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Internet Intifada denies free speech

By David Singer - posted Friday, 1 April 2016


Many Palestinian websites are stifling free speech by refusing to publish comments answering anti-Israel articles published on their sites.

The latest example is an article written by Rania Khalek on Electronic Intifada

Responding to the decision by McGraw Hill Education to destroy all copies of its text book Global Politics: engaging a complex world - containing the accompanying maps - Khalek claimed:

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The maps, which appear in chronological succession on page 123, show Palestinian land loss from 1946, one year before Zionist militias initiated the displacement of more than 750,000 indigenous Palestinians from historic Palestine, to the year 2000, by which point Palestinian land had been reduced to a handful of tiny non-contiguous enclaves in the occupied West Bank and a sliver of Gaza.

I endeavoured to post the following comment in response on 21 March pointing out the misleading nature of these maps:

Map 1:

The heading - "Palestinian and Jewish Land 1946" - is misleading for the following reasons:

(i) The map excludes Transjordan which in 1946 still comprised 78% of the territory of the Mandate for Palestine until granted independence by Great Britain in May 1946.

(ii) The land described as "Palestinian land" misleadingly implies legal ownership by the Palestinian Arabs of that land when in fact about 90% of it was State land under British Mandatory control and legal power of disposition.

Map 2:

The legend "Palestinian land" is misleading.

The legend should have said "proposed Jewish State" and "proposed Arab State" - the terms used in the UN Partition Plan.

Map 3:

The heading "1949-1967" is misleading.

The map should have shown the unification of the West Bank with Transjordan between 1949 and 1967 and the change of name of Transjordan to Jordan in 1950.

It should also have designated the Gaza Strip as being under Egyptian military administration between 1948-1967.

Map 4:

One can only wonder why the year 2000 was chosen. Why not 2015 after Israel had already withdrawn from Gaza and four settlements in the West Bank in 2005 and dismantled many illegal outposts?

In any event the legend "Palestinian land" and "Israeli land" is again wrong and misleading in so far as it relates to the West Bank. The land there should have been shown as Areas "A", "B" and "C"

As maps designed to be taught to students they are totally lacking in accuracy and ignore basic facts in their compilation.

Designating land as "Palestinian land" in any event implies that such land belongs to the "Palestinians". Since there were no persons designated as "Palestinians" until the 1964 PLO Charter defined that term – the use of the term in maps before then smacks of an attempt to re-write history.

Mc Graw Hill had no option but to discard these maps

My comments have not yet been published - and comes at a particularly sensitive time as Electronic Intifada Editor Ali Abunimah - a US citizen - has recently received a visa from the Australian Government - after waiting two months - to speak at a four day Marxism Conference and at other venues in Australia.

Abunimah posted the following tweet thanking the thousands who had petitioned the Australian Government supporting the grant of his visa:

I'm so grateful to every person who stood up for free speech. Delighted that I just received my visa for Australia. See you Down Under!

4:44 AM - 16 Mar 2016

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Perhaps my comment inadvertently slipped through the cracks as Mr Abunimah was busy packing his bags for his visit to Australia.

Free speech means free speech for all Mr Abunimah. Stand up, be counted, publish my comment.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

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