Thursday, December 5, 2013

Arab headlines: fantasy as news for the PA

If you’re like most non-Arabs, you probably don’t read the Arab Press. So, here are two questions:

Do you know if the Arab world has an interest in Israel? If it does, what’s its point of view?

If you don’t know, return here every Thursday before Noon ET for something you may not see elsewhere: a look at Arab news.

Today, you will read headlines from—and personal comments about—just one Arab news site: the Palestinian Authority.


From the Palestinian Authority (PA)


To read PA news is to draw one conclusion: PA news has an almost obsessive focus--to showcase Palestinian misery at the hands of the demon Israel.

It’s not really news. It doesn’t inform so much as it tells a story.

Like a shuk, it’s there every day. But it’s limited. It’s a marketplace with only one idea.

Depending upon the day, between 40 per cent – 70 per cent of PA news has this focus. It makes PA news look like a political infomercial.

PA news isn’t about news. It’s about fantasy.

The fantasy is, we are innocent victims of Israeli brutality.

Fantasy is not news. A fantasy of misery does not represent reality. It validates the misery.

It’s what the PA does best. It validates misery. Feature stories on the PA news site don’t highlight Arab accomplishment. They don’t showcase business activity. They don’t highlight plans for a future.

For the PA news site, there is no future. There is no civic vitality. There is only misery and death.  

Such a fantasy delivers a message: as an Arab, you have absolutely no control over your life; you are a victim; your only opportunities in life come from hating Israel.

Here’s a sample of headlines that illustrates how this fantasy—and its message--works:

-Settlers take over building near Hebron mosque

- Israeli forces demolish water wells and tents in the Jordan Valley

-Israel clears West Bank land for settler homes

-Israeli forces detained 110 Palestinians in Hebron in November

-Video: Israeli soldier fires gas canister at rights volunteer

- Israeli volunteer shoots, kills Palestinian worker in northern Israel

-Israeli court sentences Tulkarem man to life term and 20 years

-Israeli guards raid Ashkelon jail, assault detainees

-Press body accuses Israel army of targeting journalists

-Facebook users outraged as Israel army spokesman posts Fairuz video

-Will Israeli opposition derail the Geneva agreement on Iran's nuclear program?

 - Teen dies en route to hospital amid checkpoint closure

-Israeli police attack large anti-Prawer protests in Haifa

-Thousands join funeral of Palestinian worker shot dead by Israelis

-Clashes in Hebron after funeral for 3 men killed by Israel

-Tel Aviv 'Nakba' film festival keeps alive memories of 1948 in Israel

-The plot thickens: Gaza flooded with sewage, conspiracies

-17 attempt suicide over unpaid Gaza war compensation


These 18 headlines came from a single hour of one day. They dominated the News site. They were ‘in your face’.

These headlines promote the fantasy: you cannot control anything. All you get when you live here is death and woe. Israel is brutal. Israel controls. Israel destroys. Israel kills. Israel attempts to manipulate international politics to pervert peace and security.

For the PA, there is no ‘life’. There is only brutality. An innocent Arab can do nothing in the face of such unrelenting oppression. All you can do is riot when you bury your neighbour after he has been murdered by Israelis.

PA readers understand the fantasy. It’s been drilled into them. They get the message.

For example, reader comment for two stories during this week’s news cycle (ending December 4, 2013) ran to rage against Israel. The two stories were about the IDF killing 3 Arab men who had opened fire on the IDF after the IDF had stopped them. One reader commented, “the attempted arrest just HAPPENS [sic] to occur when it would help Israel most if she demonstrated she's 'fighting terror’”. Another stated, “no one in Palestine wants to see Israeli soldiers and criminal settlers any more ruining peoples [sic] life…we are sick of you Israel and your lies about peace.”

Another reader summed up what many Arabs are supposed to feel about Israel, saying, “No arrest, no judge, no jury, no legal redress, no trial, no presentation of evidence... simple cold blooded murder of civilians who remain innocent until proven guilty.”

In the face of such perceived Nazi behaviour by Israel, the PA ran another story: Most Palestinians see fresh peace talks as error.

Is this a surprise? This story described a poll just taken in the Palestinian Authority. 68.7 per cent of respondents expected current (called, ‘renewed’) peace negotiations with Israel to fail.

Of course peace will fail. Israel will never give you peace.

That’s the PA message. Peace is impossible.

If you don’t believe that, read the PA news.

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