Many contemporary theories of partition and nation-state blame the media for misrepresenting culture in developing and maintaining a sense of national consciousness and cultural imperialism. How far this blame is correct and to what extent American and international media is responsible in misrepresenting Palestine oppression, we will analyze in this paper. With the concept of justice and cooperation comes two primary forms of political constraints that play a vital role in escorting mainstream media towards truth. Oppression and domination encompasses five categories that are more often ignored by media and news channels, and involve exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence. On one hand we say that American mainstream news media in demonstrating social movements since 1960s has played a diplomatic role in presenting a true picture of Palestinian subjugation. Whereas on the other hand, media forces defend themselves by transmitting information that greatly influences policy-making. Whether to say it directly in the light of facts and interpretations that circulate into the offices of the president of the United States, or indirectly, by affecting the school of thoughts of the political parties like Congress, the way that the media shape and package news from Palestine is obviously critical.
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Instead of demonstrating the extraordinary, dramatic, legal, political, and encouraging developments in the name of International Legal Right of the Palestinian People towards self-determination (Boyle, 2003, p. 20), the media has failed to put proper coverage of the Provisional Government of the State of Palestine, when it refused to join the so-called Coalition put together by President Bush Sr. to attack Iraq. Such kinds of inter-Arab disputes are ignored by the American media for the sake of the so-called policy of principle and peace, that along with the Palestinian leadership and people are still handled unjustly by the U.S government and news media sources.
Officials suggest means to justify the creation of the state of Palestine that could be employed quite effectively in the internal domestic debate within the U.S and Congress. In this context the American people and news media take no particular interest in elucidating the solid legal and political basis for the U.S. government to demand Israeli withdrawal from the occupied state of Palestine. Critics believe that this will be a much more difficult job to accomplish successful results with respect to Israel because of the awesome power of the pro-Israeli lobby over the U.S Congress that holds news media. But one cannot avoid considering the fact that Palestine has provided a non-violent alternative for all individuals interested in working for peace and justice in the Middle East. This way it has remained aloof to understand what another round of regional war would matter with potentially globally catastrophic consequences.
Cultural imperialism suggests that one of the reasons for Palestinian marginalization rests on the shoulders of the official language, though Arabic is spoken in Israel, Cleary (2002, p. 85) suggests that Hebrew is the pre-eminent language of its education system, media and mainstream publishing industry. Thus what international media answers is the edging off from the mass of the domestic reading public due to Arabic which has been confined to a tiny audience within Israel. The mainstream media defends their position by stating that since Jewish writers in the Arab world after 1948 have remained hostile to associate with the Zionist entity, they possess limited publication opportunities.
The witnessed international response to the first group of Palestine emergencies was faster, more massive, and more successful than it was for the second group, and what differed was the “CNN factor”. No doubt television remained successful in capturing the attention of millions who felt constituency for the victims of one group of emergencies. It was the media who fostered among the public a feeling of responsibility for Palestinians fate thereby causing world leaders to think in various dimensions to alleviate the horrendous signs of inhumanity. But later it was noticed that in every emergency portrayed by news channels, the media coverage was declared by military international response.
The scenario developed by torment and struggle initiates the debate about international terrorism and politics of the Islamic world as it is manipulated in the media and elsewhere by various forms of domination. This domination as presented by the U.S media is escorted by the public to participate encouragingly in associating terrorism with those victims of this system. Media instead of relating terrorism to expression of these struggles that arise in legitimate resistance, relate it to illegitimate rebels.
While analyzing the cause of the distinguishing feature of terrorism, it has been found that fear has worked in various forms to enhance the threats of indiscrimination and violence against Palestinians. Palestinian refugee issue has been lesser the subject of media interest than refugee situations in other conflicts. Even in emergency situations, the media portrays those donors that are more inclined to give a higher priority to development assistance than to relief (Bowker, 2003, p. 141). Among the regional Arabic and American media, the agency has been little understood when it comes to donor perspectives, because it portrays frequently as victim of political agendas designed to weaken the Palestinian refugees (Bowker, 2003, p. 145).
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With the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994, the media was thrust into vulnerability. The reason was that Arafat’s creation of a centralized authority with international moral and financial support was escorted by forming a large security force. Even military unit members and secret agencies in the Arab states were loyal to Arafat due to which the then government had exclusive control of the media. This way the media captured the attention of the financial flow into the West Bank and Gaza and got into the lobby system designed in collaboration with Israeli intelligence and security authorities. However, with the consolidation of media power and the means to uphold it, the PA felt comfortable in mobilizing public support and limiting the Islamic movement’s opportunities to act. Arab negligibility towards media publicity and their own explanation of Palestine has improved little, but since the American communication media are biased, it is not usable to defend the built-in veracity. Even the media blames and reckons devastating flaws in Arab diplomatic efforts to negotiate generalizations about Israeli negotiating tactics.
It appears to most of us that tactically the Arab governments have handled the partition-recommended lines and reluctantly they have called for accepting no great Arab concessions because, for the most part, it was Israel’s troops that had occupied the territory banned for them and allocated to the proposed Arab state. Even there is even a credible source that informs us about that information that still linger in uninformed media and in some pro-Israeli outlets.
Coverage of Intifada – The Islamic Movement
Many American reporting organizations in the past have used the word ‘retaliation’ in order to describe the horrific conflicts of Israel and Palestine. Whatever be the Media watch groups suggest, this movement rejected self-rule as a solution to the Palestinian cause and insisted being on the liberation side of the land. In order to make a balance between internal and external capabilities of power, the movement’s ideological position was aimed to convey the exact situation to the media in order to avoid being the victim of false propaganda (Mishal & Sela, 2000, p. 127).
It is through the improper coverage of Intifada that loss at individual level is found to be experienced in everyday lives of Palestinian public. Alien et al (2004) suggests that violence has much to do with living in a war zone of political conflict and has a deeper negative impact on the individuals, families and communities in which they reside, than on any other living area. The damage incurred to both persons and property is often used to sustain social reality, beliefs, values, knowledge and social identity in which war plays a devastating and cultural psychosocial dimension upon civilians. Such devastation is presented by media in various contexts among which the import of urbanisation for the new imperialisms and timely revolutions may better be understood by military strategists than critical theorists (Goonewardena & Kipfer, 2006).
Ismael & Measor (2003) suggests that international media has nonetheless not taken reductive notions to provide a clear picture as experts on Islam are given pride of place in mainstream investigations of events as varied as the Gulf War in 1991, the World Trade Center bombings in 1993, and suicide bombings in Palestine and Israel. However, American calls for cursing Islam in context of Palestinian violent interpretation has provided oppositional Islamic movements throughout the international Muslim community to bluntly attack the broader cultural traditions and societal mores that make up Middle Eastern society (Ismael & Measor, 2003).
At times, acts of violence portray the ‘truthful media’ as long as the truth does not make the Israeli government look bad. Lancaster (2003) suggests that it seems well done to show acts of violence providing that the violence is directed towards weapons carrying Israeli troops and not towards stone throwing Palestinian youths. Even the overwhelming response from the American media in broadcasting remained in favour of the Israeli point of view. Such response to spread disinformation operated a policy of ‘media mismanagement’, which existed the blatant Jewish lobby to not succeed on the Palestinian issue. Besides media controversy on having a strong lobby against Palestine, much criticism has been invited by the American political figures with a hope that the top U.S. diplomat has the same fundamental misunderstanding of the Middle East that others do have regarding Palestinians, ready to coexist peacefully next to a Jewish state (The Washington Times, Oct 27, 2006).
It is obvious that Middle East history has been the victim of charges, counter-charges and wars, seen as a perpetuation by various UN resolutions. This over the years have led Israel to contemplate more and more on Arab-Palestinian territory and on Palestinian rights, and lesser on the guilty conscious support for Israel’s actions that were based on the grounds of help to check Soviet expansion in the Middle East. Despite the political diplomacy shown by the United States, the media has remained unable to present meaningful information pertaining to providing funds and increasingly sophisticated American arms to its Middle East ally.
Contemporary media must understand its responsibilities in the widespread recognition of the communication resources that it displays through in light of humanitarian crises. Media utilizes technology to motivate and facilitate effective policies thereby setting priorities in managing and displaying humanitarian crises, and focus less on the policy and practical issues raised by these uses of communications resources. Communication media in this context poses important concerns about the capacity to carry such communications to mould, misinform and distort public and decision-makers attention. Media often has defends itself in issues of presenting ‘accuracy’ as it is one of the most important concerns about media reports and matters more when distance and time are prioritized constraints in reducing the opportunity to examine first-hand evaluation and credibility checking.
Allowing heavy media coverage of humanitarian emergencies holds a critical influence on policy-makers who not only took meaningful action, including military intervention, but also escorted media attention through effective policies to respond to governments and international organizations probably would not have responded as quickly as possible. Therefore, the media must accept and welcome every resistance to start a truth, based on the short-term influence in creating an instant constituency for appropriate action. It is the media who influence policy-makers to put a humanitarian issue on the top of their agendas, for example the media possess the power to differentiate between what ‘moderate’ and ‘extremist’ means (Jadallah, Feb 16, 2009).
Al – Krenawi Alean, Graham R. John & Sehwail, A. Mahmud. “Mental Health and Violence/trauma in Palestine: Implications for Helping Professional Practice”. Journal of Comparative Family Studies 35. 2 (2004): 185.
The article discusses the exploitation of Palestinian people with reference to the traumatic experiences of torture and violence. The authors contemplate upon the political extravaganza that takes into account the true nature of any trauma in a community setting. This deals directly with the political realities responsible for mandating violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
Bowker Robert. Palestinian Refugees: Mythology, Identity, and the Search for Peace: Lynne Rienner: Boulder, CO, 2003.
Robert talks about Palestinian political leadership in a controlled environment. He is more focussed on the dilemmas of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and examine various mythologies pertaining to the roles played by UNRWA. The author is also concerned about how mainstream media captures the Palestinian refugee issue.
Boyle, A. Francis. Palestine, Palestinians and International Law: Clarity Press. Atlanta, 2003.
Boyle in his book has expressed his personal opinion regarding the solidarity of the Palestinian people with the rest of the political world. He has presented a unique synopsis of solving the future ‘peace’ issue of Jerusalem. He has also given suggestions to improve Palestinian relations in context with the law and order.
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Cleary Joe. Literature, Partition and the Nation-State: Culture and Conflict in Ireland, Israel and Palestine: Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, England, 2002.
Joe in this book talks about how partitioned societies like Palestine are involved in cultural struggles in order to play important roles in retaining their cultural narratives. How post-colonial nation building is involved in Palestinian state formation and how modernity and tradition are engaged in determining Palestinian history, are significant aspects of Joe’s work.
Goonewardena Kanishka & Kipfer Stefan. “Postcolonial Urbicide: New Imperialism, Global Cities and the Damned of the Earth”. New Formations 59. 23 (2006).
The authors talk about urban, imperial, and post colonial territorial of Palestinian architecture. This infrastructure highlights upon Palestinian buildings and cities which are portrayed as weapons of war in the way to combat ‘war on terrorism’.
Ismael. T. Y. & Measor John. “Racism and the North American Media Following 11 September: The Canadian Setting”. Arab Studies Quarterly 25.1-2 (2003): 101.
This articles evaluates the critical aspect of media coverage pertaining to ‘terrorism’ and ‘modern Islamization’ in the Middle East and Palestine. It examines the advent of the suicide bombings in Palestine and Israel. It also demonstrates how Canadian media portrays and supports Israeli actions and to what extent the media has remained successful in promoting insurrection in a poor country.
Jadallah-Taschler Dina. “Overcoming vs. Recycling Palestinian Oppression: Between Resistance and Peace Process”. Dissident Voice. 2009. Web.
The site shares various views pertaining to the conflict to achieve national liberation. It talks about the diplomacy in which the Palestinians are considered oppressed and displaced, and the American media plays a vital role in declaring the oppressed ‘terrorist’. Therefore, every Western observer that queries about the Palestinian authority seeks policies that might escort Palestine towards justice.
Lancaster Pat. “What Are They Scared Of”. The Middle East. 2003: 66.
Pat is concerned about the threat to freedom of expression in case of historic injustice. While talking about the Israel lobby, he feels contended to reveal the truth in movies and acclaims that it is fine as long as the truth does not make the Israeli government harsh. This indicates there is no harm to show acts of violence, as long as it is the beginning of a revolutionary media movement.
Mishal Shaul & Sela Avraham. The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence, and Coexistence: Columbia University Press: New York, 2000.
The authors discusses Hamas political strategies in context with the inherent agenda that has taken place between the Islamic holy war against Israel and its awareness in conduct with the political and social environment in which it operates. Various strategies conducted by Hamas has been analyzed in context with the Palestinian Authority in Gaza. It also illustrates how Palestinian public have faced economic hardships.
Palestinian ‘Humiliation’? Don’t Blame the Israelis. The Washington Times. 2006: A19.
It would not be wrong to say that Palestinian society was first Islamicized in order to prove a statecraft society. Followed by the 1993 Oslo accords, Islamic indoctrination through education and media was imposed every Friday through PA television. This way media plays a vital role in representing the broadcast sermons of religion animosity in the name of war on terror.