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Friday, October 21, 2005


Corporate Media Ignores Non-Violent Resistance

Patrick O'Conner has a perceptive story in the Palestine Chronicle regarding the lack of coverage in the New York Times about Palestinian non-violent resistance.

"Over the last three years the NYT has published only three feature articles on Palestinian nonviolent resistance.." he writes in "Non violent resistance in Palestine."

"Americans are largely unaware of the struggling but vibrant grassroots nonviolent movement in Palestine, because the US corporate media prefers a simple, flawed story of Palestinian terrorist attacks and Israeli retaliation."

My own informal searches of yahoo and google news for coverage of the weekly Bil'in Apartheid Wall protests bear out his research regarding the "corporate media" preferences. It is early Friday evening in western Europe and nothing is showing up from the google and yahoo news searches, nor on BBC for today's protest in Bil'in.

O'Conner does a good job of deconstructing the Times' Jerusalem Bureau Chief's story which appeared in last week's Times, one of three stories about Palestinian peaceful protest to appear over the last three years in its pages.

"Only six words in the 1,138 word article are quotes from Palestinians, though the article centers on a Palestinian-led protest against Israel's construction of a Wall cutting through the West Bank village of Bil'in. Erlanger seems to instead let Israeli protesters speak for the Palestinians. Nonetheless, he still quotes twice as many words from Israeli soldiers in Bil'in as from the Israeli protesters. "

No context is provided, which is typical of the corporate media's coverage. For example, it is rarely reported that it is against international law to settle occupied land or to transfer one's poupulation to occupied territory. Just as this significant information is omitted in almost every story about the occupation (Kathleen Christison has reported that she's found that most Americans think that Palestinians occupy Israel), Erlanger's story about Bil'in omits omits "80 protests in Bil'in, three years of nonviolent resistance to the Wall in the West Bank, the rich Palestinian history of nonviolent resistance and the Israeli military's brutal repression of nonviolent dissent."

O'Conner writes "If allowed to speak, Palestinians would have cited evidence showing that Israel clearly is violently repressing peaceful dissent in Bil'in and many other villages. Tens of protesters from Bil'in have been arrested, including protest organizer Abdullah Abu Rahme. Abu Rahme was arrested three times for a total of 35 days, and has now been banned by an Israeli court from attending protests."

Further, "361 protesters have been injured over seven months in Bil'in. One young Palestinian man almost died after being shot in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet. Three Palestinians and an Israeli were seriously wounded when hit by teargas canisters fired from guns at close range. However, the only specific injury that is noted in the article is one to the Israeli soldier who lost his eye, the single most serious injury to a soldier during three years of protests against the Wall."

O'Conner urges the public to ratchet up the pressure on the corporate media. Journalists, many of them ignorant themselves of the history of the conflict must be compelled to more accurately represent the Palestinians in their struggle to retain their lands from Israel's colonisation. We must demand that the corporate media stop abetting the colonisers in their dehumanisation of an entire group.

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