Israel Plans to Build in Israeli Territory. It’s News

On March 30, 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans for a new town in Area C of Judea and Samaria for the residents of the demolished settlement of Amona. The new US Trump administration gave its tacit approval for the homes for the Israeli families.

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) laughs with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The move was seen by many as very controversial, as it came just a few months after the UN Security Council passed UNSC Resolution 2334 that deemed Israeli homes east of the Green Line (EGL) as having no legal validity. The development was also the first one announced by Israel since it signed the Oslo Accords with the Palestinian Authority in 1993.

But the Oslo Accord of 1993 and the subsequent Oslo II signed in 1995 made clear that the majority of EGL – known as Area C – was under complete Israeli civilian and military control: it was Israeli Territory. So even though the Israeli government did not announce any new Israeli developments, there was no question as to the administrative authority of the Israeli government to do so.

These facts were not found in the mainstream media.

CNN’s story “Israel approves construction of first new settlement in more than 20 years,” included the following statements:

  • Israel’s Security Cabinet on Thursday unanimously approved the construction of a new settlement in the West Bank, according to a message from the Prime Minister’s office, marking the state’s first new settlement in Palestinian territory in more than 20 years.” only calling the region “West Bank” and not including the Israeli name “Judea and Samaria” or neutral nomenclature like EGL. It further misstated that the town was in Palestinian administered land, not Israeli.
  • The new settlement, which will be constructed north of the Palestinian city of Ramallah,” anchors the location to a “Palestinian city” and not the Israeli town of Shiloh.
  • It included this quote from a Palestinian Arab, but quoted no Israelis in the article: “”Israel’s policies remain unchanged as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his extremist, racist coalition government continue to persist with their systematic policies of settler colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, showing a total and blatant disregard for Palestinian human rights, independence and dignity,” Ashrawi said in a statement.” Nice propaganda language to promote.
  • “The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution in December condemning Israeli settlements constructed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal. These territories, occupied by the Israeli military since 1967, are where Palestinians plan to create their future state.” No education to readers that EGL was taken from JORDAN in a DEFENSIVE WAR and that the new town is located in the Israeli Territory of Area C where Israel has civilian and military rule as agreed by the Palestinian Authority.

Reuters had a story called “Israeli cabinet approves first West Bank settlement in 20 years.” Sound familiar? The article stated:

  • Israel’s security cabinet on Thursday approved the building of the first new settlement in the occupied West Bank in two decades, even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu negotiates with Washington on a possible curb on settlement activity.” Adding the word “occupied” gave the deliberate misrepresentation that the land was Palestinian, and not Israeli territory.
  • Like CNN, Reuters also chose to quote Hanan Ashrawi “”Today’s announcement once again proves that Israel is more committed to appeasing its illegal settler population than to abiding by the requirements for stability and a just peace,” said Hanan Ashrawi, an executive committee member of the Palestine Liberation Organization,” but it did also quoted Netanyahu: “I made a promise that we would establish a new settlement … We will keep it today.” Further, Reuters omitted the highly offensive vitriol spewed by Ashrawi.
  • Reuters also added this rationale: “Such settlements, in territory that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war, are deemed illegal by most of the world. Israel cites biblical, historical and political links to the land, as well as security interests, to defend its actions.” It added a few reasons why Israel has “links” to the land, but never mentioned international law of 1920 and 1922 permitting Jews to live in the area, nor political AGREEMENTS signed with the Palestinian Authority.

The Wall Street Journal’s article titled “Netanyahu Pushes New West Bank Settlement,” tied the decision to Netanyahu, not the Israeli cabinet, and did not include any time period relaying how “new” this settlement was.

  • At least until the opening sentence of the story. “Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday proposed the first new settlement in decades,” so readers got the history that this was a break from recent norms.
  • The WSJ spent the first eight paragraphs of the story giving some background on the approval process of the new town as well as the tacit approval of the White House to move forward with the project. Only at the ninth paragraph did the paper discuss the controversy around the development, before it quoted Ashrawi. This compared to CNN and Reuters which quoted Ashrawi much earlier in the fourth paragraph to set the tone of the article.

There was not a single article in any major media that mentioned the reality that the new development will be in Israeli administered territory. Of the major media, CNN was the most offensive, airing hateful Palestinian Arab propaganda and actually calling the land “Palestinian Territory.”

Is Trump wrong about CNN being #FakeNews?


Related First.One.Through articles:

Heritage, Property and Sovereignty in the Holy Land

“Settlements” Crossing the Line

CNN’s Embrace of Hamas

Names and Narrative: CNN’s Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa Complex Inversion

Stopping the Purveyors of Hateful Propaganda

A “Viable” Palestinian State

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The Right Stuff, Then and Now

On December 8, 2016, the world said farewell to the last surviving Mercury astronaut, John Glenn, at age 95.

The story of the first American astronauts was told beautifully in a book by Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff, which was later turned into a remarkable movie of the same name. Wolfe relayed the incredible bravery of those men, who possessed “the right stuff” to handle the rigors of space travel.  The story explored the various tests that they endured, ranging from handling G-forces to being able to stay calm while enclosed in a small space for long periods of time to handling the press and their wives.

The bravery of the men and the space program itself were not without controversy. Many people thought the cost of the program was prohibitive and those funds could be put to better use at home. The bravery of the men was ridiculed, as some considered that these pilots were nothing more than “spam in a can,” performing feats that a monkey could do just as easily.

glenn_at_tickertape_parade_speech_sf_still_624x352
Astronaut John Glenn and his wife at New York ticker-tape parade, March 1962

Yet America applauded the bravery of the astronauts and celebrated the collective accomplishments of the entire space agency for the successful launches and returns of the astronauts. Ticker-tape parades greeted those celebrities from the sky, as the nation was uplifted by the courage and accomplishments of the entire space agency. The country took its first steps into the great beyond.

The “Right Stuff” Today

America doesn’t celebrate courageous Americans the same way anymore. New York ticker-tape parades are reserved for local sports teams that win national championships like the New York Yankees in baseball or the New York Giants in football.  On occasion, the city celebrates a national sports team like the woman’s national soccer team.

Instead, cable television and the Internet hoist their own heroes, and broadcast them on the screen for willing viewers.

In 2015, the sports media company ESPN awarded its Arthur Ashe Courage Award to a famous athlete that was undergoing a gender transformation, Caitlyn Jenner. The public reaction was mixed, with many in the liberal media celebrating Jenner’s courage for undergoing the surgery and coming out publicly with the story, while more conservative commentators thought that a courage award should be given to those athletes that do amazing things like scaling El Capitan with fingertips or soldiers that lost limbs in the service of the country.

caitlyn-jenner-espn
Caitlyn Jenner receiving the ESPN Courage Award

CNN attacked the Hollywood director, Peter Berg, who made unflattering comments about Jenner.  The media called Berg “hateful” and “transphobic” for his comparison of Jenner to a soldier that lost his limbs. The CNN attack on Berg moved past his comments to Berg himself, saying that he was a “coward hiding in the darkness spreading hate.”  It demonized Berg, as it considered that Berg demonized Jenner.

The Loss

Civilized Debate. Fifty years ago, people ridiculed the astronauts as being nothing more than chimpanzees sitting on a rocket. They went on to criticize the entire space program as wasteful.  However, the accusations didn’t break down into name calling and hate, but a discussion on the importance of the space program and the role of the astronauts.

Today, the accusations are more personal.

The Internet lets public comments linger forever, and enables the whole world – not just a few media outlets – to comment freely.  Today, every person has immediate access to news from around the world and their own handheld broadcast terminal.  The major media companies, left without a unique role, have pivoted to no longer simply telling the news, but to broadcasting their opinions.  As part of that effort, they decide who is courageous, not the municipality of New York. They vilify those that counter their worldview, rather than engage in a thoughtful review of “gender fluidity.”

Science for All. America once celebrated universally recognized engineering accomplishments and the people who performed feats that we could never do ourselves, even as we debated those very activities. Today our society clashes on media’s choices of heroes who perform actions that we would never do to ourselves.

Unfortunately, in that debate, we have forgotten a key message: why does our society constantly prefer to put athletes on platforms, but not scientists? Why have Veterans Day and Memorial Day simply become days for shopping and barbeques rather than days to honor people who put society above themselves?

We have debased courage. We have trivialized accomplishments. We have elevated self-interest and self-gratification over societal needs. And in that maelstrom, we have personalized attacks rather than debate concepts and actions.

As we remember John Glenn on his passing, let’s also consider the incredible teams of engineers and scientists that made his journey possible, and the courage and dedication of people who put their lives on the line for our common good. Maybe we can use that energy to advance our collective society, and debate openly without vilifying each other.


Related First.One.Through articles:

A Deplorable Definition

NY Times Discolors Hate Crimes

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Join Facebook group: FirstOne Through  Israel Analysis

Names and Narrative: CNN’s Temple Mount/ Al Aqsa Complex Inversion

temple mount protest
(Muslim and Israeli police confront each other at The Temple Mount,
September 13, 2015. Source: AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

On September 13, 2015, CNN reported on a confrontation between “Arab youths and Israeli police” in the Old City of Jerusalem using language that inverted the facts. The news discussed:

  • Palestinian protestors,” but of what? Jews visiting the Temple Mount which they had every legal and moral right to do? Perhaps they were protesting new Israeli laws meant to keep Muslim groups from attacking Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount. The report made it appear that the “protestors” were just seeking a right to pray.
  • The “Al Aqsa Complex” that CNN mentioned gives an Islamic name to the entire 35 acre compound, even though the Al Aqsa Mosque is located on just the southern tip of the platform. This entire platform was built for the Second Jewish Temple and is therefore historically known as the Temple Mount. Using an Islamic name as the official name and only stating that “Jews… call it the Temple Mount” divorces history, reality and Jews from the site. It is more accurate to use the default name “The Temple Mount” to the entire location and state that ‘Muslims call it the Al Aqsa Complex”.
  • “…Is one of the holiest sites in the world for Muslims” The mosque itself is the third holiest site, not the entire Temple Mount platform. The story does not clarify that Jews had no interest in visiting the mosque itself, but the other parts of the platform.
  • Stating that “the clashes ended when Muslim worshippers were allowed in the complex for prayers” makes the entire event seem like all the Arab protestors sought was a right to pray (which they had already completed doing), as oppose to stopping Jews from visiting the Temple Mount on their Jewish New Year. This was another inversion of the narrative.
  • CNN’s report that “Jordan, which is in charge of the complex” is incomplete. Jordan’s Islamic Waqf has religious oversight of the Temple Mount, but it is Israel that is in charge of security on the Mount. Article 9 of the 1994 Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty clearly states that “Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.” That is why the Israeli police legally deployed personnel to prevent Arab rock-throwers from attacking visiting Jews on the Mount.

Overall, CNN failed to report that Israel was legally trying to protect Jews visiting the Temple Mount, their holiest spot on one of their holiest days of the year. Instead they painted a picture of Israeli police blocking Arab youths from praying at the Al Aqsa Complex, one of their holiest places.

DSC00357
Al Aqsa Mosque at the very southern tip of the Temple Mount Platform
(Source: First One Through)


Related First One Through articles:

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

The Cave of the Patriarchs and the Temple Mount

The Arguments over Jerusalem

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

“Extremist” or “Courageous”

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

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CNN’s Embrace of Hamas

Many people in the pro-Israel community continue to be frustrated by the refusal of many media outlets and some political organizations to designate Hamas a terrorist organization. While the phrase “one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter” is often bandied about, organizations have no difficulty clearly labeling some organizations as terrorist groups.

Consider CNN which highlighted five jihadist groups in February 2015 as terrorist organizations: Al-Shabaab; Al Qaeda; Boko Haram; ISIS; and the Taliban. The groups are consistently labeled as jihadist terror organizations that seek to destroy reigning governments.

AL-SHABAAB

CNN has clearly labeled Al-Shabaab as a terrorist group:

Al-Shabaab was specifically designated as a  terrorist organization by CNN, which did not couch the language as a suggestion that it could be considered a terrorist group by some third party.

AL QAEDA

As of early 2015, CNN considered Al Qaeda’s central command structure under threat while it spread around the world. It was clear in all circumstances that they were terrorists:

BOKO HARAM

CNN often localized Boko Haram to Nigeria and neighboring countries (compared to the growing global threat of Al Qaeda), but consistently referred to the group as terrorists.

ISIS

ISIS/ ISIL/ Islamic State has been extremely active in 2015 and gathering many news reports on CNN and all media outlets, particularly as the United States has been engaging them in Iraq and Syria:

TALIBAN

The Taliban has not been as prominent in the news lately.  However, when it was, CNN was clear that the group’s actions and the group itself was involved in terrorism.

These five organizations are identified by CNN as terrorist groups. They are Islamic jihadists. They terrorize and attack. They seek to overthrow existing governments through murder and mayhem.

Now compare them to CNN’s description of Hamas.

HAMAS

On February 28, 2015 CNN had an article entitled Egyptian court designates Hamas as a terror organization, state media says.  Note that CNN clearly did not make the designation, but repeated an assertion from Egypt.  The article read: “Hamas, the Islamist group which dominates the Gaza strip, has been at odds with the Egyptian government…” made it seem that there was simply a political disagreement between Hamas and Egypt, between two ruling parties. CNN referred to Hamas only as “Islamist” and not “jihadist”, “militant” or “terrorist”.

CNN continued: “Hamas quickly denounced the decision at a news conference…. “It is a shocking and dangerous decision that targets the Palestinian people,” Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said at a news conference”.  The article highlighted that Hamas was designated a terrorist organization by one country (as opposed to actually being a terrorist group) and CNN made the effort of showing that the group challenged such opinion.  The quote chosen by CNN further tried to show that such designation was itself an attack on “the Palestinian people” making the group the victim.

How is that for a turn?

On January 6, 2015 CNN wrote another piece that seemed all about politics. “Senior Hamas official Izzat Risheq denied reports Monday that the group’s political leader Khaled Meshaal has been expelled from Qatar” making the group appear as purely s political party. There was no mention that the group is in favor of jihad, destruction of Israel or is terrorist group.

On November 27, 2014 a CNN article entitled “Israel says it broke up Hamas terror plot” specifically gave attribution of the plot to Israel, and not as a clear fact. The article stated that “Authorities arrested at least 30 members of Palestinian militant group Hamas” which at least referred to the group as “militantwhich is much more than it typically writes to describe Hamas.

These were the recent articles while Hamas licked its wounds from its 2014 war against Israel.  How did CNN describe Hamas during the 2014 campaign itself?

CNN’s Assertion of No Hamas War Against Israel 

In its August 22, 2014 article “Hamas leader admits militants abducted slain Israeli teens,” CNN quickly distanced the group leadership from the abduction and murder of three Israeli boys.  The three leading paragraph’s took pains to absolve the group’s leadership:

“Three Israeli teens kidnapped in the West Bank in June and later found dead were abducted by Hamas militants who did not inform the group leadership about
the kidnapping, a Hamas official said Friday.
“At that time, the Hamas leadership had no knowledge about this group or the operation it had just carried,” Saleh Aruri, a Hamas Political Bureau member, said in a statement from Doha, Qatar. “It turned out later, however,
that they were members of Hamas.”
Aruri said the operation to abduct the teens was not approved by the Hamas leadership or its military wing, the Qassam Brigades.”

The article (in its entirety) quoted no Israelis. CNN repeatedly referred to Hamas as a political entity (does CNN ever quote Boko Haram’s main political spokesman?), as the article sought to distance Hamas from the murders.

These actions were done repeatedly by CNN, most egregiously on August 4, 2014 when it aired an interview “CNN exclusive: Inside the mind of Hamas’ political leader

Meshaal CNN Meshaal “Political Leader” on CNN

The introduction to the interview with Khaled Meshaal made it appear that CNN was going to have a serious exchange: “CNN’s Nic Robertson had tough questions for Hamas’s political leader.”   Well, maybe not- CNN was again directing the public that Hamas is simply a political organization. Did the article ever mention:

  • that the Hamas Charter calls for the complete destruction of Israel?
  • the Hamas Charter calls for jihad and murder of Jews by every man, woman and Palestinian child?
  • the Hamas Charter which declares that there is no possibility of peace with Israel through any negotiation, and that all of Israel must be destroyed through military means?
  • the Hamas Charter’s repeated use of anti-Semitic slurs, stereotypes and conspiracy theories?
  • the repeated calls by Hamas and Palestinian leadership to attack Israel?

During the interview, did Robertson get answers to questions:

  • if Hamas is fighting for the Palestinians, why was Meshaal sitting comfortably in Qatar?
  • if Hamas was intentionally firing rockets from civilian neighborhoods in Gaza?
  • if Hamas targeted Israeli civilians with such attacks?
  • if Hamas built tunnels to abduct and kill Israelis?
  • if Hamas would abolish its charter?
  • if Hamas would recognize Israel?
  • what lands Hamas considers as “occupied” since Israel left Gaza in 2005

It is noteworthy that Robertson asked Meshaal how he was helping his “resistance” to Israel (Robertson used Hamas’ terminology instead of terrorism). Meshaal responded that Palestinians understood that military resistance was needed to get rid of Israeli occupation, the same way that the Americans got rid of the British and the French got rid of the Nazis.  Robertson let the statement stand and did not follow up about the absurdity of the comparisons. The French repelled the Nazi invading force that took over France. The US sought separation from a colony to an independent country. But here, the Palestinians were attacking an independent country, once again seeking its complete destruction and murder of its people.

Neither in the interview nor accompanying article did CNN’s Robertson ever call out Hamas as a jihadist terrorist group.  It did however, allow Meshaal to air his propaganda and assume a victim status both at the hands of Israel and the global community:

“”We the Palestinian people have, since 1948, have listened to the international community and U.N. and international regulations, in the hope they end the aggression against us. But the international community failed in ending the Israeli occupation and failed in helping our people to have self-determination and have its own state.”

Imagine CNN airing such an interview and article about any other terrorist group.


Related FirstOneThrough articles:

Differentiating Hamas into Political and Military Movements

The New York Times wants to defeat Terrorists (just not Hamas)

Cause and Effect: Making Gaza  

Recognizing the Palestinians

Palestinians are “Desperate” for…

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

Why the Media Ignores Jihadists in Israel