WaPo's Strange Math
There is something amiss about the math in a Washington Post/AP article about Israel rejiggering its list of Jewish communities receiving special subsidies ("Israel expands settlement subsidies -- Decision will have "destructive impact" on talks, Palestinians say" Aug. 5, page A8)
The lead paragraph tells readers that the Israeli cabinet "expanded its list of West Bank settlements eligible for government subsidies."
In the next paragraph, readers are told that the list includes "600 Israeli communities deemed 'national priority areas," expanding an earlier list.
600 favored settlements in the West Bank?
Not exactly. The article adds that the list includes poor towns in Israel's outlying areas, "but also dozens of settlements."
So from 600 we're now down to "dozens."
But we're not done yet. Peace Now, whose sole agenda is to bash Israeli settlements, "said the list approved Sunday increased the number of settlements eligible for subsidies from 85 to 91."
From "dozens," we're now down to just 6 more settlements on the subsidies list.
Israeli media reported that, in addition to new settlements on the list, three settlements were eliminated from the list. So, does this reduce the net number of new settlements on the subsidy list to just 3?
Deep in the article, the Post/AP article notes that added settlements "require additional government approval." So this was just a preliminary approval. A final approval awaits.
In the meantime, in terms of how many new settlements were actually added in the West Bank for special subsidies, the total is ZERO.
From 600 to zero -- quite a factual stretch.
But it makes for good Israeli bashing -- never mind the strange math.
But we're not done yet. In the same news cycle, there was another interesting development about settlements. It turns out that 1,000 jurists from 24 nations signed a petition to the European Union asking it to drop its description of settlements as illegal. The jurists maintain that settlements are perfectly legal under international law -- the EU notwithstanding.
Nevertheless, the Washington Post/AP article sticks to the usual Israel-bashing label that they're "deemed illegal by most of the international community."
At a minimum, why not report what these eminent jurists had to say?
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers