Patrick Kingsley is the Jerusalem Bureau Chief of the New York Times, who has a great deal of trouble getting his facts right about Israel and the Palestinians. He has had help from the rest of the resident staff, but that hasn’t rescued him from error. A report on the ineffable Kingsley is here: “How Many Helpers Does the New York Times Have to Hire for Error-Prone Jerusalem Bureau Chief?,” by Ira Stoll, Algemeiner, February 14, 2022:
A full page of Sunday’s New York Times was devoted to a Kingsley dispatch from the West Bank, with reporting “contributed by Rami Nazzal and Hiba Yazbek from Burin, Myra Noveck from Yitzhar and Givat Ronen, Jonathan Shamir from Tel Aviv, and Rawan Sheikh Ahmad from Haifa.” What did this team of error-prone chief Kingsley and five helpers come up with?
More mistakes. Kingsley and Co. report:
Settlers injured at least 170 Palestinians last year and killed five, UN monitors reported. During the same period, Palestinians injured at least 110 settlers and killed two, UN records show. The Israeli Army said that Palestinians had injured 137 Israeli civilians in the West Bank last year.
But if the numbers are roughly comparable, the power dynamic is different … Settlers, unlike Palestinians, have the protection of the military and are rarely in danger of losing the land they live on.
It’s not accurate that Israeli settlers “are rarely in danger of losing the land they live on.”
Let’s look at the history.
In 586 BCE, when the first Temple was destroyed, the Jews were deported to Babylonia.
After 70 CE, when the Romans conquered Jerusalem and sacked the Second Temple, the Jews dispersed to various places. They were expelled from England in 1290, from France in 1306, and from Spain in 1492. Those who settled in central and eastern Europe had their property seized from them by the Nazis and the Communists.
Jews kept being expelled from one country after another in Western Europe, “losing the land” they lived on, as well as whatever other property they possessed: from England in 1290, from France in 1306, from Spain in 1492, from Portugal in 1497. Those who lived in Central and Eastern Europe had centuries of persecutions an pogroms to contend with, losing their land and their lives during the Khmelnitsky Uprising in the Ukraine in the mid-17th century; Jews were again deprived of their land, and their lives, during the Nazi Holocaust; Jews again lost their property in Eastern Europe and Russia under the Communists.
In the land of Israel, Jews who lived in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and elsewhere in eastern Jerusalem had their property taken away by Jordan, which seized the territory in the war initiated by the Arabs in 1948 to prevent the establishment of the state of Israel.
Let’s also remember the 850,000 Jews who were either expelled or fled from Arab countries between 1948 and 1953. They lost their homes and land, their businesses, their property. That is why many Jews, including those in Israel, have internalized, as a kind of folk memory, the loss of their land over so many centuries, and in so many places.
Despite that history of Jews repeatedly having their land taken away from them, Patrick Kingsley insists that today’s Jewish settlers in Israel “are rarely in danger of losing the land they live on.” But that is not true, as the settlers well know.
Even the Israeli government has uprooted a series of settlements as part of a series of peace agreements.
In 1982, the Times itself reported that in turning over the Sinai peninsula to Egypt, Israel relinquished “16 civilian settlements.” The last of these was Yamit.…
“Tearfully but Forcefully, Israel Removes Gaza Settlers,” was the headline over another 2005 New York Times article. “By nightfall, the army said it had cleared the settlements of Morag, Bedolah, Kerem Atzmona, Ganei Tal, and Tel Katifa. Gadid, Peat Sadeh, Rafiah Yam, Shalev, Dugit and Nisanit were already empty or nearly so.”…
Loss of land in Gaza, where 9,000 Jewish settlers were forcibly uprooted in 2005; loss of land, too, in the West Bank, where some settlements were also closed down by the IDF. And every single one of the half-million Israelis living in the West Bank has to worry about a “peace” that will establish a Palestinian state that will include all of the West Bank and Gaza – squeezing Israel back within the 1949 armistice lines. Of course they fear “losing the land they live on.”…
The Times’ formulation that “Violence has long been deployed by both Israelis and Palestinians” makes no distinction between illegal terrorist violence and lawful warfare.
Palestinian violence is deployed in terrorist attacks on Jewish men, women, and children. Israeli violence is deployed by the police and the IDF who track down, and arrest, or kill those same terrorists. These are not equivalent uses o violence. But Kingsley doesn’t appear to see the difference.
Kingsley needs to remember that Israel has faced both enemy states and terrorist groups; it has never been the aggressor. The day after Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, the armies of five Arab states invaded to snuff out the young life of the Jewish state. Israel has had to fight three wars for its very survival, in 1948, 1967, and 1973. It has also had to fight eight other campaigns: in the Sinai in 1956, to stop the attacks on Israeli civilians in the Negev by Egyptian fedayin; a campaign to oust the terrorist PLO from Lebanon; two wars against the terrorist Hezbollah, and four campaigns against Hamas terrorists in Gaza. It is the Arabs who have constantly rejected a peace deal with Israel. They rejected the UN Partition Plan in 1947, and in response to Israel’s invitation to make peace with the Arabs after the Six-Day War, the Arabs answered with the “three Nos” of Khartoum:”No peace with Israel, No recognition of Israel, No negotiations with Israel.” Yasser Arafat walked away from a generous peace offer from Ehud Barak in 2000; Mahmoud Abbas walked away from an even more generous deal from Ehud Olmert in 2008. Since then Abbas has refused to deal unless Israel agrees that the “1967 borders” – that is, the 1949 armistice lines – will be the basis of negotiations.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians of Hamas, the PIJ, the PFLP, and those, too, who belong to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade of Fatah, carry on their terrorism against Israel. And the P.A. raises another generation to hate Israelis, and want to kill them, by continuing to use textbooks filled with antisemitic filth.. None of this Palestinian rejectionism, terrorism, and antisemitism, as Ira Stoll notes, makes it into Kingsley’s highly inaccurate reports. For him, it’s only the “occupation” and the “settler violence” that matters. There is scarcly a single report by Patrick Kingsley from Israel that has not had to be corrected. Given that record of bias and error, perhaps it’s time for the Times to replace him.
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