Even the most well-meaning of journalists can get confused by the Arab-Israeli conflict’s complexities and historical details.
A case in point is Fox News’ Leland Vittert, who does an otherwise excellent job explaining the practical realities that any Israeli prime minister would face in the event of a complete Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.
However, Vittert’s final paragraphs demonstrate some basic errors and misinterpretations:
And the second major problem inherent with the ’67 border requirement: the entire Old City, including the most holy site in the Jewish religion, the Wailing Wall, sits on the other side of that border.
Both the Palestinians and Israelis claim Jerusalem as their capital and the Wailing Wall is on the Palestinian side of the “Green Line,” which is diplomatic speak for the border before the Six-Day War broke out in 1967.
In any final status agreement, both sides would have to agree about what to do with Jerusalem and the holy sites of both religions, which has proved thus far to be an uphill battle, with the Israelis demanding a undivided capital and the Palestinians refusing to make a deal without large parts of the Old City and East Jerusalem.
A number of problems:
- Vittert refers to the 67 “border”. While it may appear to be a minor point, this reference to what is actually the 1949 armistice or ceasefire lines is critical when defining the status of these lines. A border is a legally defined frontier that implies some sort of permanence. In this case, it is crucial to point out in any negotiations that the lines that Vittert refers to were never a real border with some historical or legal status.
- The “Wailing Wall” should be correctly referred to as the “Western Wall” and it is certainly not the holiest site in the Jewish religion. The holiest site is, of course, the Temple Mount.
- Vittert states that both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital, thus placing equal weight behind both “claims”. In reality, Jerusalem has only ever been divided for 19 years between 1948 and 1967 when it was under Jordanian rather than Palestinian control. Jerusalem has always been the Jewish capital and center of Jewish life for 3500 years. It has never been an Arab capital even when under Jordanian control.
Please send your considered comments to Fox News – firstname.lastname@example.org – to send your appreciation to Leland Vittert but also to draw his attention to the above errors in his article.
For more on the issue of Jerusalem, see our video “Jerusalem – The Media Myth of Two Cities“, join our Facebook page “The History of Jerusalem Did Not Start in 1967” and check out our Hot Topics: Status of Jerusalem page for more resources.