4 egregious errors in Sky News report on Bethlehem

Here’s the Dec. 24th Sky News report about Bethlehem by their Mid-East correspondent Mark Stone:

Here are some quick takes on the most egregiously misleading claims in the video segment:

1. Stone claims that the Israeli fence separates “Israeli JEWS from Palestinian Muslims and Christians”.

However, as we pointed out in a tweet to the journalist, this is extremely misleading, ignoring the fact that nearly 25% of Israelis are non-Jews. The fence isn’t about religious separation. It’s about a sovereign state preventing terrorists who aren’t citizens or residents of that state from killing civilians.  The claim, by design or not, serves to buttress what Stone says is the Palestinian view: the smear that the ‘wall’ is representative of Israeli “apartheid”

2.  Stone fails to challenge Suhail Khalilieh, a Palestinian activist from the Applied research Institute – Jerusalem, who claims the security “barrier” is a “barrier to peace”. 

This is an inversion of reality, one that conflates cause (suicide attacks that murdered scores of Israelis in the early 2000s) with effect (the Israeli construction of a security fence to prevent such deadly attacks.)  Indeed, there is no real recognition in the entire report of Palestinian responsibility for the barrier, such as the suicide bombers and PA leaders who incited and organised such attacks.

3. Stone also fails to challenge another Palestinian who says Bethlehem is “surrounded on all sides” by the settlements.

Yet, as our CAMERA colleague demonstrated recently, a Peace Now map (below) contradicts this erroneous claim:  As you can see, on the south east, there are the settlements (solid pinks blocks) of Tekoa, Nokdim and Sde Bar. But, to the north and west of this block of settlements there are significant stretches with no barrier and no settlements.

4. Also unchallenged by Stone is Khalilieh’s claim that it is merely a “biblical theory” that Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) was historically Jewish land.  Put simply, despite the constant drumbeat of Palestinian propaganda to the contrary, there is no historical debate whatsoever regarding Jews’ historical connection to, and presence in, the land of Israel.

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