Diana Buttu is a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and has served as a legal advisor to the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department and an advisor to President Abbas. She explains why the Western media is failing to accurately report Israel’s ongoing occupation:
Watching Western television or reading newspaper reports of Palestine always leaves me perplexed. If I did not live in Palestine and bear witness to Israel’s military occupation, I would be left with the impression that Palestinians and Israelis are equals – with no occupation existing – and that this conflict simply requires “concessions” on both sides. I would be unaware that the Palestinians have, for almost 39 years, been denied their freedom and unaware that for more than five decades dispossessed of their land. I would be unaware that this conflict is between, on the one hand, an occupied party – the Palestinians – fighting for their independence, freedom and the application of international law, and on the other hand, the occupying party – Israel – which has denied freedom, independence and the application of international law to the Palestinians for almost four decades.
Unfortunately, I am not the only person who would walk away with such impressions. Independent studies carried out in Europe and the United States have similarly concluded that media coverage of this occupation is tilted to the point where a significant number respondents in one survey believed that it was the Palestinians occupying Israel!
Much of the media prefers to focus on Israel’s “demographic” issues, a seemingly benign term used to mask a racist agenda. After all, it is inconceivable that an Australian Prime Minister, for example, would advocate a nation with only Christians within its borders. But Israel is exceptional, of course…