Monday, May 27, 2013

The Palestinians (and Hezbollah)  may have already defeated Israel in the international public relations war.

a) The Palestinians have gained control of the reporting of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the world media by gaining control of the words, phrases and definitions that the world media currently utilizes in describing underlying political, military and social conditions and in explaining their causation; in describing events on-the-ground; in presenting alternative negotiating positions; in evaluating proposed solutions; etc. Some examples include:
     *occupation, occupying power, illegal occupation, brutal occupation;
     *West Bank, occupied territories, Palestinian territories, Palestinian West Bank;
     *militants (referring to those Palestinians committing acts of terror) rather than using the term "terrorists";
     *catastrophic economic conditions in Gaza caused by Israel's economic blockade, the economic and health catastrophe now occurring in Gaza, collective punishment, high unemployment rate which makes it difficult for Palestinians to feed their families, cuts in electrical power distribution which greatly curtails factories, inability to run hospitals due to the lack of electrical power and basic medical supplies;
     *disproportionate response, innocent civilian casualties, women and children killed; 
     *military check-points that choke Palestinian development, daily humiliation, humiliate Palestinian residents, prevent Palestinians from seeking medical care.
b) The Palestinian's usually get their version of the story out first and their spokespersons stay "on message." Even when, as is frequently the case, the Palestinian-issued accounts prove to be false, their story gains worldwide headlines. On the other hand, Israel's response pattern is to hold back until they can demonstrate the validity of their information. Then the Israeli story, if it's covered at all, is relegated at best to the inside pages of newspapers or to the tail end of TV news broadcasts.

c) The Palestinians (and Hezbollah) exercise extremely tight operational control over all media access in nearly all areas that are controlled by the Palestinians or Hezbollah. In order to obtain any information on events occurring in these areas, the western media is forced to rely nearly entirely on the inputs generated by local stringers (who are usually allied with the local extremist establishment). Should any member of the media report any "unfriendly
information" then the reporter's physical safety is explicitly threatened and the reporters' organization will be threatened with denial of all future access. The western media, by continuing its presence in these areas, has demonstrated its willingness to comply with these restrictions on its reporting and it has also demonstrated that it will not reveal these restrictive and bias-inducing conditions to their audiences.

Recorder's notes:

 Israel's government and media were criticized for Israel's ineptness in making its own case and in responding to various Palestinian and Hezbollah accusations, thus creating, by default, substantial victories for the Palestinian and Hezbollah public relations machines. 

Three of Israel's major public relations defeats were described in detail 

1) The Palestinian-generated fires that damaged the Church of the Nativity's interior during Israel's siege of Palestinian gunmen who had taken up positions inside the church; 

2) The deaths of civilians (mostly women and children) when an apartment building in Kana, Lebanon collapsed several hours after an Israeli air attack on nearby Hezbollah missile firing positions; and 

3) Israel's incursion into Jenin. The discussion of the world's media coverage of Israel's April, 2003 military incursion into Jenin was cited as the most illustrative: Palestinian spokespersons (Saeb Erekat, Yasser Abed Rabdo, Ahmed Abdel Rahman) claimed that Israel had carpet bombed and destroyed the entire Jenin camp, that Israel had massacred thousands (500 to 3000, "half of them women and children"), that the Israeli invasion army bulldozers had buried the "martyrs" in mass graves in order to conceal the massacre, and that 60 to 70 Palestinians had been summarily executed by the Israeli military. For several weeks, these and similar stories dominated the world news media and the editorial pages of much of the world press (Agence France Press, Associated Press, BBC, CBS, CNN, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, NBC, United Press International, United Nations press releases, etc.). Nearly two weeks elapsed before Israel began to respond: in fact, only about 10% of the buildings in the camp had been destroyed, neariy all due to the intense building-by-building, hand-to-hand combat that took place (this was confirmed by satellite photographs, interviews with PLO fighters and independent on-the-ground NGO obsen/ers); there had been no summary executions; the total Palestinian death toll was set at 56 (neariy all of them fighters) by the Palestinian medical authorities and was confirmed by Fatah's director for the Northern West Bank (Kadoura Mousa Kadoura). However, the early false stories of Palestinians killed and massive destruction still dominates the public's memory of the incident]

[Recorder's notes: some of the news organizations that have readily accepted these Palestinian and Hezbollah demands were listed. However, since I do not have any independent ability to confirm this information, I did not include this list in these notes.]