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December 14, 2008

Peace Now Pays Up

Peace Now Revava.jpe

Remember the 2006 Peace Now report which had claimed that the majority of Jewish settlements, including Maaleh Adumim, are built on privately-owned Palestinian land? Remember the credulous, uncritical front-page article in the New York Times?

Recall how it subsequently became clear that Peace Now had erred by 15,900 percent regarding Ma'aleh Adumim, of which 0.54 percent -- not 84.6 percent, as Peace Now had claimed -- was built on private Palestinian land?

Now, one small settlement has taken Peace Now to court for its false claims -- and won. As Israel National News reported:

The Peace Now organization and activists Hagit Ofran and Dror Atkis must pay residents of Judea and Samaria and issue a public apology, Jerusalem Magistrates Court judge Yechezkel Barclay ruled Thursday. The group was punished for a false report involving the Samaria town of Revava.

Peace Now, Ofran and Etkes were sued for damages caused by a report published two years ago. In the report, titled “A sin leads to another sin,�? (Aveira goreret aveira in Hebrew), Peace Now argued that most Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria were built on land stolen from local Arabs. Among other things, the report said 71.15 percent of the land on which Revava was built was stolen from Arabs.

"The Fund for Redeeming the Land,�? which legally owns 100 percent of the territory on which Revava is built, demanded that Peace Now correct its false report regarding Revava and issue an apology. The group refused to apologize, as did the authors of the report. The authors agreed to only partially correct the mistaken claim regarding Revava, changing the report to say 22 percent of the land was stolen, not 71 percent.

When Peace Now refused to apologize, the Fund sued the organization with the help of Attorney Doron Nir Tzvi. The group charged Peace Now and authors Ofran and Etkes with slander.

The court found the three defendants guilty. Besides ordering them to apologize, Justice Barclay ruled that they must pay the Fund for Redeeming the Land 20,000 shekels plus tax. The group's apology must be public, and must be published in both Maariv and Haaretz.

Perhaps a paid apology in the New York Times could also put a minor dent in the Gray Lady's cash flow problem. But since the Times' own reporter, Steven Erlanger, irresponsibly ennabled the spread of Peace Now's misinformation, shouldn't a retraction be a free public service owed to readers?

Posted by TS at December 14, 2008 07:13 AM


Just a small correction. "Aveira" in Hebrew does not mean "sin". It's a transgression of a minor impact. "Sin" has religious connotations having to do with damnation. I would say "aveira" is an offense, infraction, or misdemeanor.

Posted by: Noga at December 14, 2008 09:43 AM

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