Most importantly, we never really leaned WHY this was happening and how Ariel Sharon, once called by some the King of the Jews, and by others, the Butcher of Beirut for the atrocities committed there under his watch in invasion of Lebanon in l982, suddenly turned into a peace activist. All he would say is "The changing reality in this country, in this region, and in the world required another reassessment and changing of positions."
Israeli writer Hillel Schenker was mystified. "So why is he doing this?, " he asked in the Nation. "The bestselling book Boomerang, by journalists Ofer Shelah and Raviv Druker, claims that he wanted to divert attention from corruption scandals involving himself and his sons, something that Sharon categorically denies. His senior adviser lawyer Dov Weisglass lists a number of reasons: concern when senior pilots and officers in elite combat units became refuseniks, declaring that they could no longer serve in a growing immoral occupation "
Did you hear any of these factors reported in the coverage?
The Unreported Legal Issues
What about the legal aspects or does law and UN resolutions matter only when Washington wants them to matter to find a legal pretext to invade Iraq? As the respected Lebanese journalist Rami G. Khouri explains:
"The Israeli colonization of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and other occupied Arab lands is a crime, by at least three compelling measures. It is explicitly prohibited by international law and the 4th Geneva Convention's proscription of an occupying power moving its civilians into the lands it occupies. It is condemned by name in dozens of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions. And it is rejected by the bilateral policies of the entire community of nations, which refuses to acknowledge Israeli sovereignty in the occupied lands. "
I watched hours of coverage and heard little mention in the US of the way the ongoing occupation violates international law or even on the debate over legality. I saw little about reported new land grabs by Tel Aviv in Jeruslem while these costly to maintain settlements in Gaza was being surrendered. Could it be that some "facts on the ground" were just being traded for others?
A Media Circus?
Palestinian Human Rights activist Mazin Quemsiyeh labeled the coverage a "media circus.
"There has been a media circus fed by a huge Israeli government PR effort to drum up sympathy for the "painful" relocation of settlers from Gaza (<2% of total settler population). But who are these settlers and why were they brought there in the first place? Is Israel really leaving Gaza or merely switching to occupying it from outside rather than from inside? Will Gaza become a large open air prison with its population held hostage as Israel control its airspace, natural resources, and access? Few journalists dare to ask."
To these questions, we can add others. What role did Condoleeza Rice play behind the scenes in forcing Sharon's hand? Could she be trying to eke out a victory for President Bush;'s badly battered foreign policy in Israel, in positive contrast to the continuing debacle in Iraq? She knows how important progress there is to the Administration's worldwide crusade against militant Islam.
Does the growing scandal of the Israel lobbying group AIPAC which has been found to have passed on secrets from Us government officials to Israel, have anything to do with this? Could the Saudis be using their economic clout quietly with threats of an oil boycott? Who and what is pulling the strings?
We have heard a lot about issues of war and peace, but very little about the interests in play.
In short, what is really going on behind the scenes?
Yes, this region has always been a labyrinth of intrigue but after a week of hot footage and emotional storytelling, we are left with more questions than answers. Did the coverage engage or disengage you? What do you know now that you didn't before?
If you think you can trust the mass media to tell us the whole story, think again.