The Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood dramatically inflates the number Israeli settlements (Updated)

Though we already posted about Phoebe Greenwood’s July 23 report concerning the EU’s upgrade of Israel’s trading and diplomatic status, EU move to upgrade relations with Israel, I recently recognized a glaring error in the following passage from her piece:

“As recently as 8 June, [Catherine Ashton] issued a statement deploring Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to build an additional 800 settlements in occupied territory – compensation for the 17 Israeli families the country’s high court had ordered to be removed from the Migron settlement.” [emphasis added]

What Greenwood was evidently referring to are 800 new HOMES which Israel recently announced they plan to build – in the existing Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa (see here and here) – and not 800 new “SETTLEMENTS“.

Indeed, there are – even according to the far left, anti-settlement Israeli group Peace Now – 120 “settlements” in total in Judea and Samaria, and another 12 in “East” Jerusalem. 

I contacted the Guardian’s Readers’ Editor seeking a correction.

UPDATE: The Guardian has amended their article to correct the mistake. They’ve added this:


68 replies »

  1. Thanks! Yeah, I saw that yesterday. Amazing, isn’t it? There’s nothing in the report by Sherwood that’s offensive. Pigs do indeed fly!

  2. In the mind of the haters of Zion every Jew is a settler, in the sense that they see Jews as usurpers wherever they have lived in the last 2000 years, whether in the Christian world or in the Islamic world.

    In their mind today they still believe every Jew in Israel to be a settler in a land which is not theirs, where every Jewish home is a settlement occupied by fundamentalist extremist Jews still practicing another barbaric Jewish crime against humanity that the Guardian has recently reminded its readers of: That of circumcision.

    Phoebe Greenwood meant exactly what she wrote, that Jewish homes are settlements, and reported exactly what is in Catherine Ashton’s mind.

    No mistake was made. The Guardian will concur and did, even if they now backtrack.

    • You’re saying that Greenwood and Ashton “believe every Jew in Israel to be a settler in a land which is not theirs, where every Jewish home is a settlement occupied by fundamentalist extremist Jews still practicing another barbaric Jewish crime against humanity that the Guardian has recently reminded its readers of: That of circumcision”??

      Who are these “haters of Zion” you’re on about anyway? Where are they all? I don’t know anybody with the views you cite above. Do you?

    • It’s easy.

      Iif it’s in the Palestinian territory (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) it’s an ILLEGAL settlement.

      If it’s in Israel it’s an Israeli town and it’s legal.

  3. In addition to this, shall we say, slip up, the idea of calling thousands of Israelis living in Jerusalem “settlers” is absurd and part of the ongoing attempt to wrest Jerusalem in part or in whole away from Israel.

    • How could the PA negotiate peace with Netanyahu when he’s busy stealing more Palestinian land to build illegal settlements and destroy Israel’s name?

      • By continuing settlement building you would force the PA to seek a compromise before it is too late. They could have had a state long ago but never took it and have not even settled the “refugees” who live in Area A/B and Gaza – what does that tell you about their desire to create a state? The real focus is on destroying someone else’s state rather than creating their own or they would have grasped the opportunity to relieve the suffering of their people in Leb, Syria, etc.. If they see that state (Israel) growing all around them then sooner or later they will admit defeat and come to the table. As long as they think they have a chance of “winning” (destroying Israel), they will keep the wound open – and of course all the foreign aid rolling in. Peace only comes when one side beats the other. The Arabs still think they can beat you (I’m assuming you’re Israeli).

  4. The whole goldstone commission made me realize that such sloppy journalism hides hides the fact that Israel can act to the highest ideals and still be criticized. Facts and figures don’t really matter to these people. They will continue to hate Israel and Jews regardless. Israel already left Gaza and were met by Hamas rockets but no sympathy from the left and if they entirely leave every inch of east jerusalem etc these people will still find excused to hate Israel.

  5. The Guardian has amended the article, and have added this:

    • This article was amended on 24 July 2012. The original said Binyamin Netanyahu had decided to build an additional 800 settlements in occupied territory. This has been corrected to 800 homes.

  6. AKUS, your right waht you sa.

    In addition to this, shall we say, slip up, the idea of calling thousands of Israelis living in Jerusalem “settlers” is absurd and part of the ongoing attempt to wrest Jerusalem in part or in whole away from Israel.
    PA TV: Western Wall area to be turned into Arab housing neighborhood.
    Palestinian Authority TV:
    Western Wall area to be turned into Arab housing neighborhood -Jewish presence in Jerusalem will be erased from history.
    Aug. 17, 2011

    • It’s easy.

      If it’s in West Jerusalem it’s an Israeli home and it’s legal.

      If it’s in East Jerusalem it’s a settlement and it’s ILLEGAL.

      • Avi has a point, you know.

        It’s an irrefutable tenet of International Law that once Jews have been ethnically cleansed from an area, they are never again allowed to live there, no matter what their historical or religious connection with that area, and even if they acquired control of it in a defensive war.

        Gee guys, get with the program! Everyone knows that!

    • Don’t forget that the current Western Wall plaza was done following Israel’s destruction of the entire medieval Maghrebi Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. Invaluable historical and archaeological treasures were razed to the ground by the Israeli army overnight in 1967.

      The real Western Wall plaza, as it existed before 1967, was much smaller and allowed greater intimacy with Hashem.

      • The Mugrahbi* Quarter(aka the “Moroccan”), was however destroyed thanks to vicious shelling by the Jordanians(!) in 1948.(During Israel’s war of Independence).
        Since then, that is, till ’67, it was left in utter disrepair by the purported custodians of the old city, the Jordanians.
        Israel did clear out the rubble that was left over, that’s certainly true;
        But would you rather it was left decrepit and dilapidated?

        • Excellent photos of the Mughrabi quarter in the 40s that are sold in Jerusalem’s old photos shops. You can see that it was in very good state till the Israeli army razed it to the ground in 1967, destroying invaluable historical and archaeological in a move that was deemed a crime against History by all Governements in the world.

          • So you didn’t read the appended article, that clearly stated that the Jordanians destroyed the Mug. Qtr. In 1948?
            Ah, good ol’ Nat/Benyamin: 100% bluster, 0% reading comprehension!

            • The entire medieval Maghrebi Quarter and its religious places was destroyed by Tsahal in 1967. An ederly woman was killed by the Israeli army during the operation.


              “Three days after Israel seized the Old City during the Six Day War, on the evening of June 10, 650 inhabitants of the Moroccan Quarter were told to vacate their homes on a few hours notice. Workers under the guard of soldiers then proceeded to demolish the quarter, consisting of 135 houses, the al-Buraq mosque, the Bou Medyan zaouia and other sites, with the exception of a mosque and a zaouia which were demolished two years later. Also destroyed was the Sheikh Eid Mosque, which was one of the few mosques remaining from the time of Saladin. Some of the residents refused to leave until their houses began to fall down, and an elderly woman died soon after she was discovered in the rubble.”

              • And yet, like I said, still no literacy:

                “During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War Israeli and Jordanian forces fought in the area until the former were defeated and expelled along with 1,500 Jewish civilians from the adjacent Jewish Quarter.After having been largely destroyed during the war, the quarter, with the rest of the Old City, passed into the hands of Jordan.”

      • I really appreciate your self-goals Nat(urei Karta). Had you only one more braincell of an amoeba maybe you would know the meaning of the word “Maghrabi”. This is the well known attribute of Arab persons whose origin is the Maghreb, the Arab countries of North-Africa, like Egypt, Morocco, Libya etc the so called Fertile Crescent. The Maghrebi Quarter was built and populated by Arabs from these countries immigrating to Jerusalem about a hundred years ago, due to the presence of the Jews this part of the Ottoman Empire was more developped than their original places, with more work options, cultural and educational institutions, doctors etc.
        The population are descendants of immigrants arrived hundreds of years later than the Jews.
        Thank you for your contribution to the Zionist cause.

          • Coorrect. And as you can read on the same Wiki page

            The quarter was donated to and mainly inhabited by people of Moroccan descent, who held on to their culture in the way of food, clothing and traditions until the neighborhood became assimilated with the rest of the Old City in the 19th century

            Thank you for the second own-goal guys.

  7. A braindead student of sloppy Greenwood posts on CIF

    Rafa Santos
    23 July 2012 8:52PM
    Response to Sudamerikaner, 23 July 2012 6:34PM
    Since Israel displaced 124,000 Syrians when it took over the Golan Heights, destroying 1,000 native villages there, it’s at best disingenous to portray Israel’s illegal surprise attack on Syria as being for the sake of the Syrian people.
    It’s unbelievable how many friends the “Syrian people” have made when their dictator turned against them. However, when it was Israel that was demolishing their homes and expelling them from there to give way to Israeli settlers, the West cheered or remained quiet.

    1000 villages! On the Golan Heights! There were less than 1000 houses on the Golan before 1967. But Rafa is not a real Guardinista yet, s/he doesn’t know that adding three keystrokes the number could have been a million. The comrades on the Guardian would eat it too without blinking an eyelid.

    • 124,000 Syrians divided by 1,000 villages equals 124 Syrians per village.

      Perhaps they all lived in mobile home clusters?

      Fascinating what one can do with statistics provided you are no good at basic arithmetic.

    • 124,000,000 Syrian children inside a UN school on the Golan Heights were killed by an IDF white phosphorus shell.
      Well … Judge Goldstone would’ve believed it.

    • Oops, I forgot. No-one ever found the bodies ‘cos they were all stolen by the Israelis for organ harvesting

    • Probably of the 124,000 Syrians (not 124.000.000?) about 100.000 were conscripts from other parts of the country.

    • I visited part the occupied Syrian Golan several times and saw the ruins of at least a dozen Druze village in less than a day. Dozens of thousands of Druzes were chased from their homes by the Israeli army when it invaded the Golan (retaliating to a Syrian attack).

        • The majority of the Druze living in the Golan were chased from their homes by the Israeli army, only a minority remained.

          Please go and talk to the Druze. They will explain that they’re Syrian nationals and call for an end to Israel’s occupation of the Golan.

            • Avi reports the version of the Assad regime, very loyal.
              “Israeli sources and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reported that much of the local population of 100,000 fled as a result of the war, whereas the Syrian government stated that a large proportion of it was expelled.
              In the 1970s, Israeli politician Yigal Allon proposed as part of the Allon Plan that a Druze state be established in Syria’s Quneitra Governorate, including the Israeli-held Golan Heights. Allon died in 1980 and his plan never materialised”

              Maybe this time it will materialise.


              Quneitra was the place of heavy battles and shellings between the IDF and the Syrian army in 1973. Therefore only Idiots or Arab propagandists write of the destroying of Quneitra after the end of the fight.

              The estimated number of people on flight in 1967 range between 80.000 and 130.000 as the census methods of the time are quite disputed in their accuracies.


              • One of the sources of this Wikipedia article is really fun –
                a typical working paper of the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies study at the Durham University


                which cites Syrian statistics of 1967 and a settlement plan of 1974, allegedly of the World Zionist Organisation as prove for ‘early plans’ to colonize. Strange, isn`t it?

                UN-source of the Wikipedia article
                Except for some Druze villagers who stayed behind, most of the Syrian population of the Golan Heights fled in 1967. Estimates of their original numbers vary. Israel says that about 70,000 left; Syria puts the original number at 153,000, and says that the number has grown to almost 500,000, 31 years later.

                • PLO sites which cite this paper of a so called World Zionist Organisation give the editing year with 1967, the Durham working paper with the editing year 1974.
                  It is like a Russian puppet, inside a forgery the next one.

      • Benyamin, Nat whatever the flying goulashsuppe are you today, do the Druze living Israel on the Golan Heights know this? And maybe you saw the ruins somewhere else on the non existent Syrian Golan?

        • Please go to Majda-Al-Shams and talk to the Druze leaders. I did and I can tell you that they consider themselves occupied by the Israeli army. Not one of them has Israeli nationality, they all have Syrian nationality. They will take you for a tour of the villages that were destroyed if you ask nicely.

      • No you didn’t, Avi.

        The Golan Druze stayed put in their four villages – Ein Kinya (the oldest), Majdal Shams, Massade and Bukata.

        What you might have seen are abandoned Alawite villages such as Ein Fit or abandoned Syrian army bases such as the one at Fiq.

        May I suggest that you try to get hold of Gottlieb Schumacher’s 1886 survey of the Golan. There you will find all the villages in the Golan listed and described in detail, including the Circassian villages and the Jewish villages of Ramtaniya and Bir a Shagum. You may also be interested in the Jewish owned lands in the Houran region of what is today Syria.

        You will note that Schumacher describes how Bedouin tribes from the Arabian peninsula used to frequent the Golan during the wet season due to the abundance of grazing for their flocks, and that Schumacher describes how those Bedouin used to build themselves new temporary shelters from the local stone every year – for some unknown reason never repairing the structures they had built the year before.

        As is often the case in the Middle East, things are not always what they may seem to the untrained eye.

    • Fritz are you aware that our idiot du jour didn’t mention the name of any of these dream villages?

    • “The remainder of 131 agricultural villages and 61 individual farms in the Golan were wiped of the face of the earth by the Israeli occupation authorities immediately following the Israeli victory in the 1967 war. They were razed to the ground and their lands handed over to exclusive Israeli-Jewish settlement.”

      • The caught liar found another one and posts again forgeries and propaganda papers.

        “.. immediately following the Israeli victory in the 1967 war.”

        Immediately – not at all. He cannot give a precise date because neither he nor the author have one.

        After the Arab repulsion of the Israeli offer of peace for land Israel began to prepare the Golan Heights for warfare, expecting continued Syrian efforts to retake the Heights.
        The number of villages given by the different sources range from 90 to 200, the number of inhabitants from 70.000 to 153.000, “demolition” years range from 1967 to 1974, so this very precise sources of Syrian origin, or BDS, or Durham, form the base for more lies.

  8. I love the debate going on here (sincerely) but it’s kind of not on point about what was wrong with the CiF article. Simply put, it’s another in a very, very long stretch of time with a huge volume of articles where the author felt no responsibility to get their facts straight. When you add that into the way that the overwhelming majority of these factual errors are presented so as to make Israel/Jews/both seem as malevolent as possible, it’s clear that the there’s a bigger problem involved here than any one part of this conflict, one that the overwhelming and inadequate responses to tend to land on either “you’re deflecting!” or “we’re not the issue here!”. And yes, Avi and Nat, that includes settlements.

    • the overwhelming majority of these factual errors “are presented so as to make Jews seem as malevolent as possible”

      What utter and complete nonsense.

        • Surely the onus is on Ben to provide arguments, given the gravity of the accusation.

          Strange how you don’t challenge him, isn’t it?

          • Maybe you should read his post again. He clearly has logical arguments supporting his accusation. I’m looking for your attempt to counter his reasoning with yours.

            • Nowhere does he provide any arguments to support the outlandish claim that the G. and “the way that the overwhelming majority of these factual errors are presented so as to make Jews seem as malevolent as possible”.

              Why don’t you ask him for his arguments? Why don’t you bother him with childish insults?

              • I see. You don’t have any reasonable counterargument. You could have said it directly.