Guardian gets it wrong on “Jewish homes in East Jerusalem” claim (Update)

According to multiple news reports (including AP, Times of Israel and Al Jazeera), of the more than 800 Jerusalem homes recently approved, only 240 are for Jewish neighborhoods - 140 in Ramot and 100 in Har Homa and Pisgat Zeev. The rest (600) are for Palestinians in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa - a fact, of course, which undermines the narrative of the story.

The Guardian published an article today by Donald Macintyre (Israeli settlements: EU fails to act on its diplomats’ report, July 12) on a confidential report by EU Heads of Mission in Jerusalem (seen by the Guardian) which reportedly recommends that the EU should “step up efforts to halt trade” with “illegal” Jewish “settlements in occupied territory”.

Though Macintyre acknowledges that the EU has not taken steps to implement the diplomats’ proposal, he provides the following background in an effort to contextualize such ‘illegal’ settlement activity

Besides continued settlement in Arab East Jerusalem – which intensified again this month with an announcement by Binyamin Netanyahu’s government of 840 new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem and 560 in nearby Maale Adumim – the report says only 7% of all building permits in Jerusalem go to Palestinians; Palestinian neighbourhoods get less than 10% of the city budget despite comprising 37% of the population and Palestinian child poverty is 84% compared with 45% among Israeli families.

However, it is not correct that “840 new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem” have been approved.

According to multiple news reports (including AP, Times of Israel and Al Jazeera), of the more than 800 Jerusalem homes recently approved, only 240 are for Jewish neighborhoods – 140 in Ramot and 100 in Har Homa and Pisgat Zeev. The rest (600) are for Palestinians in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa – a fact, of course, which undermines the narrative of the story.

Even Al Jazeera is pretty clear on the numbers:

The scheme includes plans to build 560 new units in Ma’ale Adumim, 140 in Ramot and about 100 in Har Homa and Pisgat Zeev settlements.

Netanyahu also approved the building of 600 Palestinian homes in Beit Safafa in southern Jerusalem, which was long-delayed owing to Israeli objections.

We complained to Guardian editors about Macintyre’s error on the overall numbers – including his omission on the construction of 600 new Palestinian homes – and will update this post when we’ve received a reply.

See this UPDATE

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