Counting all the illegal colonialists

Jonathan Cook writes how the bulk of the Western media based in Israel proper ignore the illegal, Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem:

There are about half a million Jews living illegally on land occupied by Israel in the 1967 war. Give or take the odd few thousand (Israel is slow to update its figures), there are nearly 300,000 settlers in the West Bank and a further 200,000 in East Jerusalem.

Sounds simple. So what is to be made of this fairly typical line from a report issued by AFP last week: “More than 280,000 settlers currently live in settlements dotted throughout the Palestinian territory that Israel captured during the 1967 Six Day War”?

Or this from AP: “The US considers the settlements — home to nearly 300,000 Israelis — obstacles to peace because they are built on captured territory the Palestinians claim for a future state”?

Where are the missing 200,000 settlers?

The answer is that they are to be found in East Jerusalem, which increasingly means for agency reporters that they are not considered settlers at all.

In many reports, East Jerusalem’s settler population is left out of the equation. But even when the news agencies do note the number of settlers there, they are invariably referenced separately from those in the West Bank or described simply as “Jews.”

Worse, this misleading approach has had a trickle-down effect. Major newspapers’ own staff make the same basic errors.