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January 5, 2014 4:53 pm

Guardian: Only ‘Jews’ Can be Settlers in the West Bank

avatar by Adam Levick

The Guardian newspaper's London offices. Photo: Derek Harper.

The Guardian considers all Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and eastern Jerusalem to be “illegal” under international law. Though we’ve fisked the specious legal and political logic that inspires this view, many other media outlets also parrot this narrative and, so, such routine claims by Guardian reporters are not at all surprising.

However, in glancing at the Guardian Style Guide recently, we came across their definition of the term “settler,” which is much more difficult to fathom.



So,according to the Guardian, only a Jewish citizen of Israel can ever be considered a “settler.”

Now, just think about this for a minute. According to the recent census, there are just over 8 million Israelis. Out of this total population, just under 6.1 million are Jewish and around 1.7 million are Arabs. (The remaining 345,000 people are non-Arab Christians as well as people of other religions and people with no religious affiliation.)

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Out of this Arab population, there are more than 270,000 people living in neighborhoods within Jerusalem, which became Israeli territory after the Six Day War (aka, “East” Jerusalem).  This number includes both permanent residents and full citizens.

So, extrapolating from the Guardian’s logic, a Jewish Israeli citizen living in an “East” Jerusalem neighborhood (like Sheikh Jarrah, Gilo, French Hill, Ramot, etc.) is a “settler” living in an “illegal” community. However, per the Guardian, non-Jewish Israeli citizens (Muslims, Christians, etc.) living in the same neighborhood across the green line are not “settlers” and, evidently, not living in an “illegal” community.

While it’s not clear what term the Guardian would recommend when referring to non-Jews who live on the “wrong side” of the boundary, it’s remarkable that the moral and legal status of two Israelis (both with full citizenship) in the same neighborhood – or even the same house – would be considered different based merely on the religion of the particular inhabitant.

They’re saying, in effect, that it is only illegitimate if Jews live in communities beyond the green line – a racist distinction between Jew and non-Jew that even those international bodies (such as the International Court of Justice) condemning such settlements as “illegal” don’t make.

If there is indeed some moral or legal logic at play in the Guardian’s definition of the term “settler” that we’re missing, we’d appreciate it if someone could enlighten us.

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