Globe and Mail Takes Sides by Claiming Settlement Homes are Being Built on "Palestinian land"

February 14, 2017

In a front page article in the February 7 edition of the Globe and Mail, former Mideast bureau chief Mark Mackinnon erroneously stated the following:

“For decades, U.S. presidents, Democrat and Republican, have made a ritual of issuing condemnations every time Israel built new homes in the occupied West Bank. Mr. Trump said nothing when Israel announced the building of 2,500 new units on Palestinian land during his first week in office. So, a week later, Israel announced the building of 3,000 more.”

In referring to the building of 2,500 housing units in settlement lands as being built on “Palestinian land,” the Globe and Mail used partisan language instead of using objective descriptions by referring to these lands as being inherently disputed. Accordingly, by assigning these lands to one side of the conflict, fundamentally disregards that both parties have signed international agreements which deem that the status of the lands are to be resolved pending negotiations.

In actuality, the Palestinians have never been sovereign rulers of the lands in question. Israel captured the west bank and east Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967. While Palestinian and Israeli advocates may stake claim to these lands, the Globe should report objectively on the dispute and not take sides. Simply put, Mr. Mackinnon should have said “Palestinian claimed land”, just as these reports in the New York Times did (see here and here).

The Globe’s statement incorrectly assumes that land was taken from the Palestinians and can therefore be returned. However, historical record shows that while the land was controlled by various entities throughout time, it was never controlled or taken from the Palestinians.

In sharp contrast, the Globe has previously reported on this matter by not referring to the land as being inherently Palestinian and by acknowledging that the Palestinians merely assert a claim or seek these lands in a final peace deal. See reports here, here, here, and here.

HonestReporting Canada called on Globe and Mail Public Editor Sylvia Stead to issue a clarification notice and to amend the online version of this article.

Regrettably, the Globe declined to take corrective action. Their defence? Public Editor Sylvia Stead wrote the following to HRC: “In the occupied West Bank, Palestinians are the major ethnic group are they not? This does not mean in your words ‘sovereign rulers.'”

As we told the Globe and Ms. Stead, you have thus far failed to provide any basis, facts, legal underpinnings, or sources to support your contention that these 2,500 housing units were built on “Palestinian land”. Palestinians may claim these lands, but so too does the Israelis based on legal and biblical claims. On what basis does the Globe contend that the ownership is exclusively Palestinian? The Globe should not be taking sides on this dispute.

Not surprisingly, the newspaper which regards itself as the paper of record, recently wiped the historical Jewish connection to east Jerusalem off the map, and has continued to provide coverage which maligns Israel, this time by wrongly claiming that settlement homes will be built on “Palestinian land”. To communicate your concerns directly with the Globe, please send emails to:


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