Hanan Ashrawi lies at ‘Comment is Free’ about homes for ‘Jews only’ in Jerusalem

Hanan Ashrawi’s ‘Comment is Free’ essay on Nov. 29, ‘Supporting Palestine today at the UN is a vote for peace in the Middle East‘, included these opening passages:

“It might seem stating the obvious that Palestinians and Israelis find solutions only through negotiation, until you look at the record. It is a story in which one side makes proposals for nothing in return; one side makes agreements that the other side breaks; and one side keeps commitments that the other side ignores.

Take a recent decision by Israel to approve 100 new homes for its Jewish citizens in the illegal settlement of Gilo, when the Israeli army was bombarding and shelling Gaza.” [emphasis added]

Though Ashrawi provides no source for her contention regarding new homes being built in Jerusalem, she is referring to this construction announcement (per Ir Amim):

“Today the Jerusalem District Committee officially announced the approval of TPS 13290 for 100 housing units in Gilo. 
According to Ir-Amim’s previous alert on May 10, the plan entails 100 residential units—three 12 story buildings—to the north, between Gilo and Bit Safafa. The plan came before the District Committee for discussion of objections on May 22. The committee rejected the objections and decided to approve the plan.”

First, here’s some relevant background to better understand the issue of home construction in Israel:

The overwhelming majority of land in Israel is owned by the government, and administered (since 1960) by the Israeli Land Administration (ILA), which doesn’t sell the land but, rather, leases it out. (Only about 6.5% of the land in Israel is privately owned.)  The ILA leases government-owned land to all Israeli citizens (Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Druze, etc.), legal Israeli residents (including Arabs living in the East part of Jerusalem) or foreigners who would qualify for citizenship under the ‘law of return’. 

In the particular case Ashrawi is referring to, these homes would not exclude anyone based on religion.

Moreover, Ashrawi’s false assertion likely represents a broader attempt to impute racism (or even the more unserious charge of ‘ethnic cleansing’) into the Jerusalem building equation, ignoring the fact that Muslims in the city, both in total numbers and as an overall percentage of the population, have increased significantly since 1948.

In fact, the Muslim population of Jerusalem increased roughly 5 fold from 1967 (when Israel unified the city) to 2009, from 58,000 to over 278,000, while the Jewish population increased by a factor of only 2.8, from 196,000 to 480,000.

Beyond the broader dishonest narrative advanced by Ashrawi, however, her narrow claim that Israel has approved “100 new homes for its Jewish citizens” in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo is flat-out untrue. 

Please consider contacting Chris Elliott, the Guardian’s readers editor, to request a correction to Ashrawi’s lie.
(Editor’s note: This post was corrected on December 23 to correct a mistake in the original. I initially wrote that Ashrawi was likely referring to an announcement that 180 new homes would be set aside in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo for Israeli security personnel. This was not, we learned, the construction that Ashrawi was referring to.  The 100 homes mentioned in her commentary are to be built in East Talpiyot between Gilo and Bit Safafa, according to the Jerusalem District Committee. See the Ir Amim link above.)

39 replies »

  1. Ashrawi lied about a great deal more than that.

    Her very title was designed to deceive. How was a unilateral move accompanied by a speech in which Abbas called Israel racist three times ‘a vote for peace’?

    • The sad thing is that many Israeli Arabs speak out against Ashrawi and their Israeli Arab counterparts – such as Mr. Tibi or Miss Zuabi.

      • When I say sad I meant it is sad that such people like ones i mention feel that they represent anyone at all but their own oportunistic agendas.

    • “Israelis of all faiths serve in the Israeli security forces”

      Could CIF Watch please provide us with statistics?

      What is the percentage of non-Jews serving in the IDF?

      • Both the Circassian and Druze communities asked to be included in the draft, so ALL of their youngsters serve; the Bedouin community which is 10% of the Sunni Muslim population, sends a substantial number of their sons to volunteer in the armed services. In Jerusalem, along the seam, I would estimate that roughly half of the Border Police are Arab Israelis. I haven’t found any source that actually breaks down percentages for you, but I can state as an Israeli Jew that I would be delighted with an Arab military or police office living next door to me rather than hareidi talmidim or tzafonim intellectuals who consider themselves too special to do any service.

          • No, Nat, I already posted that I cannot find any source that breaks down actual percentages. Since Sencar posits 1% maybe he has a site he can direct us to to verify percentages?

  2. In recent years and even under the current government the Israeli public have tried, and still does, to include the Arab sector in the security services by allowing them to do their service in other sectors such as fire brigade or emergency services.

    This proved to be working so far with an ever growing number joining their place in contributing the comunities.
    It is my understanding that this later allowes them to have a share in the grant soldiers get at the end of their service.

    • So you’re saying that the only way Arabs can have equal rights in Israel is by serving in the govt of a colonial entity created for foreigners that colonised the place in direct contradiction of the wishes & interests of the longstanding native population.

  3. Hanan Ahrawi lies at ‘Comment if Free’? What took her so long? She’s lied pretty much everywhere else.

  4. “Israelis of all faiths serve in the Israeli security forces.”

    But less than 1% of Israeli Arabs do, so one can be fairly confident that they won’t be represented amongst the lucky 180.

    • Cant verify your numbers but the numbers are that low thanks to the Arab MKs who insist on the Arab not to volunteer to any govt service including fire man or even rescue workers. Not even in their own barrows.

    • Where do you get that 1% number–I think it’s far higher based on observation here, but haven’t found a site in Hebrew or English that gives a percentage breakdown.

  5. But less than 1% of Israeli Arabs do, so one can be fairly confident that they won’t be represented amongst the lucky 180.

    The usual lies of an ignorant Israel-hater
    The number of the Israeli Arabs, Muslims, Christians and Druze is much more than that and thanks to a dramatic increase achieved the 5%. Taking into account that they must volunteer and their service is not obligatory and the fact that with a very small number of exceptions no female members of these communities are volunteering due to cultural reasons while for Jewish girls the service is mandatory it is a very high number.
    According to a 2008 poll 83% of the Druze boys, 1100 bedouins and about 300 Christian Arabs have been enlisted to serve.

    • The Druze have a very strong tradition of service in the IDF. The number is only so low IIUC because many Golani Druze consider themselves Syrians and do not choose to serve.

          • I think Itzik de Wembley is making a play on words. Golani is a crack infantry regiment in the IDF, so “Golani Druze” could imply those Druze who serve with Golani, whereas you were referring to the region not the regiment.

            (Sorry. A joke gets lost in translation.)

      • It’s more than five times higher than the percentage of Americans who serve in our volunteer military, and is actually a rather impressive number.

      • Nat poor Nat “we” again… Do you have some kind of split personality? Maybe you are two little pussycat playing with each other? Or maybe royal blood is flowing in your bloodvessels? (This could explain the genetic root of your being a degenerate)

        can we please have a SOURCE for your statistics

        Look for it yourself asshole I’m not your research assistant. But feel free to find any statistics contradicting this number.

          • Very funny sencar. The author of the Wiki entry must be on the same level of knowledge of Israel like you, s/he considers only the Bedouins as Arabs. (The number of Bedouins in the IDF is about 1100 – all of them serving in fighting units – they are mostly trackers. According to the IDF 83% of the Druze males enlist to fighting units. Taking into account that the number of the Druze population is over 110.000 your data is simply laughable. But naturally you are free to believe every bullshit corresponding to your hate of Israel.

          • Corporal Pedro, sencar provided a source. That is what serious people do when they present statistics. You should try to do the same. Do you know what a source is?

          • Yes sanity sencar produced a source with absolutely laughable and wrong data. So wrong that only your kind consider it a source at all. Seems to me that it is not me who should understand what the word source means…
            BTW you and sencar must be some kind math geniuses. You asserted that the percentage of the Arabs serving in the IDF is less than 1% of the total of IDF personnel. Sencar’s (totally incorrect) data show that 0.9% of the Arab population of 1.573.000 persons are serving in the IDF. Capisce? (I don’t think so, it is far above of your level)
            You should yourself familiarize with the understanding of basic English texts before posting.

          • Corporal Pedro, your two figures are about two different things. I admit that I hastily called you a halfwit previously. I now think I may have been being too generous. Stupid and racist. Bad combination.

          • I understand your frustration sanity. After realizing that you don’t have the slightest idea about the basics of calculating percentages all what you can do is frothing. Thank you for contributing. And now exactly like last time I put an end to kicking you when you are down already.

          • Corporal Pedro, you are clearly a quarterwit. Nevertheless, give me two figures: total personnel in IDF and total personnel including reservists.

    • Vivarto, from what I understand you want to put an end to the Israeli democracy and turn Israel into a racist, religious theocracy?

      The Israeli people will not let anyone destroy the Israeli democracy.

      It is important to state here that CIF watch people are marginals who do not represent Israel.

      • Nat, don’t assign your meaning to my words.
        Try to understand first, before criticizing.
        Why that racist and why not democracy?
        I am not a great fan of Democracy, but still it would be OK as long as only national are allowed to vote. Meritocracy would be far superior rule.
        Many countries are only granting citizenship to people of their own descent, they are not usually condemned as racist. Japan, is one such example.
        Anyway, nationality and race are not the same thing.
        Nation is a cultural and trivialization fellowship and ownership of shared history.
        Arabs and Jews are rather closely ethnically related, but don’t share culture, civilization, nor shared history. Generally speaking it will be easier to include ethnic Slavs into Jewish nation that Arabs.
        Muslims cannot be part of the nation because Islam is antisemitic.

        • “Arabs and Jews are rather closely ethnically related, but don’t share culture, civilization, nor shared history.”

          Your ignorance of the History of the Jewish people is tragic.

          Jews have lived in the Arab world for centuries.

          • There is some truth in what you are saying, while you are still missing my point. However I am not interested in conversation with an asshole.
            If one day you learn how to have a civilized conversation, I may reconsider.