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July 07, 2011

Washington Post Induces Amnesia over Arab Flight

The Washington Post, its Palestinian-centric filter in place, featured “Building on history; Israeli plans to redevelop abandoned Palestinian village have stirred painful memories” as the lead article in the paper's June 27 "The World" pages. Not only did the substance of the story not justify its prominent display, but Post coverage also unaccountably omitted the context of the news.

The paper emphasized "Building on history" -- with a five-column color photo, three-column color photo, and one-column map -- over more urgent international dispatches including "Among Iraq's Sunnis, growing fears; Recent Baghdad killilngs reflect resurgence, threat of Shiite militias" (no illustrations) and "Afghan government is at a stalemate after election-fraud finding; Parliament, judiciary at odds over court order removing 62 lawmakers" (one two-column color picture).

In "Building on history," The Post's Jerusalem bureau chief, Joel Greenberg, refers to a former resident “who remembers being evacuated from Lifta under fire as a boy.” But the newspaper is silent on the cause of the evacuation under fire. Lifta would not have been abandoned and its residents become refugees had not five Arab countries and Palestinian Arab “irregulars” gone to war against Israel in 1948. Readers are not reminded that they acted in violation of the U.N. partition plan to create two states, one Jewish, one Arab, in British Mandatory Palestine.

The Post quotes the former resident as saying “my strategic goal is to return to my home. But if this is impossible now, leave Lifta for history, to be a testimony to what happened, and a lesson for all of us.” More pertinent history goes missing. The Post does not point out that there is no Arab refugee right to "return home.” That’s why the Arab states voted against U.N. resolutions 194 (1948), 393 (‘50), 394 (‘50), and 513 (‘52). The measures recommended peaceful repatriation and/or compensation or resettlement in Arab lands but did not establish a "right of return."

By all means, “leave Lifta for history” — all its relevant history, in both Israeli redevelopment/preservation plans and Washington Post coverage. (Adapted from an unpublished CAMERA letter-to-the-editor submitted to The Post. The paper did publish a complimentary letter about the article.)

Posted by ER at July 7, 2011 03:23 PM

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