Jews build homes in Israel: Harriet Sherwood and the political orthodoxy of the Guardian Left

Harriet Sherwood’s report, Israel go-ahead for West Bank settler homes dents peace hopes, represents an exquisite example of how clichés and anti-Zionist tropes have taken the place of objective analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Sherwood opens her report:

The Israeli government has authorised the construction of 277 homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, a move that will diminish the prospects for a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.

Israel is determined to annex such a large settlement, but the Palestinians and many in the international community argue that it would cut the West Bank nearly in two, making a contiguous Palestinian state almost impossible.

But, this is just unimaginably uniformed or intentionally misleading, as the following map – which represents the offer made to the Palestinians by Israeli PM Ehud Olmert in 2008 – indicates.

The boundaries of the proposed map, which we posted previously, doesn’t at all cut the proposed Palestinian state in two and is clearly contiguous. (Red arrow points to Ariel)

Here’s a close up of Ariel, arrow in red:

In fact, such a two-state solution would, by Sherwood’s logic, had cut Israel in two, insofar as Israel’s narrowest point (arrow in red) would be far narrower than the length between even the expanded region of Ariel and the eastern end of the Palestinian border.

In fact, the original UN partition plan of 1947 completely cut Israel in two – a plan which Israel still accepted but the Arabs rejected.

The fact is that an additional 227 homes in Ariel aren’t even remotely injurious to the prospects of a two-state solution.

A few clicks on Google and Harriet Sherwood could have reached the same conclusion.

But, when you’re ideologically conditioned to see Jewish homes across the quite arbitrary Green Line as an “impediment to peace”, rather than engaging in a sober analysis of the particular territorial issues at play, the conclusions that Sherwood reaches are simply inevitable – and represents the absurdity of Guardian Left political orthodoxy parading as unconventional wisdom.

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