Erasing International Law in East Jerusalem with a Little Help from NPR
There's been a boatload of news coverage about settlements in the Occupied Territories - and especially East Jerusalem - since Israel's kick in the teeth to VP Biden at the start of his "peace" trip to Israel and the tension it created between the expansionist Israeli government and its rock-solid, honest broker for peace, the US.
Given that the core of the disagreement is over Israeli settlement expansion in the Occupied Territory of East Jerusalem you might expect a news organization to offer a little bit of historical and legal context - you know, like some small reference to the 20+ Security Council Resolutions on Jerusalem that Israel has violated. Or given the chest thumping sectarian triumphalism of Netanyahu -
"The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today. Jerusalem is not a settlement. It's our capital." [Morning Edition, 3-23-10]
- you could hope for a gentle history lesson that would not leave such a steaming pile of racist propaganda sitting out there unchallenged. And given that ALL the Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, you might expect to hear the word "illegal" or the phrase "Security Council" in any one of the pieces on the East Jerusalem settlements aired on NPR in the past week. So how does NPR do? Let's have a look:
At the time of this posting,
- - A search of "israel settlements" as "Heard on Air" in the past 7 days results in 9 reports, 8 of which are on NPR's main news programs, and 1 of which was on Talk of the Nation.
- - Add the term "illegal" to the same search and...nothing!
- - Replace "illegal" with "security council" and...again nothing.
Is it any wonder that the US Congress can act as though it were the Likud Party, or that so much of the US public is completely misinformed regarding the conflict in Israel/Palestine? How could a listener have informed opinions when NPR provides an uncritical platform for extremists like Netanyahu and allows expansionists like Israeli Amb. Michael Oren to make the following unchallenged claims during a recent "interview" with Robert Siegel:
"...Jerusalem is sovereign Israeli territory, and it has the same status as Tel Aviv. And just as Israelis have a right to build anywhere in Tel Aviv, they have a right to build anywhere in the city of Jerusalem...."
Seriously, one doesn't have to be a radical to state the obvious about Israel and its settlement policies. Regarding Jerusalem, UN Amb. George H. W. Bush (seriously) stated way back in 1971,
"We regret Israel's failure to acknowledge its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as its actions which are contrary to the letter and the spirit of this convention,"
and - as President - he and his administration continued to make almost identical points nearly twenty years later. I guess that was so pre-9/11 - you know, back when such quaint ideas as the Geneva Convention still held sway in some quarters of the Village.