Dear NPR News,
In her report on Morning Edition today about the assassination of Israeli
tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi, Linda Gradstein said that the killing took
place in east Jerusalem "which Israel annexed in 1967 and which
palestinians say must be the future capital of a palestinian state."
This is a lawyerly way for NPR to avoid reporting the fact that east
Jerusalem is considered to be occupied territory by the entire
international community and the United Nations Security Council, with the
exception of Israel. Gradstein's formulation includes only those facts
that don't embarass Israel, and leaves out those that do and no facts at
all that would tell listeners that Palestinians have actual rights in
Jerusalem and not just desires, aspirations and claims. It is
breathtakingly and transparently dishonest.
Jerusalem's status as territory under belligerent military occupation has
been determined repeatedly by the body which the international community
has established to form such judgments; the United Nations Security
Council. In particular UN Security Council Resolution 476, of June 30
1980, "reaffirms the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation
of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem."
This resolution was passed in response to Israel's attempts to annex East
Jerusalem in 1980 and reconfirmed that "that all measures taken by Israel
which have altered the geographic, demographic and historical character
and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem are null and void and must be
rescinded in compliance with the relevant resolutions of the Security
Security Council Resolution 298 (1971) "Confirms in the clearest possible
terms that all legislative and administrative actions taken by Israel to
change the status of the city of Jerusalem including expropriation of land
and properties, transfer of populations and legislation aimed at the
incorporation of the occupied section are totally invalid and cannot
change that status."
These are only two of dozens of Security Council resolutions that
emphasize that East Jerusalem is occupied territory and that Israel is the
occupying Power, and that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies in these
territories. The most recent of these was passed on October 7, 2000
In the past the NPR's ombudsman has defended Gradstein's refusal to report
the facts about Jerusalem on the grounds that they are too "emotional" and
might upset someone. This is an unconsionable derogation of NPR's duty to
tell its listeners the unadulterated truth.
In the absence of any fact-based explanation I can only conclude that
Gradstein is permitted to continue to mislead listeners because she
supports wholeheartedly Israel's unique and outlaw position on Jerusalem
or that NPR is too intimidated by the threat of a backlash from some of
its listeners if it were simply to report the facts.
What other explanations could there possibly be for NPR to blithely cast
aside decades of established and clear international law and policy on an
issue of central importance to both Israelis and Palestinians? By adopting
Israel's policy on Jerusalem, NPR is not only siding with Israel against
the Palestinians, but siding with Israel against the entire world and