Harriet Sherwood’s truncated history of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Harriet Sherwood’s latest dispatch, “Palestinians to present state bid to UN General Assembly“, wasn’t especially problematic.

Sure, it parroted the tired, worn-out Palestinian narrative that the absence of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians was the result of “[Israel’s] refusal to extend a temporary freeze on settlement expansion” – ignoring the fact that such a building freeze had never, until 2009, stood as an impediment to direct talks between the two parties – but, all in all, Sherwood’s report wasn’t egregiously biased by Guardian standards.

However, at the end of her piece Sherwood provides readers with a short history, titled, “Road to Statehood”, with some remarkable historical omissions – a timeline suggesting that all relevant history pertaining to the conflict ceased in 1993.

Here’s her brief history:

First, note the difference in terms Sherwood employs when alternately characterizing Jordanian, Egyptian, and Israeli control of territory in the region. Israel “occupied” territory after the Six Day War, whereas Jordan and Egypt merely “governed” the West Bank and Gaza.

Also, as it’s quite peculiar, not to mention highly misleading, to provide an account which abruptly ends in 1993, here’s a brief historical account of the subsequent years – events which would seem rather significant in the overall context of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

2000-2001: After intense U.S. brokered negotiations, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat rejected an offer of statehood, by Israeli PM Ehud Barak, which included 100% of Gaza and would have given them a contiguous state which included 97% of the West Bank, as well as a Palestinian Capital in East Jerusalem.

2000-2004: After talks break down, Palestinians launched a deadly intifada which resulted in the deaths of over 1100 Israelis, and injuries to thousands more.

2005: Israel completes withdrawal from Gaza. The following year, Palestinians in Gaza elect Hamas, a terrorist group which rejects negotiations and is committed to Israel’s destruction.

2008: Israeli PM Olmert proposes an offer of statehood to the Palestinians confirmed to have been even more generous than Barak’s in 2000 – an offer which PA President Mahmoud Abbas rejected.

Finally, here’s the map reflecting what specifically Abbas rejected in 2008:

It seems like quite a few historically significant events have indeed occurred since 1993 – information about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict which Harriet Sherwood, for some reason, decided not to report.

13 replies »

  1. Egypt placed Gaza under military rule during its occupation. Wish I could find the source but I recall tales of Arabs actually wishing for the Zionists to come and invade because it would surely be better than Egyptian rule. Pretty sure Jordan’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem were military occupations as well.

    She also fails to mention how Jordan annexed the West Bank and indeed East Jerusalem. You’d think rejecting the partition plan would be a key event in the ‘road to statehood’ too.

  2. Thanks for the map Adam.

    It does make a joke of the Hate-Israel crowd on CiF who talk about Bantustans.

    In fact, the figures for the percentage of land that would be transferred to Israel is, I believe, 7% of the West Bank including land around jerusalem. Another ‘difficult fact’ shrouded in mist by The Guardian and its acolytes to unsuspecting readers.

  3. OT: Melanie Phillips apology

    “A column by Heather Mallick on July 28 contained a number of inaccurate statements about the well-known British journalist and author Melanie Phillips.

    Ms. Phillips has expressed her horror at the slaughter at Utoya, Norway in a clear and unambiguous way, writing “there can be no excuse, justification or rationale whatsoever for the atrocity perpetrated by Anders Behring Breivik.”

    The column made reference to Ms. Phillips’ writings in an entirely misleading and inappropriate manner.

    The defamatory article has been removed from our website.

    The Star and Ms. Mallick regret the errors and apologize to Ms. Phillips.”


    Apology to me by Heather Mallick and the Toronto Star

    “The Toronto Star has agreed to pay my legal costs in full. The newspaper has also agreed to make a donation to a charity of my choice in lieu of damages.”



    I am extremely pleased that Ms. Phillips has seen the light and is now taking legal action against those who defame her. I wonder who is next?

  4. So your “brief historical account of the subsequent years” includes the following:

    Palestinians launched a deadly intifada which resulted in the deaths of over 1100 Israelis, and injuries to thousands more.

    It also cost the lives of 5,000 Palestinians.

    And you accuse Sherwood of “remarkable historical omissions”??

    • I have to agree with you Pretzelberg.

      The point must be made that all too many people died in another war / uprising generated by the Arabs in an atempt to destroy the Jewish state or distabalise the region.

      Other examples are 1929 – 1939 riots, 1947-49 war, 1967 and 1973 wars, border crossing attacks between 1949 and 1982 which resulted in 3 wars (1967, 1973 and 1982), the first and second intifadas, The Gulf war bombarding of Israel by Iraq, the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers patrolling or serving near the border (2000, 2005, 2006), bombing of Sderot for 8 years and border incidents against civilian targets, 2010 targeting of Israeli commander by Hizbullah or Lebanese Army in an atempt to drag Israel to another war, firing on Israeli patrol this summer 2011 in another atempt to drag Israel into Lebanon.

      BTW, I didn’t mention the Naksa day sharade or the Flottila / flytilla / allahknowswhatelsetilla…

  5. Pretzelberg
    “It also cost the lives of 5,000 Palestinians”. and no Israelis?

    A remarkably apt misstatement on your part, it shows that everyone omits something but if you talk of deaths on one side you should talk of deaths on the other. If you talk of offers made to or by one side you are obliged to mention those on the other side or be considered to be heavily partisan, which HS definitely is.

  6. I thought it was also strange not to mention that the UN voted on the partition and not just a British backing…

    The war actualy started in 1947 after the partition vote.

    But the worst is the description of the Oslo Accords.

    They seem to have been signed between Israel and Palestine.

    That cannot be true since Palestine is yet to exist.