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January 23, 2015

There Were No Palestine Borders, And No Palestine, in 1967

A story in today's New York Times print edition, "Obama Not Planning to Meet With Israeli Premier," written primarily by the newspaper's Washington bureau, included erroneous and anachronistic language about Israel's "1967 borders with Palestine."

In 1967, of course, there was no country, territory, or entity called Palestine.

And the boundary between Israel and the territory in question, what had been the Jordanian-occupied West Bank, was explicitly not regarded as a border. As the 1949 armistice agreement between Israel and Jordan made clear, "The Armistice Demarcation Lines defined in articles V and VI of this Agreement are agreed upon by the Parties without prejudice to future territorial settlements or boundary lines or to claims of either Party relating thereto."

This phrasing helps underscore why CAMERA has long called for newspapers to correct inaccurate references to "1967 borders" (even without explicit references to a pre-1967 entity called "Palestine") and why we've often gotten corrections on the topic. The implication — not often spelled out, though it is in this particular piece — is that there was between 1948 and 1967 a sovereign country between the Green Line and the Jordan River, one that had internationally recognized borders, and one that is therefor the legal sovereign of all land east of the Green Line, whether that be the Jewish Quarter, the consensus settlements of the Etzion block, or beyond.

Readers of this blog might immediately recognize that this isn't at all true; but the average New York Times reader may not, so the newspaper's references to 1967 "borders" is likely to lead to substantive geopolitical misunderstanding on the part of its audience.

The New York Times has thanked CAMERA for making it aware of the erroneous language, but has not yet published a correction. We'll hope to update this space soon with information about a correction.

Update: The newspaper has half-corrected half of its errors. Online, it quietly removed the false assertion that there existed a Palestine in 1967. But it did not remove the imprecise reference to "borders." Moreover, it did not publish a formal correction, which means those who were misinformed by the article as published will almost certainly not know of the modification, and those who encounter the article in the future on online news databases will continue see the inaccurate language.

Update 2: The newspaper has now published a formal correction in print and online:

Correction: January 27, 2015 An article on Friday about a planned visit to the United States by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel referred incorrectly to President Obama’s suggestion, in a 2011 conversation with Mr. Netanyahu, for a baseline for negotiating the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state. He suggested using the pre-1967 lines that separated Israel from the Jordanian-controlled West Bank, not Israel’s “1967 borders with Palestine.” (There was no state called Palestine in 1967.)

Posted by GI at January 23, 2015 05:01 PM

Comments

The lengths to which the hasbara folks go to in order to deny the existence of Palestine is a good indication of who the problem is in past "peace talks"

Posted by: John Trueson at January 23, 2015 06:51 PM

John, show us a map at anytime between 1948 and 1967 of Palestine.

Posted by: JB Leibovitch at January 25, 2015 04:54 PM

John Trueson,
Interesting how you blame the "hasbara" folks while at the same time disregarding there never was a so-called "palestinian" state. In fact there still isn't. What's pro-pali propaganda called? Taqiya?

Posted by: Sandan07 at January 26, 2015 05:31 PM

Prior to the formation of Israel, passports were issued showing inhabitants of Palestine as being Palestinian, and that included Jews. Ergo...

Posted by: Chris East at January 29, 2015 04:18 PM

"Palestine" is Jordan. Jordan is "Palestine."

-King Hussein

Posted by: Ron at January 31, 2015 04:54 PM

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