A Guardian picture essay, (‘It’s 2022 and we live in caves’: herders besieged by settlers on West Bank but still clinging to hope, July 27), by Manal Massalha, includes a significant inaccuracy in the second paragraph:
Masafer Yatta is home to 1,144 people, half of them children. As part of the region’s larger Palestinian pastoralist community, the herders have lived in caves here and farmed for generations, livelihoods that rely on free and unhindered access to pasture and water.
As we noted in a previous post, refuting an error-ridden Guardian article on issue, in May, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously, that the Palestinian petitioners of Masafer Yatta didn’t prove that they lived in the villages as permanent residents ( “for generations”) before the army declared it a training zone in the early 1980s. It found that the petitioners only occasionally entered the area during seasonal migration and that the villages were only inhabited by Palestinians permanently since the 1990s.
The Guardian contributor again misleads readers when, in the context of suggesting that Israeli settlers attack Palestinians in the greater Masafer Yatta area with impunity, she recounts one episode that occurred last September in which nine Palestinians were injured in violence perpetrated by Jews from nearby communities. However, omitted is the fact that three of the attackers were arrested, with two remaining in custody, and that Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid condemned the attacks as an act of “terrorism”.
Later, the journalist writes the following about illegal West Bank outposts:
“Although outposts are not officially recognised, the government provides settlers there with security, roads, water, electricity and financial subsidies.
In fact, the Knesset voted to rejects bills over the past two years that would have connected such illegal outposts to the national water and electricity grids. We also reached out to a spokesperson for Binyamin Regional Council head Israel Ganz, who told us that there are, in fact, no such government subsidies provided to illegal outposts by the government.
Once again, the Guardian has published an article promoting the Palestinian cause without acknowledging facts and nuances about the issues that undermine the desired narrative.