Jews build homes in Israel: Harriet Sherwood and the political orthodoxy of the Guardian Left

Harriet Sherwood’s report, Israel go-ahead for West Bank settler homes dents peace hopes, represents an exquisite example of how clichés and anti-Zionist tropes have taken the place of objective analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Sherwood opens her report:

The Israeli government has authorised the construction of 277 homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, a move that will diminish the prospects for a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.

Israel is determined to annex such a large settlement, but the Palestinians and many in the international community argue that it would cut the West Bank nearly in two, making a contiguous Palestinian state almost impossible.

But, this is just unimaginably uniformed or intentionally misleading, as the following map – which represents the offer made to the Palestinians by Israeli PM Ehud Olmert in 2008 – indicates.

The boundaries of the proposed map, which we posted previously, doesn’t at all cut the proposed Palestinian state in two and is clearly contiguous. (Red arrow points to Ariel)

Here’s a close up of Ariel, arrow in red:

In fact, such a two-state solution would, by Sherwood’s logic, had cut Israel in two, insofar as Israel’s narrowest point (arrow in red) would be far narrower than the length between even the expanded region of Ariel and the eastern end of the Palestinian border.

In fact, the original UN partition plan of 1947 completely cut Israel in two – a plan which Israel still accepted but the Arabs rejected.

The fact is that an additional 227 homes in Ariel aren’t even remotely injurious to the prospects of a two-state solution.

A few clicks on Google and Harriet Sherwood could have reached the same conclusion.

But, when you’re ideologically conditioned to see Jewish homes across the quite arbitrary Green Line as an “impediment to peace”, rather than engaging in a sober analysis of the particular territorial issues at play, the conclusions that Sherwood reaches are simply inevitable – and represents the absurdity of Guardian Left political orthodoxy parading as unconventional wisdom.

9 replies »

  1. I’m getting sick of this “building more homes is a threat to peace” crap, as if the only reason that peace talks failed and will not start, is because of Israel’s settlement activity.

    We constantly hear about how they are a threat to peace yet over the past month some 20-40 mortars and missiles have been launched at Israel. Now this may be RADICAL thinking but maybe, just maybe launching missiles at a country is the actual threat to peace.

    Also, let’s not forget that peace was non-existent long before any occupation or “illegal” settlement activity took place. Why, if settlements are such a threat to peace, did the Palestinians not absolutely jump on the settlement freeze and why, in the face of continued Israeli settlement activity, do they still shy away from negotiations?

    Stupid, utterly stupid. Building a few thousands homes is not a threat to peace, the Palestinian refusal to abandon their demographic weapon (right of return) and their right to exercise resistance (terrorism), is a threat to peace, their continual incitement against Israel and indoctrination of children, is a threat to peace, the continued involvement and destabilizing influence of Iran, is a threat to peace, the terrorist culture that embodies Palestine, is a threat to peace and the fact that every time Israel withdraws from territory, they are subsequently attacked, is a threat to peace.

    Then you have to consider the fact that we wouldn’t even be in this situation had Israel not been forced into it. I don’t care what people say, when you lose several offensive wars, you don’t have the right to make demands and you should be glad that the person you’ve tried to destroy hasn’t completely leveled you but alas, Palestinian self entitlement and Western appeasement will only perpetuate this situation and whilst they rot away in this perpetual state, Israel has her own needs to tend to so build away.

    I do wish Israel would be more vocal though… I tried to suggest to Danny Ayalon that he make a video about rocket attacks in Israel in the same style of the West Bank video but he seems to have deleted that message from his facebook – shame, because it’d go down well in my opinion.

    • Dents peace hopes……You can’t dent peace hopes,when there aren’t any peace hopes to begin with…..The palestinian mind set is against any hopes of peace, poll after poll shows that the don’t want us here.They will play along pretending to want a peaceful solution,only to extract more concessions from Israel and from the rest of the world…….

      There in no west bank,there is just Judea and Samaria………..

      Jordan is palestine……for all intents and purposes…….

  2. Jews build homes in Israel

    But Ariel isn’t in Israel, is it?

    In fact, such a two-state solution would, by Sherwood’s logic, had cut Israel in two

    How so when no the land concessions suggested by Olmert are no where near Israel’s narrowest point?
    And you accuse Sherwood of being “intentionally misleading”?

    • Prezelburg

      Why are names important?

      Ariel is in the heart of Judea and Samaria. It was so 2000 years ago. It is so today – and will be for ever more. Olmert failed to understand that Ariel is and will be an integal part of the modern State of Israel. Even the United Nations representing the aspirations of 56 Islamic States, who wish only harm to Israel, will never be able to transfer Ariel to any future Palestinian state, if ever that state should come into existance on any part of historic Jewish Land. You of course know that Judea is the original historic territory of the tribe of Judah from which the name Jew is derived.

      For your history lesson Judea and Samaria was known as such for 3000 years before the illegal invasion by the Jordanian army in 1948. From 1948 that territory was intentionally renamed the west bank of Jordan to imply legal ownership by the state of Jordan, when it was anything but. That illegal occupation was recognised only by the UK and Pakistan but the new name west bank achieved the intended objective of Israel’s enemies of falsely transfering ownership, even if in name only, from the rightful owners of that part of the historic Land of Israel to the Arabs.

      The name Jordan is also a Hebrew word meaning to descend and yet the British in 1921 transferred 78% of their entrusted mandate of Palestine and Transjordan, contrary to the spirit of the Balfour Declaration, to their newly created Arab state which they ironically gave the hebrew name of Jordan,

      Likewise the proposed name of the new Arab state to be carved out of historic land of Judea and Sameria is to be called Palestine. Palestine is the Roman word for conquered Israel and yet there is no phonic letter for P in the Arab language. How strange then to call a new Arab state a name which has no etymological roots whatsover in the Arab language?.

      So Judea and Samaria, and Israel are quite legitimate names with authentic etymological roots whilst Jordan and Palestine would appear to be created for the purpose of containing the territorial size and contiguity of the state of Israel.

    • “But Ariel isn’t in Israel, is it?”

      Again you reduce the Jewish State’s territory by fiat. You’ve done that before.

      Again I must make it clear to you: This is not for you to do. Not for you, British citizen living in a country that encompasses the size of Israel (even with Gaza, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights included) a dozen times over. Not for citizens of most states of the world, who have no idea what it is to have a state whose name, on a globe, can be written only on the sea.

      The more people poke their impudent noses into Israel’s territorial affairs, the more I wish Israel to expand and expand and expand, just to spite these insolent people.

      Britain needs to give back Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, restrict its English population to south of the Danelaw and let all the Celtic refugees back into their homes. For the sake of peace.

      No, scratch the above—I don’t care the slightest about the issue. Britain can do whatever it wants as long as it’s not on my expense. All I wish is for reciprocation in that department.

    • Be strong pretzel. Ariel is in Israel now and will be in Israel for ever.
      I can’t really understand the chutzpah of a total outsider to decide what is Israel and what is not.

      How so when no the land concessions suggested by Olmert are no where near Israel’s narrowest point?

      And naturally the Palestinians accepted this compromise…

      FYI pretzel according to the Olmert plan the narrowest point of Israel at Qualqilyia is less than 14 km. Maybe you should look at Google earth before posting nonsense.