Sources of information about the Arab-Israeli conflict (2) – RTL Television and The Guardian about road 443 in Israel

This is a cross-post from Missing Peace

The Guardian in England presented an article by Rachel Shabi titled “Israel’s Apartheid Road”.

Once again the Guardian proved to be obsessed with the apartheid comparison. Shabi succeeded in twisting the facts in order to reach the inevitable conclusion that the opening of the road to Palestinians is in fact a continuation of – in her words- “segregationist policy” by Israel.

Amazingly, Dutch reporter Conny Mus of RTL 4 Television managed to scoop the Guardian this time. In a report that was broadcasted on Dutch television at May 5 he resorted to outright lies about the situation on road 443. Where Shabi defended the murders of innocent Israeli citizens on road 443, Mus didn’t even bother to mention that as the reason for the closure of the road eight years ago.

He presented the closure as an ordinary measure to punish the Palestinians.

Mus, who holds the prestigious position of Chairman of the Foreign Press Agency is relatively unknown in Israel. Over time, he has become increasingly hostile to Israel in his reports.

In this report about road 443 however, he crossed all lines and proved he is unfit to bear the title of journalist let alone to be the chairman of the FPA.

The attacks on road 443

Road 443 which only partly cuts through the West Bank has been closed to Palestinian cars from 2002. This happened after six Israeli citizens had been murdered in their cars by Palestinian terrorists, who fled to Ramallah.

  • December 22 2000 Eli Cohen (30) was murdered on road 443
  • January 15 2001 Yoella Chen (47) was shot at and killed at a gas station next to road 443
  • July 26 2001 Ronen Landau (17) was critically wounded and died later.
  • August 25 2001 Doron Sueri, Sharon and Yaniv Ben-Shalom were killed in a hail of bullets, their two baby daughters were wounded but survived the attack.

The closure of the road to Palestinian cars stopped the murders, but not the attacks. Even after the High Court decision to open the road, the attacks continued.

  • December 29 2009 an explosive device was found and neutralized next to the road
  • January 13 2010 An Israeli citizen had to be hospitalized after his car was stoned
  • March 2 2010 an IDF post next to Beit Ur a- Tahta on road 443 was shot at.
  • March 13 2010 a Molotov cocktail was thrown at an Israeli car wounding a 9 month old Israeli baby.
  • May 17 and May 20 2010 Israeli drivers were stoned in their cars next to Beit Sira

Travel time to Ramallah

After the closure Israel built so called “fabric of life” roads connecting the Palestinian villages in the area with Ramallah. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported on December 29 2009 about the High court decision in which the Palestinian Hassan Mafarjeh, the mayor of Beit Liqya village near the highway, said the trip to the main city in the area, Ramallah, took an hour on the dirt roads and 30 minutes on the alternate road. Using the highway would cut that to just 15 minutes, he said. A Missing Peace team that investigated the RTL and Guardian reports spoke to two Palestinian taxi drivers from the village Beit Ur a-Tahta. Both confirmed that the travel time to Ramallah was 40 minutes from Beit Ur a-Tahta. They took the MP team to Beit Sira which is next to Modi’in, from there the travel time was 45 minutes. Using the highway 443 to Ramallah taught the MP team that the travel time was some more than 20 minutes

Conny Mus however, had a different idea about the travel time to Ramallah, which he claimed was more than an hour on the alternate road. Shabi even claimed it took “hours” to reach Ramallah.

Mus also claimed that the extended travel time to Ramallah had cost Palestinian lives. His interview with a Palestinian woman contained two versions of the same story. Mus claimed an ambulance came too late to save the life of the woman’s husband. The woman however, said that she had decided to bring her husband to Ramallah herself. Shabi only mentioned that “sick patients don’t make it to hospitals on time”.

Both Mus and Shabi should have been aware of the fact that Israeli checkpoint commanders are instructed to allow emergency transports of seriously ill Palestinians to Israeli hospitals.

For example in 2009 20,000 Palestinians were transferred to Israeli hospitals for emergency treatment.

Implementation of the court order

The Guardian report mentions the preparations to implement the High court decision but bashes the IDF by stating that once again “the Israeli military – the real authority in the West Bank – has shown that, unless absolutely compelled to do so, it cannot be trusted to do the right thing in the occupied territories”. How so? Shabi has the answer : “just block the road in a different way and see if those pedantic judges shut up”.

RTL went even further and declared that the IDF didn’t care a bit about the HJC Order and blocked the implementation of it. Israeli papers however, had reported about the exact text of the court order. This is what Ha’aretz wrote on December 30 2009: The justices ruled that the military had five months to find a solution that would provide security to those using the road. The justices also ruled that there should be no interference in the judgment of the military commander in the area with regards to limiting travel on the road leading from the Ofer military base to Bitunya, which is near Ramallah (Italics added by Missing Peace)

Conny Mus, standing almost next to the -not visible- new entrance to road 443 at the village of Beit Sira, added stony-faced that “there was no prospect of opening of the road in the foreseeable future”. The Jerusalem Post reported on May 2 about the progress in the works on Road 443 and mentioned that the works had started weeks before May 2. The RTL report was made in the same period. Mus who is living in Jerusalem, must have passed parts of road 443 where the preparations for opening of the road were in full swing. This report contains only a few of the pictures (appendix 2) taken by the Missing Peace photographer on May 20 of the numerous places were work was done as a result of the HJC Order. The Jerusalem Post reported on May 2 about the progress in the works on Road 443 and mentioned that the works had started weeks before May 2.

Reporting the facts?

At the end of the RTL report the camera zoomed in on the city of Modi’in while Mus commented: “They ( Palestinians in the area) also have to accept that Jewish settlements are rapidly approaching their villages and are consuming the Palestinian lands”. No matter that Modi’in is 95 % built within the Green Line (1948 armistice line). No matter the fact that since 2002 only natural growth within the boundaries of settlements is allowed. And no matter the fact that since September 2009 new projects in existing settlements on the West Bank have been frozen.

In a recent blog Conny Mus stated that foreign journalists are responsible for reporting the facts about Israel. He was ridiculing the recent campaign by the Israeli government to improve the public diplomacy. He also explained that his viewers are wise enough to look through the Israeli propaganda.

This report shows clearly that neither RTL nor The Guardian reported the facts about the opening of road 443. The lies Conny Mus reported in his May 5 report should be enough for his removal as the chairman of the Foreign Press Association in Israel.

Appendix 1

Map of the area next to road 443. The purple lines show the “fabric of life” roads that Israel built after the closure of 443 to Palestinian cars

Appendix 2

Construction of the checkpoint near the Ramallah intersection on 443

The new exit to Beit Ur al-Fauqa and checkpoint on road 443

Construction of exit to Beit Sira near the Maccabim checkpoint on road 443. The Maccabim checkpoint was visible in the RTL report, the new exit was not.

21 replies »

  1. Hawkeye

    “Where Shabi defended the murders of innocent Israeli citizens on road 443 ”

    Hawkeye I searched her article for this …what I found was

    “The Israeli military barred Palestinian access to this road in 2002, citing security reasons after several shootings in which five Israelis were killed. But last December, Israel’s supreme court ruled that this sweeping ban on Palestinian movement was disproportionate and that the roadblocks had to be lifted. ”

    Does Israels supreme court moonlight for the Guardian?

  2. The really difficult question: To what extent are Guardian and RTL mis-reporting due to simple incompetence, and to what extent due to deliberate, malicious dishonesty?

  3. This is an excellent article bearing the mark of the authentic using actual knowledge and facts.

  4. Thank you ‘Missing Peace’ for that tabulation of facts.

    It will be fun to see what happens when someone posts a link to your site on CiF.

  5. @Toko LeMoko
    Generosity, and a willingness to listen to opinions that conflict with one’s own, demand that initially the benefit of the doubt be afforded those who write in the Guardian, on the assumption that they would be wary of any suggestion that they harboured inclinations that would put them beyond the pale in the company of good men. Generosity has its limits though, and those of us who watch and read from the sideline, recognise something sinister that has corrupted dialogue and destroyed the standards without which it is crippled. It is reasonable, given the cultural and educational deficiencies of Palestinian society, that any statement made by them is best regarded as an approximation of the truth, or a deliberate distortion which even they may not see as such, given their cognitive limitations. When war is lost and ‘victory’ claimed, one could only wonder at how the obligations of daily contact with reality are discharged. Initial engagement with educated men and women in a British newspaper might be expected to avoid such errors of thinking, but there they are. ‘Massacres’ are ubiquitous, if Jews are involved, and all the horrors of unrestrained cruelty let loose against innocent Arabs on a daily basis. Wells are metaphorically poisoned with tainted water, and babies at parturition are left to fall in the dust at checkpoints. There have been so many lies, reversed by the truth that cannot be avoided because it is always there whereas the lie has always to be reinvented, that any conclusion as to the nature of Guardian reporters that does nor include deliberate, malicious dishonesty, is flawed.

  6. Toko, I believe that it’s pure ignorance compounded by malice and laziness as regards reporting, so well described by Stephanie Gutmann in “The Other War”, all glued together and bedded in by deep-rooted cognitive dissonance (at some level they know they are lying and yet cannot admit to being wrong, so they blame the discomfort on Israel for “making” them lie).

    Thanks for this article, which should be an example to CiF as to how facts, supported by evidence, should be presented.

  7. epidermoid, thanks for your post. You say, “…It is reasonable, given the cultural and educational deficiencies of Palestinian society, that any statement made by them is best regarded as an approximation of the truth, or a deliberate distortion which even they may not see as such, given their cognitive limitations…”

    I agree with you about the approximation to the truth, Arab/Muslim “big talk” being so firmly entrenched, but what in your opinion is responsible for those “cognitive limitations?”

    When a society keeps down its women to the extent that Arab societies do they have little power. Often they may be ill-treated, worn out with child bearing and rearing and therefore very depressed. In that state they may not bond sufficiently with their children at critical stages in their development, to the children’s emotional and psychological detriment.

    Add to this the tendency to feel shamed very easily and therefore to resort to “talk big” (ie exaggerate or lie), and that such lying is permissible, and any young child reared in such an environment quickly loses the capability to reality test or even to know when he himself is lying. Arab/Muslim children are inferior in status, and cannot question their elders about what did or did not happen.

    Backtrack a little – if a woman is powerless, how might she get her needs met? By manipulative behaviour which is, after all, another form of bending reality.

    The Guardian, too, is in thrall to “big talk” and the sort of bending reality which comes from overidentification with its pet project. It has merged so thoroughly with the Palestinian world view that its own has become indistinguishable from it and it has adopted all the malice and lying with ease and perhaps not realising that it is lying.

    In other words, the Groan has “gone native” in Gaza.

  8. This piece is superb. The commentators and discussion above are also superb.

    This whole thread is informative, elevated, knowledgeable and the very reason why Cif Watch is a “must read” for those seeking to understand Israel, the Middle East and those who write about it.

  9. Toko LeMoko – good question.

    I think the true answer is that the Guardian and others like it, and the various pro-Palestinian groups and naive fellow travelers have created a mythical version of Israel, just as in the past European society created a mythical version of Jews. In this mythical version, there is no end to the evil that is Israel, there is no good there, and they visit on Israel all their own fears, inadequacies, and resentments.

    Israel is Europe’s Jew. It is the outlet for all their own fears, it provides, they hope, a method of appeasing the Arabs and protecting their oil imports. It allows them to vent their worst attitudes with, they hope and believe, approval from their fellows.

  10. @Mitnaged

    How right you are about women in Arab societies.The deficits that plague them are not only economic, but also cultural, and the two are inextricably mixed by subjugation to Islam. It is Islam and its holy texts, translated into cultural norms and practises, that determine the emergence of the Arab male, with all the deficiencies that might be expected after a childhood imbibing falsehoods as truth, and gaining an idea of himself as honourable only as far as honour as we might see it, is absent. To own and mistreat his women is honourable, as is to lie and cheat for family and tribe. His proclivity to grandiose statements and vacuous protestations of his merit does little for any real advancement in the modern world. Arabs will emerge from self-imposed backwardness when they face the impositions placed upon them in the name of Islam, and realise that they have been duped. Such a moment is dreadful for all but the most mature, and few will be able to cope. The education and protection of women is the key, for when half a population is shackled, then the people are doomed to permanence at the third world table.

  11. @epidmeiod, i have noticed you genaralise a lot, I have many Arab/Muslim female friends and they are nothing like the pictures you portray. Are you going to paint a picture of Hassidic Jewish women next?

  12. Smtx, your objection to Epidermoid has several problems:
    1. Your friends do not constitute a random sample
    2. The sample size is also inadequate
    3. Your sample’s geographic dispersion is inadequate

  13. AKUS

    ” there is no end to the evil that is Israel, ”

    This is such rubbish AKUS ..most lefties just want Israel to lighten up and go back to the 67 lines..This hyperbolic EVIL nonsense obviously works in the states ..which seems to swallow such school yard drivel, but you have to raise your game if you think for one second you are going to land a blow on CIF .

  14. Here’s to Davy:
    “most lefties just want Israel to lighten up and go back to the 67 lines..”
    no they don’t. Do you seriously believe that all this vitriol, bad reporting and sometimes lies would dry up when Israel go back to the 67 lines?
    If Israel did that the lazy apartheid analogies, the accusations of unparelleled evil etc would continue.

  15. smtx01
    @epidmeiod, i have noticed you genaralise a lot, I have many Arab/Muslim female friends and they are nothing like the pictures you portray. Are you going to paint a picture of Hassidic Jewish women next?

    That is my intention, for it would be invidious to particularise. It’s the husbands and brothers of some Muslim men that want to kill me, not the pious husbands of the Hassidim, and the generality of their purpose seems set in a distorted religious delusion that constructs an equally distorted society.

  16. Epidermoid.

    You are confusing religion with culture or trible “minhagim” (traditions).

    Dress codes, nose ring, female mutilation, women role, etc.

    Sadly the Egyptians which play a large role in advising a large proportion of the Muslim world with regard to religious affairs have harsh culture through the Salafi Islam stream.
    This is amplified in Saudi Arabia and Gulf states.
    Lebanon, Jordan, syria and many Palestinians from the west bank do not see this in the same way.

    In fact Palestinians were one of the most seculer people of the Islamic world.
    Hamas’ influence comes from Saudi arabia, the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran.
    Sadly they have established themselves well into the current culture through clever use of the conflict and through the fact that arafat decided not to ban them through out the 90’s.

  17. The existence of the Zionist entity in the heart of the Arab-Muslim is in itself a strange
    Because the Zionist entity is not shared with the Arab world, anything that characteristics such as religion, customs
    Traditions and language. The existence of Israel within the Arab world is a big mistake, and constant tension
    In the Middle East also note since 1948. Such as the entry of foreign objects inside the human body begins
    Body fever, tension and fatigue and to ensure even go out foreign objects.
    To all Arab and Islamic countries to form the Ministry of Defence and one common to all States and the expulsion of the Jews
    From the Middle East. This is the best choice for Arabs and Jews in that one because he Bjrdasiraiil within the Arab world
    Will feel the Arab world would not be true of the world would not be true of the Jewish people will never feel the stability and comfort, but if
    Came out of Palestine, all Palestine greetings to all

  18. There is no democracy in Israel as a state is illegitimate and illegal and not recognized
    Evidence of this if anyone wanted to write a comment in the Israeli websites
    Does not allow him or be there are many obstacles to prevent him from writing a comment The reasons for Arab-Israeli conflict is the occupation of Palestine in 1948.
    Palestine Arab Islamic state like the rest of the Arab and Islamic states surrounding
    Them. Means that there are Jews and Zionists in Palestine a big mistake, because this entity
    Zionist is not consistent with the surrounding area (such as language, customs, traditions and religion)
    The only solution to end the Arab-Israeli conflict is the expulsion of Jews from Palestine
    All of Palestine. The Jewish people will not rest and will not feel comfortable and stability
    But if it gets out of Palestine and the Middle East completely. If people continue to
    Jews in Palestine and the Middle East, the death and destruction will continue.
    Palestine Arab Islamic state and will remain

  19. arab, how do you know? From the benighted and mendacious media coverage in Arab/Muslim countries?

    arabb muslim – the constant tension is because you and your ilk are too thick NOT to wage wars you know you are incapable of winning, and are too thick to realise that making a lasting peace will mean that you too will benefit.

    Since you are resorting to the disease metaphor, so will I:

    Islamism is like an opportunistic infection in the world, which takes hold wherever and whenever the political systems /”Immune systems” of a country are too weak or ignorant or self-serving to recognise it and take measures to eradicate it.

    There. It feels really good to have said that.

  20. This is the Zionist terrorism
    There is no state called Israel. State of thieves called Israel a basis of the displacement and killing of Innocent nation of thieves basis bloodshed and war And the arrest of people for tens of years to prevent him from claiming The right to life . basis steal the land of the Palestinian people And then steal the land of the Arab-Muslim the entire .State of the thieves do not know the law ….. Does not recognize the law of the United Nations, a state that considers itself above the law . the law is the siege of Gaza And the bloodshed and destruction of houses and killing innocent people and occupying the country This is a country named Israel thieves.This is the Zionist terrorism