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media bias

Over-reacting screed haggles over the significance of 1,600 housing units approved for Palestinians and attacks CAMERA-UK.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

The story began this past Monday, when Britain’s i news reported that Israel had approved 2,800 housing units for Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

The article failed to report that Israeli authorities also approved 1,600 units for Palestinians in Area C, where Israel maintains administrative and security control.

Adam Levick, editor of the CAMERA-UK media watchdog, dashed off a politely written email to i news, pointing out that this was a significant piece of information to omit and requesting that the article be updated. The Western Press Daily, serving England’s Somerset County, corrected the omission at Levick’s request and there was no reason to expect any fuss.

Instead, i news published a surprising 541-word screed authored by chief foreign commentator Michael Day.

“When i reported that another illegal 1,355 homes were on the way, the Camera pro-Israel lobbying group was quick to complain that we hadn’t mentioned that ‘Israel is also set to approve 1,600 units for Palestinians in the areas of the West Bank that it controls,’ a fact that it said was needed for ‘context,'” he wrote.

“Well, here’s some more context,” Day continued.

“The Palestinians seek the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war — to build a state they don’t have. The presence of 700,000 Israeli settlers is the main obstacle to peace.”

Day went on quote denunciations from Tor Wennesland, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, as well as Hagit Ofran of Peace Now, and belittle U.S. military aid to Israel.

CAMERA-UK, naturally, defended itself and picked apart Day’s mischaracterizations of Israel. First, the organization is a media watchdog, not a “lobby group.” Next, settlements aren’t an obstacle to peace because even when the Arabs controlled Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip between 1948-1967, they still couldn’t accept Israel’s existence.

Memo to Day: When Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran, the casus belli for the Six-Day War, there were no “settlements.”

Talk about an overreaction. As if there aren’t more important issues for Day and his readers than haggling over the meaning of 1,600 housing units for Palestinians in Area C.

In any event, CAMERA UK apparently got the final vindication. The article that started it all, “Israel approves 2,800 settler homes,” can no longer be found on the i news site.