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B’tselem is an Israeli “Human Rights” Organization whose full name is The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Just by it use of the phrase Occupied Territories you can tell its politics (even most liberal Israelis I have spoken to call them the Disputed Territories). This NGO group’s goals are somewhere between “Peace Now” and Fatah. Their official goal “to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories” and they do it anyway possible.

They are probably most famous for the bogus guide to Palestinian civilian casualties they publish every year. The totals in their annual report are correct, but their classification methods are a bit on the “funky” side.

For example, they define civilian casualties as whether casualties were involved in fighting at the moment of their death. So let’s say a Palestinian launches a rocket into Israel, then puts the launcher in the truck. Suppose as soon as they get the launcher onto the truck he hears the call to prayer, throws down his prayer rug and starts praying. Lets also say that at the same time the IDF is honing in on where the missile was launched and sends retaliatory fire and sends that praying terrorist off to meet the 72 virgins. According to B’stelem, that terrorist is considered a civilian because he wasn’t launching missiles at the time, he was praying. The worldwide press already pre-disposed to B’tselem’s message uses and believes the NGO as if their information came down from Mount Sinai on a pair of tablets, but the truth is the next honest report they publish will be B’tselem’s first.

Tomorrow, B’tselem is going to publish a new report containing lies about Israel and the disputed territories on the West Bank. They have embargoed the information till tomorrow (July 6th).

Date: Mon, 5 Jul 2010 16:55:55 +0200
From: “Sarit Michaeli” <[email protected]>
Subject: Press release – embargo tomorrow, 6 July –  Official data: 
One-fifth of settlements’ built-up area is private Palestinian land
Press release – Not for publication until 6:00 A.M. on 6 July 2010
Army and Civil Administration data:
One-fifth of settlements’ built-up area is private Palestinian land Settlements control 42 percent of West Bank land area Today (6 July 2010),
B’Tselem is publishing By Hook and by Crook <> :
Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank. The report, which analyzes the mechanisms used to gain Israeli control of land in the West Bank for building the settlements, is based on official state reports and documents, among them army and Civil Administration maps,

Pre-dated (or embargoed) press releases are common in the news world, there’s an understanding between the publicist and the journalist that the info will not be made public until a specific time. But there is always a legitimate reason for the embargo. In this case the only reason is to sabotage this week’s talks in Washington between the Israeli Prime Minister and the US President.

Keeping an embargoed report secret till its due date is easy, but it’s very hard to keep a lie, so here is the truth about the report.

…there are some other stats in the report that are meant to be very damning for the Yesha population. For instance, B’tselem declares that 21% of the built-up areas within the Jewish towns are private Arab property. This is as if to say that every fifth Jewish home in Yesha is built on private property.
Danny Dayan says this is a distortion of the truth. “Not one Arab has been deprived of his land to build Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria,” he told Arutz-7’s Shimon Cohen. “Unlike in previous settlement enterprises, such as the kibbutzim of several decades ago, when there was no other choice… Since 1974, not one piece of privately-owned Arab land has been confiscated – and those that were, were totally compensated for, either in money or land. And the properties that were thus confiscated and compensated add up to much less than 21% – so that no matter how you slice it, this number is a brazen lie of the kind one can expect B’tselem to disseminate.”
Dayan had even stronger criticism of B’tselem for their purposeful publication of the report precisely as Netanyahu is to meet with Obama. “This is an act of an organization that is hostile to the State of Israel – and B’tselem has become exactly that. It is playing a central role in the campaign to divest Israel of its defensive means… Timing the report in this manner is an act that borders on treason.”

In this report, not only is B’tselem playing games with the truth, but it is taking off the “mask” of a “human rights” organization to reveal its core political objective opposing Israeli government policy. There is nothing wrong with opposing a countries politics if it’s being done truthfully but in B’tselem’s case, this opposition is being financed and supported by European governments and other NGO’s with an anti-Israel agenda. B’tselem and its reports are is simply another vehicle for their campaign.

Among its sponsors, B’tselem lists these groups who have a history of working toward the de-legitimization of Israel:

The timing of this highly publicized report is clearly designed to have maximum media attention during the Netanyahu/Obama meeting, another overtly political act funded by European governments. Among the foreign governments funding B’tselem are Britain, The EU, Ireland, Switzerland and Norway. B’tselem acts in part as their pro-Palestinian propaganda arm.

The claims, particularly regarding international law, lack credibility. The complexities of history, including Arab warfare and rejection, are erased, and the legal arguments are chosen to promote B’tselem’s political objective. Legal analysis that reach different conclusions are similarly erased in this report.

A draft of the report was sent to the Ministry of Justice for response. The Ministry’s official in charge of human rights and ties with international organizations informed B’tselem that the state will not respond to the report “in light of its political nature.”

The Ministry of Justice is correct. B’tselem is funded by NGOs and Governments seeking to de-legitimize the Jewish State. This report like many others it has published is filled with lies and half truths not to promote human rights, but to obstruct any chance at a legitimate peace process. This time, its report is designed to sabotage this week’s Obama/Netanyahu discussions with the hopes it degenerates into an Israel-U.S. fight, just like the last time Prime Minister Netanyahu came to the United States.

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