Occupied Palestinian village coveted by Jewish settlers is dubbed ‘miserable’ in WaPo
Philip Weiss, MondoWeiss, Aug 2, 2016
Yesterday the WaPo published a report from Susiya, a hamlet in the occupied Hebron Hills that Israel is trying to demolish, that called Susiya a “miserable village” in the headline (and the accompanying tweet) and allowed Israeli settler advocates to suggest that Israel is trying to remove the Palestinians from “squalid tents” for their own good. “Pitiful” also made an appearance. The WaPo has since changed the headline to “ramshackle” village, but “miserable” lives on in the url. As for the word “occupied,” it appears once, deep in the story, all but erasing the most crucial fact here: this is not Israeli land under international law.
The usually helpful reporter, William Booth, seeks to be balanced about a hideously imbalanced situation:
The Palestinian residents insist they are not squatters but heirs to the land they have farmed and grazed since the Ottoman era. They say Israel wants to depopulate the area of Arabs and replace them with Jews.
“They say.” But the evidence is today overwhelming that that is exactly what Israel does with occupied land, takes as much land as it can with as few Palestinians on it as Israel can help. This is happening all over the Hebron Hills, and in many other places in the West Bank. “It’s ethnic cleansing,” a village resident says fairly high in the WaPo article, but such assertions must contend for space with bodacious views of Israeli right-wingers.
Israeli settlers in the West Bank see an insidious Palestinian encroachment onto lands the Jewish homesteaders believe were given to them by God.
The article would seem to normalize the occupation, in much the way that the Democrat Party platform does this year, it removed any reference to occupation. Or that WNYC’s Richard Hake did two weeks ago when he said that activists allege that the West Bank is occupied territory. But it’s the 50th year of occupation. Doesn’t that bear mentioning? The article repeatedly mentions “Jewish settlers,” but nowhere does it state that Jews in the West Bank can vote, and the Palestinians allegedly “squatting” in “pitiful” Susiya can’t. International opposition to the destruction of Susiya, including Pindostan describing Israel’s plans for Susiya as “very troubling” is many paragraphs down in the story. And Susiya doesn’t sound so miserable here:
James Downer, the British deputy consul general in Jerusalem, sipped coffee with the Nawaja clan. “I am very fond of Susiya,” he said … He promised the locals, “We will do what we can to oppose demolitions here and elsewhere.” Whatever it was in the past, these days Susiya has more the feeling of a protest camp than a functioning Palestinian village.
Many on twitter are describing the WaPo framing of the story as Zionist propaganda:
A retired California educator:
zionist propaganda calling village of humans “miserable” to condone the zionist inhumane behaviour of home demolishing
Yes when an occupied village is being bulldozed to make way for settlers of the right religion, it’s not going to look pretty. Imagine the WaPo visiting the segregated south, and discovering squalor in African-American communities ….