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March 23, 2009

Washington Post terms West Bank ‘disputed territory’

In “Car Bomb Found Near Crowded Israeli Mall,” Washington Post Jerusalem Bureau Chief Howard Schneider reported that “a 200-pound car bomb malfunctioned near a crowded mall in the Israeli port city of Haifa ... on Saturday night, averting what could have been one of the largest such attacks in Israel in the past several years ....” (“Car Bomb Found Near Crowded Israeli Mall,” March 23).

He noted that “violence in cities like Haifa, well outside the disputed territory [emphasis added] of the West Bank and beyond the range of the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, has declined in recent years.”

The Post often has referred to the West Bank as occupied or Palestinian territory, but rarely as disputed. CAMERA has noted that Israel is the legitimate military occupational authority as a result of a successful war of self-defense (1967), pending a negotiated resolution. But since sovereignty is unresolved and Jews as well as Arabs have legitimate claims, the legal status of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) is disputed. CAMERA has urged The Post to accurately describe the West Bank as “disputed,” and commends Schneider and the foreign desk for this example.

At its closest point, the West Bank is 21 miles from Haifa. While that distance does put it “well outside the disputed territory” by Israeli distances, it does not do so by those of the United States, in which many counties are 21 miles wide or wider. The Post would do well to clarify that much of Israel inside the 1949 armistice line is adjacent to the West Bank.

Readers should be reminded that while Palestinian terrorism in cities like Haifa “has declined in recent years,” due in part to the construction of the West Bank security barrier and continued Israeli operations in the territory, Iranian-backed Lebanese terrorists struck the city repeatedly with missiles in the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war.

Nevertheless, accurately describing the West Bank as disputed territory is part of the basic information readers need to understand the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Posted by ER at March 23, 2009 05:18 PM

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