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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

AP promotes stereotypes of fanatic settlers acting illegally

I had just noticed this - but the Balfour Street blog beat me to it.

From AP via Al Arabiya:
In a spat last week, Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights, which helps Palestinians harvest their olives in the West Bank, confronted [Erez] Ben-Saadon and accused him of using land owned by Palestinians.

Ben-Saadon said he was farming on land given to Jewish settlers by the Israeli military. He said he had no ownership papers -- but needed none.

"Our land deed is the Bible," Ben Saadon said.
This perfectly fits in with the meme of fanatic, religious settlers disregarding the law to grab land that belongs to Palestinian farmers - a meme that is so widespread as to be axiomatic among many.

Yet, Ha'aretz reported on this same incident last week - a bit differently:

Near Har Bracha, a verbal confrontation erupted yesterday between Jewish farmer Erez Ben Sa'adon and Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the head of Rabbis for Human Rights. Ascherman claimed Ben Sa'adon was harvesting olives that belonged to Palestinians from nearby Karyut. Ben Sa'adon, whose nearby vineyard had been destroyed by unidentified parties the previous night, said he had leased that plot for the past 12 years and the olives were his.

Civil Administration officials were called to resolve the dispute, and they summoned the mayor of Karyut - who admitted that the trees belonged to Ben Sa'adon.
It certainly looks like the AP reporter read the Ha'aretz story and purposefully omitted the part where Ben Sa'adon was proven to be the rightful owner of the olives, and Arik Ascherman proven wrong.

This is not an innocent mistake. This is AP being mendacious to adjust the facts to pre-determined conclusions.

(I sent messages to the author of the AP piece and to Erez Ben Saadon, asking for comment. I have yet to hear back from them.)