This tendency mirrored a public opinion in which, according to official Palestinian figures, support for suicide bombing was limited to around 20 percent ib. The popular backing for attacks on Israeli civilians jumped to 80 percent following the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada, an attitude largely reflected in and fueled by the media which, in return, pursued a storyline consistent with the dominant narrative.
The gradual erosion of Fatah's dominance in the s, which culminated with the victory of Hamas in the elections and the takeover of Gaza in , produced a polarization in media which nevertheless left little space for critical voices. The backdrop to this assumption was not only the fact that the Israeli occupation affects every aspect of Palestinian daily life, but also the heavy censorship of particularly sensitive internal issues, unless they are raised as politically motivated attacks by one side on the other, such as corruption, the many shadows on the leadership of Yasser Arafat, or taboos such as the one-state solution 3.
The censorship, though, is not merely political but also social, and revolves around the very possibility of offering the audience views which challenge the dominant narrative. That was especially the case when Palestinian cities were reoccupied and the IDF launched operation Defense Shield in media rallied rank and file behind the official line. An embryonic Palestinian peace movement was inhibited from emerging and gaining visibility, squeezed between the brutality of Israel, which exacerbated what started as a non-violent resistance, and the response of the Palestinian armed groups, which flourished over pictures of graphic violence and inflammatory statements Gordon, Authoritative voices calling for an end to militant violence were marginalized in the media and war dominated the Palestinian public discourse as the only reaction to the occupation.
From the witness to the martyr, and back.
The icon of the martyr was part of the gallery of heroic symbols that had underpinned the national narrative since Kimmerling and Migdal, When, back in the first Intifada, foreign media broadcast pictures of children shot while throwing stones, they contributed to fixing that image in the national mythology. The icon proved to be successful in attracting the world's sympathy. Later, posters of suicide bombers with the picture of the al-Aqsa mosque as background became ubiquitous in cities and refugee camps, making the martyr a role model for many c hildren.
Even in the aftermath of the al-Aqsa Intifada, when the main Palestinian political forces rejected suicide bombings, martyrdom remained a tenet of Palestinian nationalism, as a way to avenge personal humiliations sublimated at national level Eid, The shahid was seen, by a generation increasingly disillusioned with its political leadership, as a hero worthy of respect. It is worth pointing out, though, that the 11 journalists and media workers killed in the Occupied Territories since were also mourned as martyrs CPJ, The list includes Italian photographer Raffaele Ciriello, shot dead by an Israeli tank in Ramallah in , and British cameraman James Miller, killed in Rafah in The names of Mazen Dana and Mazen al-Tumeizi, for instance, are still popular today amongst Palestinian youths despite the fact that the two Palestinian cameramen did not die in the Occupied Territories and were not killed by the Israelis.
Instead, they were killed in Iraq in and , where they were covering the war against the US-led invasion for, respectively, Reuters and Al Arabiya, and set an example as martyrs armed with nothing but a video camera. They became symbols of the generation of Palestinian media operators who learned to cover conflicts in the field, amid bullets and teargas, and who are still employed by transnational media corporations in other Middle East war theaters because of their high professional standards, their language skills and, not less important in the media industry, their competitive costs.
Towards an Electronic Intifada. The distrust of mainstream media in the Occupied Territories is intimately related to the loss of faith in a political leadership that seems focused on its internecine feud rather than on improving the present and the future of the younger generations. Since then, however, the Internet has had extraordinary success as an alternative source of information despite the lack of infrastructure and the harsh living conditions in the Occupied Territories, especially since, following the victory of Hamas in , the international community cut more than one billion dollars in aid to the PNA.
ICT innovations have allowed many young Palestinians to make sense of the reality of the occupation and of Palestinian politics and society through the lens of their daily life, instead of the parties' official lines conveyed by the mainstream media. A quick glance at some figures can help draft the landscape in which a new generation of citizen journalists has emerged, able for the first time to challenge the dominant politically imposed narratives with their accounts.
Amongst Palestinians, the percentage of literate adults stands at 92 percent of the population, while in the rest of the Arab world the figure is 60 percent UNICEF, Paradoxically, the fast growth of Internet penetration has been made possible by the weakness of the central government, unable either to steer developments in ICT or impose filters on the free circulation of information. There are no Palestinian laws covering the dissemination of information on the Internet, or to [organize] the workings of Internet cafes. A fresh grassroots movement, animated especially by young people, has filled this vacuum of power with personal views about politics and resistance to the occupation.
An arena underpinned by alternative news agencies, blogs and forums of discussion is proving successful not only in connecting Palestinians from all across the Occupied Territories, allowing the ones in Gaza to leave their prison at least virtually and keeping alive the bonds with the Palestinian diaspora, but also in exploring new alternatives and stimulating a collective reflection on what it means to be a Palestinian. This goal is carried out through news websites, the most influential being Electronic Intifada EI , and blogs in Arabic and in English.
EI is a non-profit organization based in the US and in the Occupied Territories launched in by four activists to cover the al-Aqsa Intifada with the purpose of reporting the events from a Palestinian perspective and counterbalancing what was perceived as a strong pro-Israeli bias in US media. Through a network of local contributors and a section called 'Diaries: Live from Palestine', it has been in some critical moments the only voice from the ground, such as for instance during Operation Defensive Shield, when the accounts of some residents of Ramallah succeeded in breaking the siege imposed by the Israeli army.
EI's website acts also as a 'cyber clearinghouse' to empower local and international activists with links to reliable figures, relevant international legal documents, human rights reports, UN resolutions and map of settlements Zayyan and Carter, Another popular news website, Ramallah Online, was crucial in drumming up the protest against the PLO's failure, in October , to approve the Goldstone report over Israeli and Palestinian responsibilities during Operation Cast Lead.
The first is authored by a group of international and local activists based in Bethlehem: its main goal is to relate political facts and everyday events, always maintaining a focus on human and civil rights. Their distinctive voices tackle daily life under occupation from different perspectives Dana is a teacher and writes about young students and their expectations for the future; Heba is a journalist and Mona is a physician , but they share the same concern for gender issues and the same belief that bearing witness as shahada, in its original meaning can break the siege and reach out to the world ib.
The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict
Shooting back. In , B'tselem launched Shooting Back, a project aimed at empowering Palestinian local communities through a basic idea: distributing video cameras to film human rights violations perpetrated by settlers or the Israeli army. The organization focused on the most sensitive areas of the West Bank, especially in the proximity of settlements.
The first choice fell inevitably on the Old City of Hebron, squatted by radical Jewish settlers and occupied by the Israeli army, where the few Palestinian families left are targets of daily violence. When the year-old daughter of the Abu Eishe family submitted the first tape to the B'tselem local representative, she could not imagine the impact that it would have produced, but one piece of footage she had filmed was bound to spark a national debate. The sharmouta video proved that even a teenager could react effectively to violence, if armed with a video camera and supported by a civil society willing to listen.
Since then, B'tselem has collected 1, hours of footage that have been broadcast worldwide and have contributed to highlighting the settlement issue as one of the main hindrances to the peace process, especially after another video showed masked settlers beating up a Palestinian shepherd in the South Hills of Hebron. Eighty cameras were distributed in the West Bank and, since , 18 in Gaza.
The initiative has attracted considerable attention in Israel because the videos provided evidence to 84 complaints filed by B'tselem and have led to the opening of 15 investigations.
More importantly, this evidence was provided by the same Palestinians who called for the Israeli government to enforce the rule of law in the Occupied Territories against settler violence. In Gaza, the assignment for the teenagers who received the cameras was simply to show their lives. Videos about hip-hop in the refugee camps, working in the smuggling tunnel or sport in the Strip — footage that a professional journalist would never be able to film — were posted on Ynet, the biggest Israeli news website, under the headline 'Gaza: an Inside look', raising critiques and praise.
Grassroots reporting is thus playing a role that mainstream media had long failed to fulfill: it is acting as a humanizer for both sides. We needed to reach out. Peace between countries starts with good relations between individuals. We have to talk with each other. But many here are afraid of talking with Israelis. They will be accused of being spies. Over the years, B'tselem has consolidated its reputation amongst Palestinians, to the extent that nowadays it receives an increasing number of requests by communities all across the Occupied Territories willing to contribute to Shooting Back 4.
In Hebron and the surrounding areas, cameras today play a dissuasive role against settler violence to the point that people always carry their video recorders, even though they are not working. Considered 'tools of pacific resistance', these simple handy cameras are shaping a fresh icon in the Palestinian national narrative: a shahid, a witness, able to merge the traditional Palestinian sumud, the steadfastness which characterized the passive endurance of a nation of refugees, with a sapient use of ICTs to fashion creative responses to the occupation.
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The Palestinian tragedy has often been narrated from outside. The images crafted by the media had the purpose of appealing to the world, in the case of children throwing stones, or provoke repulsion, in the case of the suicide-bomber. Today, ICTs are serving the efforts of their respective civil societies to bridge the gap, allowing them to mirror each other in their most human dimension.
They may even be contributin g to defusing the violence and empowering civil society to stand up for human rights. The citizen journalism made possible by B'tselem video project conveys the possibility of a shared space in which both Israelis and Palestinians fight together against abuses. Alternative Information Center Poll: internet use and reading habits in Palestine. Andoni G.
Ayish, M. Bronner, E. Cherkaoui, M.
The Media Intifada: Bad Math, Ugly Truths About New York Times In Israel-Hamas War
Daraghmeh, M. Enderlin ed. Eid, B. El-Obeidi, I. Enderlin, C. Glaser, M. Gordon, N. Lowstedt, A. Kimmerling, B.
To Stand With Israel
McGregor-Wood, S. Podhoretz N. Rinnawi, K. But far more has happened than the occupation of lands and the movement of peoples, important as these may be. In the world of reality, events cannot be unmade, and their effects persist, even when their results vanish. On October 4, , Komsomolskaya Pravda, the official organ of the Central Committee of the Komsomol All-Union Leninist Young Communist League published an article declaring "Zionism is dedicated to 'genocide, racism, treachery, aggression, and annexation Lewis reported that practically the same terms were used at the World Conference of the International Women's Year held in Mexico City in late June and early July He noted that "the 'Declaration on the Equality of Women' issued on that occasion repeatedly stresses the share of women in the struggle against neocolonialism, foreign occupation, Zionism, racism, racial discrimination and apartheid.
On November 10, , the Russians and their Arab allies successfully passed U. General Assembly Resolution equating Zionism with racism.
On December 16, , 85 countries, a little more than half of the U. Yet the damage had been done. The Soviets added another element in manipulating language-- the "reversal of culpability," which imposes a false historical analogy on the present. Thus, Goliath becomes David, and David becomes Goliath. The most prevalent use of this technique is the charge of "genocide," which conveys the fallacious claim that "Israel is doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to the Jews.
The Nazi theme is intended to refute, nullify and substitute the formidable Zionist Holocaust theme. When directed toward Israeli soldiers, it is supposed to arouse guilt and reduce their efficiency. These criticisms ultimately obscure the distinctions between what is right and wrong and undermines the foundations of Judeo-Christian morality.
The resulting condition, known as anomie literally, lawlessness, in Greek , signifies "a social condition in which the hierarchy of values disintegrates and 'all regulation is lacking. Arutz 7. Alex Grobman Dr. Tags: public relations , propaganda centers.