from Pressure Points and Middle East Program

Accuracy, Settlements, and The New York Times

November 7, 2015

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In an editorial on November 6th about Israeli-US. relations, The New York Times states as fact something that is simply false: "new settlements have been pursued so aggressively by Mr. Netanyahu that the land available for a Palestinian state may already be foreclosed."

Secretary of State Kerry has made similar statements recently, and it is quite remarkable that such a fact question can be gotten so wrong. First, the term "new settlements" has a meaning: it does not mean expansion of existing settlements, nor the creation of a hilltop outpost of a couple of trailers. There has simply not been an aggressive creation of new settlements under Mr. Netanyahu, and in fact there have been close to zero new settlements. Second, there has not even been an aggressive expansion of "old" or existing settlements. Settler populations have grown steadily, on both sides of the security fence, but the Netanyahu government has very clearly restrained that growth. Settler protests, and the fact that many settlers vote for parties other than Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud, attest to this, but more significantly so do the statistics released annually by the government of Israel. Consulting those statistical reports is apparently beyond the capacity of the Times.

Those who wish to oppose or criticize any growth in population in the settlements have reason to complain, but the claim that new settlements are quickly gobbling up all the land in the West Bank is a fantasy. It is false. The "peace map" or "Google Earth map" of the West Bank shows very little change during the Netanyahu years. It should not be too much to ask for accuracy on such points when The New York Times writes yet another of its endless and dreary attacks on the government of Israel.

 

 

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