An op-ed in The Telegraph by Anthony Harwood (“Israel’s position on Ukraine spells disaster for the West”, March 14), included the following, in the context of ongoing mediation efforts by Naftali Bennett in hopes of achieving a ceasefire after three weeks of conflict following the Russian invasion:
It isn’t clear where this shuttle diplomacy has led, but rumours suggest that the Israeli prime minister has leant more towards the Putin line, with one report saying he encouraged serious concessions on the Ukrainian side.
However, as anyone paying attention would know, that report, based on anonymous sources, was debunked three days ago, as Reuters and other outlets made clear at the time, noting that officials from both countries emphatically denied the story.
Bennett’s office said the reports were completely untrue, as did Mykhailo Podoliak, a top advisor to Ukrainian President Zelensky, who tweeted the following:
PM of 🇮🇱 @naftalibennett, just as other conditional intermediary countries, does NOT offer Ukraine to agree to any demands of the Russian Federation. This is impossible for military & political reasons. On the contrary, Israel urges Russia to assess the events more adequately.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) March 12, 2022
Just yesterday, Zelensky’s chief of staff lauded Israeli mediation efforts.
🇮🇱 undertook the difficult but noble mission of mediating the search for peace and ending Russia's aggression against 🇺🇦. We also have an intensive dialogue with it on its participation in humanitarian issues.
— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) March 14, 2022
Zelensky himself said he was “generally positive” about Bennett’s mediation efforts and that he wants Jerusalem to host negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.
So, the Telegraph contributor promoted a one-day story based on a claim by anonymous officials, whilst ignoring all the subsequent evidence to the contrary in order to advance his desired narrative that Jerusalem was, as he wrote in the op-ed, “doing Moscow’s bidding”.
We’ve complained to Telegraph editors asking for a correction.