Palestine And Israel Our views of world conflicts such as war are influenced by the part of the world in which we live.
When exploring media coverage of discord, it is important to think about where the author is from and how it has influenced the way he/she has portrayed disharmony. Reports on a world conflict can express extremely different views depending on the social values and understandings of the writers. One must read articles that address the issue of war with cultural relativism by taking into account the local values and historical experiences of the writer. By neglecting this approach, a reader may be persuaded to believe biased and often untrue facts. When researching the war in the Middle East, for example, I found that different countries presented the fighting in different ways.A U.S.
newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, presents the conflict in a biased manner and blames the Palestinians for the fighting because we are allies with the Israelis. On the other hand the Dawn, a Pakistani paper, presents the same issues but gives a more accurate and sympathetic view of the Palestinians’ situation. Reflecting on these differences, I realized that culture and national interests shape newspapers’ presentations of war.
As an informed reader, it is important to know that I am often given a biased presentation of the facts surrounding a conflict and with this in mind I have changed the way I view reports on war presented by the media. In order to be culturally relativistic when reading about the history of the conflict in the Middle East, one must understand that while anger and a desire for land play a role in the fighting these are not the main causes of this conflict.It is necessary to look beyond these common myths of war in order to look for the true causes of the bloodshed. A deep underlying truth that could explain some reason for this turmoil is that neither side, Israel nor Palestine, has come to terms with living with each other. Therefore, the two groups’ cultures clash as members of each side bind together in compassion and loyalty while fighting to gain power and prestige for their people.
Israel gained control of Bethlehem in 1967 when their army invaded the West Bank. Ever since then the Israelis have felt that Jerusalem is its eternal and undivided capital.For years the Arabs have also been asking for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. On December 6, 1987, an Israeli truck killed six Palestinian workers. The Palestinians were convinced that this was a deliberate murder.
Three days later a young Palestinian picked up a stone from the ground and threw it at an Israeli patrol. His friends followed this act and soon hundreds were throwing stones.Palestinian intellectuals interpreted this action as an attempt of their youth to shake themselves free from twenty dismal years of Israeli rule. This spontaneous uprising took most by surprise. For generations Israel’s domination of Jerusalem had gone largely unchallenged. The fighting continued and the casualties that resulted were high. Most of the 1,300 deaths were Palestinians.
In 1993 the international community attempted to find a permanent solution by creating the Oslo agreement. Parts of Jerusalem were officially handed over to the Palestinian self-rule authority of Yasser Arafat while the Israelis continued to control other sections. Despite the peace efforts the war is still raging strong today. Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, and Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, are now locked in the worst shoot-out in years. Judaism’s holiest site and Islam’s third holiest site are on the same rock in Jerusalem. Arafat wants possession of al Aqsa mosque that lies in the same place as the Temple Mount, a Jewish holy sight. Various solutions have been proposed but there seems to be no easy way to divide the city between these two warring groups.The stalemate, that newspapers endlessly report, is simply that negotiations reflect the underlying truth that neither side has accepted the other.
As long as this fact is missing, the so-called Middle-East peace process will never be a reality. The causes of the war between the Arabs and Israelis are presented differently in newspaper articles around the world depending on the cultural values and traditions of the author and the group he is addressing. In order to get a perspective on this conflict from various parts of the world, I examined two sources. The first newspaper I looked at was the Chicago Tribune.Charles Krauthammer wrote the article, “Israel’s Only Option is Self-Defense”, on October 30, 2000 and he places total blame for the war on the Palestinians. The Israelis are described as being in a “nightmare” because of the “murderous” behavior of the Arabs. The article says that Yasser Arafat refused to cease-fire, despite agreements with President Clinton. More than 200 Palestinians died because Israeli soldiers fired at Arab rock throwers.
Krauthammer, however, ignores this and emphasis is placed on an incident where “Palestinian civilians got their hands on two Israeli reservists who were lost and tore them limb from limb.” The reporter goes on to say that when Israel retaliated with helicopter attacks that blew up half a dozen buildings not one person was killed because Barak gave Arafat three hours’ warning. Krauthammer characterizes the murders of the Israelis as acts of “feral viciousness” and calls Palestinians “essentially tribal.” These terms are racist in nature, implying that the Palestinians have not reached a stage of civilization that is equivalent to that of our own. One must assume that the Israeli state-sanctioned murders of Palestinians bear the mark of civilization in Mr.Krauthammer’s opinion. The reality of the situation is that the Israelis are using US-made Apache helicopters to shoot at Palestinian targets that are considered to be a “threat” because they are throwing stones. Perhaps we should help “elevate” the civilization of the Palestinians by arming them as we do the Israelis.
Far too little has appeared in the U.S. press about the deep frustration felt by ordinary Palestinian families struggling for dignity and for their basic human right under military occupation. Americans often have a distorted view of the conflict because the United States has been an ally with the Israelis for a long time. This discrimination is often communicated through the media.
Hugh Dellios article, “Mid East Battle Rages – On Internet” that was in the Chicago Tribune on October 26, 2000 also places blame on the Arabs. Great emphasis is placed on shootings by Palestinians while little is mentioned on the great number of killings by the Israelis. Dellios, who expresses his great admiration for our President, quotes Clinton as saying “I do think that Chairman Arafat can dramatically reduce the level of violence.” The House vote is also mentioned, 365-30, blaming Palestinians for the recent conflicts. One is now able to see why many Americans, who have great esteem for the President, choose to criticize the Arabs.
This one-sided stance of the White House and Capitol Hill on the Middle East conflict makes one despair because of the failing peace process.Palestinians have long demanded the participation of the UN and EU in peace talks because they believe them to be more supportive of the Arabs than Washington who is said to favor Israel …