On the Israel page of the Guardian you’ll find one of their interactive maps, titled “Changing map of Israel and the Palestinian territories“, which represents another example of a media institution which accepts the Palestinian narrative of the conflict at face value.
Here’s the first image:
When you read the text you’ll note a few facts which, for some reason, are missing, such as the fact that the Zionist leadership accepted partition and the Arabs rejected it.
Even more dishonest is the passage “war broke out”.
No, war didn’t suddenly “break out” but, rather, on the day Israel declared independence they were attacked by six Arab armies – Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Transjordan, and Egypt – with the explicit aim of destroying the nascent Jewish state.
Also, note the legend at the bottom of the map.
There’s a color marking the Green Line, as well as one marking “Israeli settlements”, (both of which we’ll see in future maps), and a color for “Palestinian areas”. Yet, there’s no color which notes Jewish/Israeli areas. The color which marks Israeli land is merely noted as “UN partition plan.”
Again, read the text and note one glaring omission. While Israel, following the war, “consolidated control” over a larger part of land originally partitioned by the UN, there’s no mention of who, precisely, annexed the remaining territory: Egypt, in Gaza, and Jordan, in the West Bank and “East” Jerusalem – an occupation which would last for 18 years. (Also, note that the Gaza territory, occupied by Egypt in the aftermath of the war, is completely absent in the Guardian map)
Again, there’s a clear effort to avoid assigning causation for the Six Day War.
So, here’s a brief history.
As early as 1965, Syrian bombardment and terrorist attacks against Israel intensified, and Nasser’s rhetoric became increasingly bellicose. In 1965, he announced:
“We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand; we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood.”
Again, a few months later, Nasser expressed the Arabs’ aspiration:
“the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the state of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel.”
On May 15, 1967, Egyptian troops began moving into the Sinai and massing near the Israeli border. By May 18, Syrian troops were prepared for battle along the Golan Heights.
Nasser then ordered the UN Emergency Force (UNEF), stationed in the Sinai since 1956 as a buffer between Israeli and Egyptian forces after the Sinai Campaign, to withdraw on May 16.
“As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel. We shall exercise patience no more. We shall not complain any more to the UN about Israel. The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.”
On May 22, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to all Israeli shipping and all ships bound for Eilat. This blockade cut off Israel’s only supply route with Asia and stopped the flow of oil from its main supplier, Iran.
Nasser threatened Israel almost daily. “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight..” he said on May 27. The following day, he added:
“We will not accept any…coexistence with Israel…Today the issue is not the establishment of peace between the Arab states and Israel….The war with Israel is in effect since 1948.
The Arab rhetoric was matched by the mobilization of Arab forces.
By June 4, Iraq joined the military alliance which by then included Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Kuwait, Algeria and Sudan.
Approximately 465,000 troops, more than 2,800 tanks, and 800 aircraft ringed Israel – armed largely by the Soviet Union.
On June 5th, Israel, facing the prospect of a massive Arab invasion on several fronts, decided to act, and launched an aerial assault on enemy planes on the ground which was so successful that, by the end of the first day, nearly the entire Egyptian and Jordanian air forces, and half the Syrians’, had been destroyed.
The subsequent tank and infantry battles were equally successful, and on June 10th, with IDF forces in a position to march on Cairo, Damascus, and Amman, Israel accepted calls by the UN and the U.S. for a ceasefire.
In Six Days of War, Israel thwarted Arab designs to wipe Israel off the map – a bit of context the Guardian chose not to provide.
Note here that the Guardian decided to jump to 1978, only mentioning in passing the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in which, again, largely Soviet armed Arab armies of Egypt and Syria (as well as Lybia, Iraq, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan) launched a surprise attack on the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Israel finally prevailed, but the nation was caught so off guard that during the first few days of the conflict, with Arab forces advancing on southern and northern fronts, the situation looked so grim that Defense Minister Moshe Dayan reportedly feared Israel’s complete defeat.
This is truly remarkable. An Intifada “erupted”. There’s no mention of the more than 1,000 Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists during the Intifada, which necessitated the construction of a security fence in first place. Note also, how the barrier is characterized as “partly” following 1949 borders, while, in fact, only 7% of the fence is beyond 1949 boundaries. Finally, the Guardian chose not to note the dramatic decrease in terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli civilians as a result of the security barrier.
So, from late 2000 to 2011, nothing of significance occurred.
There’s no mention of the contiguous Palestinian state (which included 97% of the West Bank, 100% of Gaza, and East Jerusalem), offered by Israeli PM Ehud Barak, and rejected by Arafat.
There’s no mention of Israel’s withdrawal from S. Lebanon in 2000, and Hezbollah’s subsequent ascendancy, nor the Iranian backed terrorist groups’ firing of thousands of rockets into northern Israeli towns, necessitating the 2nd Lebanon War.
There’s no mention of Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, and the subsequent take over of the territory by Hamas.
And, there’s no mention of Israeli PM Ehud Olmert’s offer to the Palestinians in 2008, which was even more generous than Barak’s offer in 2000, which Mahmoud Abbas rejected.
The distortions contained in this interactive map are extraordinary, and truly could have been written by the Palestinian ministry of information.
As we’ve continually argued, whatever your political persuasion regarding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the Guardian does not report the news in any serious sense of the word.
The Guardian, plain and simple, serves as political advocates for the Palestinian cause.
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