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Thursday, May 15, 2014

David Ignatius, "Why the Mideast peace process is in tatters": A Flagrant Falsehood

How low can David Ignatius go?

In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Why the Mideast peace process is in tatters" (, Ignatius declares (my emphasis in red):

"The issue of Israeli settlements humiliated the Palestinian negotiators and poisoned the talks, according to statements by U.S. negotiators. When Israel announced 700 new settlements in early April, before the April 29 deadline for the talks, 'Poof, that was sort of the moment,' Kerry told a Senate panel. Warned Indyk at a gathering of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 'Rampant settlement activity — especially in the midst of negotiations — doesn’t just undermine Palestinian trust in the purpose of the negotiations; it can undermine Israel’s Jewish future.'"

Israel "announced 700 new settlements in early April"? Oh really? As the basis for his contention, Ignatius links to a Haaretz article entitled "While Kerry tries to clinch deal, Israel issues 700 tenders beyond Green Line" ( by Nir Hasson and Barak Ravid, which informs us (my emphasis in red):

"The Israel Lands Authority published a tender for 708 residential units in Gilo on Tuesday, just hours after reports that a deal with the U.S. on a settlement freeze for spy Jonathan Pollard's release was close to being sealed."

Yes, there is an enormous difference between "settlements" and "residential units," i.e. apartments.

Moreover, as observed by The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), (

"The 708 housing units in question are all located in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, and Palestinians do not claim Gilo should be part of their future state. Although the Jerusalem neighborhood is located over the Green Line, in previous rounds of negotiations, such as in Camp David, and again in the 2008 Olmert talks, it was never under consideration to transfer Gilo to the Palestinian Authority."

As to the Kerry/Indyk contention, parroted by Ignatius, that "Israeli settlements humiliated the Palestinian negotiators and poisoned the talks," Elliott Abrams and Uri Sadot observed by in a recent Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Israel gets no credit from Obama for a year of moderate settlement construction" (

"Israel built 2,534 housing units last year in the West Bank. Of these, about a quarter (694) were in two major blocs near Jerusalem, Giv’at Ze’ev and Betar Illit, and 537 were in two other major blocs, Modiin Illit and Ma’ale Adumim, also near Jerusalem. These four, which will remain part of Israel, account for half of last year’s construction. They are not isolated outposts but instead are towns with populations in the tens of thousands, near the Green Line, as the 1949 armistice line and 1967 border are known.

The critical figure to monitor is the number of Israeli houses built outside such blocs in areas intended for the future state of Palestine. What the CBS data tell us on that question is that only 908 units were built last year in Israeli townships of 10,000 residents or fewer. And most of those units were built in settlement towns that are part of the major blocs. Units built in areas that would become part of Palestine number in the hundreds — and likely in the low hundreds. Given that about 90,000 Israelis live in the West Bank outside the blocs, that is approximately the rate of natural growth. So much for [President Obama's] claim of 'aggressive construction.'"

Will Ignatius issue any sort of retraction? Let's wait and see.

[Yes, WaPo issued a correction: "An earlier version of this column incorrectly reported that Israel announced 700 new settlements in April. Israel announced 700 new settlement apartments last month. The following version has been updated."]

1 comment:

  1. "Will Ignatius issue any sort of retraction?"
    No, he won't. When there is no conscience, everything is possible. He lives with the greatest good in mind (his own status, wealth, comfort, pure antisemitic joy of attacking Jews, etc.) and such little things as truth and justice can't be in the way.