The Guardian and Hamas: The love story continues.

Peter Hain's letter in Saturday's Guardian.

Peter Hain’s letter in Saturday’s Guardian.

Love is in the air at the Guardian. With summer approaching in the UK, down at Guardian towers (soon to be moving out of London to try to cut their dreadful financial losses) they continue wooing one of the most anti-Jewish outfits since the Nazis: Hamas.

One of the most effective ways to offend Jewish people is to show sympathy to Hamas, an organisation who, by their own admission in their 1988 founding Charter, want to murder every single Jewish person on the planet; man, woman and child.

In a Guardian opinion piece in May 2017 headlined Why now is the time to talk to Hamas Tareq Baconi asked us to do just that.

And now Sarah Helm does similar in friday’s Guardian with a piece headlined If we cared about peace we would be talking to Hamas. 

Like Baconi, Helm is in rapture about the Hamas’ recently published Document of General Principles and Policies. Helm falls head over heels in love with Article 20 in which Hamas calls for “a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along 1967 lines”.

Helm assumes this shows Hamas’ “commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.

It shows no such commitment. It merely commits to a Palestinian state on the so-called West Bank. Article 20 even expressly states “Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea.” This ultimately means the total removal of the Jewish state. Helm chooses to overlook this.

Baconi did admit that “Hamas’s leaders have denied that this document replaces the movement’s founding charter”. As I have stated that 1988 Charter asks “Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews)”.

Helm admits no such thing but maybe “killing the Jews” isn’t such a biggie.

Helm is far more interested in Hamas’ parlous financial situation and Gaza’s lack of electricity. The latter was brought on by Hamas’ dispute with Fatah. Even vicious anti-Israel websites admit this.

The former was brought on by Hamas being more concerned spending its international aid on rockets and tunnels with which to attack Israel’s civilian population than spending it on the population it was elected to govern. And Hamas’ tunnels are built by the children of Gaza, many of whom have died while building them.

And since it was elected Hamas has fought three wars with Israel but has not built one shelter for its own people so leading to many of their deaths while their own cowardly leadership hid in safety under the Shifa hospital.

This is the vileness that Helm thinks can be rationalised with.

Helm even accuses Israel of having built an “apartheid wall” around Gaza. How, in any rational sense, can it be “apartheid” to build a wall that stops Hamas entering nearby Israeli towns like Sderot to murder innocent Jewish Israelis?

The very minimum Helm does is acknowledge that Gaza also has a border with Egypt. But for Helm it’s “Israel’s siege of the territory” that is to blame. She writes that “Two million Gazans, mostly refugees, are today locked behind walls and fences and deprived of bare essentials”.

Bare essentials? Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) details the huge amounts Israel supplies to Gaza in terms on food, fuel, healthcare etc. There is no boycott of “bare essentials”.

These sick Guardian pieces by Baconi and Helm won’t have any impact beyond riling and offending the British Jews who read them.

Meanwhile, the Guardian published a letter (see photo above) on Saturday from ex-Labour Minister Peter Hain who refers to Hamas’ recently published document as a “new olive branch”.

If a far-right Nazi group attempted to moderate its stance towards Jews most reasonable people would never take the bait. But when Hamas attempts it the likes of Baconi, Helm and Hain not only take the bait they are also so easily reeled in!

(This is also posted at UKMediaWatch)

The Guardian’s Tareq Baconi wants us to talk to Hamas.

Also posted at UKMediaWatch

How certain journalists are wanting us to view Hamas due to its new document but nothing has changed.

How certain journalists want us to view Hamas due to its new document but nothing has changed.

The Guardian’s Tareq Baconi wishes us “to talk to Hamas” urging that now is the time due to Hamas’ recently released Document of General Principle and Policies which, he writes, “supports the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders”.

As we argued this document is a mere sham meant to trick the gullible and aid those desperate to push the Palestinian cause at any cost.

Baconi admits that Hamas’ original 1988 document is still in force:

“Hamas’s leaders have denied that this document replaces the movement’s founding charter,” Baconi writes.

That 1988 founding document, which Baconi admits is antisemitic, calls for the murder of all Jews everywhere with its “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews)” and claims that “Palestine is an Islamic land”.

But to mollify the reader Baconi continues that “numerous Hamas leaders have distanced themselves from it”. The link in his piece provides no evidence of such distancing, however, probably because no Hamas leader has ever distanced themselves from the 1988 document.

In 2013 Hamas head Khaled Maashal even explicitly denied an accusation that Hamas recognised Israel.

So the 1988 genocidal charter is still in force and there is no evidence of any Hamas leader having ever distanced themselves from it but Baconi pushes on, nevertheless, and, just like his Guardian colleague Patrick Wintour, sees nothing at all sinister in Hamas’ support for the “creation of a sovereign Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders”.

Let’s do the maths: The 1988 document calls for the death of all Jews and states Israel to be “Islamic land” but the 2017 document calls for the creation of a Palestinian state on “1967 borders”. Surely, it is glaringly obvious that the two documents as a whole point to the creation of a Palestinian state only as a precursor to the destruction of the Jewish one.

However, Baconi sees this all as a mere “compromise between Hamas’s various constituencies” as if Hamas is similar to a normal political party with left, centre and right wings.

Hamas has no wings. Its only objective is the annihilation of Israel and its Jews. It is laughable to think otherwise. As Israeli diplomat Ron Prosor likes to assert the only negotiations with Hamas would be over the size of his coffin.

But Baconi still pushes on and it gets worse. Baconi wants “to condemn the murder of civilians” by Hamas while also putting it “in context” because, according to Baconi, “Israel has systematically acted in violation of international law for decades”.

It is simply Baconi’s opinion that “Israel has…acted in violation of international law”. This sickening attempt at equivalence simply allows Hamas to get away with the murder of innocent Israelis. And when you check the link that Baconi provides as evidence of Israel’s “violation of international law” the headline of the article announces “Israel’s Gaza campaign may violate international law, says UN official”.

“May violate”. Again this is the opinion of one person. For Baconi a collection of opinions amounts to “international law”.

So Baconi’s article offers little evidence that Hamas has changed. He should read Article 20 of Hamas’ new document which calls for the “liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea”.

Article 20, therefore, calls for the destruction of Israel.

So if even Hamas admits its ultimate objective, which is the annihilation of the Jewish state, then why can’t Baconi?

Really, Mr Baconi, what’s there to discuss?

Meet the new cuddlier Hamas…according to our media.

Also posted on UKMediaWatch
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The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) wants to rebrand itself as a group which doesn’t want to annihilate Jews worldwide (Hamas’ 1988 charter states: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews)) to a group wanting to kill those Jews only living in Israel whom Hamas’ latest document, apparently, refers to as “the Zionist occupiers aggressors”.

Their latest document, published yesterday, doesn’t surplant their previous 1988 document so we can presume that they are both now in force; the tactic probably being the 1988 racist document being for Hamas’ local audience and the 2017 racist document for western consumption.

And to an extent the western media has fallen for the Hamas’ sweet-talking.

The Guardian headlines it:

Hamas presents new charter accepting a Palestine based on 1967 borders.

The Independent goes with:

Hamas to drop call for Israel’s destruction in new policy document. The terrorist organisation says it will agree to a Palestinian state along borders agreed in 1967.

And The Times:

Hamas softens view on Israel’s total destruction.

The Daily Mail:

Hamas announces it no longer seeks the destruction of Israel and does not hate the Jewish people as it seeks to soften its image

The Daily Telegraph:

Hamas unveils new, seemingly more pragmatic political programme.

The problem with these headlines is that nothing about Hamas has changed whatsoever, especially when considering its 1988 genocide-approving document is still in force anyway.

Predictably, Patrick Wintour, of the Guardian, gets overexcited at what he thinks is Hamas’ “biggest concession” which conists of, according to Wintour, “the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of 4 June 1967, with the return of the refugees”.

Even more incredibly Wintour continues:

“By implication, the document accepts that there will be another state entity outside these borders, even if it does not mention Israel.”

Really, the document implies no such thing. It merely accepts a Palestinian state on those pre-Six Day War ceasefire lines. It does not accept “another state entity outside these borders”. Only the Guardian could fall for such a charade.

Basically, Hamas are accepting a Palestinian state on the pre-Six Day War ceasefire lines with the intent of then destroying the Jewish state and incorporating it into what will inevitably become an Islamist Palestinian state ruled in the same brutal way Hamas currently controls Gazans. But the sycophantic Guardian doesn’t wish to go there.

Neither does Wintour wish to notice that calling for “the return of the refugees” is another code for the destruction of the Jewish state, albeit demographic destruction as opposed to Hamas’s usual method of murdering innocent Jewish people.

The equally sycophantic Independent goes along with this theme writing that Hamas has “drop(ped) its call for Israel’s destruction”.

The Independent piece is beyond idiotic. It wants to push the Palestinian cause so much that Niamh McIntyre gratuitously introduces the old worn theme of Israel building “illegal settlements”. The Independent doesn’t use inverted commas though. For those great lawyer-turned-journalists at the Independent they are, simply, illegal.

And there’s more. Niamh McIntyre continues:

“Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, although a number of  illegal settlements have since been built in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights.”

So Israel withdrew from Gaza but Israelis are now living back in Gaza? When did that happen? Of course, it hasn’t happened. This just symbolises the atrocious level of journalism when reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Gregg Calstrom at the Times also seems to have fallen for Hamas’ ploy. He simply thinks Hamas “would establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel in the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem.” And Carlstrom naively thinks this new document is simply meant by Hamas to improve relations with Egypt, the Gulf States and the west.

David Burke, of the Daily Mail, quite remarkably writes “In a dramatic twist, however, the group said it is willing to accept 1967 borders – before Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”

Burke will be the toast of Hamas tonight!

Burke, like Calstrom, McIntyre and Wintour, is unable or unwilling to see that Hamas’ 2017 document is just another tactic in Hamas’ overall aim of destroying the Jewish state by setting up a Palestinian one as a precursor to destroying Israel.

At least the Daily Telegraph is not so taken in. It reports that Hamas “retains the goal of eventually “liberating” all of historic Palestine, which includes what is now Israel.”

Finally, a piece of journalism that isn’t willing to simply push Hamas’ desired narrative. To that, at least, we say Hallelujah!

Labour MP Mark Hendrick calls in armed police to evict Israel blogger during Palestine Return Centre event in Parliament.

Prof. Wendy Pullan, Kamel Hawwash, Mark Hendrick MP, Prof. Penny Green.

At the Houses of Parliament last night the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) held an event called The Question of Jerusalem. It was hosted and chaired by Mark Hendrick, Labour MP for Preston.

Prof. Wendy Pullan, Senior Lecturer in the History and Philosophy of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, went first and described Jerusalem as “a badly damaged city” the blame for which she lumped on Israel due to “50 years of conflict and occupation”.

She explained that Israel’s urban planning had led to Israelis and Palestinians vilifying each other and she compared Israel’s security barrier to the Berlin Wall.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Kamel Hawwash then told of how he had recently been refused entry to Israel and treated badly at Tel Aviv airport while his wife and child were let through. He was put on a plane back to the UK. He said “Israel was an expert at inciting hatred and was not a country that wanted peace.”

Finally, Prof. Penny Green, Professor of Law and Globalisation at Queen Mary University of London, described how one of her friends who works at Hebrew University was attacked and “called a filthy Arab which is very common”.

She described the “segregation wall” and road network in the Palestinian territories as “apartheid” and said that the wall “is not about security”. She also condemned the checkpoints where Palestinians queue before they can enter Israel to work saying they are where “humans are treated worse than cattle”.

She compared the barrier to the Berlin Wall as well.

During the Q&A I got to ask a question. It isn’t easy asking a question surrounded by people trying to heckle you and drown you out but mine was aimed at Prof. Green.

I asked whether she had any sympathy with Israelis left bereaved and disabled by suicide bombers who got into Israel before the wall, which she condemned, had been built?

Hendrick immediately intervened on her behalf saying that this was a meeting about Palestine, not Israel. When I pressed that she should be allowed to answer he went outside to call armed police as you can see from these photos:

Mark Hendrick points me out to armed police.

Armed police looking for me.

Armed police getting a better sight.

Hendrick pinpoints me to police.

Meanwhile, the one person who did respond to my question was Hawwash who said “If Israel had been created in Uganda does anyone believe the Palestinians would have cause for political groups to go and kill Jews?”

I was then politely asked to leave the room by police and then asked to give my personal details. At one stage I was surrounded by seven heavily armed police. Then my friends Jonathan, Sharon and Mandy were all similarly led out.

One neutral elderly lady who had been in the room came out to complain to PRC representative Sameh Habeeb about how badly we had been treated.

What a total waste of police resources and time by this MP especially considering that literally outside the front door of the building two months ago a terrorist drove into and killed four tourists before then stabbing an unarmed policemen to death.

But Mark Hendrick, Labour MP for Preston, doesn’t have to campaign. He will undoubtedly be re-elected on June 8th as he has a 12,000 majority. So while all other MPs are currently back in their constituences working hard to keep their jobs Hendrick is in London helping the Palestine Return Centre pursue its ultimate goal; the annihilation of Israel.

That’s Labour politics under Jeremy Corbyn for you.

Employee of alleged PFLP terrorist is panellist at Amnesty International.

Rachel Strouma, Rina Rosenberg, Neil Sammonds, Nada Kiswanson van Hoydonk at Amnesty. on Wednesday night.

Rachel Strouma, Rina Rosenberg, Neil Sammonds, Nada Kiswanson van Hoydonk at Amnesty on Wednesday night.

So what is the logical response when you are Amnesty International’s crisis manager for Syria and there has been a recent chemical attack on his own civilians by President Assad at Khan Sheikhoun followed by 100 Syrian civilians killed by a suicide bomber as residents of the villages of Fuaa and Kafrya were being taken to safety?

Well, if you are Kristyan Benedict you arrange a meeting at Amnesty about human rights in Israel!

Benedict, Amnesty’s crisis manager for Syria, is notorious for comparing Israel to Islamic state, making a sick joke at the expense of three Jewish MPs on twitter and for threatening me when I questioned, at one of his events, an obviously doctored photo of a Palestinian boy with a Star of David allegedly carved into his arm by an Israeli soldier.

On Wednesday 19th April at Amnesty in London he assembled a panel of four human rights activists:

Rachel Strouma – Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.
Rina Rosenberg – Adalah, which is based in Israel.
Neil Sammonds – Medical Aid for Palestinians.
Nada Kiswanson van Hoydonk – Al Haq, which is based in Ramallah.

The event was called In Pursuit of Accountability – Israeli and Palestinian NGOs working together for human rights.

Rosenberg spent her 15 minutes citing the hundreds of complaints made against the Israeli army by Adalah and other NGOs and the Israeli army’s lack of response. For example, 500 complaints were made againt the army after the 2014 war relating to 360 different incidents. The apparent result was just one indictment for looting.

Then Strouma spent hers detailing examples of maltreatment and torture of Palestinian prisoners and the lack of trust that Palestinians have in the Israeli judicial system. She concentrated mainly on the apparent three days spent by Palestinian prisoners in vans as they are transported to court from prisons and back.

She claimed that one Palestinian admitted to a crime he didn’t commit rather than spend three days in a van.

van Hoydonk works for Al Haq. The General Director of Al Haq, which is based in Ramallah, is Shawan Jabarin who was and allegedly still is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian which is responsible for hijackings and assassinations within Israel and around the world.

van Hoydonk spent her 15 minutes updating us on the International Criminal Court’s preliminary investigation into war crimes during the 2014 war.

During the Q&A I asked van Hoydonk whether considering her boss was, and possibly still is, a member of the PFLP, a proscribed terrorist group responsible for the murder of many innocent civilians, she really considers her own organisation, Al Haq, a human rights organisation?

Sadly, she refused to answer as you can see below (from 1 minute 25 seconds). Neil Sammonds stepped in on her behalf to explain that this was an event to address the problems in the Israeli justice system but there will be other fora to explore Palestinian issues:

The issue of the 1000 Palestinian prisoner hunger strikers was also brought up during the Q&A. Rosenberg referred to them as “political prisoners”. So while Adalah is trying to bring prosecutions against Israel soldiers it cannot even admit to Palestinian terrorists being anything more than “political prisoners”.

After the event the audience and panel members were invited to drinks and nibbles by Amnesty which is ironic considering the issues of hunger strikes, torture, murder and intentional destruction that had just been discussed and alleged.

It takes all sorts.

Anti-Semitic comments show the Method in the Methodists’ Madness.

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Hinde Street Methodist Church’s reconstruction of an Israeli checkpoint.

I went to Hinde Street Methodist Church’s exhibition in London about Israel’s security checkpoints today expecting something on the scale of the St James’s Church’s lifesize reproduction of Israel’s security barrier outside their own church in 2013 which cost £30,000 to construct. Hinde Street Church’s reproduction, however, was more of an IKEA job.

First, all of the exhibition was inside the church and second, the checkpoint was made from simple plywood with various negative commentaries about the wall, including quotations from the Bible, attached to it.

There were also real photographs of Israeli checkpoints, some sort of jenga section and three prayer stations for silent contemplation.

Third, the Zionist Federation and the Board of Deputies had spent the weekend persuading the church to accept as part of the exhibition literature (including two big boards) explaining why the security checkpoints are so necessary (see below).

The exhibition didn’t seem to be busy (it runs till friday) but the ZF/BOD literature will be effective in countering those unsuspecting members of the public who wander in. My hunch though is that the exhibition will only attract real Israel haters coming to have their views on the Jewish state confirmed.

David Collier and I sat at a prayer station in discussion with two elderly British women for about 15 minutes. We played dumb about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one of the women proceeded to tell us, inter alia, that Israel has an “unkind society” and that Israel in the West Bank is akin to Putin conquering the Ukraine and transporting Russians there.

Although the exhibition itself is pretty downboat the fact that the church decided to criticise checkpoints that keep Israelis alive is pretty bewildering. Nowhere in the exhibition does the church condemn the Palestinian terrorism that has killed so many Israelis.

But reading the Church’s Facebook page marketing the exhibition gives you an indication of the mindset of some Methodists, perhaps.

Comments like

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indicate the real method in some Methodists’ madness.

More photos from the checkpoint exhibition:

Jenga!

Jenga!

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Jenga instruction!

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Brilliant ZF/BOD response inside the Church.

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Some poetry on the checkpoint.

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Guardian writer claims Google excluding Palestine to please customers.

maps

The Guardian’s weapon of choice on Monday against the Jewish state was maps with Petter Hellström, a PhD candidate at the Department of History of Science and Ideas, Uppsala University, claiming, in the Science section, that Google “chose not to mark Palestine on their maps…to stay impartial in the eyes of customers and the surrounding society…their fellow westerners.”

Once again this article would have been more at home in the opinion section.

Hellström complains that Google’s Map of Israel shows Israeli population centre Ma’ale Adumin on the West Bank but not “not even major (Palestinian) ones like Gaza City, Khan Yunis or Nablus”.

He then reproduces two maps of North America from 1614 and 1729 which he claims “made the colonists visible at the expense of the indigenous population” and which he calls “instruments of colonial legitimisation”, the obvious inference being that Google is doing the same to the Palestinians.

He also reproduces an Israeli government map which doesn’t delineate the West Bank and Gaza as separate from Israel while accepting that the Palestinians do the same with their maps but giving the Palestinian action a more innocent gloss:

“Palestinian maps often label the whole country as Palestine – effectively a refusal to acknowledge the development since 1948.”

Hellström then invokes anti-Zionist Israeli historian Meron Benvenisti who “described the process with which the Israeli state Hebraized the place-names of the country they had conquered”.

Hellström quotes Benvenisti:

“The Hebrew map of Israel constitutes one stratum in my consciousness, underlaid by the stratum of the previous Arab map.”

Hellström also invokes that ambiguous 173 year old phrase originated by Christian evangelicals ” a land without a people for a people without a land” but which Hellström attributes more directly to “the architects of Israel.” The phrase is now commonly employed as an epithet against Israel’s supporters.

Hellström took his cue from the Forum of Palestinian Journalists when they “accused Google of removing Palestine from their maps.”

His main concern is “whether Palestine and its people exist at all” and is under the impression that there was once a country called Palestine because “It is there on old paper maps, of the Holy Land, of the Roman and Ottoman empires, of the British mandate.”

But it was the “British Mandate for Palestine”, merely an administrative name. And on Ottoman maps Palestine was subsumed as a part of southern Syria.

Meanwhile, Palestine’s current status is as a UN non-member observer state having failed to join the international body as a full member state.

Irrespective of all the above I was bemused anyway because when you play around with Google maps of Israel and Palestine and zoom in closer then Palestinian population centres do appear.

Furthermore, Google’s map for Palestine has a sidebar showing Wikipedia’s definition of Palestine’s current UN status. Google, itself, even puts Palestine’s capital at “East Jerusalem” instead of the, arguably, more accurate Ramallah.

Here’s the link to Google’s map of Palestine.

I wrote to Hellström for clarification of his criticism. His response (which I publish in full below at his request if I was going to quote from it) was that Israeli population centres are disproportionately represented, that the Google sidebar is, depending on your device and settings, not necessarily always available, and that the content of Wikipedia is not stable.

He has a point to the extent that Google’s map of Palestine isn’t labelled. There is an argument that it could be labelled “Palestinian territories” or, “administered Palestinian territories” with delineated Areas A, B and C or, even, “non-member observer state”. Some might prefer “Judea and Samaria”.

It would just be inaccurate to refer to it as Palestine.

Hellström’s article could, quite validly, have gone down this road of discussion, but by directly implicating Israel and its creation in all this and suggesting that Google might have some financial agenda is to go down a far more sinister route.

Petter Hellström’s response to my email (23rd August 2016):

Dear Richard,

Many thanks for your e-mail. I am only happy to clarify what I wanted to say in the article; the short online format is not always helpful to give full disclosure of an argument.

First, it is not my main contention that the name of Palestine is absent from Google Maps. My argument is rather that this absence – like the relative absence of Palestinian place names – is significant, that it can tell us something, and that it matters.

If you search for Israel on Google Maps, the map centres on the State of Israel. It displays Israeli place-names, both in Israel proper and on the West Bank (Ma’ale Adumin), but no Palestinian place names, even as several Palestinian urban centres are significantly larger than the Israeli urban centres labelled (most striking is the labelling of Yotvata, pop. 700,while Gaza City, pop. 515,556, is not labelled; but even on the Palestinian territories there is a preference for Israeli urban centres, since only Ma’ale Adumin is labelled on the West Bank, although significantly smaller than several of the adjacent Palestinian urban centres). Since 19 August, in response to criticism, Google Maps also labels the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (even as it is not clear what status they enjoy). As you zoom in on the region, Palestinian place names start to appear along more Israeli place names. However, their respective representation is still disproportionate (Israeli urban centres show up at a much lower resolution than Palestinian urban centres of comparable size).

Now, if you search for Palestine on Google Maps, as you did, the map centres instead on the West Bank (you are in fact shown the same map image as if you searched for the West Bank). This map image is consequently of higher resolution, and thus more place names are shown, both in Israel and on the Palestinian territories. Their disproportionate representation is still apparent (the map image is, in fact, the same as the one you get if you first search for Israel, zoom in, and move the centre from Israel proper to the West Bank).

The Google Maps interface sometimes shows – depending on your settings and your device – a sidebar with a link to Wikipedia. It is Wikipedia, not Google Maps, that describes Palestine as ”a de jure sovereign state in the Middle East that is recognized by 136 UN members and since 2012 has a status of a non-member observer state” and which states East Jerusalem as its capital. The content of Wikipedia is not stable but changing depending on contributors. As far as I know, Google exerts no power over it, they merely provide the link. If you search for Jerusalem on Google Maps, it is clearly stated as located in Israel, not as in Israel and in Palestine.

In conclusion, Google Maps shows Israel but not Palestine, although both are states recognised by the UN as well as by most of the world’s independent states (Palestine is presently recognised by 136 and Israel by 161 UN member states). Moreover, and importantly, Google Maps shows Israeli presence in Israel and the Palestinian territories disproportionately more than it represents Palestinian presence.

Having said all this, it was not the purpose of my article to pass judgment on Google or to suggest how they should produce their maps in the future. Others are more willing to do this. My objective was rather to say that Palestine’s absence on Google Maps, like the relative absence of Palestinians, has precedents in the history of cartography; my example was New England, both because I thought it would speak to an Anglophone and predominantly British and American audience, but also because Harley made his argument about New England in reference to Israeli policies). My objective was also to say that history shows us that cartographic omission matters, especially when a state or country is in military occupation of another people, whose lands it is confiscating.

I hope this clarifies my argument. Again I thank you for your polite e-mail.

If you publish my reply on your blog or in any other forum, I would appreciate that you publish it in its entirety, rather than using only parts of it.

Best regards,

Petter Hellström

(This blog post also published at UKMediaWatch)