twitter
    • Jailing the most journalists in the world in 2012 and 2013
    • Banning drinking at night

The closest any major news organization came to criticizing Turkey was the Guardian, which quickly backed off with a quote “Things are good now, better than before certainly,” Atmaca said. “I think the Islamist rhetoric [of the government] is mostly show.””

By way of comparison, when the Pope visited Israel in May 2014, the New York Times did nothing to describe the positive environment of Christians in Israel, and constantly sought to portray every move of Pope Francis as critical of Israel in the Arab-Israel conflict (as described in the FirstOneThrough articles below.)  Absent from their narrative, was that Israel is a thriving country with more freedoms of press and worship than any country in the Middle East.  The country is much more than the conflict with the Palestinians, just as Turkey is more than its conflict in Cyprus or with the Kurds.

Here is a FirstOneThrough video analysis of an interview of Recep Erdogan from September 11, 2011, then the Prime Minister and now the President of Turkey. Like the liberal media outlets, the attacks on Israel are persistent, and the hypocrisy is without limits.

FirstOneThrough video “Turkish hypocrisy: Erdogan threatens Neighbors”:


CNN coverage: http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/28/world/europe/turkey-pope-visit/

BBC coverage: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30239233

New York Times coverage: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/30/world/europe/pope-brings-message-of-interreligious-peace-to-istanbul.html?_r=0

FirstOneThrough comparing NY Times coverage of Turkish and Israeli elections: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/new-york-times-talking-turkey/

FirstOneThrough on Pope in Israel: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/nytimes-shows-its-preference-in-dueling-narratives-in-the-middle-east/

FirstOneThrough on NY Times Pope’s “Peace prayer” invitation: https://firstonethrough.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/ny-times-skewed-view-on-pope-prayer-invitation-and-mideast-peace/