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Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land

U.S. Media and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict I

Part II

Thanks to Yasmin Ahmad for sharing these excellent documentary videos in her blog. She also appeared live on Gala TV on Malaysia's CNN channel, Astro Awani last night where she talked about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict videos (above) posted in her blog and also on the SMS by Dr Jemilah of Mercy Malaysia regarding the current state of affairs in Gaza and the situation in Egypt border where the Mercy Malaysia team are currently stationed.

Palestinian issue aside, I think it's pretty amazing to see how influential blogs can be nowadays. In the early days, bloggers used to pick up news from the media and post up analysis or comments, but now it seems to be the other way round. The media are now contacting bloggers to discuss about their blog posts. So, out of curiosity, I visited Yasmin's blog to watch the videos and I think it is probably the best video on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that I have ever watched, from the perspective of media practitioners and journalists.

Below are my brief summary of the video and maybe for the benefit of some readers, I have also noted down the important points in the documentary as references.

It starts with the beginning of the Israeli occupation after the end of the shameful and disastrous Arab forces defeat in the Six-Day War of 1967..
..In 1967, following a war between Israel and the countries of Syria, Jordan and Egypt, Israel militarily occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.

..That year, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 242 calling on Israel to withdraw from the Occupied Territories.

..Israel has yet to comply.

..Today, 3 million Palestinians live under military occupation.
Occupation, Military occupation, Illegal occupation, Illegal Jewish settlements, Occupied territories of Gaza and West Bank; These are some of the important words that often being deliberately ignored by the Western media.

The atrocities mentioned in the Amnesty International regular reports on Israel military activities in the occupied territories of West Bank and Gaza.
"unlawful killings"
"torture and ill treatment"
"destruction of homes"
"blocking of ambulances"
"denial of humanitarian assistance"
"civilians as human shield"
And has gone so far to label the acts as WAR CRIME
Here are some of the key points by the interviewees in the documentary;
"..You can't 'defend yourself' when you're militarily occupying somebody else's land (commenting on Israel's self-defense excuse)." -- Noam Chomsky

"The context that often missing from the current reporting (referring to US media) is that the Palestinian uprising is a revolt against the 34 year long (note: it should be 42 years by 2009) occupation and if there's no occupation in the story, then the story doesn't really make sense and the occupation is frequently missing" -- Alisa Solomon, Journalist, The Village Voice USA.

"For most American who doesn't understand the history of the conflict, this (referring to U.S. Middle East news report) is an example of riots that are going on where the authorities are taking measures..

What's not mention was the fact that these confrontation are taking place on an occupied territory. the Iraeli troops were there defending an occupation that doesn't have any international legitimacy, that's illegal," -- Seth Ackerman, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, USA

"The Western media, they are concentratng on the violence and not on the reasons, and not on the basic fact of occupation." -- Major Stav Adivi, reserves, Israel Defense Forces, Israel

"The Israel military sends its troops to the occupied territories to defend what is considered an illegal occupation and when the population resist, the Israel is being under attack (as reported in the U.S. media) e.g. 'Israel is under attack..', 'Israel is responding to an attack..', 'Israel retaliates again..'," -- Seth Ackerman, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, USA

"The settlements are illegitimate by international law but what's worst is that many of the occupants, the founders, people who live there today are very aggresive toward Palestinians. They go around fully armed with sub machine gun, carrying grenades and they frequently threaten the Palestinians," --Prof Karen Pfeifer, The Middle East Research & Information Project, USA

"..When you have a population that is being occupied, when their fundamental human right are being systematically denied, when they're not allowed to move from city to city, or from place to place without huge amount of harassment, when they're being subject to torture, when people are in desperate conditions, it's not a surprise that they're going to be very very angry," -- Rabbi Michael Lerner, Founder & Editor, Tikkun Magazine, USA.

Soon as I finished watching the video, I began to wonder how come our local media couldn't come up with such a report, or at least somewhere close to it. Though our government and media have always been supporting the Palestine cause, I think our media are largely too focused on the humanitarian crisis aspect, the poor conditions of the Palestinians, the killings of women and children, the violence of Israeli soldiers etc. while missing out on the main context of the real event, e.g. the military occupation of West Bank and Gaza - the root cause of the Palestinian resistance or intifada which is the crux of the matter. What is also lacking is the 'explanation part' of the event which I feel that the media has the responsibility to educate our public, besides merely reporting day to day incidents, the number of bombings, deaths and so on.

On the other hand, I seriously think that now is perhaps the time for a second Arab revolt to remove the idle kings and dictators of the Arab world. It is pathetic and such a shame that a population of 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa couldn't even come up with a strong consensus to condemn Israel, which comprises of only 6 million population..

I wonder what happen to Fatah's military wing, The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades? Why aren't they joining hands with Hamas to fight the Israeli aggression?

Lastly, here's another insighful article by Seth Ackerman -
Nixed Signal: When Hamas hinted at peace, U.S. media wouldn't take the message

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