THE PREJUDICE OF IMPARTIALITY

With CNN and Fox television, there is no pretence presumably whatsoever of impartiality.

 

The pro Israel/US bias, as with other areas of conflict, corrupt their television reports. I have talked with the Palestinians who had lived in the forlorn hope that the West will wake up to their traumatic situation and stop the criminal treatment that the Israeli military mete out on Palestinian adult and children alike. Generally, their hope has given way to despair. They show dignity under duress.

 

BBC television in Britain makes the claim of impartiality by awarding approximate equal time to either party in the conflict. It is as distorted a view as the US television networks because it leaves the viewer with the impression that the Israel-Palestine territorial conflict is between two equally balanced and powerful sides. Impartiality is part of the prejudice.

 

Everything is stacked ceilings high against the Palestinians, who are imprisoned in their own country, isolated and condemned to a miserable existence behind an eight metre high concrete high wall. So-called impartiality gives viewers the impression that there is a legitimacy to forcing the Palestinian community to stay in divided. enclaves, to trap them in a ghetto like existence, with constant harassment and delays at the checkpoints if they wish to go from one town to another.

 

How woud you feel sitting in a car in a long queue for hours in the hot sun with your family waiting to go through a checkpoint? Day in and day out.

How would you feel standing in a long queue for hours to go through a check point with aggessive soldiers bullying you or staring at you to make you react?

How would you feel about the summary arrests and disappeance of family members or friends, mostly at night.

How would you feel about witnessing your home or business destroyed?

How would you feel about you and your family being made to stand for hours in the night when soldiers on a search. You and your family are not allowed to go the toilet. You have to urinate in your night clothes.

How would you feel about the military assassination squads entering at night into your street?

Did you know Palestinian men fearing arrest go to bed fully dressed every night because the soldiers take the men, or boys, dressed as they are?

 

It is Israeli government policy to humiliate all Palestinians, to treat them as inferior beings, to dehumanise them. I’ve witnessed it at the checkpoints and listened first hand to Palestinian experiences. Israeli women, mostly elderly, will go to the checkpoints to try to stop soldiers bullying and sometimes beating up of Palestinians who are trying to go to another part of their own tiny country that shrinks more and more in size as the years go by.

 

We tend to nod with our unquestioning minds to what we read in our newspapers or watch on television. Take one example. The government of Israel reminds us constantly that Hamas, the elected government of the Palestinian community, refuses to recognise the State of Israel. Every state has borders. This is the blindingly obvious. Do I have any questions? I certainly do.

 

Wait a minute. Where are the borders of the State of Israel?

Wait a minute. Where does the State of Israel finish and the State of Palestine begin?

Wait a minute. How can Hamas recognise the State of Israel when it doesn’t know its neighbour’s borders?

Wait a minute. Israel’s government refuses to recognise the State of Palestine.

Wait a minute. Israeli citizens do not know the frontier of their own country.

 

Many, many Israeli citizens, thoughtful and caring, feel depressed about the situation and their inability to effect any meaningful change. They do not support the government policy, the expansion of territory into a greater Israel, the constant expansion of Jewish settlements, the Wall built several kilometres inside Palestine, the strangulation of Gaza, now that the settlers have been moved to the West Bank, the brutal military policy, the assassination squads, the constant arrest and imprisonment of Palestinian citizens without trial. Many, many Israeli citzens feel helpless in the face of it all. They feel for the Palestinians, the Lebanese and the discrimination against the Arab community in their own country. Many Israeli citizens want no part of any of this. They know that 87% of suicide terrorists have suffered terrible grief at the loss of a brother, sister, a mother, a father, son, daughter or another loved one to an Israeli sniper, a firing from a tank or an air raid and then sought revenge with the backing of organisations that will take political advantage of their grief.

 

A few bold Israeli citizens keep their voice of concern and protest alive about the occupation of Palestine while the majority just try to get on with their lives and heal the divisions, pain and unhappiness within themselves and their society. And that is important too, but there is also a responsibility to keep the voice of compassion alive and not become numb. The same principle applied elsewhere, too, when our country of origin is at war, such as the United Kingdom and the United States.

 

The majority of Dharma friends in Israel do not engage in the campaigns for non-violent resolution of this nightmare while a minority are dedicated to dialogue with Palestinians and the Arab community, give support, protest and engage in compassionate service. In terms of the impartiality as the policy of the BBC and the pro Israel policy of American networks, there is little difference in the end. US and British television are amoral

 

It is vital we remember to make the distinction between the supporters of the violent policies of the State of Israel, who clearly have no intention of enabling Palestinians to live a free and independent life, as it would mean an end to the unofficial policy of land into a Greater Israel, and other Israeli citizens who recognise the common humanity of all Israeli citzens with its neighbours.

 

There are vociferous voices in Israel, including journalists, who never tire of reminding the citizens of Israel of what is being done in their name. These voices are among the true sons and daughters of Israel. One even finds a handful of soldiers who brings their humanity and compassion to the checkpoints. Other soldiers ridicule them for their kindness to Palestinians. I recall at a checkpoint spotting one soldier throwing a young Palestinian in a checkpoint queue to the ground, and then turning his rifle around to hit the Palestinian in the face with the butt of the rifle. Another soldier intervened to stop the potential bloodshed. Yet, sadly, compassionate soldiers still represent their government and carry out their orders to imprison an entire nation.

 

Again, the issue is not about two states…it is about a common humanity.

 




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