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Jewish World Review
July 26, 2004
/ 8 Menachem-Av, 5764
Media tales of victims leave out the real culprit
Who are the real victims in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians?
There has been no shortage of casualties and tragic stories on either side of
this terrible war. And no friend of Israel ought to be insensitive to the
human cost that it has exacted on the Palestinians.
But while Arab victims of the violence have every right to our sympathy, we
have the right to ask what those who are seeking to highlight their suffering
at Israel's expense are trying to do. Coming, as it does, on the heals of the
International Court of Justice's preposterous ruling that Israel's security
fence is illegal and a possible follow-up vote in the U.N. General Assembly, the
emphasis on Palestinian victimhood has created more misperceptions than truth.
Case in point was a lengthy series run by The New York Times last week, which
focused on the plight of the Palestinians in the territories such as the
residents of Jenin and Gaza. Similarly, The Washington Post chose the same week to
devote part of its front page to the story of the members of a youth theater
group that was organized during the heyday of the peace process.
While both the tale of what happened to the seven would-be actors and the
Jenin home owners were interesting, there was one key element to the story that
wasn't mentioned, despite the inordinate amount of space devoted to both these
stories: the reason why the peace agreements of 1993 dissolved into warfare
that destroyed up the lives and the property of so many Palestinians.
Both the Times and the Post treated the impact of the conflict with Israel on
the lives of Palestinians as if it were a natural disaster that swooped down
out of the sky like a Kansas twister. The only context, if any, given in these
stories is the constant malevolent presence of Israel and its Defense Force,
whose only role in the lives of the Palestinians is that of implacable foe and