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August 01, 2013

Karl Vick Emphasizes Palestinian Narrative of Imprisoned Terrorists as National Icons

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The sad thing about Karl Vick's Time piece on Israel's release of 104 Palestinian Arab criminals as a gesture to restart peace talks is that the article is probably not intended to be a partisan pro-Palestinian piece. Rather Vick evidences a journalist so immersed in Palestinian victimization that he has adopted its corrupt moral universe as the central narrative of the conflict.

Concealed evidence of shocking moral inversion appears in the photograph published with the article. It shows released Palestinian prisoner Ateya Abu Moussa being greeted by his mother, who sadly, but gratefully, stares skyward. Time magazine did not tell its readers why Moussa was in prison. He murdered an Israeli civilian named Isaac Rotemberg in cold blood in order to gain acceptance as a member of a terrorist organization.

The lead paragraph then establishes a disturbing distorted moral equivalency. Vick writes,

For Israelis, the prisoners recall civilians killed in militant attacks. For Palestinians, divided as they are by geography and politics and challenged by a lack of a unifying leader, the captives play a crucial rallying role in Palestinian struggle for nationhood.

Notice the terminology; "militant attacks", not terrorism, justified as part of the "struggle for nationhood", not brutal acts of criminal violence motivated by extreme prejudice against Jews.

The article contains 1224 words. Most of it presents the Palestinian perspective of the symbolic importance of these prisoners as national icons. The large numbers of Palestinians who at one time or another have entered Israeli prisons, the fact that some are minors and that many are arrested in night-time raids by Israeli military evoke the image of Israeli brutality and oppression.

It is not until word 931, more than 3/4 of the way through the piece, that Vick finally gets around to describing one of the horrific acts of terrorism carried out by a prisoner. He mentions three children and a teacher immolated by one of these "militants." All told, he gives 76 words, about 6 percent of the entire article, to disclosing just a glimpse of the horrific crimes committed by these prisoners. And then just as quickly, the subject shifts back to the competition between Hamas and Fatah over who can squeeze more prisoners out of the Israelis.

To be sure, Vick can point to the fact that the Israelis themselves play this morbid horse-trading game of releasing violent criminals for an opportunity to talk face to face. In most Western countries, rule of law would constrain such arbitrary decisions and ensure that murderers are not used as pawns in a political game. But that doesn't excuse Vick for devoting the bulk of his piece to the Palestinian portrayal of these killers as national icons, and concealing the fact that a component of these murders represent a horrific right of passage celebrated and condoned by Palestinian society.

Posted by SS at August 1, 2013 03:13 PM

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