CNN goes where few have dared to go, adopting Israel’s “disputed” territories terminology


“Israel’s army radio said the youth apparently had been hitchhiking after leaving a friend in Pisgat Zev, an Israeli neighborhood in a disputed part of Jerusalem.”

For full source text, see below.



We must again note that CNN’s reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not all bad. But, once again, here is a report that employs terminology to describe land — the central issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — that comes straight from the Israeli lexicon.

The language of this report suggests that the status of West Bank land is unclear, that it is “disputed”. The status of this land is anything but unclear and is defined by international law as occupied territory, regardless of the views of Israel or CNN. Pisgat Ze’ev is an Israeli settlement illegally built “for Jews only” on land internationally considered to be part of the occupied West Bank. Israel’s annexation of this land does not render its status “disputed”. Its status remains “occupied”.


The Electronic Intifada previously drew attention to CNN’s often bizarre linguistic contortions on 12 April 2001 and in 20 July 2001, without effecting any discernible difference in CNN’s subsequent reporting.

Write to CNN CEO, Tom Johnson, and CNN senior writer Dan Williams, via and

  1. Citing the report, Israeli teen found dead in West Bank, from 24 July 2001.

  2. Citing international law concerning Jerusalem.

  3. Demanding that CNN desist from obscuring the international status of Israel’s presence on Palestinian land during a period in which Israeli actions are increasingly being recognised as “war crimes.”

  4. Demanding that CNN include in every report from the West Bank, Jerusalem, or Gaza a reminder to its audience that the events being reported are taking place under military occupation by appropriately titling cities and regions as occupied, eg. Occupied Jerusalem, Occupied Hebron, Occupied Gaza, the occupied West Bank, the occupied territories, etc.

  5. Please write an original letter and do not simply copy & paste the information above. As always, be brief, polite, quote accurately, and include your name, address, and telephone number (which most publications require to ensure publication). Send copies of any responses or printing of your letter (including the original, if it was edited) to Please forward a copy of any letter you send to


24 July 2001, Posted: 8:06 AM EDT (1206 GMT)

HEADLINE: Israeli teen found dead in West Bank

JERUSALEM (CNN) — An Israeli teenager has been found dead with stabbing and gunshot wounds near the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Israeli police sources identified the youth as Yuri Gushtzin, 18. Israeli security officials said Palestinian security forces have now transferred the body to the Israeli army.

Israel radio said his body was found outside the Jewish settlement of Beit El early on Tuesday. It is unclear whether the death was political or criminal.

Israel’s army radio said the youth apparently had been hitchhiking after leaving a friend in Pisgat Zev, an Israeli neighborhood in a disputed part of Jerusalem.

The killing took place as Palestinian authorities prepared a list of more than 50 people it wants Israel to arrest as suspects in extremist attacks on Palestinians.

West Bank intelligence chief Tawfiq Tirawi said in comments published on Tuesday: “We will not let settlers in the West Bank and Gaza kill and terrorize our people.”

Israel will receive the list at a security meeting Wednesday and be expected to act on it, Tirawi told Al-Ayyam newspaper.

“The Authority has proof of their participation in barbarian crimes against Palestinians, and if they don’t take measures to stop them, they will be held responsible.”

Also at least eight cases have been filed against Israeli soldiers for abuse and harassment of Palestinians at military checkpoints in recent months and more are pending, Israeli military officials said.

Palestinians and human rights workers in the West Bank say checkpoint harassment has been common in the past 10 months of fighting.

The incidents include soldiers locking people in their cars for hours in the sun with windows rolled up, confiscating their keys, slashing their tires and stopping all cars from passing for hours at a time.

A military officer told The Associated Press that the army is trying to post older reserve soldiers at the crossings since they are often less “hot-tempered.”

The army spokesman’s office said the army “strongly disapproves” of what it described as isolated incidents of inappropriate behavior. Soldiers involved, it said, are “severely punished.”

Israel has said it gave Palestinians a list of terror suspects it demands be arrested, but Palestinian authorities have said they would only arrest suspects found to be plotting attacks that would violate the six-week old cease-fire, not suspects in earlier attacks.

Palestinian arrests of an unspecified number of members of the militant Hamas group and the Popular Resistance Committee set off a riot in Gaza City. The arrests, officials said, were on suspicion of violating the cease-fire.

The Popular Resistance Committee is a renegade group that includes former Palestinian police officers who quit to be more active in the uprising.

Hundreds of people, including Hamas gunmen, threw rocks and fired at the home of a Palestinian commander, Moussa Arafat, demanding release of one leader, Yasser Zanoun.

Nobody was hurt, but the incident was among the strongest shows of anger toward Palestinian security officials.

Israeli security has been on high alert for terror strikes. Calls for revenge against settlers, long a point of irritation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, followed last week’s shooting deaths of three people, including a 3-month-old baby. Jewish extremists claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Monday, Israeli agents killed a Palestinian they say was an Islamic Jihad activist who drove a suicide bomber into the northern port city of Haifa a day before. The bomber, also said to be Islamic Jihad, was apprehended before the mission.

A statement from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s office said Mustafa Yassin, 28, was killed trying to flee Israeli agents. Yassin led the cell, security sources said.

Palestinian security sources, on condition of anonymity, said Israel got the wrong man. Yassin, they said, was a Palestinian laborer in Israel who supported, but was not active in. Yasser Arafat’s Fatah organization.

Sharon aide Raanan Gissin said Israel’s intelligence information was accurate: “He’s not the wrong guy. … We got the right guy at the right time.”

Funerals were planned later Tuesday for Yassin in the West Bank town of Jenin and in the Gaza Strip for a Palestinian teenager shot and killed Monday in Rafah.

Doctors said Refat Nahal, 15, from Rafah, was shot in the back. Israel said Palestinians attacked a military post, and soldiers returned fire.

This action item was edited by Laurie King-Irani.