Standard Mainstream Media Lies About Israeli Occupation

by Dec 25, 2012Foreign Policy0 comments

Earlier this month, a New York Times article contained the following sentence (emphasis added): After the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly last week to upgrade the status of the Palestinians at the United Nations, Israel announced plans for 3,000 more housing units in contested areas of East Jerusalem and around the West Bank. A Times editorial the same day […]

Earlier this month, a New York Times article contained the following sentence (emphasis added):

After the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly last week to upgrade the status of the Palestinians at the United Nations, Israel announced plans for 3,000 more housing units in contested areas of East Jerusalem and around the West Bank.

Times editorial the same day stated:

Instead of looking for ways to halt a downward spiral, Mr. Netanyahu on Monday defiantly dug in on his plans to build 3,000 more housing units in contested areas East Jerusalem and in the West Bank, and to continue planning a development in the most contentious area known as E1.

A couple days later, another Times article asserted:

Frustration with Israel has only grown in Europe since the announcement that the government had approved 3,000 more units of housing in contested areas of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and was resuming planning and zoning work in the contentious area known as E1.

This is not just atrocious journalism. It amounts to the Times outright lying to readers. The fact of the matter is that none of the West Bank is “contested” territory, including East Jerusalem. I’ve written on this perpetual mainstream media lie before. The truth is that Israel is under international law the “Occupying Power” in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which is, as the International Court of Justice has affirmed, “occupied Palestinian territory”. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem is, under international law, “illegal, null, and void”, as numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions have noted, including the following:

  • Resolution 252 (May 1968)
  • Resolution 267 (July 1969)
  • Resolution 271 (September 1969)
  • Resolution 298 (September 1971)
  • Resolution 446 (March 1979)
  • Resolution 452 (July 1979)
  • Resolution 465 (March 1980)
  • Resolution 471 (June 1980)
  • Resolution 476 (June 1980)
  • Resolution 478 (August 1980)
  • Resolution 592 (December 1986)
  • Resolution 605 (Decmeber 1987)
  • Resolution 607 (January 1988)
  • Resolution 636 (July 1989)
  • Resolution 694 (May 1991)
  • Resolution 726 (January 1992)
  • Resolution 799 (December 1992)

Israel’s colonization (more commonly referred to as “settlement”) of Palestinian territory is illegal under international law, a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention to which Israel is a party, and in violation of Israel’s obligations as a member of the U.N. and signatory to the U.N. Charter.

And these facts are completely uncontroversial. There isn’t a nation on planet Earth that rejects this international consensus apart from Israel itself.

But you would never know that from reading American mainstream media accounts of events in the region. Take also the Golan Heights. Here’s a typical example from the Times early this year, reported under the headline “Israel, Expecting Syrian Collapse, Braces for Refugees”:

Israel, Expecting Syrian Collapse, Braces for Refugees


JERUSALEM — Israel’s military chief said on Tuesday that the army was preparing for a potential influx of refugees into the Golan Heights from Syria with the demise of the government of President Bashar al-Assad, which he said was inevitable.

Ah, so Israel was preparing for an influx of refugees into Israeli territory, the Israeli Golan Heights, “from Syria”, right? Not so fast…:

Addressing a closed meeting of the Israeli Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the chief, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, said that Israel was preparing to absorb the refugees in a buffer zone between Syria and the Golan, a strategic area that Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 war, and which remains an area of disputed sovereignty.

Ah, so the Golan Heights is “disputed”, right? The Washington Post, like the Times, would also have you believe that. From a Post article last month:

Israel fires at Syria after stray mortar strikes army post

JERUSALEM — The upheaval in Syria drew a military response from Israel on Sunday when its forces fired a guided antitank missile near a Syrian mortar battery after a stray shell from fighting between Syrian troops and rebels hit an Israeli army post in the Golan Heights, military officials said.

The missile firing into Syria, which the army called a “warning,” signaled a more active Israeli posture toward the Syrian conflict after several recent incidents in which errant munitions have fallen in Israeli-held territory.

Israeli officials have watched with growing concern as the fighting in Syria has spread to areas near the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed by Israel.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the firing was “a signal to the Syrians that we will not tolerate more firing into our territory,” and he warned that “additional firing into Israeli territory will provoke a harsher response and exact a price from Syria.”

So the Post refers to the Golan as “Israeli-held territory” and states that it was “annexed by Israel”, which would lead any reader who didn’t know any better to think that it was now part of Israel. This impression is reinforced when the Post quotes a senior Israeli official referring to it as “Israeli territory”, and then does not correct that statement for readers, as it has a responsibility to do, by informing them that the Golan Heights is occupied Syrian territory. Israel’s settlements in the Golan, as in the occupied Palestinian territories, is illegal. There is nothing in that article correctly informing readers as to its actual status under international law.

Just a month ago, for example, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution by a vote of 110 in favor to 6 against (the U.S. and a few of its lackeys and colony states, along with Israel) that read in part as follows:

Reaffirming the fundamental principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations….

Deeply concerned that Israel has not withdrawn from the Syrian Golan, which has been under occupation since 1967, contrary to the relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions,

Stressing the illegality of the Israeli settlement construction and other activities in the occupied Syrian Golan since 1967….

1. Declares that Israel has failed so far to comply with Security Council resolution 497 (1981)….

6. Demands once more that Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967 in implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions….

U.N. Security Council Resolution 497 (1981) stated:

Reaffirming that the acquisition of territory by force is inadmissible, in accordance with the United Nations Charter, the principles of international law, and relevant Security Council resolutions,

1. Decides that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect;

2. Demands that Israel, the occupying Power, should rescind forthwith its decision;

3. Determines that all the provisions of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 continue to apply to the Syrian territory occupied by Israel since June 1967;

The General Assembly just last week passed another resolution again reiterating that the Golan Heights is occupied Syrian territory, 170 in favor to 7 against (the U.S. and its serfs, along with Israel).

U.S. media reporting is propaganda, plain and simple. By misleading readers to conclude that Arab lands are either a part of Israel or that Israel has some kind of legitimate claim to that land, it serves to manufacture readers’ consent for the U.S. policy of supporting Israel in its ongoing occupation of Arab land and illegal annexation and colonization in those territories.

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About Jeremy R. Hammond

About Jeremy R. Hammond

I am an independent journalist, political analyst, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, book author, and writing coach.

My writings empower readers with the knowledge they need to see through state propaganda intended to manufacture their consent for criminal government policies.

By recognizing when we are being lied to and why, we can fight effectively for liberty, peace, and justice, in order to create a better world for ourselves, our children, and future generations of humanity.

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