Israeli-plo Peace Breakthrough Causing No Sea Change at Papers

Major American newspapers and news agencies will continue referring to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho as Israeli-occupied territories, despite Israel’s agreement to pull troops out of these areas and grant Palestinians self-rule there.

But once Palestinian autonomy takes effect, under the agreement signed Sept. 13 in Washington, those practices could change.

The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Times, as well as the Associated Press and United Press International, say their policy on datelines on articles reported from those areas will remain unchanged for now.

Most American newspapers and news agencies currently refer to the “Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip,” “Israeli-occupied West Bank” and “Israeli-occupied territories.”

Like the world at large, the journalistic community says that it is uncertain about the future of the peace agreement, and therefore is hesitant to drop the “occupied” label and refer to the areas simply as the Gaza Strip or the West Bank.

Officials at the Los Angeles Times told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the “Israeli-occupied” label would remain at least until Israeli troops pull out of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho, an action anticipated in January.

The Washington Times said it would probably require more than Israeli troop withdrawal, such as evidence of Palestinian control of policing and other municipal services, and Israeli and American recognition of Palestinian rule in the areas.

But all the news organizations contacted said no definite policy changes had yet been decided.

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