Saturday, February 10, 2007

ABC = A Bit Confused

ABC News Online have got themselves a bit confused. They do not know the difference between a Palestinian and a Muslim. They are also confusing mosques with parks.

In the latest report titled Mosque excavations spark Jerusalem clashes, the ABC 's Middle East correspondent David Hardaker begins (emphasis added):

Widespread clashes have erupted between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police over work being carried out at a holy Islamic site.
Palestinian or Muslim?

Firstly, about use of the word "Palestinian". The question I have for David is: how do you know the demonstrators were all Palestinian?

There are over 1.1 million Muslims living in Israel. I suspect that a proportion of the demonstrators were in fact Israeli Muslims.

Also, a proportion of Palestinians are Christian, although their numbers are declining due to intimidation and economic hardship. Which means Palestinian is an inaccurate term to use here.

So in summary:
  • All worshippers were Muslim
  • Not all Palestinians are Muslim
  • Not all worshippers would have been Palestinian
So why not be accurate and call them Muslim demonstrators?

At a Mosque or Park? Islamic or Jewish? Holy for Whom?

Onto the second set of words "at a holy Islamic site" and the words in the title "Mosque excavations".

The location and purpose of the excavations is detailed in the Israeli Antiquities Authority press release:
The Israel Antiquities Authority has begun salvage excavations in the Archeological Park, for the purpose of erecting supporting pillars for a permanent Mugrabim Ramp, to be built for the benefit and safety of visitors. The new ramp will replace the temporary wooden bridge which was established following the collapse of the old Mugrabim Ramp, which was declared a "hazardous structure". The salvage excavations are standardized archeological excavations which are carried out in declared archeological sites slated for construction and development. The purpose of the salvage excavations is to prevent and minimize damage which could be caused to ancient remains as a result of the construction.
Here's more detail from Ha'aretz:
Excavations near the Temple Mount's Mugrabi Gate were approved two weeks ago as a necessary precursor to replacing a ramp that provides access to the gate. The ramp collapsed three years ago, and was replaced by a temporary wooden structure. Plans have since been approved for a permanent replacement, and by law, any construction work in the Old City must be preceded by a salvage dig.

The dig is taking place in the Jewish Quarter, outside the Temple Mount, but the Islamic Movement in Israel has accused it of being meant to undermine the Temple Mount
"Mosque excavations" seems inaccurate since they are not excavating a mosque.

Also, in terms of the location of the dig, according to Wikipedia, the Dung Gate (another name for the Mugrabi Gate):
... is the closest to the Western Wall.
So if the dig is close to Dung Gate, it is not only close to the Al Aqsa Mosque, but also to the Western Wall, which is the most sacred and holy site for Jews. Two further observations:
  • Why has the ABC mentioned it is close to the Mosque but not to the Western Wall?
  • Why are Jews not protesting or demonstrating too, given their sacred site is close by?
So in summary, they are not "mosque excavations" and they are not taking place "at a holy Islamic site" but in an archeological park near Mugrabi Gate, which is 60 metres from the sites of the Western Wall and Al Aqsa Mosque - sites holy to Jews and Muslims respectively.

Other than being out by 180 degrees for virtually every detail, it was a very good article.

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