Sunday, October 13, 2019

Who Would've Thought? NY Times, B'Tselem misinform on "Palestinians' in Jordan Valley - by Gilead Ini

...Whatever the exact percentage of off-limits land in the Jordan Valley, it seems clear that the figure is significantly less than 85 percent. And it should be equally clear to the New York Times that it is extremely misleading to cast restrictions that apply to both Palestinians and Israels as affecting Palestinians, specifically.

Gilead Ini..
08 October '19..

The New York Times misinformed readers in two recent stories about Palestinians in the Jordan Valley — and although the newspaper promises to correct mistakes big and small, it has yet to correct its errors.

Access to Jordan Valley Land

In the first story, a Sept. 10 piece by Ben Hubbard, the paper erred about Palestinian access to the Jordan Valley, a stretch of land parallel to the Jordan River that runs along the West Bank’s eastern border. Citing the Israeli advocacy group B’Tselem, Hubbard told readers Palestinians are “barred from entering or using about 85 percent” of the Jordan Valley where it passes through the West Bank.

The claim that Palestinians are only able to enter 15 percent of the territory, though, is false.
Depending on where exactly one draws the boundaries of the Jordan Valley — there’s no single, official delineation of the territory — between seven and thirteen percent of the region is designated as Area A or Area B — the names given to West Bank territory in which civilian matters are administered by the Palestinian Authority, in line with peace agreements signed by Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli communities and their lands, which sit within Area C, the third and largest portion of the West Bank, take up another roughly eight to fifteen percent of the Jordan Valley. The New York Times itself has frequently documented that Palestinians can enter these settlements. Indeed, on the very day Ben Hubbard’s piece was published, a separate Times story noted that that nearly all the male population of Fasayil, a Palestinian village in the Jordan Valley, are employed in the neighboring settlement of Tomer. Even if these agricultural workers needed to obtain security clearances from Israeli authorities, their daily presence in Tomer — along with the tens of thousands of Palestinians who enter settlements across the West Bank every day for work or health care — shows that Palestinians are not “barred from entering” settlement lands.

Between Area A, Area B, and the settlements, then, roughly 15 to 28 percent of Jordan Valley land is accessible to, and accessed by, Palestinians.

So what of the remainder of Jordan Valley land — Area C territory that isn’t attached to settlements?

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