BATTLE STATIONS

Israel's announcement last month that it was to build a new Jewish suburb in south-eastern Jerusalem raised a storm of international protest. From Cairo to Washington as far afield as New Zealand the world raged.

Israel was accused once again of riding roughshod over Palestinian aspirations, violating international law, and threatening the Oslo process.

The Facts

(courtesy of Israeli Government Press Office; Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)

The Distortions and half-truths

NEITHER A MOUNTAIN NOR A WALL

"Har Homa", the hottest name in the news, is neither a mountain or a wall (In Hebrew, 'Homa' means a massive wall in a city or fortress). The name Har Homa was given to it by the commanders of Israel's No. 16 Jerusalem Brigade.

The disputed site is a round hill with a small stone fence which was part of the Arab Legion front against southern Jerusalem. The trenches of the Legion can still be seen on the site. From this ridge of hills ... the Arab Legion shelled the city during the War of Independence.

[Egyptian] President Mubarak, who harshly criticised Israel's aggressive stand on Jerusalem, seems to have forgotten that in the same war, Egypt sent an invading force. In May 1948, this force, including tanks, reached Kibbutz Ramat Rachel adjoining Talpiot, just one mile from Har Homa ..."

Israeli historian Eliyahu Tal
(The Jerusalem Post, March 12)

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