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Deutsche Welle

How did Germany’s state-owned public international news organization, Deutsche Welle, come to report that over 600,000 Jewish settlers reside in Gaza?

By David E. Kaplan, Lay of the Land

There are only two Israeli ‘residents’ in the Gaza Strip  – and they are both mentally challenged and held hostage by Hamas, which denies them Red Cross visitation; in violation of International law. So how did Germany’s state-owned public international news organization, Deutsche Welle, come to report that over 600,000 Jewish settlers reside in Gaza?

In the paper’s op-ed on November 16 2019, Dr. Rainer Hermann of the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung newspaper, wrote:

“The first is the situation in Gaza — an area where more than  600,000 Jewish settlers have built residences in what is internationally recognized as territory belonging to the Palestinian National Authority.”

How could a respected German Islamic scholar and journalist in an esteemed publication publish such outright lies? It took CAMERA (the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) to expose the untruth: “There is not a single Israeli settler in the Gaza Strip. Israel withdrew all of its civilians and soldiers from that territory in 2005.”

Are we to believe that Dr. Hermann – who since 2012 is employed in the political department of the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung’s central editorial office in Frankfurt, focusing on the Middle East and the Islamic world, and is the author of six books on the Arab world – did not know that there are no Israelis in the Gaza Strip besides the two civilians held there as hostages by Hamas?

Are we further expected to believe that he did not know that that there were only 8,500 settlers, not over 600,000, in the Gaza Strip but they were all evacuated in 2005 – 14 years ago?

Back in 2004, an article in The Guardian reported that “Israel started demolishing evacuated homes in Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip today, as troops forcibly entered two synagogues at the centre of protests against Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan.

“Cranes began pulling apart pre-fabricated buildings in the small settlement of Kerem Atzmona, the first homes to be taken down in Gaza’s main settlement bloc.

“’It is not easy to do this. We hope to continue with the process of destroying structures. How long it will take depends on various factors, including the end of the evacuation,’ Levi Golan, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said.”

One of the most traumatic periods in Israel’s history when its settlers from the Gaza Strip were forcibly removed in an endeavor to achieve peace and which was extensively reported throughout the world, the editors of Deutsche Welle and its correspondent Dr. Rainer Hermann had conveniently forgotten?

Deliberate Falsehoods?

Dr. Hermann either is a totally inept journalist or has a clear agenda of besmirching the Jewish state with deliberate falsehoods. As for Deutsche Welle, it corrected the “error,” but not totally.

While the editors – following the complaint from CAMERA – amended the article by removing the false assertion that 600,000 settlers residing in the Gaza Strip, they failed, according to CAMERA, to adhere to “journalistic correction standards.” Deutsche Welle’s editors of failed to “append a note alerting readers to the change,” says CAMERA. The anti-Israel position remained sans the lie about 600,000 Jewish settlers living in Gaza.

Deutsche Welle appears to have a bad track record on reportage on Israel.

In June, it blocked a prominent Indian journalist on Twitter because he criticized one of its articles that quoted an anti-Semitic Muslim politician in India without citing “the politician’s crude anti-Jewish hatred.”

Vijeta Uniyal, widely considered one of the leading experts on Israeli-India relations, told The Jerusalem Post at the time: “As an Indian journalist living in Germany, I regularly analyze German media coverage. I have repeatedly tweeted about the anti-Israel bias in Deutsche Welle’s coverage… I was appalled to see an Indian politician with a track record of making anti-Semitic remarks being quoted by the broadcaster as a representative of the Indian Muslims.”

Clearly, leopards do not change their spots, and one has to be on the constant lookout for daily lies and distortions in the media about Israel.

As Matti Friedman writes in The Atlantic, “The Western press has become less an observer of this conflict [Israel/Palestine] than an actor in it, a role with consequences for the millions of people trying to comprehend current events, including policymakers who depend on journalistic accounts to understand a region where they consistently seek, and fail, to productively intervene.”

The first casualty of conflict is “truth.” Today it was Deutsche Welle, tomorrow  – take your pick!

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