MSNBC's 'absurd' take on Israel's theft of 'Palestine'

MSNBC aired a "confused" and "absurd" graphic this week aimed at showing how much land Israel has taken from the Palestinians, but did so by vastly overstating how much land the Palestinians controlled in the first place.

"This is what it's all about," Middle East reporter Martin Fletcher said Thursday, referring to a map of supposed Israeli and Palestinian territories. "It's all about the land."

"The Israelis say, look, 'You know this is our homeland, too. And we're Jews. We have the right to live anywhere, same with anywhere else in the world. We should be allowed to live anywhere we like,'" he added. "And that's hard to argue about, except it's taking the land of a future Palestinian state, which, that's what the frustration and the violence is all about. For the most part, the occupation of their land."

But the graphic referenced during the MSNBC segment appears to have been modeled after one that "only confuses and distorts the issue, and seems clearly designed for propaganda purposes," according to the Economist.

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"[T]he map fails to distinguish between land that is owned by Jews or Palestinians, and land that is controlled by Jewish or Palestinian political entities," the group reported in 2010 when similar false maps first started to make the rounds.

"Take the vast triangular tract of land at the south of the map. That's the Negev desert. Apart from a few small oases, kibbutzes and towns, it's empty wasteland; it isn't owned by anyone. It represents almost half of the territory of Israel/Palestine," it added. "In 1946, the map represents it as 'Palestinian land.' That's silly. In 1949, it has somehow become 'Jewish land.' That's almost as silly, though Jewish irrigation projects did gradually, over a period of decades, turn an increasing (if still-small) portion of the desert into arable agricultural land claimed by Jewish owners."

The Economist report said the idea that Jews in 1947 and 1948 seized land from Palestinian owners "is absurd."

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