US Guardian and the UK Guardian – 2 blogs separated by a ‘unit-ary’ language

A guest post by AKUS

Do you notice slight differences in the header concerning Israel between the US version and the UK version below (see arrow)?

new

Yes – the US version suggests that Israel will build one thousand two hundred new settlements (on the West Bank).

A more rational editor in the UK, apparently realizing that even the Netanyahu’s government would be hard put to cram 1,200 new settlements into the West Bank, chose instead to use an almost equally misleading term of “settlement units” (aka – “apartments”).

In the body of the articles, the text is the same – initially referring to “settlement units” and then the more accurate term, “apartments”:

aptsThe error in the US header and the ambiguity in the text of the article indicate Guardian group-think about Israel’s so-called “settlement building” – a narrative which ignores the fact that there has not been a new settlement of any significance in the last four  years, other than a couple of swiftly removed caravan or tent efforts.

The idea of 1,200 new settlements (that is, 1200 entirely new communities/towns across the green line) seems quite feasible to such writers and editors, indicating also that they don’t know too much about the size or geography of the West bank.  Thus, their decision to characterize any home built for Israelis in the West Bank not as “apartments” but, rather, by using a new term in alignment with their broader view – a “settlement unit”.

Also, note the subtle difference in the description of the same issue by Harriet Sherwood in her Christmas Day article ‘Bethlehem celebrates first Christmas since UN recognition of Palestine (in which she manages, by the way,  to totally overlook the large presence of Palestinian Authority police in Bethlehem, as reported here yesterday by Judy Lash-Balint):

unit

It’s possible that Sherwood, who seems to be gradually gaining insight into what makes Israel tick – an understanding, it seems, that accelerated markedly after a couple of rockets landed near Jerusalem, where she is based – actually acknowledges that potential occupants of these “settlement units” are just people for whom homes are being built, not cartoon characters drawn by the Guardian’s Steve Bell who live in “settlement units”.

If Palestinian leaders refuse to sit down and work with the Israelis in good faith to reach an agreed set of borders between Israel and a putative Palestinian State, Israel is giving notice that it will not sit and wait for the phone to ring.

Calling apartments Israel builds (while the PA refuses to negotiate any borders) “settlement units” will not make the apartments any less home to more and more Israelis, as Sherwood, at least and possibly alone among Guardian staff, may now understand.  

But when will the Palestinian Authority get the message?

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