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August 06, 2009

AP Photo Labels Jews as Extremists, Muslims as Residents

ap photo.jpg
An Associated Press photo [ID: 090805016913] on August 5, 2009 showing a scuffle that occurred in the context of the dispute over the eviction of Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah carried the following caption:

Israeli border police officers listen to a Muslim man after scuffles broke out between Jewish extremists and Muslim residents next to the house where a Palestinian family was evicted from on Sunday, in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009. The Unites States and European Union have criticized Israel for allowing two Palestinian families to be evicted by police in east Jerusalem and replaced by Jewish settlers. (AP Photo/Alex Kolomoisky) ** ISRAEL OUT **

The caption editorializes by assigning judgment-laden labels to the two sides. The Jews are described as extremists and the Muslims are simply identified as residents. On what basis does AP assign these labels?

On May 17, 2009, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that an eviction order originally handed down in 1982 against the Arab families living on property owned by Sephardic Community Committee and Nahalat Shimon International in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem should be carried out. The Palestinian families were evicted for not paying rent to the legal owners. The eviction took place on Aug. 3.

The Jerusalem Post has covered the topic extensively, summarizing the current situation here. A more detailed version of the history of the property can be found here.

Posted by SS at August 6, 2009 03:57 PM


Nadav Shragai's article makes clear that Jews were living in the areas now under dispute since the late 19th century. However, he errs when writing about the period of the War of Independence in such a way that favors the Arab pose of innocence, or some approximation of same. In fact, Arab irregular forces under the command of Abdel-Kader Husseini, the Mufti's nephew, began shooting at Jews traveling to Hadassah on Mount Scopus shortly after the UN General Assembly partition recommendation of 29 November 1947. Attacks on the nearby Shimon haTsadiq quarter continued throughout December 1947. All but one Jewish family fled on the night of 29 December 1947, not as stated by Shragai. Likewise, the Jews in Nahalat Shimon were driven out of their homes by Arabs with British assistance in January 1948.
A few months later, in April as I recall, the Haganah captured the area. However, British forces drove them out.
Two points should be borne in mind:
1) the Jews of Shimon haTsadiq were the first refugees of the war who could not return home after it was over. Again, they were driven out in December 1947 [although one family stayed till about January 8, 1948]. In contrast, the Jews of
south Tel Aviv, driven out around the same time could go home because their area was militarily secured by Jewish forces.
2) British forces did not protect the Jews from Arab marauders but actually helped to drive them out by, for instance, by disarming the Jews in Nahalat Shimon before they were driven out in January 1948.
For documentation see my article in Midstream of July-August 2005.
Also at the link:

Posted by: Elliott A Green at August 6, 2009 07:04 PM

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