Even if a reader knows virtually nothing about East Jerusalem and its travails, to know that it is occupied (whether by Israelis, Hottentots or Martians) is the very least he/she needs to know to grasp the settler-colonial dynamic of the struggle going on there. To chart the presence or absence of this essential contextualiser in the Fairfax (Sydney Morning Herald) and Murdoch (The Australian) press, I thought it might be useful to compare excerpts from recent reports on the subject:
"... 1600 apartments would be added to Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem." (End of the line: Abbas set to pull out of talks, Jason Koutsoukis, SMH, 12/3/10)
Note also that the SMH correctly identifies the apartments as part of a settlement project.
"... a huge new housing development in the Arab area of East Jerusalem." (Israel 'wrecks' Mid-East peace talks, John Lyons, The Australian, 12/3/10)
In The Australian it's just a harmless housing development.
"... Israeli housing construction in East Jerusalem... " (Israeli PM moves to placate furious US, Abraham Rabinovich, The Australian, 15/3/10)
"... a new development of 1600 apartments in East Jerusalem." (Furious US turns up heat on Israel, The Australian, 16/3/10)
"... its building of Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem..." (Netanyahu defiant over new settlements, Jason Koutsoukis, SMH, 17/3/10)
"... plans to build in disputed East Jerusalem... " (Israel defies the US over East Jerusalem buildings, John Lyons, The Australian, 17/3/10)
Note the use of the weasel word disputed to suggest a legitimate struggle over the same land by two equal parties.
"... 1600 housing units in municipal Jerusalem... " (The settlements are not the problem, Brett Stephens, The Australian, 17/3/10)
"... 1600 new settler homes would be built in annexed East Jerusalem." (Clinton seeks Natanyahu truce, Simon Mann, SMH, 18/3/10)
"... 1600 new Jewish homes in Arab-dominated East Jerusalem... " (Clinton backs Israel as mobs riot, John Lyons, The Australian, 18/3/10)
Arab-dominated. So the Arabs (not Palestinians) are the problem?
"... 1600 new housing units to be built in East Jerusalem... " (There's scope, and hope, for closer ties with Israel, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 18/3/10)
And the hands-down winner is... the Sydney Morning Herald.