Telegraph gets it wrong on ‘stolen Palestinian land’

Cohav Hashachar

Yesterday we posted about a Telegraph article (“Benjamin Netanyahu agrees to legalise illegal West Bank outposts in coalition talks”, Nov. 21), noting that it devoted only one sentence, eleven paragraphs down, to last week’s deadly terror attack in Ariel.

However, there was also something in the substance of the article itself that needs refuting.

Outposts are small communities of Jewish settlers built on land taken from Palestinians in the West Bank and are illegal under Israeli and international law.

Settlements, which are larger and also built on land taken from Palestinians, are supported by the Israeli government, but widely considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this

However, this blanked assertion, by the Telegraph’s Middle East correspondent James Rothwell, that the settlements are all built on Palestinian land hasn’t even been alleged by even the most stridently anti-settlement organisations.  Peace Now, for instance,has only claimed that “private Palestinian land accounts for 32% of land used for settlements”.

But, as CAMERA demonstrated in in-depth analyses, even that number is based on irredeemably flawed methodology, which counted as “privately owned Palestinian land” any land which “Palestinians claimed” they owned, ignoring judgments by Israeli courts rejecting such ownership claims.

The majority of the land that Peace Now labels “private Palestinian land”, CAMERA subsequent noted, was “uninhabited and uncultivated waste land in the public domain owned by the state, or state land“, and some settlements, such as the communities of Gush Etzion, was built on Jewish owned land.

Another NGO which campaigns against settlements, B’tselemclaimed in 2009 that “21% of the settlements’ built-up areas lies on land that Israel recognizes as private Palestinian land”.

Any way you parse it, literally nobody claims that all or even the majority of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria is built on land “taken from Palestinians”, and we’ve complained to Telegraph editors asking for a correction.

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