Thursday, June 29, 2006


Trying to make sense out of the Israel/Palestine conflict by listening to NPR is a hopeless challenge. Take Steve Inskeep's report this morning. Describing the IDF attack on Gaza Inskeep says, "Israel continues it military moves in and around the Gaza Strip and all these moves came after an Israeli soldier was captured." I know memory is short in the US, I think we can stretch it back further than this past Sunday morning. The Israeli assault didn't begin after the capture of the soldier. In fact the past several weeks have seen heavy Israeli military action against Gaza which have killed many civilians--the most infamous being the family picnicking on the beach. It also fails to contextualize the conflict in which Israel blatantly colonizes the occupied territories (take a look at the maps if you doubt this) and -- according to Human Rights Watch -- holds approximately eight thousand Palestinian political and security prisoners and more than six hundred Palestinians under administrative detention (detention without trial or charge, which can be indefinitely renewed). NPR and the US mainstream press in general consistently downplay (or completely ignore) Israel's violations of international law.

Speaking to Inskeep, Linda Gradstein does at least mention that Palestinians in the West Bank are angry because Israel has hit civilian infrastructure in Gaza...which she notes leaves about 700,000 inhabitants without electricity and many without water (which is likely to lead to sickness and death for children and the infirm). Does Inskeep ask more about this targeting of civilians? No, but he does remind us that "the other side" has escalated the conflict by killing the captured settler. The crime of killing a captured belligerent is a terrible deed--a war crime in fact, but it was not carried out by a sovereign government and in no way compares to the nearly forty years of assaults on the Palestinians or the current overwhelming use of force being inflicted on them.

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