How To Properly Read a Haaretz Story

Yisrael Medad,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Yisrael Medad
I am a resident of Shiloh, with my wife and children, and now grandchildren, since 1981, having come on Aliyah in 1970. I have served in a volunteer capacity as a Yesha Council spokesperson, twice a member of Amana's secretariat, Benjamin Regional Council plenum member and mayor of Shiloh. I was a parliamentary aide for Geula Cohen and two other MKs, an advisor to a Minister, vice-chairman and executive director of Israel's Media Watch and was Information and Content Resource coordinator for the Begin Heritage Center. I am now Deputy Editor of the critical edition in anthology of Jabotinsky's writing in English.

I have learned that Haaretz published a claim that the home in Kedumim of MK Bezalel Smotrich of the Bayit Yehudi list, called a "Right-wing lawmaker" by Times of Israel, is

"built Illegally"

and that

Haaretz has learned that a number of houses on this street, including Smotrich’s, were built illegally, outside the declared state lands and in breach of the settlement’s master plan.

Or that,as TOI has it, it

"may be built on private Palestinian land".

The Ma'an Agency termed it "likely" to have been built illegally.

Channel 2 reported that 

New photos show West Bank house of MK Bezalel Smotrich, initiator of Regulation Law, stands outside state land

The Hebrew press release with aerial maps is here.

However, there is another way to read that report.

And that is to note that

In 2004, construction seems to have started there,” Haaretz said of the area where Smotrich’s home is located.


That would mean that for over a decade the "owner" did not know what had become of his land.  I'd call that sloppy.  Unless, of course, like in the turn of the 20th century, the owners of Lebanese effendis.

Also, Haaretz lets us know

Historically, in the West Bank, people purchased rights to land by cultivating it. 

Well, since the land is now being used, is that akin to cultivating? And anyone, cultivating is purchase, is ownership?

But wait, the story gets better:

“I remember there was land that used to belong to the village,” Saker Subhi Obad, the former mayor of the Palestinian town of Kadum, near Kedumim, told Haaretz: “In my opinion, the owner of this land was not in the country; that is, if he had been in the country, he would have gone to court. Apparently none of the landowners were in the village.”

A former mayor does not know? But Haaretz does know enough to trust his memory (or Yotam Berger is just being fed anti-occupation NGOs' material?)  He is:

'Obad said he had spoken with representatives of the human rights group Yesh Din, who he said told him that they had maps that could show him where the land was.'

Is this fake news?