Palestine: Selective Journalism

Following a second bulldozer attack by a Palestinian civilian in less than a month (Global Voices covered the first one here), Palestinian bloggers are frustrated by how local and international media has covered both events, and ignored more universally significant issues in the country.

Desertpeace repeats the popular headline in today's news, “Heavy machinery attack injures 2 near Obama’s Jerusalem hotel,” then asks:

THIS ONE still hasn’t been reported…. and it happened almost a month ago.

Israelis Assault Award Winning IPS Journalist

~~~ WHY??? ~~~

KABOBfest is perplexed at the focus on Obama's whereabouts:

The New York Times and world press covered today’s bulldozer attack in Jerusalem, the second in a month. The frame was typical: enraged Palestinian used construction equipment to attack Israeli civilians. The extra spice in the article is that it occurred “near” where Obama will be staying soon. Wow, what a news hook!

The blogger then remarks:

Pundits were alarmed by the last bulldozer attack, saying Palestinians were finding new ways to try to destroy Israel – yet Palestinians are in the stone age compared to Israel’s advanced killing technology. The bulldozer is now the Palestinian Merkava.

An anonymous commenter on the post showed concern:

A few more attacks like this and they will purge Palestinians from construction duties and replace them with Filipinos. Same quality of work, no political baggage. Construction is the last industry in Israel that still relies on Palestinian labor, but not nearly as much as it once did. If you go to Netanya, the entire city was built by Palestinian labor in the 1970s. A lot of Palestinians are going to lose their jobs over this.

Another commenter, uday, was alarmed at Obama's response to the incident:

Speaking at a news conference in Amman, Obama said “Today's bulldozer attack is a reminder of what Israelis have courageously lived with on a daily basis for far too long.”

What colonialist Israelis have “lived with”?! And what about the helpless Palestinians being crushed daily by the Zionist Boot?! Are they not courageous? Is 60 years of occupation, humiliation and oppression not long enough for Obama to notice?!

Following the bulldozer attack, it was reported by the Jerusalem Post that a group of angry yeshiva students attempted to lynch two Palestinians. Of this story, blogger Chet points out:

Dear friends,

Here is the other event in Jerusalem today that your media will most likely ignore. Guess how this would be covered if the roles were reversed.

Times are tense.

This madness is man-made,

For more on this story, read Maya Norton's coverage of the Israeli blogosphere on Global Voices.


  • Jean-François

    Another tragic turn of events that will probably increase the hardships Palestinians face daily, namely, a crackdown on Palestinian construction workers and the resulting economic suffering. This has been happening for a few years already–a good example is the Israeli city of Modi’in where formerly legal employees are now considering illegal migrants (although still employed by Jews for even cheaper). They live outside in boxes on the hills and must contend with routine raids on their homes and at work by security forces. More economic hardship = more suffering/alienation/desperation and therefore an increased potential base for terrorist recruitment.

    It is most unfortunate, if I may use such a euphemism, that they suffer this way but the Israeli state is stuck between a rock and a hard place: in many sectors, it has come to depend on cheap Palestinian labour but the potential threat they represent is problematic. Many Palestinians are not extremists nor terrorists, indeed, all they want is to work and raise families and they have no ill wishes toward Israel. But a significant portion of them are hostile and given the opportunity will strike Israel. How can one tell them apart? I understand Israel’s efforts to protect itself, although these efforts may be reactionary. Their indiscriminate treatment of Palestinians is unjust but understandable.

    As usual, extremists on both sides use such events for political gain and try to make inroads in the mainstream “moderate” population. The religious fundamentalists (i.e. the religious right) on both sides need to be isolated and ostracized by their respective populations and in cooperation with the perceived “enemy”. Moderate Israelis need to start opposing the right and its influence on other segments of society. They need to debunk myths and fight fear. Conversely, Palestinians need to start actively opposing their brothers who are terrorists and extremists–easier said than done–but such may be the price of peace and freedom. Marginalizing extremists on both sides constitutes, I think, the single most effective tool to solve the conflict but it’s only the first step. It would be a show of trust and goodwill to opposing sides and make any initiatives taken by either side easier. The problem is, how can moderate Palestinians (those who want genuine peace, recognizing the legitimacy of the Israeli state and who don’t see the establishment of the Palestinian state and other truces as a mere step towards the annihilation of Israel) truly opposite and marginalize Hamas, Hezbollah and other militants? They will need all the help they can get for I fear they will be intimidated, attacked and censored.

    Anyone have realistic ideas as to how the Israeli state could better manage the situation, protect itself while providing employment for Palestinians? What kind of trust-building initiatives can be brought forth by both sides to foster the mindset needed to build a prosperous future? What role should media on both sides play in this?

  • Tal

    Dear Jillian,

    I would like to comment on this quotation:
    “What colonialist Israelis have “lived with”?! And what about the helpless Palestinians being crushed daily by the Zionist Boot?! Are they not courageous? Is 60 years of occupation, humiliation and oppression not long enough for Obama to notice?!”

    First of all, As far as I know history, Israelis were not “colonialist”. In 1948, when Israel was born and had to fight alone against 7 Arab countries, The British (which was then still an empire), backed up the Arab countries. Her officer even fought against Israel in Jerusalem (the commander of the Arab legion and a lot of his officers were British). Israel got most of here weapons from Czechoslovakia. so this makes the Arabs part of the Imperialist plan (It didn’t work because the USSR helped the BATH party to overthrow the pro-British regimes). Second, according to the well documented history, the land of Israel is the land where Jews lived for more the a thousand years.

    about: “Is 60 years of occupation, humiliation and oppression not long enough for Obama to notice?!”. It will be 41 years of humiliation and oppression, since 1967. The Arabs that stayed in Israel in 1948 are full citizens.

    I agree with the writer that even 41 years of occupation, humiliation and oppression is much to long (Even one day is much to long).

    But since the Oslo agreement, the Palestinians take huge part in this occupation, humiliation and oppression.
    They were given a land of their own in 1994, but literally blow it up by storm of terror. I guess they did it because they want all of Israel, and will not share with her the land.


  • Tal

    I think there is something wrong with automatic modoration. I sent a response and it disappeared

  • The Palestinians’ time is running out

  • Jean-Francois

    The cold, hard truth.

  • Numerous Palestinian residents of Jerusalem do not believe the past two incidents involving tractors in Jerusalem were in fact attacks. The common wisdom is that the first incident involved a person with deep personal problems who ran amuck, while the second involved a traffic accident in which the driver panicked following the intervention of armed Israelis. While there is substantial evidence to support this theory, Israeli officials stubbornly cling to the terrorist attack explanation and propose to strengthen repressive measures against the Palestinian population in the city.

    This is just another method used to justify killing and getting Palestinians out of Jerusalem so they can fully lay claims to it.

    Even Christians are being deported in large numbers from there

    Israel and the United States are like the Boy that cried wolf, he always cried wolf and everyone ran to help the boy and always they learned that there was no wolf in sight.

    Just like that little boy America and Israel will cry wolf and nobody will be there to listen even if the wolf is there.

    * Wolf = danger, real danger, real threats through no fault.

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