On Wednesday afternoon, CNN broadcast a report on the difficulties of Palestinians in Khan Yunis as a result of the Israeli security forces closure of the main road linking two halves of the Gaza Strip. A reminder: this closure followed increasing use of the road by Palestinian gunmen to attack Israeli civilians and soldiers, including blowing up Israeli schoolchildren in a clearly marked school bus.
The CNN report showed the difficulties of Gaza residents in visiting medical facilities, seeing relatives, and moving produce. It included moving footage of parents and children traipsing along the dusty side roads. The CNN reporter was Rula Amin, clearly a Palestinian, and clearly sympathetic to their plight.
That’s all right. Reporters are human. But might I suggest that CNN show the suffering on both sides of the conflict? For example, in Gush Etzion, 23 kilometers from Jerusalem, in an area not occupied during the Six Day War, but which has been part of Israel since long before 1948, residents of Alon Shvut are also undergoing great hardship: The expensive bypass tunnel to Jerusalem is constantly being closed by security forces because of shootings by Palestinian gunmen, forcing residents to take alternate routes that are four times as long.
People are leaving work earlier, closing their businesses earlier, to avoid traveling home during the dark. An increasing number of children are in need of psychological help because of fears their parents may not make it home safely; and because they themselves have experienced drive-by shootings by Palestinian gunmen. Alon Shvut has taxed its local residents to gather funding to purchase emergency medical equipment, because they cannot be sure that residents will be able to travel to hospitals during emergencies.
Residents are unable to plan outings to visit children and grandchildren in the center of the country, or feel easily about inviting them out to the Gush. Going to a movie in Jerusalem — a trip that takes 15 minutes with the bypass tunnel– can take hours. The same is true of shopping trips to the city’s malls.
Might I suggest that CNN find an equally sympathetic Israeli, Jewish reporter to interview residents in Alon Shvut as a balance to Rula Amin?
If this was an isolated incident, one would not nit-pick. Unfortunately, it is not. For example, when CNN reported the killing of terrorists in Bethlehem on the road to Jerusalem in a car loaded with explosives, they reported it thus: “Israeli troops killed three Palestinians in Bethlehem, suspected gunmen. 275 Palestinians have been killed so far by Israeli troops.”
No mention of the ongoing Israeli casualites. No mention of the fact that many Palestinians killed were actively attacking Israeli troops and civilians, while the majority of Israelis were non combatants involved in getting to school, home, or to the mall.
In general, might I respectfully ask that CNN stop reporting the Mideast conflict as if they are in South Africa during apartheid and the Palestinians are the blacks, and Mr. Arafat is Nelson Mandela? You have simply got the story wrong. Mr. Arafat is a ruthless dictator with a long history of blood on his hands from murdering schoolchildren and Olympic athletes. He has never been elected by his people; has no one to monitor his finances, including millions of dollars in European and Arab donations to the Palestinian people which he funnels into his own and his cronies pockets. He’s a “leader” who exhibits no interest in helping his people now suffering from unemployment, poverty, and gunfire as a direct result of his policy for violent confrontation. He’s a leader who runs summer camps for little kids in which in lieu of swimming lessons and color wars, he gives campers lessons on how to become holy matyrs by planting bombs and attacking Israeli soldiers with guns…
Please, why not a little investigative reporting on those subjects for a change?
Worst of all, an Israeli employee of CNN (who has to remain anonymous) recently revealed that CNN has given local Palestinians video cameras, cell phones, training, and access numbers and is receiving and using their reports to shape the news.
There are those who, like myself, are losing patience with this kind of blatant propaganda in the guise of reporting. Those that would like to join an active monitoring and protest against CNN can find like-minded souls at [email protected] or [email protected]
Might I suggest, Mr. Turner, and Mr. Easom Jordan, if you are having problems finding a sympathetic Jewish reporter, I’d be happy to pitch in and help out. I can make the trip to Alon Shvut at any time (when the roads are open, and Palestinian gunmen aren’t running amok…).