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East Jerusalem isn’t ‘disputed,’ it’s ‘occupied’

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On CNN, Jack Cafferty called East Jerusalem "disputed." The other day the Washington Post referred to East Jerusalem as "disputed." As Susie Kneedler reminds us often, it’s not "disputed." Henry Norr is on the case, in this letter to National Public Radio:

During the "Week in Review" segment of this morning’s "Weekend Edition Saturday" show, Ron Elving referred at least twice to East Jerusalem as a "disputed" area. "Disputed" is the term the Israeli government and its advocates use and actively promote as an alternative to "occupied," in hopes they can get out of the legal implications of occupation.

But the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, the European Union, the UK, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, among other entities, all reject the Israeli usage and consistently use the term "occupied" in reference to East Jerusalem, as well as the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights. (As it happens, the U.S. Department of State issued its annual report on human rights in "Israel and the occupied territories," including East Jerusalem in the latter category, just two days ago).

Because these terms have clear, well established, and important legal and political meanings, choosing between them is not an innocent stylistic question. Why does NPR’s Senior Washington Editor adopt Israeli usage, rather than that of our own government, the UN, and most of the rest of the world? I think you owe your listeners a correction on this matter.

Henry Norr
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