Does the Guardian own a map? Op-Ed falsely claims E-1 would cut West Bank in two

On December 3, we demonstrated that Harriet Sherwood’s allegation that proposed Israeli construction in the area of land (known as E-1) between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim would cut off eastern Jerusalem from the West Bank is simply untrue.

Sherwood wrote:

“The development of [land east of Jerusalem known as] E1 has been frozen for years under pressure from the US and EU. Western diplomats regard it as a “game-changer” as its development would close off East Jerusalem – the future capital of Palestine – from the West Bank.” [emphasis added]

As CAMERA noted:

[It is not true that] construction [in E-1] would cut off Palestinian areas from Jerusalem. Access to Jerusalem through Abu Dis, Eizariya, Hizma and Anata is not prevented by the proposed neighborhood, nor would it be precluded by a string of neighborhoods connecting Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem.

In an official editorial today, Dec. 4, ‘Israel-Palestine: Concreting over the solution‘, the Guardian repeats Sherwood’s erroneous claim that the E-1  construction “would sever the Palestinian state from its capital in East Jerusalem” and takes the false charge even further, arguing thus:

“Having spun the line that European governments had misunderstood Israels plan to create a settlement that would cut the West Bank in two and separate it from East Jerusalem, the prime minister’s office vowed that nothing would alter their decision.” [emphasis added]

The Guardian was under no obligation to consult Israel before making allegations that the proposed construction would cut the West Bank in two, but when making a specific geographical claim it does seem reasonable that (as “journalists”) they consult a map which could empirically prove or disprove their assertion.

So, would construction connecting Jerusalem to  Ma’aleh Adumim cut the West Bank in two:


Here’s a map created by HonestReporting completely disproving the Guardian’s allegation:


As HR observed:

“The Palestinian waistline — between Ma’ale Adumim and the Dead Sea, is roughly 15 km wide. That’s a corridor no different than the Israeli waistline. Indeed, that has never caused a problem of Israeli territorial contiguity.”

We will be in contact with Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott over this egregious error, and we suggest that you consider doing the same.

40 replies »

    • So why are Israel’s major allies calling their ambassadors for consultations and ‘deploring’ the move? Isolation, deligitimization. Israel did that to itself with no help from outside.

      • This time I agree with you Alex.
        I think this is a terrible act and many many in Israel publicaly doubt Bibi’s abilities as a Premier.

      • Oh, and btw Israel has lost Europe. Just the US left now. Possibly Canada for a while. Oh and Naru and Tuvalu. Naru’s main export is guano. Now THERE’S a suitable ally!

    • For the Guardian I cannot tell but for Western governments they definitely own a map, many of them even summoned Israel’s ambassadors.

    • Does ‘CIF Watch’ own a map? Yes? Then they can see that E-1 would cut West Bank in two and make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.

      Does ‘CIF Watch’ have a hidden agenda – turn Israel into a binational state where Jews will be a minority?

  1. But still … CiFWatch sounds like it is kicking and screaming in opposition to an independent Palestinian state.

    • “CiFWatch sounds like it is kicking and screaming in opposition to an independent Palestinian state.”
      How so?

      • Comon Jeff.
        Check the Terrain around the area. See what is at stake. why on earth was this move if not to play with fire?
        Why is this site defends Bibi’s actions?
        Extending existing settlements for natural growth is one thing. Developing Jerusalem is similar, but this is neither!

        • Apologies Jeff. Adam has highlighted to me that there is a plan to bridge the 2 areas via a new high way which will take it East of Maale Adumim and will shorten the ride (possibly using tunnels or carving in the hills thus generating jobs).

          Never the less, though the improvement in transportation for the welfare of the Palestinians is welcomed – in the same way it is welcomed for the Israelis, I still believe this reckless needless act is not helping Israel and most certainly not helping the over whole conditions.

          Bibi has managed to get Israel into a very poor situation.
          That takes talent.

        • “Comon Jeff.
          Check the Terrain around the area. ”

          I don’t know the terrain. I was seriously just asking pretz to explain it to me.

      • Addressing valid Israeli security concerns is one thing. But more settlement building as a reponse to the UN vote? This website basically says that Israel has the right to extend Israel into the West Bank.
        Opposition is countered with talk of “Jews” building homes, i.e. with the claim of anti-Semitism.

        • Pretz, wasn’t a land swap part of the road map and Obama’s proposal?

          I mean, who in Israel actualy want to keep the triangle?

          It’s Palestinian through and through and has no place in Israel propar.
          Ah, but Tibi and Zahalka will lose their seats in the Knesset…
          And of course Raed Salah will no longer lead an Israeli Islamic movement…

    • ‘CIF Watch’ people, you are not alone! Micronesia, Paulu, the Marshall islands, Panama: they’re on your side!

  2. Pretz, the point of these last two posts are to demonstrate that construction in E-1 will not in any way prevent a two-state solution. It will not split the WB in two.

    • E-1 will not in any way prevent a two-state solution.

      You must be joking. The announcement by Netanyahu (and the talk of “strategic interests”) is a big finger-up to the peace process.

    • the point of these last two posts are to demonstrate that construction in E-1 will not in any way prevent a two-state solution

      The “point of these last two posts” is – again – to bolster the Netanyahu government.

      And this has nowt to do with any alleged anti-Semitism at the Guardian.

    • I’m afraid that in this case you need to go out there and drive.
      See the terrain yourself.

      for a more serious note, if you plan a trip:
      Caution! The Judean mountains are vicious so take planty of water if you are going during the summer time.
      Also be careful of floods during the winter.

        • I see the timing as a poor move. I see the way in which it was proposed as a poor move. I see every unilateral move as a poor move.
          what the hell did we gain by leaving Gaza in such a way?

          As for the terrain.
          until we agree that land swap is acceptable on both parties and that Gush etzion is staying as a part of Israel we are in a bit of a pickle.

          building around east of it is expensive and in no way shorten the ride of people in Beth Lehem driving to ramallah or Jerusalem.
          It may shorten their ride in the roads they can use going north right now but if they gain E1 they can build better roads which will half the fuel consumption on that journey and the time.

          Also it will mean slicing Jerusalem between the 2 only possible from the north.
          Not that I’m for it or a local to Jerusalem.

  3. Jon Snow repeated the “split in two” falsehood on Channel 4 news,before handing over to Lindsey Hilsum for a fact-light anti – Israel diatribe.

  4. The biggest question is what were these diplomats thinking when land swap was suggested?
    Surely they knew that the land to be swapped involved Gush Etzion and possibly Ariel.

    The bigger problem is not the cut but the childish way it was done.
    The Childish tit for tat is showing that the current Israeli regime behaves in the same level as Abu Mazen (a known holocaust denial and a terorrist apologist – which is currently behaving in a childish manner) in some aspects.

    And this is something many Israelis will not accept.

    BTW, this has nothing to do with the ethnisity of Abu Mazen or his religion. This hast to do with his behaviour and his policies.

  5. Paula Stern shows the hypocrisy of the world and its obsession to force Israel to give up its historic capitol.
    The World’s Most Pressing Problem Seems to be Hill E1
    Paula R. Stern
    Dec 3, 2012

    A lowly mountain connecting Jerusalem with its eastern suburb is all the world has time for. Sorry, Syrians, step back and wait your turn.

    The world is up in arms, as it so loves to be. What is it about now?

    No, no – not Syria and the violence there. Not Afghanistan; certainly not Iran. They aren’t condemning Turkish television fining the Simpsons for mocking God; or a social club at Harvard University saying Jews need not apply. No, it isn’t about Hungary cataloguing Jews as they would cattle and certainly nothing about Iranian warships sailing towards Sudan.

    It’s all about a mountain that sits between Maale Adumim and Jerusalem. Even left-wing papers in Israel mistakenly write that Israel is threatening to “bisect” the West Bank and the news is filled with country after country condemning Israel for damaging chances for peace.

    Chances for peace? We were at war two weeks ago and nothing has changed since then. There are currently NO chances for peace on the table. In fact, there is no table.

    No, no, no – what we have is a mountain – not a very tall one, lower than the ones next to three of its sides.
    It is barren, but for a road that snakes its way up to a midpoint where a large police station has been built – barren, but for that building. No one lives there – no one has.

    The land was once part of the Ottoman Empire – no village, no homes, no dwellings on it. Sheep and goats might sometimes have grazed on the lower areas of the hills, but that’s about it. When the Ottoman’s made way for the British, it was under their rule, and still nothing there but the camels and the sheep and the goats and, perhaps, an occasional ground hog.

    In the 1920s, England cut off 2/3 of the land that was called Palestine and gave it to the Hashemites – and thus Jordan was born. The remaining 1/3 was ruled by the British until 1947, including that land that today we call E1.

    In 1948, the Arabs chose war over peace, death over life. They attacked and lost – but they got some land that the Jews could not defend, and that included E1 – the barren land between Jerusalem’s eastern border and the west bank of the Jordan River.

    And then, in 1967, it was clear that Egypt and Syria were preparing for war – Israel launched a pre-emptive strike and sent a message to the Jordanians. We have no quarrel with you; stay out of the fighting. We will not attack you. The Jordanians sent back their message in two ways – in words and action, the message was the same – we fight with our brothers…and so they did.

    They attacked – as they had in 1948 and the result was the same – they lost.
    This time, E1 came into our hands. State-owned under the Turks; state-owned under the Jordanians, and now state-owned under Israel. Never the home of Palestinian Arabs; no villages there, no buildings but for the one we built a few years ago…and the ones we will now build.

    The history of E1 is very simple. It is but a mountain that lies between Maale Adumim, the thriving suburb east of Jerusalem and the Holy City. Arabs regularly travel on the highway between Maale Adumim and the Dead Sea – and the highway rwill emain. There is no bisecting, no blocking, no break in the passage.
    It is a mountain, soon to be green and developed.

    That is the history of E1, except for one huge point that the world forgets. Before the Jordanians, before the British, before the Ottomans, before the Romans…the land was, as it is today – ours. It was the ancient land of Israel; it is the modern land of Israel.

    As for the countries of the world who say Israel threatens the peace – where were you two weeks ago when I ran with my children to our bomb shelter? Why did my son have to leave his wife to protect Israel’s south from a thousand rockets?

    It is too late now to tell us of peace – speak to Hamas first.
    You support a Palestinian state? Clearly you do – but it is Israel that must live with it and so we shall – but only if it is such that we can live with it.
    We will build and the world will scream. But we have learned that the world screams easily for that which is so minor and ignores that which really matters.
    Dozens died today in Syria as they did yesterday and as they will tomorrow – but yes, certainly, let’s discuss a barren hill across from my back yard.

  6. The question is not whether the Guardian owns a map. Judging by the number of newspapers, governments and organisations who also believe that Israeli settlements in E1 will sever the West Bank in two, this a map-shortage on an unprecedented scale! Among those worst affected are:

    The United States government:

    The New York Times:

    The foreign ministries of France, Sweden, Denmark, Britain and Spain:

    Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:

    The Jewish Daily Forward:

    The Times of India:

    The Union for Reform Judaism:

    … I could go on, but I think my time would be better spent printing off the little map that CIF Watch has provided and mailing it to all of the above, so that this “egregious error” can be corrected as soon as possible.

    I suggest that everyone on here does the same. I’m sure CIF Watch will be happy to cover the cost of the stamps.

  7. Unsurprisingly, the comment I posted on this thread which drew attention to the sheer wealth of newspapers and national governments who share the Guardian’s view that developing E1 would bisect the West Bank and destroy the two-state solution, is “awaiting moderation”.

    I have no hope of it being published – presumably because it contains too many uncomfortable facts. So I’ll just note in brief that on this one, CIF Watch, you’re plain wrong, and you’re arguing not just against the Guardian, but against the US government, the New York Times, the foreign ministries of a host of European nations, the United Nations, and many others. No amount of hair-splitting and obfuscation is going to change that.