UNPUBLISHED IAWM LETTER TO IRISH TIMES RE MEDIA BIAS IN REPORTAGE OF ISRAELI RESPONSE TO KILLINGS OF ISRAELI TEENAGERS
the imbalance of the Irish media, Irish Times included, in reporting the fallout over the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers has reached a new low. The front page report by Mark Weiss (Bodies of three Israeli youth found, 1 July), including photographs of the victims, has many untruths and serious omissions. It asserts that the youths were “seized by Hamas militants”, although Hamas has made clear public statements that it was not involved. The report fails to acknowledge that the youths were abducted in Area C, which is controlled by the Israeli military, and that one of the youths was a settler and served in the Israeli army.
There has been no coverage in the Irish media, Irish Times included, of the horrific retribution attacks (what Mark Weiss terms the ‘search operation’) undertaken by the Israeli military which included storming through towns, ransacking homes and civil institutions, conducting night raids on families, stealing property, kidnapping, injuring and killing. Within a two week period at least 9 Palestinians, 6 of them civilians according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights [ http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10432:weekly-report-on-israeli-human-rights-violations-in-the-occupied-palestinian-territory--19-25-june-2014-&catid=84:weekly-2009&Itemid=183], have been killed by Israeli occupation forces, while two others died of heart incidents during military raids. Hundreds have been injured, thousands terrorized. Universities and social welfare organizations were ransacked, shut down, their computers and equipment destroyed or stolen and both private and public documents confiscated from civil institutions. Over 500 Palestinians have been kidnapped and imprisoned. Meanwhile Gaza was bombed repeatedly and extrajudicial executions carried out [ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=767819409927148&set=vb.179609608748134&type=2&theater].
While the killing of the three Israeli teenagers is a tragedy for their families and loved ones, it must be contextualised within the occupation and colonisation of Palestinian territories, and the brutal actions of the Israeli armed forces over the last two weeks and in relation to the abduction and imprisonment of Palestinian adults and children for many decades. Over 1,400 Palestinian children have been killed as a result of Israeli military and settler presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 2000. That equates to one every 3-4 days. Away from the media glare, hundreds of Palestinian children currently suffer in silence under harsh conditions in Israeli prisons.
All these facts can be checked very quickly, so why have we not seen the faces of the Palestinians killed and wounded over the last two weeks? It is regrettable that the western media, including the Irish Times, not only fails to analyse the true facts and the context of the awful deaths of the 3 Israeli teenagers but instead has contributed to fanning the flames of hysteria while ignoring the retribution that was visited on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, thereby continuing the culture of impunity of a brutal occupying power.
RAYMOND DEANE and JIM ROCHE,