If you’re like most non-Arabs, you probably don’t read the Arab Press. That could be a mistake.
The Arab world is not monolithic. It’s dynamic. It’s a living entity. It’s home to almost 350 million people. Many of these people know about you. What do you know about them?
Every Thursday before Noon ET, return here for something you may not see elsewhere: Arab news.
Here are headlines for—and personal comments about-- Arab news stories for November 14–20, 2013.
-Hollande: Israel must make 'gesture' for peace talks
-Italy donates 3 million euro for PA initiative in Area C, Jerusalem
-French president: Jerusalem must be capital of two states
-80 Israeli police officers visit Aqsa mosque
-Israel cuts power to Jericho village over unpaid debts
-Israel issues orders to halt construction of Yatta mosque
-US believes Iran deal 'possible' at next talks
-Hollande assures Israel Paris will be tough on Iran
-Khamenei vows no retreat on nuclear programme
- Khamenei: Iran will not surrender “nuclear rights”
Internal Regional Arab news
-France grants Jordan 1 million euros
-‘Mr Science’ to perform for Jordanian students
-Syrian warplanes target town near Lebanon — monitor
-Sudan confronts politically explosive bread shortage
- Wave of attacks in Iraqi capital kills at least 29
- Libyan troops in show of force in the capital
-Action plan to tackle child labour in Petra
-‘Fix responsibility for shoddy projects’
-KSA [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] wins anti-dumping case against India
-Downpour cripples life in Riyadh
- Beware of stormy weather
-3 die, over 100 rescued in heavy rains & flash floods
-More downpours, unstable weather predicted
-Schools get rain-days off amid flooding
- Oil tanker wrecks threaten marine environ
-Young Saudis getting creative on YouTube
- ODD NEWS: Australian kangaroo exporters look to hop into China
-His Highness the Amir ends 3rd Africa-Arab Summit, calling for joint Afro-Arab cooperation
-Gunmen fire at parked car of Fatah official in Ramallah
From the headlines above, you can see several story-lines in the Arab Press developing during this news cycle: the weather, turmoil in several Arab countries, local business and cultural issues, Iran and Israel. That was the lion’s share of headlines. Where were the ‘peace talks’ with Israel?
In fact, in much of the Arab press, where was Israel?
Of course, in the PA, we know exactly where Israel was--front-and-center: during a single day, during one specific two-hour time-frame, the PA news site ran a total of 30 stories on its main page. Thirteen (42%) of these were anti-Israel.
At times, these ‘Israel’ stories seemed unrelenting. For example, no other Arab news vendor during this entire news cycle showed the following uninterrupted chronological series of stories:
-Witnesses: Israeli troops cuff Palestinian children
-Israeli forces shoot teenager in the foot near Hebron
-Israeli forces assault 7 family members in their home near Hebron
-Israeli forces detain 4 teenagers near Ramallah
-14 injured as Israeli forces disperse West Bank protests
-Israeli forces detain Hebron man
-Report: Israel arrests 70 Palestinian workers
To read this string of headlines, you’d never know there were on-going ‘peace talks’ occurring. In fact, during this entire news cycle, there were no stories on the PA site about making a real peace with Israel. There were no essays about how to prepare for peace. There was no analysis of ‘living side-by-side with Israel in peace-and -security’.
Apparently, the PA wasn’t interested in such a ‘peace’. Its only concern was Israeli ‘brutality’.
Jordan, meanwhile, had no special concerns for Israel. Jordan posted 32 stories on its news-site. Only two (6%) were anti-Israel.
The Saudis weren’t any different. They ran 39 stories during this same news day/news hour. Only one was about Israel. But it wasn’t anti-Israel. It was about the President of France assuring Israel that Paris would be tough on Iran. This is exactly what the Saudis want. Their anti-Israel news content at that moment added up to zero per cent.
The only anti-Israel item on the Saudi page was a cartoon. It purported to show Israel harming peace talks.
The Kuwaitis ran 12 stories on its front page at this same time: none (0%) were about Israel. Another twenty-six stories (some of which were also on the Main Page) appeared on the Kuwaiti World News page. None (0%) were about Israel.
Al Jazeera ran 45 stories at this same time. Five (11%) were about Israel. Three (7%) were anti-Israel. Two were about the French promise to be tough on Iran. Were these two stories ‘anti-Israel’? Maybe—or, then again, maybe ‘not exactly’.
Al Arabiya ran 52 stories. Five (10%) were about Israel. Perhaps four (8%) were anti-Israel.
You can see from the sampling of stories listed above what the Arab press outside the PA was interested in during this news cycle: weather, science, money, responsibility for bad roads—exactly what each of us is concerned about in our own worlds.
Makes you wonder about the how the PA fits in with its brothers.