Reuters - considered the world’s top news source - has allowed its credibility to be seriously damaged with the publication of its “Timeline: Path to new Israel-Palestinian talks” on 7 March 2010.
Its cursory - almost totally dismissive - omission of Jewish claims to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in Palestine - are made blatantly clear at the beginning of its Timeline which states:
“Here are key dates on the path to this point:
1897 - European Jews in Zionist movement declare goal of creating a Jewish state in Ottoman Turkish-ruled Palestine.
1917 - British forces take Palestine from collapsing Ottoman empire in World War One. British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour declares support for Jewish “national home” there.
1945 - Revelation of Nazi Holocaust and new Jewish migration to Palestine bolster Western support for creating Jewish state.
1948 - Britain quits and great powers recognize Israel as U.N. partition plan dissolves in war that leaves Jewish state on 78 percent of land and half of Palestine’s Arabs as refugees.”
1967 - In what it calls pre-emptive strikes on Arab states, Israeli forces seize rest of British-mandate Palestine, taking West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and Gaza Strip from Egypt. Israel captures Golan Heights from Syria.
1988 - After a year of Intifada (uprising), exiled PLO leader Yasser Arafat, widely acknowledged as speaking for Palestinians, renounces “terrorism” and accepts Israel’s right to exist.
Omitted from this hastily concocted version are the following crucial - and critical - dates:
1920: Treaty of Sevres entrusts the administration of Palestine to a Mandatory for putting into effect the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.
1922: Britain appointed Mandatory for Palestine by unanimous vote of the League of Nations. 78% of Mandate Palestine excluded from inclusion in the future Jewish National Home in area known as Transjordan which is exclusively reserved for Arab homeland.
1937: Peel Commission recommends division of Palestine into two States - one Jewish, one Arab . Arabs reject recommendation.
1939: Britain severely limits Jewish emigration to Palestine in breach of Mandate for duration of World War Two.
1945: League of Nations wound up and United Nations created. Article 80 inserted in United Nations Charter preserves Jewish rights to establish Jewish National Home in Palestine.
1946: Britain grants Transjordan independence in 78% of Mandate Palestine.
1947: United Nations votes to divide remaining 22% of Mandate Palestine into two states - one Jewish, one Arab. Arabs reject recommendation. Fighting breaks out between Jews and Arabs.
1948: Reuters omits to mention that
•six Arab armies invaded Palestine
•Egypt occupied Gaza and Transordan occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem
•The Palestinian National Conference decides to place the West Bank under the sovereignty of Transjordan and
•Erroneously states that Israel ended up with 78% - not 17% - of the land
1949: Transjordan changes its name to Jordan
1950: The West Bank and Jordan are unified into one country by the Jordanian Parliament comprising equal number of West Bank and Jordanian representatives
1967: Reuters omits to mention Security Council Resolution 242 requiring Israel to only withdraw to secure and recognized boundaries.
1988: Jordan cedes any claims to the West Bank
This perversion of the history of Palestine is either induced by ignorance or a deliberate suppression of critical information that goes to the heart of the debate currently raging at the moment.
Inclusion of the above dates in Reuters Timeline would substantiate Jewish claims to be entitled to sovereignty in all or part of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to build settlements there based on the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter - rights grounded in international law.
Their absence from the Timeline needs to be explained or justified by Reuters if it is to regain any credibility in its reporting in the Middle East.
This Timeline has now been distributed throughout Reuters extensive network and can be viewed on its American, British and Indian websites and has been published and reproduced by other web sites and news services.
It has also been distributed on Reuters AlertNet site which proudly claims:
“AlertNet attracts upwards of ten million users a year, has a network of 400 contributing humanitarian organizations and its weekly email digest is received by more than 26,000 readers
It was started in 1997 by Reuters Foundation - an educational and humanitarian trust - to place Reuters’ core skills of speed, accuracy and freedom from bias at the service of the humanitarian community.”
Any claim to Reuters possessing these core skills is exposed as a sham and continues the gross media bias that continues to bury Jewish claims in international law to the West Bank and Gaza and to settle there to reconstitute the Jewish National Home.
Reuters continues the practice of the United Nations which similarly omitted any mention of many of these critical dates when seeking an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice in 2004 on the legality of the construction of the security barrier on and over the 1967 armistice lines.
Judge Elaraby - gave this warning to his fellow 14 judges sitting on that case:
“,,, the international legal status of the Palestinian Territory merits more comprehensive treatment”.
Judge Elaraby identified the need for such a review saying:
“A historical survey is relevant to the question posed by the General Assembly, for it serves as the background to understanding the legal status of the Palestinian Territory on the one hand and underlines the special and continuing responsibility of the General Assembly on the other. This may appear as academic, without relevance to the present events. The present is however determined by the accumulation of past events and no reasonable and fair concern for the future can possibly disregard a firm grasp of past events. In particular, when on one or more than one occasion, the rule of law was consistently sidestepped.”
Judge Elaraby continued:
“The point of departure, or one can say in legal jargon, the critical date, is the League of Nations Mandate which was entrusted to Great Britain”
The bias of the United Nations against Israel in omitting to refer to the Mandate when approaching the International Court is par for the course.
Reuters omission to similarly inform its millions of readers now places it on a similar pedestal following the publication of its grossly inaccurate and misleading Timeline.
The best thing Reuters can do is immediately withdraw its Timeline. I would hope it has the integrity and honesty to do so with an appropriate - and prominent - apology for its publication in the first place.