Wednesday, July 24, 2002

I am angry. I rarely talk politics - here and in real life - but then I'm rarely this incensed.

I just heard James Naughtie interview Ephraim Sneh, Israel's Transportation Minister, in the most biased tone of voice I have heard for some time. After a Palestinian representative (whose name I didn't, unfortunately, catch) was interviewed in an outside broadcast, where they called Saleh Shehadeh "a man of peace", and when questioned on that, restated it, together with the fact that he had just apparently agreed to a PA ceasefire.

My understanding of Saleh Shehadeh is that he was a documented terrorist, who the Israeli Government have been asking the PA to imprison for some time.

Then, James Naughtie said to Sneh,

"What you did yesterday, is counter-productive, isn't it?"

This was said without a good morning, or welcome, and in the tone of voice teachers use for persistently evil children. Studying Latin in school, I learned that there are two words for surely: num and nonne . One means "surely yes" and one "surely no", though I forget which is which. This was clearly a "surely yes" question, anyhow.

Sneh tried to say that Israeli intelligence had known that innocents were in the vicinity, the attack would have been cancelled, but he is a weak speaker at the best of times, and didn't represent himself well. Interestingly, when he wanted to "correct" the views of the other side, he was interrupted, whereas the Palestinian representative was not.

Crucial missing fact: innocents are killed in all Palestinian suicide bombs. Children. Grandparents. Families. That's the strategy. There's never an apology or regret.

I don't think Israel is always perfect - far from it - but I fervently believe in her right to exist, and don't understand why Israel seems to have to make a case for her very existence in the mainstream UK media every single day.

It's the tyranny of the weak. It's underdog politics - and the Palestinians are clearly the underdog. But the weaker party is not necessarily in the morally right position, despite our leftist leanings and desire to represent them as such.

I just talked to J - my old school friend who lives in Yoqneam (well-inside the green line). She's frightened to leave her house. When she takes her kid to nursery each day, she hugs her in case it's the last time she sees her. There's an opportunity cost to going out to get a pint of milk. She's frightened every single moment of every single day for herself and her family. Why isn't her story getting reported?

We talked about a guy we both knew as kids - Danny Frei. An idealist, sure, and living in Michmash, next-door to Ma-aleh Adumim, just the other side of the green line. He was killed in 1995 by an Arab terrorist who had been accused of being a collaborator, and had to kill a Jew to prove he wasn't. He murdered Danny in his bed, killed his unborn child - his wife was pregnant - though his wife and daughter survived. He was 27, I think. Why aren't stories like that reported in the mainstream press?

All I want is Israel fairly represented in the media. Why is the Today Programme ready to hold one side to account for its actions, but - for some unknown imperialist reason?- by its actions refusing to treat both sides equally?

No comments: