This is all just part of a continuing trend seen around the world, just as we would predict from biblical prophecy as we approach the Tribulation:
To: Isabel Kershner and Jodi Rudoren
Subject: June 6 article, with your by-lines, about Israeli approval of housing construction plans in East Jerusalem and the West Bank
Predictably, Israel gets hammered on the international scene for adding more housing across the Green Line. In turn, you oblige with a four-column, 27 paragraph article (“Israel Expands Settlements to Rebuke Palestinians.”)
Your lead paragraph sets the scene: “The announcement enraged the Palestinians and flouted international opinion.”
Your lead paragraph sets the scene: “The announcement enraged the Palestinians and flouted international opinion.”
Paragraph No. 2: Israel drew “criticism from foreign allies, including Britain, France and the United States.”
Paragraph No. 5 -- State Department: “We are deeply disappointed. As we have consistently said, these actions are unhelpful and counter-productive to achieving a two-state solution.”
Paragraph No. 6 -- British Foreign Secretary William Hague deplores the Israeli decision “to expand a number of illegal settlements, many of which are deep within the West Bank, and in East Jerusalem.”
Paragraph No. 10 -- Palestinian Authority will “respond in an unprecedented way.”
Paragraph No. 11 -- Saeb Erekat, the PA’s senior negotiator, says Palestinians will complain “to international bodies they had joined in April, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
Plenty of complaints and criticism of Israel. No doubt about it. But curiously and glaringly, one missing actor: ISRAEL. We’re half way in this lengthy article with its drumbeat of anti-Israel criticism, and no word from Israel about its whys and wherefores on this issue.
That part of the story is relegated to paragraph 21, where an Israeli official in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office finally is allowed to explain that “the new construction would all be in areas that Israel intended to keep under any future peace deal with the Palestinians.” In other words, construction will all be within areas Israel already has.
Thus, very, very belatedly readers are let in on the fact that Israel doesn’t plan to create new settlements, or expand existing ones, or seize any Palestinian lands, but will limit itself to building more homes in existing Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and in Jewish communities in the West Bank.
Question: Under any fair journalistic criteria, shouldn’t Israel’s response have been played much higher in your article? Had you done so, it would have immediately demolished the British foreign secretary’s false assertion that Israel is about to “expand a number of illegal settlements, many of which are deep within the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.”
So, why give Israel back-of-the-bus treatment? Wouldn’t it have been fairer to summarize Israel’s explanation and rebuttal in the third paragraph, for example, instead of Paragraph No. 21?
Incidentally, Israel also gets the short end of the stick from whoever wrote the headline: “Israel Expands Settlements to Rebuke Palestinians” Amid all this brouhaha, the Times fails to alert readers that there is no planned expansion of settlements, no new settlements, no enlargement of settlements.
Instead, it falsely accuses Israel of land grabbing – “Israel expands settlements.” Not so. As even the two of you seem to acknowledge in Paragraph No. 4, where you report that Israel’s housing ministry published bids for “the construction of nearly 1,500 housing units IN settlements.” Inside settlements, within existing settlements. But definitely not expansion of settlements as the headline falsely alleges.
Perhaps you could get the Times to print a correction of the headline? And perhaps also start giving Israel the same treatment you accord its critics. That might go a long way to heal your journalistic credibility.
The EU has threatened to take action against settlers after Israel backed the building of 1,466 more Jewish homes on Palestinian land in the West Bank.
EU countries said in a joint communique on Thursday (5 June) the move is “unhelpful to peace efforts” and called on Israel to “reverse the decision”.
They added that if it doesn't, they will “act accordingly” and “fully and effectively implement existing legislation in relation to settlements”.
The threat refers to plans to publish a code of conduct for EU retailers on how to label settler-made products - a move likely to fuel consumer boycotts and to harm Israel’s image.
It is part of a tougher new approach which EU diplomats say the US endorses.
The US state department also on Thursday said: “We’re deeply disappointed; again, difficult to understand how these [settlements] contribute to peace.”
Israel announced the new housing units as a price tag for Palestine’s formation of a unity government.
The government is backed by Palestine’s two main political factions, Fatah and Hamas, which used to be bitter rivals. But it is composed of technocrats and does not contain anyone from Hamas, which the EU and US call a “terrorist” entity because it advocates armed resistance.
The EU and US earlier this week snubbed Israel by saying they will work with the new Palestinian cabinet.
Israel’s housing minister, Uri Ariel, himself a far-right settler, said the new housing units come because "when Israel is spat upon, it has to do something about it".
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Hamas is a terrorist organisation that calls for Israel's destruction, and the international community must not embrace it".
He has also said he supports a two-state solution and freed dozens of Palestinian prisoners in recent peace talks. But at the same time, he endorsed the building of 14,000 new settler homes, prompting the talks to break down.
“The fact settlement activity increased after the peace talks were launched last July shows it was a political decision,” the EU’s envoy in Jerusalem, John Gat-Rutter, recently told EUobserver.
“It’s quite obvious that the issue on [product] labelling will come even more to the forefront if the kind of settlement expansion that we have seen in the recent year continues in the future,” the EU’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, said.
“So this is a very dangerous time with the people who control the investment markets having very little regard for the risks and the dangers that the world is currently facing.
Eric, we have discussed the massive risks which are present in the system and they are more ubiquitous now than ever -- Japan, EU, UK, US, China, and geopolitical risks. The financial system has the same problems today as it had in 2008, but the money printing over the last few years has achieved a calm and complacency that will lead to massive shocks in the world financial system in coming years.
In China, the property market bubble combined with the shadow banking system, which is out of control, will lead to massive problems for the Chinese economy. Many of these problems will be contained within China, but the fact that China will stop growing at these very high levels will have a negative impact on world trade and on the world economy.
Eric, Japan has massive debt, an aging population, a collapsing savings rate, and big deficits. Last month retail sales in Japan were down 14 percent, the largest fall ever. Household spending is down almost 5 percent year-over-year, and industrial production was down 2.5 percent last month, the biggest decline since the tsunami.
There has been some false optimism about the conditions in the EU. Spanish long term unemployment has increased 500 percent since 2007. There are now 1.2 million people in Spain who have had no job since 2010. It was estimated that 25 percent of the Spanish population is now at poverty or at social exclusion levels -- that’s an astounding 12.4 million people.
So there is no real improvement in the EU, and today the EU banking system is more vulnerable than in 2008. Portugal’s biggest bank is in serious trouble. But there is also a great deal of misplaced optimism in the United States. I have never been in the fracking camp and now we are getting confirmation that those forecasts for production were wildly optimistic.
The Monterey Formation was supposed to produce 64 percent of all the shale oil in the United States. Well, the output estimate has now been revised from 15 billion barrels to only 600 million barrels. That’s a 96 percent reduction in output. What is also happening in the U.S. is that the shale debt is exploding. Debt has doubled, while revenue is only up 5 percent. So we have a classic example of costs soaring and productivity falling.
Also, a lot of the economic indicators in the U.S. are very weak. Retail sales are plunging, bank profits are falling, home sales are falling fast, both existing and new homes, and 56 percent of Americans have sub-prime credit today. So the average person in the U.S. is suffering badly, and they are seeing none of the benefits of inflated asset markets which is all due to money printing.
Debt is also increasing across the world. Global debt is now around $275 trillion, or 385 percent of world GDP. That’s $38,000 of debt for each and every person in the world. Even the average American is one paycheck from bankruptcy. So how does anyone ever believe that any of this debt could ever be repaid? Well, it won’t be, that’s absolutely guaranteed.
All this will lead to unprecedented money printing and hyperinflation. Thereafter we are likely to see a deflationary collapse of the financial system. We will certainly be looking at a very different world in coming years.”
Increasing energy consumption has long been directly tied to economic growth and improvements in human welfare, and access to modern energy is essential for providing people with clean water, sanitation, and health care. It’s also important for lighting, heating, cooling, cooking, and helping people communicate with one another.
According to World Bank Vice President Rachel Kyte, “Access to affordable energy is absolutely fundamental in the struggle against poverty. It is energy that lights the lamp that lets you do your homework, that keeps the heat on in a hospital, that lights the small businesses where most people work. Without energy, there is no economic growth, there is no dynamism, and there is no opportunity.”
Unfortunately, the World Bank claims renewable energy is the best way to illuminate the homes of the world’s energy-poor, 95 percent of whom live in developing Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Although some remote areas could benefit from off-grid power generation from solar panels, real improvements in the lives of the energy-poor require a more traditional grid system, which can be cleanly and affordably powered by natural gas, which the United States has in abundance.
Instead of focusing on doing the most good for the most people, the World Bank provides only a fraction of people with electricity because it insists on using a politically favored source of energy. Poverty is the principal cause of hunger. The worlds’ governments are forcing millions of people to go hungry unnecessarily because the waste of millions of dollars on renewable energy leaves three out of four people in the world in energy poverty.
Although some people may prefer to keep energy consumption low in developing countries to allay concerns about climate change, keeping millions of “other people” in the dark while living in societies largely powered by fossil fuels is not only hypocritical, it’s cruel. It looks especially heartless when one considers providing basic modern energy access to energy-poor people would increase global energy consumption by just 1 percent.
A recent study by the World Bank found that providing 100 percent of electrification and 100 percent of cooking ability would increase carbon dioxide emissions by as little as 2 percent. That’s a small price to pay to save 4 million lives.
People who don’t have electricity or a clean source of energy to cook their food don’t need expensive and wasteful government boondoggles; they need electricity and clean cooking fuel. We could do vastly more good for many more people by investing in clean, conventional sources of energy, brightening the lives of millions of people.