As the Gaza conflict rolled on, I watched intently as Jon Snow, presenter of Channel 4 News here in the UK, interrogated an Israeli spokesperson, Mark Regev, grilling him for around 10 minutes on the death toll in Gaza, insinuating that Israel were to blame.
As Snow became more and more irate, I assumed that this was for the benefit of the viewers at home, as I struggled to understand how a veteran of broadcasting and journalism could be so misguided.
That said, I have come to realise that the media bias on the reporting of the Gaza conflict and Israel as a whole seems to be endemic throughout the media world. A fact I find staggering.
For despite the numerous attempts by Israel to obtain a peace agreement with Palestine and other Arab countries down the years, these truths are strangely overlooked.
When in 1948 Israel accepted the ‘Partition Plan’, The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine, to have two independent states, one Jewish the other for Arabs, the Arab countries rejected this, and rounded on Israel, attacking the one day old state.
Significant efforts have been made by Israel to broker a peace deal ever since. In the interim, they have been forced to defend themselves from further hostilities from their neighbours, in the process acquiring more land with each victory.
However, at the Camp David Summit in 2000, attended by former President Bill Clinton, former Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak and former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Barak effectively ingratiated himself before Palestine, offering them 97% of the West Bank, 100% of the Gaza Strip, the withdrawal of Israeli forces, the return of Palestinian refugees, plus financial compensation. This amounted to all of Palestine’s original demands, without exception.
The response? Arafat rejected the offer, and no counter offer from Palestine ever materialised. They instead sent suicide bombers into Israel to maim and kill their citizens.
Meanwhile, Palestinian media continues to spread anti-Semitic propaganda, with news bulletins that taunt Jewish people with Hamas’ slogan, ‘we love death more than you love life’. School children are indoctrinated religiously through TV, radio and school curricula, to hate Jewish people. Moreover, fanatical Arab leaders preach that the Holocaust was exaggerated or that it never happened at all.
They deliberately misconstrue the Qu’ran and its teachings for their own ends. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said in translated interviews in 2010, that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations were a ‘waste of time and opportunities’ because Arabs and Muslims gain nothing from engagement with ‘the descendents of apes and pigs’. The derogatory term he used refers to a passage in the Qu’ran when Mohammad recalls a legend about Jews fishing or working on the Sabbath. This is widely understood by many, except fanatical Arab leaders and anti-Semites, to be a metaphor, just as the Bible uses metaphors, and should not be taken literally.
As Hitler did before them, Palestinians have also utilised ‘The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion’, a book that purports to detail Jewish plans for global domination, that includes, assuming control of financial institutions, government, re-education, suppression and the creation of a totalitarian state.
Since the book was written however, it has been found to be nothing more than a work of fiction. An elaborate anti-Semitic hoax, uncovered by The Times newspaper in 1921. A book first published in Russia, and itself plagiarised from other books, and does not pre-date 1901 as it claims. A minor detail, as Palestinians care not whether this is a forgery, as it remains a useful prop to brainwash the uninitiated.
Other famous statements of intent have been made towards Israel that include in 1968, Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, who said ‘if the Jewish state becomes a fact, the Arabs will drive the Jews who live in their midst into the sea’. Also at the Arab League Summit in 1967 in Khartoum, Sudan, where Arab leaders announced the ‘Three No’s, ‘no recognition, no peace and no negotiations’.
Israel has always been willing to trade land for peace. The entire Sinai Peninsula was given to Egypt in 1979, with a large land mass and vast amounts of oil, and the withdrawal of Israeli troops, brokering a peace deal.
There are claims of apartheid and suppression from Palestine, however, this appears to be for the benefit of the outside world, as Israeli-Arabs that work and live in Israel enjoy the same rights as everyone else, and always have. In many respects, Israel with its liberal attitudes and sensibilities would not be out of place on the European continent.
There are 22 Arab states, spanning North Africa, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Peninsula in the east, a distance of about 4000 miles. Israel is approximately the size of Wales in the UK, or a very large English County, yet Palestine and its neighbours have for much of the past century, cajoled and harassed this little Jewish state like a bunch of schoolyard bullies. Their anti-Semitism firmly entrenched.
During the war of Iraq, which was essentially an oil war, there were 4799 deaths of military personnel on the coalition side. Although figures vary, there were at least 150,000 Iraqi lives lost. Yet there was no mention of this disparity. Israel on the other hand were subjected to much criticism for the one-sided death toll, a conflict in which they were fighting for their very existence. Defending their citizens from a hostile neighbour with the soul aim of seeing their ultimate destruction, and who’s main military strategy appeared to be of surrounding themselves with children and other civilians.
As long as Palestine continues to spread anti-Semitic hate filled propaganda, and launch further attacks on Israel, then they have every right to defend themselves, and on this evidence, I believe the media, politicians and the public should remain sensitive to their plight.