Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Media Propaganda & the Palestinian "Civil War"



The recent so-called "Civil War" in Gaza has been widely reported by the mainstream media. However the story that is most often told is blatantly one-sided and lacking in any context. Since Hamas came to power through democratic elections in 2006, the U.S. and Israel have done all they could to, beat, starve and push the more militant Palestinian faction from power, going as far as to cut-off aid and shooting down any proposals for reconciliation with Fatah. The key reason given for this is the refusal of Hamas to disarm and recognize the state of Israel--a crime somehow far greater than Israel's 40-year occupation and establishment of an apartheid system that routinely destroys Palestinian infrastructure, cuts off water and electricity as a tactic of war, carries out extra-judicial assassinations and more...


Following the White House administration line, the present conflict is presented by the mainstream press as the inevitable outcome of the "violence-prone" Hamas government. According to most U.S. news outlets there are definite "good" and "bad" guys here, with Fatah becoming America's allies and Hamas serving as intractable enemies. Yet As Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifadah stated on the June 15th Democracy Now, "What we've seen is really a direct result of the Bush doctrine. Since January 2006 when Hamas won the legislative election fair and square, the United States refused the election result and it has been arming several Palestinian militias, particularly those controlled by the Gaza warlord, Mohammed Declan." The arming of Fatah by the U.S. and Israel, noted as recently as this past May in major newspapers, has been all but buried in more recent news accounts--portraying the U.S. and Israel as disinterested observers rather than powerful state actors stirring the pot of conflict. Now the U.S., Israel and EU move to lift economic sanctions and supply aid to Fatah, while simultaneously denying the same to Hamas controlled Gaza--amounting to nothing less than a "seige" that places more than a million Palestinians at risk. Collected here are a few news stories that do not march in lock-step with the official government and media line.

After Gaza, Some Question Who Was Overthrowing Whom

By Adam Entous

JERUSALEM, June 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. government began to lay the ground for President Mahmoud Abbas to dismiss the Hamas-led Palestinian government at least a year before the Islamist group's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last week.

Western, Israeli and Palestinian official sources said over the weekend that, far from being an ad hoc response to Hamas's offensive, Abbas's declaration of a state of emergency and his replacement of a Hamas prime minister with Western favourite Salam Fayyad marked the culmination of months of backroom deliberations, planning and U.S. prodding.

In the end, pressure on Abbas to act against Hamas was as great -- if not greater -- from within his own Fatah faction as from Washington, which is seeking to play down its own role. Only the triggering event, resulting in total Hamas control of the Gaza Strip, can be said to have come as a nasty surprise to the Americans. It left in tatters plans by U.S. and Arab allies to build up Abbas's own forces in Gaza against Hamas.

Many Western officials and analysts see the offensive as a pre-emptive strike by Hamas before Washington could build up Fatah. Hamas says it made its move against a U.S.-backed "coup".

full article:

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L17443574.htm

Media Propaganda & the Palestinian Civil War

by Anthony DiMaggio; June 18, 2007

Hamas’ recent takeover of the Gaza Strip has been described as many things: an escalation of Palestinian civil war, a threat to Israel’s existence, and a major setback for Palestinian statehood. The last of these descriptions, prevalent throughout the American mainstream press, has dramatic consequences for those seriously interested in the peaceful co-existence of both Palestinian and Israeli states.

The American mainstream press has long prided itself in one-sided demonizations of the Palestinian leadership, perhaps most notoriously for blaming the late Yasser Arafat for monkey-wrenching the 2000 Camp David “Peace” proposal. However, with the popular election of Hamas in 2006, American reporters and editors have found a new whipping boy that can effectively be blamed for holding up Israeli-Palestinian peace.

American media coverage has been unequivocal in the placing of blame squarely at the feet of Hamas for hampering possibilities of Palestinian statehood in the foreseeable future. The New York Times reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud “Abbas faces the collapse of Fatah power in Gaza and a putative Palestinian state divided into a West Bank run by Fatah and a Gaza run by Hamas.” The Washington Post claimed: “the territorial cornerstones of a future Palestinian state have been reduced to strongholds of each faction.” Regional coverage has hardly fared better. The Chicago Sun Times commented that Abbas’ firing of Hamas leader and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh left Palestinians “struggling to adjust to a new political reality that has crushed their long-standing hopes for their own state.” Perhaps the most critical that any corporate media outlet has come to blaming the U.S. or Israel for the failure of a two-state solution was seen in the Chicago Tribune, where Ali Jarbawi, a professor of Political Science at Bir Zeit University was cited arguing that the U.S. has “failed to empower Abbas politically through genuine progress toward a negotiated two-state solution, leaving him domestically weakened.” Substantive condemnations of Israel and the U.S. for denying Palestinian statehood and engaging in terrorism against the Palestinian people have predictably been out of bounds, as only Hamas’ acts of terror are deemed to be a salient issue.

full article:

http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13090

Decoding the media's Palestinian "civil war"
Ben White, The Electronic Intifada, 19 June 2007

Major news stories from Palestine/Israel are often accompanied by what becomes a self-reinforcing "vocabulary," typically generated by Israeli government ministries or other propaganda outlets, and then picked up by the Western media. A classic example was the redeployment of Israeli settlers and military from the Gaza Strip in 2005, which was successfully packaged as a "disengagement" that pitted "Israeli against Israeli," in a "painful compromise." This kind of marketing exercise often works even when there are widely available contradictory reports, such as how "disengagement" was openly trumpeted by Sharon and his advisors as a strategy for destroying the peace process.

This phenomenon went into overdrive recently, as dramatic events across the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but especially in Gaza, presented the evening news with a problem of how to reduce the conflict in the internal Palestinian political arena into an easily digestible sound bite. The solution was, as usual, lazy journalism and an almost total blackout on Israeli/US collusion in the dark events unfolding. Here then, is a guide to decoding the Palestinian "civil war," presented as a series of oft-repeated, yet entirely misleading, clich├ęs.

full article:

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article7042.shtml

Carter Blasts US Policy on Palestinians

By Shawn Pogatchnik
The Associated Press
Wednesday 20 June 2007

Dublin, Ireland - Former President Jimmy Carter accused the U.S., Israel and the European Union on Tuesday of seeking to divide the Palestinian people by reopening aid to President Mahmoud Abbas' new government in the West Bank while denying the same to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was addressing a human rights conference in Ireland, also said the Bush administration's refusal to accept Hamas' 2006 election victory was "criminal."

Carter said Hamas, besides winning a fair and democratic mandate that should have entitled it to lead the Palestinian government, had proven itself to be far more organized in its political and military showdowns with Abbas' moderate Fatah movement.

full article:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/062007V.shtml


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