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 3 – 6, 2013
- Jerusalem elections boycott sends 'strong' statement to Israel
- Militants 'shoot down' Israeli drone over Gaza Strip
- Israeli forces open fire on protests across West Bank, injuring dozens
-Witnesses: Israeli forces fire tear gas at Hebron schools
- [Arab] teens injured in Jenin clashes [with IDF]
-Israeli forces assault student in Aqsa compound
-PLO official: Israel not serious about peace talks
The United States and the West
- Is the US trying to torpedo peace talks in Pakistan?
-Angry Pakistan to assess ties with US
-Syria: Kerry’s statements threaten [Syrian] peace talks
--U.S. skeptical over Syria chemical deceleration, top official says
-Poll: 70 pct of Palestinians expect peace talks to fail
-Kerry: Israeli settlements are illegitimate
-Dozens protest in Bethlehem against Kerry visit
Internal Regional Arab news
-Wastage of public funds tied to cancellation of hospitals project (Kuwait)
- Panel to investigate missing pay orders at Education Ministry (Jordan)
-U.N. says cost of hosting Syrian refugees in Jordan $5.3 bn
-Training helps young Jordanians turn business ideas into reality
- Egypt: Authorities tighten security measures around Suez Canal
- Syria's most fatal weapon: starvation warfare
-Not so finger lickin’ good: Fast-food chain KFC shuts its doors in Syria
-Saudi authorities arrest over 16,000 illegal workers
-Saudi Arabia illegal worker crackdown leaves ‘shops closed, streets empty’
-Tunisian leaders once again fail to agree on new PM
-Tunisia crisis deepens after failure to pick new premier
-‘Medical error’ deaths witness rise (Kuwait)
-Govt mulls entry ban on gays (Kuwait)
-Bahrain jails 10 "terrorists" from opposition
-Iranians cry 'death to America' in huge rally
-Yemen's rival sects declare new ceasefire
-Sectarian fighting resumes in north Yemen
-Saudi to start inspecting companies for illegal workers
-Paperless illegals can never return to KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
-Kuwait will ‘maintain’ high standard of living for citizens’
-No citizen, expat will leave Kuwait without settling dues’
-150,000 bogus-employed [in Kuwait] face deportation
-Iraq attacks kill 10 people as 2013 toll tops 5,500
The non-Arab World
-India Infanticide: "We accept the first girl, the second should be killed"
While the Arab world certainly appears concerned about Israel, a reading of Regional headlines for November 3 – 6, 2013 prompts two observations: first, Israel isn’t the Arab world’s number one news story; and second, most of Israel-centric news appears (in this news cycle) primarily in Palestinian Authority (PA) media. The other Arab news outlets surveyed seemed far more interested in other issues.
You can see from the list above what some of these other issues are. In Jordan, there is concern about how government monies were being spent (or misspent). In Saudi Arabia, the news this cycle focused on a crack-down on illegal immigrants. In Kuwait, the focus was missing or faked visas and drivers licenses—up to 150,000 faked worker papers and 20,000 faked licenses. You can see also how violent and unstable life is in Yemen, Syria and Tunisia—and a fear that unrest could spread to Bahrain and elsewhere in the Region.
In this Arab news cycle, Israel wasn’t the number one (or even the number two) issue. What one does notice here is that, most particularly in PA news, reporting about Israel is very, very carefully written. These stories, mostly about Israel Defense Force (IDF) actions against Arabs, tell the who, what and where part of the news. They completely ignore the why.
For example, a story might tell you that IDF soldiers opened fire on protesters in Hevron. The story will show close-up pictures of Arabs in pain, lying on the ground bleeding, etc. But the story does not mention a single fact about why the protesters were there, what they were protesting, how aggressively they were protesting, why the IDF was there in the first place—and why the IDF fired at the protesters.
The only thing you learn from these stories is that Israeli soldiers injure Arabs. The only thing you see are injured Arabs looking to be in considerable pain—and a headline that highlights an IDF attack.
If you want to find out the why of the story, the PA news won’t give it to you. You have to go to Israeli media sites.
Meanwhile, Arab media in places like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait didn’t bother with most of these anti-Israel stories. Jordan—which has so many ‘Palestinians’ it must be sensitive to their interests—did report some of these stories. But it reported very few.
It makes one wonder if the so-called ‘Palestinians’ are as important to the Region as we have been led to believe. Is it possible that the ‘Palestinian cause’ is not the Region’s central issue?
The stories above covered less than one week’s news cycle. Certainly, there were other stories in the Arab media. Almost all of these had nothing to do with the ‘Palestinian struggle.’
Will next week’s report tell a different story--or is the Arab world telling us something here?