Thursday, April 12, 2007

Perpetuating The Conflict

Satellite television and the Internet are wonderful things. They can give you a window on the world previously unavailable. They can also demonstrate clearly how telling half a story insures the continuation of conflict in the Middle East and makes, at best, a distant dream.

Last Wednesday during Passover al-Arabiya ran a story on how the closure of the territories caused needless hardship for the Palestinians. They interviewed Palestinian Arabs who were having difficulty visiting relatives due to the necessity of passing through Israeli checkpoints. The closure, they reported, was done on the "pretext" of a terror threat, a "pretext" Israel is charged with using at every holiday and occasion. They also showed footage of Palestinians crossing Israel's security fence or "separation wall" and reported that these poor, oppressed people are just trying to make a decent life for themselves with no thought for politics or time to even consider the conditions placed upon them by the international Quartet.

The part of the story al-Arabiya deliberately left out was told on IBA News. The IDF, operating near Qalqilya, recovered two bombs that day which were safely detonated under controlled conditions, thankfully without injury. Right wing website Arutz Sheva reported that the General Security Service averted a major Hamas terrorist attack in Tel Aviv over the Passover holiday, an attack also originating from Qalqilya. What al-Arabiya called a pretext was a real threat and Israel recovered at least some of the weapons intended to murder innocent Israelis during Passover.

I have no doubt that the hardship that Palestinians endure as portrayed by al-Arabiya is very real. I also have no doubt that if there was no real threat of a terror attack there would have been no need for a closure of the territories. If there was no terror there would be no checkpoints, no need for a fence or wall, and all this hardship could be avoided. The conditions which al-Arabiya briefly mentioned are no more than Yasser Arafat agreed to at Oslo: recognition that Israel has a right to exist and a renunciation of violence. All the international community has asked is that the Palestinians agree to live up to the agreements they have already signed.

So long as Palestinians promise to kill Israelis at every opportunity and to continue to do so until Israel is destroyed what is Israel to do? At least the fence and the closure are non-lethal methods of stopping terrorism. At least innocent people on both sides didn't die that day.

The perpetual blaming of Israel for all the woes of the Arab world including all that the Palestinians endure must stop if there is ever to be peace. Sadly left-leaning media in the west tells the story as al-Arabiya does over and over again. Until the Palestinian leadership takes responsibility for the consequences of their own actions there is no hope for anything but more of the same. Until the mainstream media starts telling both sides of the story there is little hope that people will understand the reality of the conflict. All the media, both Arab and international, are doing with their propaganda disguised as news is perpetuating hatred which, in turn, perpetuates the conflict.

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