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January 18, 2006

HRW Relies on False, Unverified Media Accounts



In yesterday's digest, NGO-Monitor reports that a recent Human Rights Watch letter to President Bush about Israel relied on unverified media reports:

On December 27, HRW’s Sarah Leah Whitson (whose anti-Israel activism predates her employment at HRW) attacked Israeli policy in the form of a letter to President Bush condemning "Expanding Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories". As in past HRW allegations against Israel, this letter was based on unverified media reports and repeated the distorted politicized rhetoric of international law, including references to the discredited advisory opinion of the ICJ.

In her letter to the President, Whitson repeats a media falsehood which has already been corrected by USA Today. She wrote:

The Israeli government also has made clear that, despite U.S. opposition, it plans to build 3,500 housing units in E-1 and to include Ma'ale Adumim and E-1 on the western side (the "Israeli side") of the metal and concrete barrier that Israel is building, mostly inside the OPT (hereinafter, the "wall"). Such actions would effectively sever the West Bank in two by cutting the already limited Palestinian north-south access routes through the West Bank.

It is absolutely false to claim that E-1 building would split the West Bank in half. As the April 17, 2005 USA Today correction stated:

Israel's planned expansion of the Maale Adumim settlement near Jerusalem would separate Palestinian-populated areas. It would not split the West Bank in two, as a story Tuesday incorrectly stated.

Posted by TS at January 18, 2006 06:59 AM


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