The big news out of the Middle East yesterday was the Israeli government’s decision to approve an expansion of the Gilo settlement near Jerusalem. The White House’s muddled position on settlement expansion has been a key part of Israel-Palestine negotiations. Many headlines framed the news as you’d expect (New York Times: “Plan to Expand Jerusalem Settlement Angers U.S.”, for example).
The Washington Post, though, went with this headline today: “Housing Plan for Jerusalem Neighborhood Spurs Criticism.”
The article by Howard Schneider refers to a “disputed neighborhood of Jerusalem,” the “Jewish neighborhood of Gilo,” a place “annexed to the city in a step not recognized by the international community.”
There is also a reference to White House policy, noting that the Obama administration “has vacillated in its stance on Israeli construction in areas claimed by the Palestinians.” This is downright bizarre; the entire discussion about “Israeli construction” concerns illegal Israeli settlements–or, perhaps more accurately, colonies–in the West Bank. Why, then, refuse to label Gilo accurately? It’s an old story, actually; as Extra! pointed out in 2002, Gilo was a cause for pro-Israeli media activists, who pressured outlets like CNN to stop referring to Gilo as a settlement and use terms more innocuous like “neighborhood.” It’s still working, it would seem.