As Israeli government mulls the annexation of the Palestinian occupied territory of the West Bank, the New York Times and a local Israeli newspaper seem to embrace the potential plans by removing the West Bank from the map while only naming Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
According to Electronic Intifada website, the map was included in the print version of an article about secret Israeli airstrikes in Egypt, which are approved by the government of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The article was published on Feb. 3, according to the website.
Meanwhile, the online version of the article did not include the same map but a photo attached with it shows Israeli Prime Minister speaking at an event for the Jerusalem Post with a map behind him that also omits the West Bank from a map showing only Israel and Gaza.
“One possible conclusion is that Netanyahu and The Jerusalem Post are promoting a future in which some two million Palestinians are squeezed into a Gaza Strip bantustan while even more Palestinians in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are forced into a greater Israel in which they may or may not have voting rights,” Michael F. Brown wrote for Electronic Intifada.
Brown said that the New York Times has in the same posted the Syrian occupied territory of Golan Heights as part of Israel despite being internationally recognized as an occupied territory. The leading U.S. newspaper never explained that characterization and has so far failed to explain the latest one.
The news is particularly concerning because it comes less than two months after Likud, the Israeli ruling right-wing party, overwhelmingly voted for a resolution urging its lawmakers to push for the annexation of the West Bank, which is under heavy Israeli military occupation and is considered part of the future Palestinian state.
Meanwhile the West Bank and Gaza have been rocked with unrest over the past two months over the Dec. 6 decision of the U.S. administration to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, breaking with international accords stating that the fate of the city should be decided as part of a final peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.
The New York Times coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has always come under scrutiny from pro-palestinian activists as well as other journalists for its clear bias in favor of Israel. The newspaper tends to solely interview Israelis and occupation officials even when the news involves Palestinians people, homes and lands.
Ethan Bronner, who served as the newspaper’s Jerusalem bureau chief between 2008 and 2012, sparked controversy in 2010 when reports surfaced that his son was enlisted in the Israeli military in what many called, including journalists within the organization, a conflict of interest.
The management responded by saying that “the editors discussed the situation and see no reason to change Bronner’s status as bureau chief.”
Israel has been carrying out increasing colonization of the West bank over the past few decades through building thousands of homes and transferring Jewish population into settlements all over the occupied Palestinian territory, which is illegal under international law.
Successive right-wing governments have been increasingly endorsing the ideological principles of extremist Jewish conservatives who believe in the idea of a greater Israel between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean sea.
Multiple ministers within Netanyahu's government have publically said they would stand against the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank as it is part of Israel.