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« Israel Haters Demand Legal Action Against Israel | Main | Campus Corner: SAUJS HAMAS Week at Wits University »

August 10, 2009


Derece Powell

Israel Jewish citizens will continue to rationalize their actions despite the international community refusing to accept, let alone recognize, the legitacy of these actions. How can the Palestinian people survive under these conditions? The rights of Israeli Arabs are consistently ignored while the rights of Israeli Jews is upheld and given rubber stamping by a prejudice court and equally prejudicial government.

The time has long passed for the international community to take action against these violations of worldwide laws by Israeli Jews, its courts and its governments - at all levels. Stop the coddling and start slapping sanctions on Israel. The international community can start with stopping arms shipments from the US and the UK into Israel. Then it can look at trade sanctions, the removal of Israel from any international body (UN, etc.). Next, stop all Israelis from travel oustide of Israel. Only by treating Israeli Jews as they treat their Israeli Arab counterparts - isolation, resticted movement, dimished supplies - will Israeli Jews, its governments and its courts start to seriously negotiate a peace settlement.

The Blacklisted Dictator

Erasing facts from Israel eviction story
The Palestinian families evicted in East Jerusalem had failed to pay their rent – a fact omitted from British media reports

Rafael Broch, Thursday 6 August 2009 11.00 BST

Mattresses strewn across the street, a child crying, a woman shouting in despair – it was not a pretty scene in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem last Sunday, where two Palestinian families were evicted from the homes they had lived in for the last 50 years. Already a bitter pill to swallow, the sight of religious Jews immediately moving in to the properties can't have made things any easier for them.

However, things are not always what they seem and the eviction of the Hanoun and Ghawi families are an apt example of how an appetite for a certain type of story can create that story regardless of the facts. As an organisation that follows media coverage of the Middle East closely, we gathered from Sunday and Monday's reporting, such as on the BBC, in the Guardian and in the Times that the two Palestinian families were evicted because Israeli courts had found that the land belonged to Jews, not to the Palestinians living there. Cut to religiously clad Jews busting in to the newly vacated houses and the whole thing is just obvious: Israel mercilessly turfs Arabs on to the street to plant more settlers in east Jerusalem.

It turns out that this is simply not the case. In fact, there is nothing simple about this case at all. There is a long legal history pertaining to the dispute between 28 Arab families and Jewish organisations over the ownership of the land in question. However, one crucial point was omitted from all reporting from the British sources named above (bar a small amendment to the BBC article made yesterday following a communication from us): the two Arab families evicted on Sunday were evicted for failing to pay rent in violation of the terms of their tenancy agreements. The Arab families who have kept to the terms of their tenancy agreement have not been evicted.

It is true that the non-payment of rent is tied up with the dispute over who owns the land, but it is still intensely relevant to the story. It's all very well for the Guardian's Middle East editor, Ian Black, to describe the evictions as "the ugly face of ethnic cleansing" or for Cif contributor Matt Kennard to claim that they represent "a process of racial purification". But without informing readers that the only people being evicted are the ones who refused to pay rent to the landlords they recognised decades ago, they paint a distorted picture.

As a story that has been widely reported and stirs deep emotions, it is vital that crucial facts are not erased from the narrative. There can be no doubt that there are clearly issues of inequality in Jerusalem which need to be addressed but that is no excuse for British journalists and commentators to misrepresent this particular story. Liberal Israeli daily Ha'aretz saw fit to mention the non-payment of rent element in its reporting, as did the Jerusalem Post.

This information was public. Furthermore, Ir Amim, the Israeli organisation supporting the position of the evicted families, is straight about the fact that the families are being evicted for not paying rent; a representative stated: "The legal issues surrounding the Sheikh Jarrah evictions are quite complex. In short, the Israeli courts have accepted the settlers' claim of ownership over the property, but recognised the Palestinian residents to be protected tenants. Some of the 28 families continued to pay the rent, but some did not accept the court's ruling and therefore did not pay the rent. Against those, the court issued eviction orders."

So why the collective exclusion of this key fact from British reporting?


Derece, could you please provide examples of how Israeli Arabs are treated differently. I happen to work with a few and from my conversations with them they are treated as all Israeli citizens are. But perhaps you are in possession of some information that they are not.

Perhaps it is the "Palestinians" you are reffering to in your claims. I do hope you were aware of the difference, if not your comments are those of an ignorant fool and we'll take no further notice, please let me know. But assuming you did know and simply confused the issue. Yes, Palestinians are subject to certain restrictions. Those restrictions are directly and only related to preventing them from killing Israeli citizens.

I ask you the same question I ask every anti Israeli policy blogger that comes to this site. I have yet to receive even a single answer.
The question is this:
What do you want Israel to do?
To answer you are not allowed to suggest anything already tried and failed. You are also not allowed to suggest anything that will result in the destruction of Israel. If your position is that of DZ and others - namely an end to Israel and a one state Palestinian state, then you need to explain how this is just.
I will remind you of previous failed Israeli attempts at peace.
Oslo - we gave them weapons, a police force and self government in 80% of the west bank
withdrawing from arab populated lands - namely Gaza and northern samaria, as well as Hevron.
In 2000 Barak offered 97% of west bank, compensation of the other 3% from pre-1967 Israel, a state and a divided Jerusalem. The offer was rejected and the intifada started within a week.

I loom forward to your response.

Mike, I love lefties. Anyone who believes the Israeli supreme court is unbiased has to be a lefty. Thats because the lefts definition of unbiased is does what we want, and the lefts definition of free speech is - as long as you're saying liberal things. I think I would feel safer walking around a Paris neighbourhood than the Israeli supreme court with a kippa on my head.

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