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Thursday, August 7, 2014

The New York Times Lies About Israel's Settlements

The New York Times published an article in its Monday edition called "A History of Obama-Netanyahu Tensions" which not only lied but omitted important facts about Israeli settlement-building during the Obama administration. The article spoke of Israel building new settlements in Judea and Samaria, but Israel hasn't build any new settlements since long before Obama was president.

As Camera points out, Kerry's statement was not about new settlements but adding housing units to existing communities.
Rather, Kerry's comment was in reference to tenders published for 708 new housing units in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem. As Mark Landler reported in The New York Times at the time (April 8, 2014):

While Mr. Kerry said both sides bore responsibility for “unhelpful” actions, the precipitating event, he said, was Israel’s announcement of 700 new housing units for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem.

It is worth noting that 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
The NY Times "History" ignores a highly relevant incident. In 2009 President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton broke an existing agreement with Israel by demanding Israel cease building new housing units in existing communities. While the administration claims there was never an agreement between Israel and the US about natural expansion of existing settlements, Elliot Abrams, who negotiated the agreement for the United States, said Clinton’s contention is simply not true.

Abrams explained how the deal was made between Bush 43 and Ariel Sharon, eventually released to the public and even published in the NY Times.
They were not secret, either. Four days after the President's letter, Mr. Sharon's Chief of Staff Dov Weissglas wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that "I wish to reconfirm the following understanding, which had been reached between us: 1. Restrictions on settlement growth: within the agreed principles of settlement activities, an effort will be made in the next few days to have a better definition of the construction line of settlements in Judea & Samaria."

Stories in the press also made it clear that there were indeed "agreed principles." On Aug. 21, 2004 the New York Times reported that "the Bush administration . . . now supports construction of new apartments in areas already built up in some settlements, as long as the expansion does not extend outward."

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