Sunday, June 17, 2007

Defending the Bully

Listening to NPR's coverage of the Middle East, I always have this image in my mind of a bully killing and beating up his victims, and if one of the victims tries something desperate (such as attacking the perpetrator) there is a barrage of criticism excoriating the victim for being irresponsible and using violence.

If you listen to today's coverage on the situation in the Occupied Territories, you'd never know that Israel has been killing Palestinian civilians at will, stealing Palestinian lands, building colonial settlements on occupied land, etc. The Israeli occupation and destruction of Palestinian society is never even mentioned. It's truly surreal.

Here's how the Sunday Weekend Edition breaks down:

  • First, a report from Zionist sympathizer Linda Gradstein covers the appointed cabinet of AbuMazen in the West Bank. We hear how Israeli Prime Minister Olmert "will provide food and medicine to Gaza" and that he considers the "new cabinet without Hamas in the West Bank could be a partner to peace."
  • Next it's on to Dennis Ross from the neocon, AIPAC-founded WINEP. Ross never gets challenged on his "analysis" of the situation in which he states that "the first challenge is for the US to stop weaponry from reaching Hamas...because if longer range rockets are fired into Israel...the Israelis will feel obliged to do something"(!). His advice to the current administration is "to focus its attention is on the following kinds of priorities"- 1.) Work to make the West Bank a model of success. 2.) Shine a spotlight on the Egyptians because they're letting weapons into Gaza. Ah yes, the old "model of success" approach - just like in Iraq! And the Egyptians - that was a new one for me. I kept wondering when he might meekly mention all those Israeli settlements carving up the West Bank. Lastly he chimes in with how he would advise Bush on his upcoming meeting with Olmert: "...let’s focus together on what is really the crux of the problem right now – the crux of the matter – and it is a competition between Fatah and Hamas."
  • Lastly we hear from Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland who is also with the Brookings Institute (them again!). Supposedly he is going to talk about the "Arab perceptions" of what is going on. The best he can do is insist that whatever approach the US and its allies take will have to include not just the West Bank, but Gaza too. However, there is no condemnation of the US-Israeli policies or actions in the region (which is a strange omission if we are supposedly going to hear "Arab" perceptions.)

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