Two Minutes with Dr. Yahya: Palestinian Tragedy and Human Rights
Posted by: Hasan A. Yahya, Professor of Sociology.
President of the Arab American Encyclopedia-USA
Part Two of Four
Tomorrow is May 15, 2013. The anniversary of Palestinian-Arab defeat in Palestine and the establishment of the Israeli state. Historically, occupation demolish human rights anywhere on earth. In the Palestinian occupied territories, the picture was and still persist by observing the number of refugees camps in several Arab countries as well as inside Palestine. In Diaspora, especially in the United States of America, Human rights violation takes another track under the slogans of Modern political democracy.
According to the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Palestine is an ancient region SW Asia bordering on E coast of the Mediterranean & extending E of Jordan River and a region bordering on the Mediterranean on W & Dead Sea on E; a part of the Ottoman Empire 1516–1917, a British mandate 1923–48; now approx. coextensive with Israel and the West Bank.
Historically, Palestine is also defined as a conventional name, among others, for the geographic region in Western Asia between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. People live in this geographic region, are Palestinians, Jews, Druze, Christians and others all belong to the proper name of Palestine. The term “Israel State” replaced that name but the place still called Palestine by Palestinians and their allies around the world.
Dr. Yahya brings here some effective pro-human Rights for Palestinians in the Occupied land of Palestine. In this segment he invites readers to share information for more knowledge about the Age tragedy of the Palestinian people since the creation of Israel. The article was initially found in the Palestine Media Watch through an effective site of The Electronic Intifada.
Arabs and Muslims have a long way to go in America!
Colored Democracy or democracy faces or Undemocratic Democracy remains alive in the continuous USA support for the Israeli occupation forces of Palestine. This article is brought here to show the comparative analysis of research on the topic of Israeli and Palestinian voices on the US op-ed pages Patrick O’Connor, Palestine Media Watch, 13 March 2006.
The article is produced to remind world thinkers and lay men of the tragedy of Palestinian human rights in and out Palestine, which is violated on everyday bases in the occupied territories of Palestinian land. Hoping that the tragedy may stopped or settled by agreements between the Israeli occupiers and occupied Palestinian people. However, in the United States of America, media is clear showing the results of research dealing with two categories, Palestinian and Israeli writers.
While few decades back Jews were in Displaced Camps in Europe. In 1945 September 17, GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON described the Jews in a media report reads: “Taking General Eisenhower on a visit to DP (Displaced Persons Camps) camps, he called Jewish inmates “the greatest stinking bunch of humanity” and stating that they have “no sense of human relationships”. Patton had also referred to the Jewish DP’s as “lower than animals”. When attacked for his anti-Semitic remarks, Patton called it a “plot by Jews and Communists” to replace him.”
I wish the Jews of Israel and elsewhere, remember those days and look forward to have peace with the Palestinians who still settled in camps in and out Palestine. (The editor)
Findings and Analysis
The research shows that over the last five years and three months, the five US newspapers with the greatest circulation – The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times – have published on average 2.5 op-eds by Israeli writers for every op-ed published by a Palestinian writer.
The Wall Street Journal has the least balanced five-year record, averaging 5.1 op-eds by Israelis for every one by a Palestinian, while The New York Times has been the most skewed over the last three years, publishing an average of 4.3 Israeli op-ed writers for every Palestinian.
Through keyword searches using these newspapers’ on-line search engines and on Lexis-Nexis, an exhaustive list was compiled of 680 op-eds on Israel/Palestine published from September 29, 2000 until December 31, 2005. 214 of those op-eds were written by Israelis and 86 written by Palestinians, including Israelis and Palestinians living in Israel/Palestine or abroad.
Figure 1: Op-eds from the Top 5 US Newspapers on Israel/Palestine: Israeli vs. Palestinian Writers during the Second Intifada
Substantial variation among the five newspapers demonstrates that the bias towards Israeli writers is not inevitable. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times’ five year averages of 5.1 and 3.4 Israelis/Palestinian respectively are followed by The Los Angeles Times with 2.3 Israeli writers per Palestinian writer. In contrast, The Washington Post published 1.4 Israelis for every Palestinian, and USA Today published slightly more Palestinians and Israelis, though USA Today’s total number of Israeli and Palestinian writers (nine) was relatively low. The near parity at The Washington Post and USA Today shows that the over-representation of Israelis in the other newspapers is a product of choices made by editors.
Palestinian citizens of Israel: Another stark finding was the op-ed pages’ complicity in nearly erasing the existence of Palestinian citizens of Israel, 20% of Israel’s population. Though 201 op-eds by Jewish citizens of Israel were published, astonishingly only a single op-ed was published by a Palestinian citizen of Israel currently residing in Israel, Azmi Bishara in The Los Angeles Times.
Palestinian refugees: Palestinian refugees suffer a somewhat similar fate. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency estimates that there are 2.6 million Palestinian refugees living in the Middle East outside of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, many in refugee camps. However, only one op-ed by Palestinian refugee living in the Middle East, Rami Khouri, was published in the five newspapers.  Though op-eds by Palestinian refugees living in the United States are sometimes published, the fate of Palestinian refugees and their right of return under international law are almost never addressed on US op-ed pages.
Anti-occupation Israelis: Even Israelis who challenge the narrow mainstream discourse on Israel/Palestine that is accepted in the US are rarely published, despite the general propensity to publish Israelis. In my personal experience in submitting more than 45 op-eds by Israeli and Palestinian writers to these same five US newspapers over the last two and half years, they published only a single op-ed that I was involved with by an Israeli who wrote outside that narrow discourse.
In short, a consistent reliance on establishment voices explains which writers are published and what issues are addressed on Israel/Palestine in the US op-ed pages, not journalistic standards of balance or a concern to represent a variety of views. Establishment Israeli writers echoing the official Israeli narrative dominate the US op-ed pages, privileging a point of view that is already generously represented by syndicated American columnists like Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Jeff Jacoby, Mort Zuckerman, Jonah Goldberg, David Brooks and Max Boot, to name just a few.
By deciding whose voices are heard, the US mainstream media plays a powerful role in shaping the US public’s understanding of Israel/Palestine. Palestinian terrorism is presented continually as the dominant issue in the conflict. In contrast, the US media only occasionally addresses issues like Israeli military occupation, the on-going seizure of Palestinian land and international law. Almost never raised are Israeli discrimination against its Palestinian citizens, Palestinian refugees’ rights of return, Israeli state terrorism, nonviolent Palestinian resistance, and important debates over two states vs. a bi-national state, and over divestment from Israel.
Media bias is not inevitable. It is the result of deliberate editorial choices. If the US media truly aims to present the public with all relevant information and points of view, op-eds and other coverage cannot disproportionately rely on the voices of one side at the expense of the other.
Newspapers like the five examined in this analysis can eliminate the significant imbalance between Israeli and Palestinian voices on their op-ed pages. The bigger challenge is for all levels of the mainstream American media to more equally present both Israeli and Palestinian perspectives so that Americans can make informed decisions on Middle East policy.
1. US academic Shibley Telhami was born in 1951 as a Palestinian citizen of Israel. He left Israel for the US in 1970. Since then he has lived in the US as a US citizen. Telhami had 12 op-eds published in the five papers, and four articles in the LA Times Sunday (Current). In compliance with Telhami’s suggestion following an email inquiry, Telhami was classified as Palestinian American, and Israeli.
Rami Khouri currently lives in Jordan and Lebanon, but grew up and was educated in the US.
Sources and Notes:
Originally published by the Palestine Media Watch, The Electronic Intifada.
Palestine Media Watch was established in October of 2000 to promote fair and accurate coverage of the Israeli occupation of Palestine in the US mainstream media.
UNESIF Contact http://www.unicef.org/about/index.html
and for children especially:
A World Fit for Children
United Nations Millennium Declaration