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Associated Press bungles fact-check of Abbas' speech

AP tries to fact-check Abbas’ speech at the UN, and ends up accusing him of insufficient adherence to Israeli talking points, while making a series of embarrassing factual errors itself

Generally, I sympathize with those who ask: “Shouldn’t all stories be ‘fact-check’ stories?” Still, as a frequent reader of Israeli journalism, I should be thankful for small favors, and appreciate the genre’s existence in English-language media. But the only thing worse than not checking the facts, is presuming to do so, while being in error oneself. That is what happened to the Associated Press when it tried to fact-check Mahmoud Abbas’ UN speech.

The intro was inauspicious, to say the least. The AP argued that Abbas “presented a narrative that is disputed by Israel.” The agency then offered “counter-arguments” to some of his assertions. Fact-checkers should, at the very least, understand the definition of “fact.” A fact is not an assertion supported by all sides to a debate (otherwise, fact-checking itself would be superfluous) nor is it an argument with no counterargument (ditto). It is simply an assertion which is true. Unless AP is implying that the Israeli “narrative” is always true (an impression bolstered by the omission of an equivalent fact check for Netanyahu’s speech).

Unsurprisingly, and contrary to their assertion, AP has not managed to find a single “factually incorrect” statement in Abbas’ speech, while making quite a few “factually incorrect” assertions of their own along the way.

Occupation: Abbas said Palestinians live under “the only occupation in the world.” AP argues that other groups say they are also occupied. All of those groups, however, live in areas officially annexed by their oppressor, and are citizens of the state that controls their lives. Palestinians, on the other hand, live under military law and have no citizenship. Israel refuses to take responsibility to them or relinquish control. That is what makes it the only occupation in the world.

Prisoners: Abbas views Palestinians held by Israel as “prisoners of conscience.” AP, in accordance with their bizarre method, “refutes” this by referring to Israel’s view of these prisoners as violent security risks. But what are the facts? According to figures provided by the IDF, excluding traffic offenses, less than half [pdf] of the indictments in Israel’s Military Courts, where Palestinians are tried, are for terrorism charges, even under Israel’s expansive definitions of the term. Many of the prisoners are awaiting trial, as Military Court proceedings can last for two years while the accused is incarcerated. Because of this, and the virtually non-existent odds of acquittal, many plead out even though they continue to maintain their innocence. Certainly, many prisoners were involved in violence and terrorism; but many others, perhaps most, fit the definition of “prisoners of conscience.” AP, unfortunately, does not bother providing any of these facts.

Jewish connection to holy land, and Gaza: AP basically slams Abbas for not parroting Israeli talking points, and is unable to find a single inaccurate thing he said.

Peace talks: Abbas said Palestinians “believe in peace”. AP mentions Palestinians have rejected two Israeli peace offers. That, in itself, is a highly inaccurate description of events, but never mind: astonishingly, AP neglects to mention that Israel also rejected Abbas’ offer in the same negotiations in 2008.

Settlements: AP refutes nothing Abbas said, and actually ends up strengthening his point.

Final score: Abbas- 6; AP – zero.

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    1. Abbas was wrong that the Pals live “under the only occupation in the world.” Maor changes the definition in order to argue, but in fact there are quite a few. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_occupations

      Abbas didn’t use the term “prisoners of conscience” but “political prisoners.” Some are indeed political, some are terrorists. Both AP and Maor are wrong here.

      Abbas said that Palestine is the Holy Land and specifically mentioned the (purported) Muslim and Christian history there, deliberately excluding the older and uncontested Jewish ties to the land. it was obviously not an oversight. AP is correct, Maor is wrong.

      AP is accurate in saying that the Palestinians rejected two peace offers. Maor doesn’t prove otherwise, merely claiming it is “inaccurate.”

      AP accurately notes that the conflict predates settlements. Maor ignores this.

      So while AP wasn’t perfect, Maor is being quite deceptive in his tendentious argument against it.

      In every single case.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jehudah Ben-Israel

      Arabs and Jews alike would experience a sea-change of attitude for the better and a break-through towards an accommodation of peaceful coexistence if the leadership of the PLO only stated clearly its acceptance of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and its right to be so.

      But, sadly, instead of doing so, the head of the PLO, true to the PLO’s Charter, stated from the UN podium that the “occupation” began 63 years ago – Israel’s proclamation – implying clearly that the struggle against the “occupation” means the struggle towards Israel’s elimination.

      And, why not since the Holy Land, as Mr. Mahmoud Abbas referred to the cradle of the Jewish people and its civilization of Judaism, has consisted of Christians and Muslims, but not a single mention of the Land as the homeland of the Jewish people, not a word. Negating the deep Jewish roots in the Land is a justification for its “cleansing” of the Jews who “invaded” it, “occupied” it and “settle” in it today.

      And this is precisely the thrust of the PLO’s Charter!!

      This, sadly, is not a way to achieve an accommodation of peaceful coexistence between Arab and Jew, between the Muslim-Arab world, local and regional, and the nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Elder – I don’t see any military occupations of stateless people in your Wikipedia link. There is nothing tendentious or deceptive in Roi’s post. But there is a lot of gratuitous hair-splitting in your comment.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Abbas said it was “the only occupation in the world.” That was it, nothing about statelessness.

      Although, in 1967, the West Bank Pals weren’t “stateless” either. They were citizens of Jordan. Israel didn’t take that away – Jordan did.

      Reply to Comment
    5. We are talking about the present – not what Jordan did a decade ago: Israel is currently the only state in the world that occupies a territory of stateless people. That is the crux of the matter.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ariely

      At the top of his 76 age of 76 Ms Abas should know that:
      Abraham Lincoln statement is still valid:
      You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time
      Ms Mahmood Abbas speech was a parade of fake claims
      A partial list follows:

      1: Palestinians want peace:
      *From the PLO platform:
      “The struggle will not stop until the Zionist entity IS ELIMINATED””
      * Palestine Ambassador Abdullah in Lebanon
      “The peace talks with Israel are part of ARAB STARTEGY TO ISOLATE ISRAEL and threaten its legitimacy.”

      2: Israel is responsible to Arabs refugees.

      *Arab League call to Arabs when 7Arab armies attacked the defending Israel:
      This will be a war of extermination, a massacre which

      3: Palestinians comply to Oslo agreement;
      *Arafat in many speeches across Muslims worldwide:
      “The Oslo Agreement is a Trojan horse;
      The Palestinians will come out of the insides of the horse.
      We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a pure Palestinian state”

      4: Abas complains against the wall:
      The wall is build to protect Israeli civilians from Arabs terrorism.
      The wall was build only following endless terror against Israel civilians in busses- shop malls- streets- weddings and religious events- children on their way to schools!
      No terror- no wall!

      5: Palestine’s didn’t hade Israel partners for peace negotiation:
      *Failure of Camp David Summit
      Clinton blamed Arafat, stating:
      “I regret that Arafat missed the opportunity to bring that nation into being
      *2000- Taba negotiations Israel made unprecedented offers.
      Palestinian response was to open the deadly terror war against Israel civilians
      *2009 Israel PM Olmert proposed Abas a detailed peace plan.
      Abas promised a reply!
      He never returned to peace negotiations

      6: Gaza is unjustified attacked by Israelis:
      Hamas steps when Israel withdraws from Gaza were
      *Destroy synagogues and tech vegetable greenhouses left by Israel
      *Smuggling arms and fund suicide bombers funded by Arabs&Iran
      * More than 8000 rockets fired against Israel civilians during 6 years
      Hamas charter *
      The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims kill the Jews

      7: Unjust treatment of refugees
      A:Arabs refugees:
      * Are maintained by Arab countries as incitement hubs to divert attention for Arab huge issues and as a tool of distraction of Israel.
      * Most of them leave by obeying their leaders call to leave
      *UN$ help Arabs refugees is 4 times higher that Marshal aid to Europe
      No other refugees worldwide (approximately 100 million since WW2) received a fragment of similar help.
      Almost all refugees across the globe are solved except the Palestinians
      A: Jews refuges expelled by Arabs are part of Israel building society without UN $help.
      :1.000.000 Jews from Arab countries versus 650.000 Arab refugees
      Jewish land stolen by Arabs=57000sqkm

      Mahmoud Abbas habit is to distort the reality in line with Arabs lying to infidels doctrine called : Takyyia
      In his doctoral thesis he wrote:
      * Nazi Holocaust he called a fantastic lie.
      * The Jews killed by the Nazis were victims of a Zionist-Nazi plot.
      The same has been said in UN by Iranian president Ahmedinjad.
      Many countries walked out UN assembly

      Reply to Comment
    7. Arie

      I thought AP did a fair job of stating “Israel disputes this because…” and not presenting it as objective fact much of the time.

      Regarding peace settlements, AP is correct that the Palestinians rejected settlements, and is also correct that Netanyahu has rejected offers and a settlement freeze. Is the problem there that it’s a “rebuttal” to a subjective statement?

      Regarding occupation, Maor is correct. But when Hanan Ashrawi says the problem is “63 years of occupation,” she is not talking about the current military occupation. Somebody is being disingenuous.

      As for the Jewish connection to the land, is AP wrong to point out that Abbas was deliberate in calling it the land of Jesus and Muhammed but not mentioning Jewish connections? Is Jewish connection to the land an Israeli “talking point” with no historical accuracy?

      Reply to Comment
    8. Robert Phelps

      Great post.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Roi Maor

      Arie – I am wondering if someone would say the same thing if Netanyahu were to emphasize Jewish connection to the land, ignoring Christian and Muslim attachments? Obviously not. That is why Abbas’ omission was not “factually incorrect”, nor was it deceptive. Abbas did not imply that Jews have no connection; he emphasized his own people’s connection to the land, because they are the ones who have no control over it.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Danny Black

      There are plenty of military occupations of stateless people, Kurds, Tibetians, muslims in Xinjiang. Palestinians in the West Bank are citizens of Jordan, a status they got when Jordan was apparently not occupying them until 1967.

      Weird you say Elder is hair-splitting given the contortions you are having to go through to justify Abbas’s claims – which I will happily bet was not what he meant, rather that he simply lied.

      When did Abbas actually make a peace offer in 2008? When did Israel actually reject it?

      Reply to Comment
    11. Arie

      Roi- Fair point, except that I do think that many would and do object to attempts by Israelis/Jews to distance Christian and Muslim relations to the land.

      On the other hand, I would say that it is perhaps “factually questionable” to claim that many religious figures spent time in the land, but that’s an entirely different discussion.

      Reply to Comment
    12. The Kurds, Tibetans and Xinjiang Muslims are citizens of the countries in which they reside.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Philos

      Argh, so many hasbara trolls! Here you want to settle the matter and show that both sides are wrong. If you have access to a university library look up the following paper: “Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes”
      Basically, the Jews (well the Mizrachi ones for the most part) and the Palestinians (for the most part) are all the same bloody people! In fact there has always been a continuous “Jewish” presence in the Levant or Palestine or Eretz Yisrael from at least Josephus Flavius’ time until today. There was a rebellion of by the Jewish inhabitants (along with Samaritans and others) against the Byzantine’s in the 6th Century. The Byzantine’s won and told all the inhabitants convert or die. They converted and twenty-years later the Muslim armies invaded with the same generous offer. Obviously it should surprise anyone with a bit of a brain that Palestinians are Jews and Jews are Palestinians. I mean line them up all naked next to each other are you really going to be able to tell the difference, physically??? NO. The same kind of studies showed that the French are Germanic and the German’s are Celtic (i.e., Gauls)!!! We can only hope science will prevail one day over religion, over nationalism and over RACISM (I’ve had a couple… hic)

      Reply to Comment
    14. Israel

      Arie – I am wondering if someone would say the same thing if Netanyahu were to emphasize Jewish connection to the land, ignoring Christian and Muslim attachments? Obviously not. That is why Abbas’ omission was not “factually incorrect”, nor was it deceptive. Abbas did not imply that Jews have no connection; he emphasized his own people’s connection to the land, because they are the ones who have no control over it.”

      Quit with the bs.

      1)Don’t assume something until it happens. I’m more than confident the anti-Israel lobby would jump at it. I’m sure you would too.

      2)”he emphasized his own people’s connection to the land” – he also emphasized Christianity’s connection to the land. Is Abbas a Muslim and a Christian?
      Palestinians will have to live side by side with Israelis if they want to make peace. If they will live side by side, a Christian connection doesn’t matter – although important to say if you will mention other connections. What does matter is you recognize the other side’s connection.

      3) “because they are the ones who have no control over it.”
      I will interpret this in two ways:
      a)You believe in a Greater Palestine – ALL of Israel is occupied, Israel must surrender themselves, dissolve, and scatter themselves amongst the world so in the next 100 years there can be some pogroms and Holocaust and Dreyfuss Affair and massacres and Cossacks and blame for Bubonic Plague and blood libels.

      B) They have no control over Judea & Samaria.
      That’d be correct, except for the fact Israel has withdrawn troops from many cities in Judea & Samaria since the Oslo Accords, removed many roadblocks and checkpoints, and are developing a soldier-free checkpoint.

      But that doesn’t relate to control so much. Well, your statement would be correct, if the PA didn’t rule over almost all of Judea & Samaria Palestinians, and if many East Jerusalem Palestinians didn’t say they’d rather live under Israeli rule than Palestinian rule.

      It was a nice try though, I like it.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Danny Black

      Ok so the Palestinians are the last people occupied militarily by country that has not stripped them of a citizenship that the previous country that militarily occupied them gave them when at the time they were not claiming to be a separate people. Glad to see we didn’t have to contort ourselves to come up with a hair-splitting definition just so Abbas would not be lying.

      Of course, everyone who was listening heard that definition too. Pathetic.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Ben Israel

      The Irish in what later became the Irish Free State and then the Republic of Ireland had the vote and full citizenship in the United Kingdom YET THEY MAINTAINED THEY LIVED UNDER OCCUPATION because this citizenship was forced on them and they didn’t recognize they association with the UK. Same with the Tamils in Sri Lanka. They have the vote but they hate the association with Sri Lanka. Same with the Tibetans. Same with the Chechens in Russia.
      Then, of course, there are the stateless Kurds of Syria.
      For that matter, the Puerto Ricans are US citizens but have NO vote for President nor representation in Congress. They do have some form of autonony, just like the Palestinians. Many Puerto Ricans resent this situation. The residents of Washington DC have NO representation in Congress, and they only got the vote for President in 1960.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Ben Israel

      I should add that the Irish Catholic nationalists of Northern Ireland maintain they are STILL under occupation even though they are citizens of the UK and have the vote.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Danny Black

      PHILOS, except the Palestinians don’t claim to be converted Jews. If you read the PLO propaganda they claim to be descendents of the original Caanites, presumably because then their “connection” with the land is older. Basically their nationalism and their “narrative” is simply that of denying Zionism.

      As for the genetic studies, human beings show more intra-group variation than inter-group variation so we are all one big happy family, kumbaya… That and by usual definitions of genetic variation Homo Sapiens is a sub-species of the group that has Bonobos.
      PS On a side note, always love how anti-Israelis invert the meaning of words. Pointing out factual errors is “trolling”.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Danny Black

      BEN ISRAEL, yeah but they weren’t citizens of a previous occupying power that occupied them at a time when they were not claiming a separate identity whilst being the only people whose name begins with P in the area between the River Jordan Mediterranean Litani and Nile and whose presidents all start with the letter A. Puerto Ricans have two words in their name so OBVIOUSLY they don’t fall into this category.

      Anyone who doesn’t use the above definition is hair-splitting to make a point.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Sheikhjarrah

      Thank you for this post, Roi.

      Josef Federman of the AP has a history of fucking up fact checks. After Netanyaho’s speech in May he wrote:

      NETANYAHU: “You don’t need to send American troops to Israel. We defend ourselves.”

      THE FACTS: Israel is a leading recipient of American foreign aid, including more than $1 billion in military assistance each year.


      Why would he not look up the actual number? According to the Congressional Research Service’s “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” written by Jeremy M. Sharp, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, the Obama Administration requested $3 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Israel for the fiscal year 2011.

      That’s a pretty shitty fact check if you ask me.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Ben Israel

      Since when do American troop fight for Israel? There are American troops in Germany and other places in Europe. Do those countries defend themselves? The troops are equipped at American expense so Germany and the other NATO countries receive American aid as well. So does Egypt and Jordan. American troops fougth for Kuwait, and in effect, for Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Sheikhdoms.
      The large majority of American military aid money is spent in the US. That is why I wish the US and Israel would agree to phase out the aid, so that those jobs can be brought back to Israel (producing things like combat boots, combat rations, etc).

      Reply to Comment
    22. Stevos

      This post was painful to read. Maor seems almost desperate to prove Abbas right, but as noted extensively, the contortions and manipulations required to do so are patently obvious. Better luck next time.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Philos

      @ Danny Black, you seem to think that you are writing clearly however I don’t follow. Which words did I “invert” the meaning of? Yes that we are decedents of great apes isn’t in dispute and your points about variation are true, however, by counting the mutations on either the Y or X chromosome (or both if you’ve got the time)we can approach something called “genetic familiarity.” So I’m not sure what you were trying to prove with your remark other than to discredit my comment as “kumbuya.”
      Much like the selective fact checking this article is about you also failed to mention the consistent, persistent and detestable practice of many Zionists to totally deny the Palestinian narrative. The fact is both sides call the other foreigners and refuse to see past their superficial differences.
      And you are a hasbara troll because you sling personal insults. I am not an anti-Israeli. I may be anti-Zionist but that doesn’t make me anti-Israeli.
      Finally, the fact that all the hasbara trolls here are trying to argue that the Palestinians in the West Bank are not living under military occupation goes to show the psychological damage Zionism can cause to otherwise intelligent human beings. I swear to some god if the Zionist movement decided that the sky is in fact purple you would all be going through great lengths to prove the purpleness of the sky from theological arguments to playing with a paint palette. Anyone who says that they’re not living under military occupation has either (1) never served in the IDF, (2) never been into the West Bank or (3) in a severe, potentially psychotic, state of denial

      Reply to Comment
    24. Ben Israel

      As someone who does travel to the West Bank, I will agree with you that there is a strong Israeli military presence there, and it does interfere with the lives of the Arabs. This is because the Palestinian leadership, as promised by Arafat when he came here, decided to embark on a campaign of mass terror against Israel, thinking it would improve their bargaining position. The Palestinian public supported this, enthusiastically. The original idea of Oslo was to “build confidence” by having Arafat guarantee Israeli security, and this would lead to a removal of the Israeli security presence. The suicide bomber-terror campaign put an end to this. Thus, if the Arabs don’t like the Israeli military control, they had better look into the mirror to see who is responsible.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Danny black

      I assume english is not your mother tongue and you never learnt to speak it properly. No one has disputed the Palestinians are under military rule by Israel. However they are one of many many occupations not the only one as Abbas lied and Roi tried to mangle a definition into. The “palestinian narrative” is widely taught in Israel, as opposed to the Israel’s history which is widely denied and lied about as per Abbas’s speech.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Danny – Roi’s English is better than yours. If you can’t formulate an intelligent comment without personal (and stupid) insults, don’t comment in this forum at all.

      BTW, the Palestinian narrative is most certainly not ‘widely taught’ in Israeli schools.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Philos

      @ Danny Black. You are troll because you can’t refrain from personal insults. I would like you to point out where in the world are an officially stateless people, inhabiting a territory that officially does not belong to any state and is governed by a technically foreign government under the terms of the 4th Geneva Conventions exist in the world? We certainly have military occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan but NATO isn’t settling its people there and Iraq and Afghanistan did not cease to exist as states that can bequeath citizenship on their people. Furthermore, a relative of mine who is a NATO country military officer told me that he is envious of the IDF in its dealings with the civilian population because he said they are allowed to be so aggressive. In his own words (not verbatim) “The Israelis have it easy because they don’t give a f**k about the Palestinians. They can beat them and shoot them. In Afghanistan we have to try and persuade the people there we’re welcome. That we’re here to help.”
      Additionally, Scottish people think they’re also under English occupation but just because they think it doesn’t make it so. Your attempt at disproving that the Palestinians are the only occupied people in the world is as facetious as the claim that they are.
      @ Ben Israel, so you’re telling me that the occupation only started from 2000? Or was it from 1994? If I am not mistaken the Mishmar Ha’Gvol was created in 1980 to make the occupation easier on the IDF but according to your definition the West Bank wasn’t under military occupation until the Second Intifada. You even admit that there’s an occupation but your cognitive dissonance doesn’t allow you to admit it is a four decades old occupation. Heck the occupation has become so entrenched that the army had to create an entire regiment to handle it: Kfir. So Givati, Golani and Tsanchanim can be relived to train for war. Probably says a lot about the quality of the Kfir troops; better than the Magav but probably a lot worse than the Golani, Givati or Tsanchanim.
      Anyway, I stand vindicated that you are both quite delusional. The sky is blue not purple no matter what the Zionist Ministry of Thought has told you.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Mitchell Cohen

      Philos says, “I am not an anti-Israeli. I may be anti-Zionist but that doesn’t make me anti-Israeli.” [end of quote] Isn’t this a bit of an anomaly, considering Israel would not have come to be if it weren’t for the “dreaded Zionists” and even things that can be considered “Israeli”, rather than “Jewish” like Tel-Aviv and the Hebrew language would not have come to be save for Zionism.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Ben Israel

      What do you do, scan a couple of words I write so you can get ammunition for another attack on a political opponent? You obviously didn’t read what I wrote. I said Arafat was brought in by Oslo with the promise that Israel would draw down its security presence. Get it?

      Also Mitchell is correct..there is no Israel without Zionism. Israel without Zionism is no different than Rhodesia and can not survive. Without Zionism you are just another settler who doesn’t belong in the country. As a “progressive” you should understand this better than most people.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Danny Black

      LISA GOLDMAN, i was being kind, one cannot assume people discussing this topic are native english speakers and so may have not clearly understood what he is saying. If Philos does understand perfectly what Elder or I said then when he says “all the hasbara trolls here are trying to argue that the Palestinians in the West Bank are not living under military occupation” he is clearly lying because what both of us are clearly saying is that the Palestinians in the West Bank are not the ONLY people under military occupation. PS I was not aware that not suggesting that someone may not be born in a country where English is the national language was an insult.

      Palestinians of the West Bank are not stateless. They are Jordanian citizens, both you and Roi should know this.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Palestinians of the West Bank are most certainly NOT citizens of Jordan, Danny Black. A few are; most are not.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Philos

      Ben Israel said, “What do you do, scan a couple of words I write so you can get ammunition for another attack on a political opponent? You obviously didn’t read what I wrote. I said Arafat was brought in by Oslo with the promise that Israel would draw down its security presence. Get it?
      Also Mitchell is correct..there is no Israel without Zionism. Israel without Zionism is no different than Rhodesia and can not survive. Without Zionism you are just another settler who doesn’t belong in the country. As a “progressive” you should understand this better than most people.”
      1. Say it! Say occupation! Stop saying “presence” or the other euphemisms!
      2. Zionism has fulfilled its purpose. There is a country where the majority of people are Jews and it has a distinctly Jewish character. Like all ideologies that refuse to change to the times Zionism is becoming its undoing because it can’t recognize that its mission has been fulfilled. I am not settler. Maybe you are. Maybe because you’re an oleh you feel insecure. I was born here and I will most likely be buried here. Zehuzeh!

      Reply to Comment
    33. Mitchell Cohen

      Philos says, “Zionism has fulfilled its purpose. There is a country where the majority of people are Jews and it has a distinctly Jewish character. Like all ideologies that refuse to change to the times Zionism is becoming its undoing because it can’t recognize that its mission has been fulfilled. I am not settler. Maybe you are. Maybe because you’re an oleh you feel insecure. I was born here and I will most likely be buried here. Zehuzeh!” [End of Philos] I wonder how long Israel would remain a Jewish majority with a distinctly Jewish character if the “one staters, bi-nationals, etc.” (which, as I recall from previous posts of yours, you are) were to get their way. To those who consider Israel to have been born in sin, you are as much a “settler” as I am. I believe you said your parents were born here, but your grandparents not, so you are a fairly “recent” arrival by those who do not accept Israel’s right to exist (many of whom have their eyes on Haifa, Yafo, Lod, etc.) Nor will your being an anti-Zionist save you.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Ben Israel

      One of Zionism primary aims is “kibbutz galuyot”-ingathering of the exiles. Around half of world Jewry still lives in the exile, and Zionism will keep working to bring them home as well. Also, development of a true Jewish-Zionist culture still has a long way to go and so much still remains to be done in that area.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Ben Israel

      The “progressives” enthusiastically suspported the uprooting and dispossession of the Jews of Gush Katif..If what is being proposed to do wit the Beduin is indeed the same thing, the “progressives” will find that it gets easier and easier, and since that is what they are proposing to do with the rest of the Jews in Judea/Samaria, it might be a good idea to try out various techniques on the Beduin….get in some practice with 30,000 Beduin before the main event with 300,000 Jews.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Ben Israel

      Sorry, the last comment was meant for the thread on the Beduin land issue.

      Reply to Comment
    37. If longterm confidence can never be placed in any of the solutions or proposals put forward by the various parties seen as central to this conflict, then what is to be done?

      Having worked for many years in the medical field, I would consider a useful analogy here to be that of a person brought into hospital with major injuries sustained in a road traffic accident.
      The damage is diagnosed as severe, both internally and externally, although not as yet life-
      threatening; the patient is unconscious but in a fairly stable condition. There are, however, short periods of extreme agitation where the symptoms
      exhibited give cause for some concern. During one of these episodes, heart activity becomes very irregular and breathing difficult.
      As a response, the doctors in attendance elect to use a defibrillator as a means of restoring proper cardiac and respiratory function. This is often portrayed as a dramatic procedure, very much a last resort and, if it doesn’t work, little more can be done except to record the time of death and send the body off to the morgue.

      Well, our Middle Eastern patient has been on life support now for quite some time.
      He is not doing well. Parts of him are dying off, some more gradually than others but, overall,
      the prognosis holds out little hope of recovery. Unless some massive stimulus is administered to his system in the limited time remaining, the various ailments and complications arising from his condition will soon cause total and catastrophic collapse. This, in turn,will consign him to a vegetative state with few signs left to indicate if he is still alive.

      The stimulus required would have to be something quite remarkable, an intervention that supersedes all other demands made on a frame already dangerously overloaded and not far off the point of complete shutdown.


      Shock tactics it may be. But what of it? Just so long as it works. We have taken too many small steps in this matter and got nowhere. Time now to make a giant leap.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Ben Israel and Co., as you know, Puerto Ricans have the right to move to the U.S. and be granted full citizenship. Can Palestinians do that? Can Palestinians be citizens of Israel or travel freely in and out of Israel like Basques can in Spain and Chechens can in Russia and Kurds can in Turkey? No. There are several nations that consider themwselves under occupation because they want national independence – but all of them have at least been ENFRANCHISED by the dominant country. Palestinians are ALONE IN THE WORLD, or at least the arguably democratic world, in having neither independendence nor enfranchisement. BUT DON’T THINK ABOUT THIS!!

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    39. myron joshua

      Do i understand correctly, the claim is that international law and the Palestinians would have deemed it better had Israel annexed the occupied territories granting citizenship to its residents?

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    40. Brad Brzezinski

      It is wonderful that major news outlets are finally doing things like fact-checking. In the case of Isral it’s especially good given their decades of Palestinian-biased news stories.

      It’s no wonder that the left, so used to having the news go their way, is up in arms. Larry, Lisa etc.

      What you kids should realize is that in millennial terms, a homeland for the Jews is important – for the planet. The issue of Palestinian Arabs is far less important. This does in any way mean that the plight of those people living in refugee camps is trivial, just that the solutions should involve the Arab states primarily responsible, more than it should involve Israel. Furthermore, the need for a Palestinian state is moot because one cannot overlook the fact that between 1948 and 1967 there was no call for such a state.

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