"Fourteen years ago, I went with then-President Bill Clinton to Bethlehem where he participated in the lighting of the tree in Manger Square. As we looked out from the Square we could see Jerusalem and, in between, a green hill which was called Jabal Abul Ghnaim. The Israelis had announced plans to construct a settlement on that land, and despite Clinton's stern protests, the hill was already scarred by bulldozer tracks preparing the way for what was to come."How is this for classic Arab logic? There's a hill which he decided now has a name that happens to be located near Bethlehem. Therefore, this hill belongs to the Palestinian people now and forever, and if you try and deny that than you are some kind of Zionist hasbara propagandist. For the record, I punched, "Jabal Abul Ghnaim" into Google and for the most part results were all James Zogby articles. But then further research into the history turns up something that may contradict Zogby's next statement:
"Today, Jabal Abul Ghnaim, formerly a part of Bethlehem, is called Har Homa, an Israeli settlement, housing over 17,000."In another article from 2010 he called the hill "Arab land." Apparently he's been shilling the exact same talking points for a while now. Anyway, let's take a look at the history:
"In the 1940s a Jewish group purchased 130 dunams (32 acres) of land on the hill between Jerusalem and Bethlehem known in Arabic as Jabal Abu Ghneim, Arabic: جبل أبو غنيم, translit)."Well. I guess now we know where the name comes from. And that James Zogby is a freaking liar, or else he would have mentioned this little tidbit that happens to sink his entire article. What else happened to it?
"During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the hill was a base for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, a position taken over by Jordan's Arab Legion. The Hebrew name "Har Homa" refers to a wall built on the remains of a Byzantine church on the mountain which was visible to Palmach forces stationed at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel. Following the war, the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property planted a pine forest there to prevent misuse of the land by local Jordanian residents. Since 1967, the forest has been maintained by the Jewish National Fund."So never, not even once, has any Arab town or village been on the hill. And yet James Zogby claims that it is part of Bethlehem because he doesn't like the idea of Jews living nearby Arabs.
The rest of the article is your basic tropes: Oh, the poor Palestinians have it so hard, Israel is "corralling" them and building too many settlements! And of course they have never harmed a single hair on a Jewish person's head, they are such innocent helpless victims. For example:
"And they don't know that there are in Bethlehem today hundreds of unemployed skilled craftsmen who were once world-renowned for their olive wood carvings and mother of pearl artistic creations. They have been idled by occupation, the blockade of their city, and their lack of access to export markets."I wonder if the wood carvers ever thought that their attacks on Israelis might have ever led to negative consequences. Israel isn't under any obligation to help give jobs or money to people who have killed hundreds of their children, and if Zogby was honest he would admit that both sides here have an obligation to do what's best for their people. Instead, like all Huffington Post bloggers, he would rather whine. Let's finish up with a final dash of hypocrisy:
"It might a good thing for all of us to resolve this Christmas to come to know the real Bethlehem and the real people of that town -- Christians, who have been living there since the time of Jesus, and Muslims -- the lives they live and what might be done to ease their burdens. "The Christian population of Bethlehem has been dropping drastically since the "tolerant" Palestinians took over there, and they have suffered persecution at the hands of their Muslim neighbors. And I wonder if Dr. Zogby remembers this? But yes, I agree. Let's resolve to help the real owners of Bethlehem and place blame where it really belongs. I think that's the last thing Dr. Zogby would want to happen though.