Fundamental Human Rights

The Right to a Sustainable Future [Filtered & blocked by Google!]

Archive for the ‘OPT’ Category

Do You Have to be Jewish to Report on Israel for the New York Times?

Posted by terres on February 27, 2010

Jewish Reporters in Israel and Conflicts of Interest

Ethan Bronner and Conflicts of Interest

By JONATHAN COOK

February 25, 2010

A recent assignment of mine covering Israel’s presumed links to the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh provoked some more thoughts about the New York Times reporter Ethan Bronner. He is the Jerusalem bureau chief who has been at the centre of a controversy since it was revealed last month that his son is serving in the Israeli army. Despite mounting pressure to replace Bronner, the NYT’s editors have so far refused to consider that he might be facing a conflict of interest or that it would be wiser to post him elsewhere.

Last week, when suspicion for the assassination in Dubai started to fall on the Mossad, a newspaper editor emailed to ask if I could ring up my “Israeli security contacts” for fresh leads. It was a reminder that Western correspondents in Israel are expected to have such contacts. The point was underlined later the same day when I spoke with a leftwing Israeli academic to get his take on Mabhouh’s killing. I had turned to this Ashkenazi professor because he counts many veterans of the security services as friends. At the end of the interview, I asked him if he had any suggestions for people in the security services I might speak with. He replied: “Talk to Eitan Bronner. He has excellent contacts.” Naively, I asked how I could reach this expert on the veiled world of the Israeli security establishment. Was he employed at the professor’s university? “No, ring the New York Times bureau,” he responded increduously. Oh, that “Eitan”!

A more interesting question than whether Bronner is now facing a conflict of interest over his son serving in the Israeli army is whether the NYT reporter was facing such a conflict long before the latest revelations surfaced. Could it be that it is actually incumbent on Bronner, as the NYT’s bureau chief, to have such a conflict of interest?

Consider this. The NYT has form when it comes to turning a blind eye to reporters with conflicts of interest in Israel — aside, I mean, from the issue of the reporters’ ethnic identification or nationality. For example, I am reminded of a recent predecessor of Bronner’s at the Jerusalem bureau — an Israeli Jew — who managed to do regular service in the Israeli army reserves even while he was covering the second intifada. I am pretty sure his bosses knew of this but, as with Bronner, did not think there were grounds for taking action.

Shortly after I wrote an earlier piece on Bronner, pointing out that most Western coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict is shaped by Jewish and Israeli journalists, and that Palestinian voices are almost entirely excluded, a Jerusalem-based bureau chief asked to meet. Over a coffee he congratulated me, adding: “I’d be fired if I wrote something like that.”

This reporter, who, unlike me, spends lots of time with the main press corps in Jerusalem, then made some interesting points. He wishes to remain anonymous but has agreed to my passing on his observations. He calls Bronner’s situation “the rule, not the exception”, adding: “I can think of a dozen foreign bureau chiefs, responsible for covering both Israel and the Palestinians, who have served in the Israeli army, and another dozen who like Bronner have kids in the Israeli army.”

He added that it is very common to hear Western reporters boasting to one another about their “Zionist” credentials, their service in the Israeli army or the loyal service of their children. “Comments like that are very common at Foreign Press Association gatherings [in Israel] among the senior, agenda-setting, elite journalists.”

My informant is highly critical of what is going on among the Jerusalem press corps, even though he admits the same charges could be levelled against him. “I’m Jewish, married to an Israeli and like almost all Western journalists live in Jewish West Jerusalem. In my free time I hang out in cafes and bars with Jewish Israelis chatting in Hebrew. For the Jewish sabbath and Jewish holidays I often get together with a bunch of Western journalists. While it would be convenient to think otherwise, there is no question that this deep personal integration into Israeli society informs our overall understanding and coverage of the place in a way quite different from a journalist who lived in Ramallah or Gaza and whose personal life was more embedded in Palestinian society.”

And now he gets to the crunch: “The degree to which Bronner’s personal life, like that of most lead journalists here, is integrated into Israeli society, makes him an excellent candidate to cover Israeli political life, cultural shifts and intellectual life. The problem is that Bronner is also expected to be his paper’s lead voice on Palestinian political life, cultural shifts and intellectual life, all in a society he has almost no connection to, deep knowledge of or even the ability to directly communicate with … The presumption that this is possible is neither fair to Bronner nor to his readers, and it’s really a shame that Western media executives don’t see the value in an Arabic-speaking bureau chief living in Ramallah and setting the agenda for the news coming out of the Palestinian territories.”

All true. But I think there is a deeper lesson from the Bronner affair. Editors who prefer to appoint Jews and Israelis to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are probably making a rational choice in news terms — even if they would never dare admit their reasoning. The media assign someone to the Jerusalem bureau because they want as much access as possible to the inner sanctums of power in a self-declared Jewish state. They believe – and they are right – that doors open if their reporter is a Jew, or better still an Israeli Jew, who has proved his or her commitment to Israel by marrying an Israeli, by serving in the army or having a child in the army, and by speaking fluent Hebrew, a language all but useless outside this small state.

Yes, Ethan Bronner is “the rule”, as my informant notes, because any other kind of journalist — the goyim, as many Israelis dismiss non-Jews — will only ever be able to scratch at the surface of Israel’s military-political-industrial edifice. The Bronners have access to power, they can talk to the officials who matter, because those same officials trust that high-powered Jewish and Israeli reporters belong in the Israeli consensus. They may be critical of the occupation, but they can be trusted to pull their punches. If they ever failed to do so, they would be ejected from the inner sanctum and a paper like the NYT would be forced to replace them with someone more cooperative.

When in later years, these Jerusalem bureau chiefs retire from the field of battle and are promoted to the rank of armchair general back at media HQ – when they become a Thomas Friedman paid to pontificate regularly on the conflict — they can be trusted to talk to those same high-placed officials, explaining their viewpoint and defending it. That is why you will not read anything in the NYT questioning the idea that Israel is a democratic state or see coverage suggesting that Israel is acting in bad faith in the peace process.

I do not want here to suggest there is anything unique about this relationship of almost utter dependence. To a degree, this is how most specialists in the mainstream media operate. Think of the local crime reporter. How effective would he be (and it is invariably a he) if he alienated the senior police officers who provide the inside information he needs for his regular supply of stories? Might he not prefer to turn a blind eye to a scoop revealing that one of his main informants is taking bribes, if publishing such a story would lose him his “access” and his posting? This is a simple cost-benefit analysis made both by the reporter and the editors who assign him that almost always favours the powerful over the weak, the interests of the journalist over the reader.

And so it is with Israel. Like the crime reporter, our Jerusalem bureau chief needs his “access” more than he needs the occasional scoop that would sabotage his relationship with official sources. But more so than the crime reporter, many of these bureau chiefs also identify with Israel and its goals because they have an Israeli spouse and children. They not only live on one side of a bitter national conflict but actively participate in defending that side through service in its military.

This is a conflict of interest of the highest order. It is also the reason why they are there in the first place.

***

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jkcook.net

@@@

To confirm Johnathan Cooks assessment, RTSF reminds its readers that as of now the entire “news” teams of both the CNN and BBC in Israel consists of Jewish “reporters.”

Come to think of it, there are very few people on the Zionist News Networks who are not Jewish, or Jewish-embedded.

Advertisements

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Gaza, Jewish-embeded, OPT, Zionist | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

How Humanity Failed Gaza – I

Posted by terres on December 28, 2009

Many children stay awake at night for fear of Israeli soldiers returning

Majority of children suffering psychological trauma one year after Gaza conflict

Source: Save the Children Alliance

Date: 27 Dec 2009

The majority of children in Gaza are suffering from anxiety, depression or behavioural problems as result of their experiences of conflict and living through a deepening humanitarian crisis, warns Save the Children.


One year on from Israel’s three-week military offensive in Gaza, leading psychologists working with the children’s charity report that many Palestinian children in Gaza are suffering sustained psychological damage as their experiences of violence and loss during the conflict are compounded by the hardships of life under the blockade.

Osama Damo, aid worker for Save the Children in Gaza, said: “This is a traumatised nation. Many children we work with are not able to sleep at night for fear of soldiers returning. Others cry at the sound of loud noises, mistaking them for military jets and tanks coming to bomb their homes. Young children in Gaza are surviving under extreme levels of stress, which will pose long-term dangers not only for their mental health, but for the future of the region.”

Save the Children warns that until Israel’s tight restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza are lifted and the threat of further conflict eased, the mental health of the 780,000 children living in Gaza could continue to deteriorate.

Osama Damo continued: ‘The psychological crisis facing children in Gaza just keeps getting worse. Thousands of children are still living in half-destroyed homes or in over-crowded conditions with host families. Hundreds still live in tents where they risk being attacked by packs of wild dogs and don’t have proper protection against the cold and rain.”

Research currently being conducted by the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme suggests that the majority of children in Gaza are showing signs of anxiety, depression and behavioural problems, including aggression and bed-wetting.

Dr Ahmed Abu Tawanheena, Director of Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, has worked with victims of trauma in Gaza for 20 years. He said:

“The safety and comfort children rely on their parents for has been destroyed twice in one year: first, during the conflict, when they saw their parents terrified and unable to protect them from the violence. Now, under the blockade, they see their parents are still unable to provide for their basic needs, such as shelter or food. Many children report feeling abandoned by their parents and by the outside world, and parents are left struggling with feelings of guilt. It’s a crisis which is threatening families and communities across the Gaza Strip.”

Osama Damo said: “Save the Children’s priority is to try and restore a sense of well-being and normality for children in Gaza. We are helping them take baby steps towards regaining their childhood, but there’s a huge job in front of us. If things are really to change for children here, there has to be an immediate lifting of the blockade to allow children to recover, and Israeli, Palestinian and international governments have to act urgently to make this happen.”

As part of its emergency response to the conflict, Save the Children provided psychological support to children in Gaza, creating ‘safe places’ where they could play, draw and express themselves. Save the Children has been working in Gaza since 1973, where we are currently running health, child protection and education projects.

For more information and interviews with Osama Damo in Gaza, Save the Children Gaza experts in London or with Dr Ahmed Abu Tawanheena, Director of Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, please contact Save the Children’s media unit on +44 7831 650 409.

Related Links:

Images on this page come from various source and may be subject to copyright. See Fair Use Notice.

Posted in children in Gaza, gaza kids, Gaza Strip, Israeli occupation, OPT | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Jewish settler faces multiple murder charges

Posted by terres on November 12, 2009

Yaacov Teitel: another Jewish American Terrorist

Jewish American settler charged with two counts of murder

Yaacov Teitel, a Baruch Goldstein copycat, has been charged in Israel with murdering two Palestinians and attempting to murder a “left-wing Jewish academic.”

Baruch Kappel Goldstein
baruch-kappel-goldstein was an American born jewish  settler who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, killing 29 Palestinians at prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque (within the Cave of the Patriarchs) and wounding another 150 in a shooting attack.

Teitel moved from America to Israel and lives in the occupied West Bank. He  faces 14 charges, including two counts of murder and three of attempted murder, BBC reported.

Teitel
Ya’acov “Jack” Teitel, 37, Charged with 14 counts of murder, attempted murder and acts of terrorism. Source: Jerusalem Post. Image may be subject to copyright.

His crime wave includes attempting to poison an entire Palestinian village and sending a bomb to a Jewish family.

“God is proud of what I have done,” Mr Teitel was reported as telling the reporters.

Related Links:

Posted in illegal jewish settlements, jewish murderer, occupied West Bank, OPT, Palestinian village | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

NO Water for Palestinians

Posted by terres on October 27, 2009

Israel’s Final Act of Genocide

The following report was released by Amnesty International on October 27, 2009

Israel rations Palestinians to trickle of water

Amnesty International has accused Israel of denying Palestinians the right to access adequate water by maintaining total control over the shared water resources and pursuing discriminatory policies.

daily water occupied West Bank

Daily consumption of water per person in the occupied West Bank. Image created by RTSF based on AI data.

These unreasonably restrict the availability of water in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and prevent the Palestinians developing an effective water infrastructure there.

“Israel allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources, which lie mostly in the occupied West Bank, while the unlawful Israeli settlements there receive virtually unlimited supplies. In Gaza the Israeli blockade has made an already dire situation worse,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s researcher on Israel and the OPT.

In a new extensive report, Amnesty International revealed the extent to which Israel’s discriminatory water policies and practices are denying Palestinians their right to access to water.

Israel uses more than 80 per cent of the water from the Mountain Aquifer, the main source of underground water in Israel and the OPT, while restricting Palestinian access to a mere 20 per cent.

The Mountain Aquifer is the only source for water for Palestinians in the West Bank, but only one of several for Israel, which also takes for itself all the water available from the Jordan River.

While Palestinian daily water consumption barely reaches 70 litres a day per person, Israeli daily consumption is more than 300 litres per day, four times as much.

In some rural communities Palestinians survive on barely 20 litres per day, the minimum amount recommended for domestic use in emergency situations.

Some 180,000-200,000 Palestinians living in rural communities have no access to running water and the Israeli army often prevents them from even collecting rainwater.

In contrast, Israeli settlers, who live in the West Bank in violation of international law, have intensive-irrigation farms, lush gardens and swimming pools.

Numbering about 450,000, the settlers use as much or more water than the Palestinian population of some 2.3 million.

“TARGET PRACTICE” – SOLDIERS SHOOTING AT WATER TANKS

A feature which distinguishes the roofs of homes in Palestinian towns and villages from the
Israeli settlements in the OPT are the rainwater collection tanks. Virtually every Palestinian
house has at least one such tank and most have several. The reason is the perennial water
shortage which the Palestinians face but which does not affect Israeli settlers.

Where’s the Water?

An empty Palestinian agricultural reservoir near Jiftlik in the West Bank - AI
An empty Palestinian agricultural reservoir near Jiftlik in the West Bank. © AI

Israeli settlers in Maaleh Adumim enjoy a swim - AGG
Israeli settlers in Maaleh Adumim enjoy a swim. © Angela Godfrey-Goldstein

In the Gaza Strip, 90 to 95 per cent of the water from its only water resource, the Coastal Aquifer, is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Yet, Israel does not allow the transfer of water from the Mountain Aquifer in the West Bank to Gaza.

Stringent restrictions imposed in recent years by Israel on the entry into Gaza of material and equipment necessary for the development and repair of infrastructure have caused further deterioration of the water and sanitation situation in Gaza, which has reached crisis point.

poisoned-water-palsolidarity-copy
Sewage Contaminated Water from a Palestinian Well. Source: Australians For Palestine

To cope with water shortages and lack of network supplies many Palestinians have to purchase water, of often dubious quality, from mobile water tankers at a much higher price.

Others resort to water-saving measures which are detrimental to their and their families’ health and which hinder socio-economic development.

“Over more than 40 years of occupation, restrictions imposed by Israel on the Palestinians’ access to water have prevented the development of water infrastructure and facilities in the OPT, consequently denying hundreds of thousand of Palestinians the right to live a normal life, to have adequate food, housing, or health, and to economic development,” said Donatella Rovera.

Israel has appropriated large areas of the water-rich Palestinian land it occupies and barred Palestinians from accessing them.

It has also imposed a complex system of permits which the Palestinians must obtain from the Israeli army and other authorities in order to carry out water-related projects in the OPT. Applications for such permits are often rejected or subject to long delays.

Restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement of people and goods in the OPT further compound the difficulties Palestinians face when trying to carry out water and sanitation projects, or even just to distribute small quantities of water.

Water tankers are forced to take long detours to avoid Israeli military checkpoints and roads which are out of bounds to Palestinians, resulting in steep increases in the price of water.

In rural areas, Palestinian villagers are continuously struggling to find enough water for their basic needs, as the Israeli army often destroys their rainwater harvesting cisterns and confiscates their water tankers.

In comparison, irrigation sprinklers water the fields in the midday sun in nearby Israeli settlements, where much water is wasted as it evaporates before even reaching the ground.

In some Palestinian villages, because their access to water has been so severely restricted, farmers are unable to cultivate the land, or even to grow small amounts of food for their personal consumption or for animal fodder, and have thus been forced to reduce the size of their herds.

“Water is a basic need and a right, but for many Palestinians obtaining even poor-quality subsistence-level quantities of water has become a luxury that they can barely afford,” said Donatella Rovera.

“Israel must end its discriminatory policies, immediately lift all the restrictions it imposes on Palestinians’ access to water, and take responsibility for addressing the problems it created by allowing Palestinians a fair share of the shared water resources.”


“Water resources in the Gaza Strip were already
in the throes of an environmental crisis prior to
the latest escalation of hostilities; the recent
events aggravated the situation… the collapse of
sewage treatment during the period accelerated
the pollution load into the underlying aquifer.”

UNEP, September 2009

Sewage mains in northern - AI
Sewage mains in northern Gaza destroyed by Israeli air strikes in December 2008/January 2009 © AI

TROUBLED WATERS – PALESTINIANS DENIED FAIR ACCESS TO WATER
ISRAEL-OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  • Lack of access to adequate, safe and clean water has been a longstanding problem for Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), principally as a result of discriminatory Israeli policies and practices. Palestinians use about 70 litres of water per capita a day, barely a quarter of the amount used by Israelis.
  • Access to water resources for Palestinians in the OPT is controlled by Israel and is restricted to a level that does not meet their needs and does not constitute a fair and equitable share of the shared water resources.
  • Some 180,000-200,000 Palestinians in rural communities in the West Bank have no access to running water. Some are surviving on less than 20 litres a day, the minimum recommended for emergency situations response. Even in towns and villages connected to the water network, the taps often run dry – sometimes for weeks or even months.
  • In Gaza the aquifer is depleted and contaminated – more than 90 per cent of the water supply is unfit for human consumption. The Israeli blockade of Gaza prevents the entry of desperately needed material for the construction and repair of water facilities and has made an already dire situation worse.
  • The water shortage has hindered social and economic development for Palestinians in the OPT and has resulted in violations of their right to an adequate standard of living, including the rights to water, food, health, work and adequate housing. [Copyright AI]

Vegetable crops and irrigation network being uprooted by an Israeli army bulldozer in Jiftlik
Vegetable crops and irrigation network being uprooted by an Israeli army bulldozer in Jiftlik, Jordan Valley, 11 March 2008.
© Amnesty International

See Also: The day the bulldozers came…

Related Links:

Posted in Gaza, Gaza Strip, Gaza Strip environmental crisis, Israeli settlers, Maaleh Adumim, OPT, Water in Palestine | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »