Chris McGreal lies about Israeli building freeze

Chris McGreal’s latest Guardian report is illustrated with a photo recycled from five days ago, in David Wearing’s one-state proposition, ‘A two-state solution is the practical route for Israel and Palestine‘, but, oddly, the photo was used by the Guardian at least as far back as 2007.

Chris McGreal, who has proven himself hostile to Israel, it’s prime minister, and Jewish supporters of the state, published the following post-election analysis, Obama’s in-tray – Israel/Palestine, Nov. 7.

(The caption for the photo, which has little to do with McGreals’s report, curiously uses language evoking the Guardian’s narrative on the ‘Palestine Papers’ series, which contextualized thousands of documents in a manner suggesting that Palestinians were too week and conciliatory during negotiations with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert in 2008.)

McGreal, whose characterization of the US President’s in a previous report, as engaging in slavish” support for Israelwas deemed inappropriate, and arguably antisemitic, by Guardian editors, and removed, argues in his Nov. 7 report that a newly re-elected President Obama likely has more leverage over Israel’s Prime Minister on the Palestinian issue.

However, McGreal makes a claim during the course of his report that is simply a lie, when he writes the following:

“Obama sought to pressure the Israeli prime minister to halt Jewish settlement expansion in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, at their first meeting in the spring of 2009. Netanyahu not only resisted but humiliated the president by publicly lecturing him about Jewish history.”

However, Bibi’s 10-month freeze on new construction in the West Bank, declared in Nov. 2009, was reported by the Guardian (here, here  and here).

Bibi did resist Obama’s request to extend the freeze another 10 months, but reading McGreal’s report you’d think that Bibi resisted and didn’t in fact implement the original freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank.

McGreal’s report is extremely misleading and we’d recommend contacting McGreal and the Guardian’s readers’ editor  to seek a correction.

Here’s McGreal’s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/ChrisMcGreal

Here’s the email address for Chris Elliott, the Guardian’s Readers’ Editor: reader@guardian.co.uk

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