Thursday, August 21, 2003
Press to Israel: Bend Over and Take It
Okay, I'm not so naive as to pretend that the Middle East conflict doesn't have long roots, nor will I pretend that both the Israelis and Palestinians don't have some if not many legitimate greivances with each other, with much of the rest of the world, etc. (If you ask me, the Palestinians, if they would stop and think for a moment, ought to have some pretty big beefs with many of the governments in the Arab world, for example.)
So there was a cease fire.
So someone -- and it doesn't seem any stretch of the imagination that that someone was connected to one of the Palestinian parties in the cease fire -- blew up a bus and killed, what?, 20 something people.
So the Israelis went after a Hamas leader, killing several other people in the process.
It would seem to this one sitting in the safety of his office halfway around the world that an appropriate headline might be: "Cease Fire Breaks Down After Suicide Attack." Instead, the headlines from wire service and newspaper and television web sites almost all seem to be along the lines of "Hamas Declares End to Cease Fire After Israeli Attacks." As if the attacks happened completely context free.
It wouldn't surprise me if this had something to do with journalism-school approaches -- "Always use the most proximate event as the cause" -- along the same lines as similar non-intuitive to this non-journalist journalism practices -- "Always use the largest unit of measurement to describe epoch durations: If it happened yesterday the 31st, then say 'Last month'."
Or maybe there really is an ensemble bias in the press tilting in favor of the Palestinians.
The origins of that putative bias? I don't know. Could be a prediliction for quasi-socialism. The perception that Israel is a bully state. A snivelling toady attitude toward wanna-be (or real) dictators like Arafat. It's a mystery to me why it might exist, given that Israel, for all its faults, is a democratic nation whereas the Palestinian Authority is still essentially a Leninist-based one-party (one socialist-style party propped up for years by the Soviet Union and still unable to make it on its own without massive influxes of USA and European money) pseudo-government that will not, for whatever reasons (scared, confused, in cahoots) put down the terrorists that must, eventually, submit to legitimate governmental authority.
Think about that for a moment: There could be, maybe even in our lifetimes, a legitimate government in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Would any legitimate government allow a bunch of armed thugs, many of whom are religious whackos, to dictate to the government what its domestic or foreign policies ought to be? No way.
Remember: The reasonable, sensible, language-as-a-way-of-modelling-the-universe proximate cause of the end of the cease fire was the suicide bombing, not the Israeli retaliation. The organizations within the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority that support such actions have lost any credible reasons they might ever have had to exist. The USA and Israeli governments should do anything and everything they can to help factions within that territory to dominate and destroy the terrorists and the supposedly-legitimate groups they are "arms" of.
I'm sorry, but I don't think there's any more room for negotiation with murderers.