Inside Arabia Changes Photo Caption to Fit Their Anti-Israel Narrative

Inside Arabia recently published an article alleging Israel has been “planting trees has been a way to erase the Palestinian presence and hide the villages forcibly depopulated during the Nakba.” As part of their “proof”, they point to one of the results of recent wildfires, namely the revealing of “ancient Palestinian agricultural terraces, dating back to the 13th century.”

A wildfire ravaged the hills west of Jerusalem in August, forcing over 2,000 settlers to evacuate their homes. Described as one of the worst wildfires in the history of the Zionist State, it devastated 2,000 hectares of forest and took three days to contain.

While the Israeli media unanimously lamented this apparent ecological disaster, the wildfires revealed an unexpected treasure: ancient Palestinian agricultural terraces, dating back to the 13th century, which had been utilized until the Zionists’ arrival. The planting of the forest had served to conceal the ruins of Palestinian villages and crops, feeding the myth of a land without people. A myth that the purifying fire completely debunked.

As part of the article, Inside Arabia includes the following AP photo and caption:

Including an AP photo caption that acknowledges their claim certainly gives it more credibility.

Except they changed it. Here is the real caption, which makes absolutely no mention of “ancient Palestinian agricultural terraces, dating back to the 13th century”:

By the way, Ha’aretz journalist Hanin Majadli made the same claim of ancient Palestinian agricultural terraces back in August, but made no mention of them being from the 13th century. Interestingly enough, Ha’aretz soon after published a rebuttal by Mor Altshuler.

I’ve resorted to family history to refute claims by Hanin Majadli’s recent oped in Haaretz, according to which the afforestation of the Jerusalem hills started after 1948, meant to cover up the ruins of Palestinian villages. Majadli waxed poetic about the recent fire there, claiming it destroyed colonialist Zionist forests while revealing the Palestinian past. Her pining is based on an error – the intensive planting of trees in the Jerusalem hills, including pine trees, began in 1926 at the behest of the British Mandate’s forestry department and under its management, and was intended to cover the bare hills.

Majadli lauds Palestinian farmers, who “know the land as well as they know their children and the terraces they built on these hills.” However, the term “terrace” is a translation of the Roman word for balcony, and this is what the Roman conquerors, 2,000 years ago, called the steps the Jews had built on the hillsides.

A similar agricultural term in Arabic, “mudarajat,” does not “attest to the ties between the Palestinian farmer and his land,” but is a translation of the Hebrew word for steps. In the Mishna, written in the third century, there is a ruling that relates to the construction of such steps, or terraces. According to the Mishna, it is forbidden to build such terraces at the opening of a gully as the seventh year (the “shmita” year) of the agricultural cycle approaches, in order to avoid working the land during this sabbatical year.- Advertisment –

Archeological findings confirm that “terrace farming” is an ancient Israelite invention that included building steps on hillsides, digging cisterns for collecting rainwater and conduits for channeling groundwater during the dry summer season. The Jewish people developed in its homeland what Zvi Ron, who holds a doctorate in hydrology, calls a “hydrological culture,” which enabled the development of sophisticated agriculture that included the growing of crops that were irrigated during the summer.

The Palestinians “inherited” this terrace agriculture, which makes Majadli’s contempt for the historical-biblical connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel a cynical ploy. She ignores the fact that for 1,300 years, from the Muslim conquest in the seventh century until the establishment of the state in 1948, the land’s conquerors forbade Jews to purchase land in their homeland.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip: Michal


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media