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August 10, 2005

Israeli Security Concerns Ignored...Again

If there is misunderstanding about why some Israelis are opposed to the upcoming disengagement plan, it is likely because a good portion of media coverage on the topic fails to accurately represent this opposition.

Many reporters note only the argument against disengagement based on the biblical promise of the land to the Jewish people, while ignoring the additional, more prevalent argument that disengagement is an inadvisable security risk. A recent poll shows that over 64% of those against to the pullout are opposed primarily for security reasons.

The downplaying of Israeli security concerns is common in media coverage of other issues as well (e.g. articles about the security fence that do not mention terrorism even once).

This AP story about opposition to disengagement is typical:

Thousands of troops began taking up positions in southern Israel on Tuesday, preparing to thwart an attempt by thousands of opponents of the upcoming Gaza withdrawal to march into the Gaza settlements. ...

Israel plans to pull out of all 21 Gaza Strip settlements and four West Bank enclaves in mid-August, uprooting about 9,000 settlers from their homes. The government says more than half of the settlers have agreed to leave voluntarily.

But some settler leaders and their supporters plan fierce resistance. More than 200,000 settlers live in other parts of the West Bank, and their leaders fear the Gaza pullout could be the beginning of further withdrawals from land claimed by the Palestinians. Observant Jews believe the West Bank is promised to them in the Bible.

Not one word in the story suggests that anyone might be opposed to the pullout for security reasons. Only the less convincing ideological reasons are cited.

The breakdown, according to the Peace Index poll:

...among opponents, the most common argument - 23 percent - is that the withdrawal from Gaza would be interpreted by the Palestinians as flight, and that they must not be allowed to see it as such since it strengthens them against Israel.

The second most common argument - 21.5 percent - is that the withdrawal will lead to an intensification of terror against Israel from the Strip, and the third argument - 20 percent - is that the withdrawal poses a strategic danger to Israeli security. Only 11 percent cite as a main factor that the withdrawal sets a dangerous precedent for the evacuation of West Bank settlements as well, and even fewer - 9 percent - ascribe most of their opposition to Gaza being part of the Promised Land of Israel.

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Hamas in Gaza

Posted by GI at August 10, 2005 01:19 PM

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