I can only speculate as to why the majority of the UK mainstream media’s often subtle narrative on Palestine supports an extremely pro-Israeli perspective but, instead, I think it might be helpful to break down and expose the narrative that they employ. Take this headline on the Sky News website, for example (below). It implies that 20 people were killed by Hamas rockets in Jerusalem, so you naturally assume they mean 20 Israeli’s killed, when in actual fact it was 20 Palestinians who were killed by Israeli air-strikes on Gaza. So, why not say “Israeli air-strikes on Gaza kill 20 Palestinians?”
You’ll also note the repetitive use of words like “clashes” or “conflict” in much of the corporate media, which implies that Palestinians (including women and children) are equally equipped with weapons, that they have the same protective clothing as IDF soldiers and that they get combat training like IDF soldiers. This narrative implies Palestinians (even children) are equally matched and are engaged in a “conflict”. It also completely dismisses the reality which is that Palestinians are under colonial occupation and living in an apartheid state. Their struggle is for freedom, human rights and a return of their lands and property that were taken from them, where as Israel fights to retain control over the Palestinian land and property it now illegally occupies.
In this section of the Sky article, we note a complete lack of context. Hamas didn’t issue an ultimatum without provocation. Latest reports are that well over 700 Palestinians have been injured by IDF soldiers and 28 killed (including 9 children). In fact, Israeli police have been firing stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons at Muslim worshipers attending AL-Aqsa mosque, every day of the holy month of Ramadan. This ‘ultimatum’ is essentially the Palestinian authorities telling the Israeli authorities to desist in the violence being inflicted apon it’s civilian population. The fact that the Palestinian authorities even gave them an ultimatum in the face of overwhelming provocation is quite something and yet the focus has become the ultimatum itself and not what came before. To put things into context, when Neville Chamberlain gave Germany an ultimatum that if they didn’t pull out of Poland then the United Kingdom would be at War with Germany, no one in their right mind, other than the Germans, would have implied that the UK was the aggressor and didn’t have good reason to issue a warning.
There is an extremely insidious element to the media narrative. Aware of how the visuals of Palestinian children being injured, killed or bereaved might look for Israel, they will simply pretend it isn’t happening or do what they can to minimise the damage, to the extent of even referring to children as adults…
Sometimes, it’s not just what they say it’s also what they don’t tell you. Understandably, the journalist will occasionally reference a quote from a spokesperson or leading figure but it’s good practice to also present the alternative perspective, either in the form of a quote from the opposition or some background information for context. This journalist chooses to print a statement from Netanyahu in which he declares “we will not tolerate attacks on our territory, our capital, our citizens and our soldiers” but neglects to provide a counter perspective or explain that what is at the crux of the unrest is that the territory and capital that Netanyahu claims for Israel is in fact Palestinian territory and the Palestinian capital.
The ‘journalist’ (and I use that term loosely) then quotes Dominic Raab condemning Palestinians firing rockets at Israel. Again, no context as to what provoked them to do that and certainly no condemnation of Israel’s air-strikes on the civilian population of Gaza.
In an attempt to legitimise this utter drivel, this ‘journalist’ then provides some heavily adulterated context. They conveniently leave out the fact that the Israeli police used brutal force, including stun grenades, rubber bullets and water cannons, on Muslim worshipers in order to stop them attending the Al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan. Once again, they choose to describe what happened as “clashes” and no attempt at all is made to explain what triggered the unrest. They even refuse to acknowledge that the police were in fact firing on worshipers who were simply attending prayers at their local mosque. Some of the worshipers naturally retaliated by throwing stones at the police and yet it’s the worshipers and not the armed police firing stun grenades and rubber bullets who this ‘journalist’ chooses to label “extremists”
There is plenty of documented evidence and a video record of Israeli police brutalising Palestinian worshipers outside Al-Aqsa mosque through out the month of Ramadan and yet this ‘journalist’ claims it is “unclear” who started the violence and then chooses to repeat the Israeli narrative that Palestinian “extremists” had been plotting “well in advance” to “riot.” This completely side steps causation and labels worshipers who were, after all, simply trying to defend themselves as extremists and rioters and portrays the Israeli police who have been brutalising civilians as “innocent people”
A quick Google search will furnish anyone with even a fleeting interest in the facts with video after video of the Israeli police brutalising Palestinian worshipers outside (and even inside) the Al-Aqsa mosque over the last few weeks…
Armed Israeli soldiers repeatedly punch un-armed Palestinian lad.
Israeli police officer prevented from throwing a grenade at unarmed Palestinians after he realises he’s being filmed.
Israeli police firing grenades and rubber bullets at unarmed worshipers inside and around Al-Aqsa mosque.
It seems we are now through the looking glass with much of British mainstream journalism. Balance and objectivity is now completely out of the window, while narrative control as a means to pursue a political agenda (even a foreign political agenda) is very much the flavour of the day.
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