Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gaza: The Implications of Distorting History

A brief analysis of how Western media distort the truth…

The Distortion (Reuters):
A governance crisis erupted after Hamas won a January 2006 election and widened when the group drove Fatah forces from Gaza 18 months later, leaving Abbas's Palestinian Authority in partial control only of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The above historical summary rewritten to reflect what actually happened:
A governance crisis erupted after Tel Aviv and Washington intervened to subvert the Hamas regime set up following its January 2006 election victory. At first Tel Aviv and Washington employed economic pressure in an attempt to destroy the ability of Hamas to govern. This governing crisis widened when military assistance was provided to Fatah by Washington and Tel Aviv along with encouragement to launch a civil war to prevent Hamas from governing. This occurred and resulted in Hamas being kicked out of power in the West Bank but using force to retain control over Gaza, thereby creating two competing Palestinian administrations.

The harm in such distortions of history is clear: we cannot make informed decisions or design effective policy without knowing the context that explains current events.

The implication of the Reuters distortion is that Hamas illegally seized control; from this, it would follow that Hamas is wedded to violence and only understands the language of force and that Israel is the victim. One would logically conclude from this distortion that therefore, negotiations are pointless; the only logical policy is a fight to the death.

The implication of the corrected summary is exactly the opposite – that it was Hamas that was following democratic rules and that Tel Aviv and Washington drove Hamas back to violence; from this it would follow that Tel Aviv and Washington were not trying to persuade Hamas to renounce violence but were determined to marginalize Hamas and prevent the emergence of Palestinian democracy, to ensure that Palestine remain dependent on Israel, and that Israel is not the victim but the aggressor. One would logically conclude from this corrected version that therefore, negotiations with Hamas are a reasonable option that can be expected to succeed if pursued with sincerity; that the cycle of violence in Israeli-Palestinian relations is the fault of Israeli intransigence.

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