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Posted May 18, 2007
This is without doubt one of the most important books ever published on the Middle East. It is also an outstanding analysis of how the mainstream press misleads people. Richard Falk, Professor of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Howard Friel are both advocates of international law. It is a sequel to the authors¿ magnificent study, The record of the paper: how the New York Times misreports US foreign policy. Here, they study the USA¿s main liberal newspaper, the New York Times, and its editorial and news pages coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict from 2000 to 2006. They also compare this coverage to the reality. The authors show how the USA and Israel reject the provisions of fair and equitable treatment embodied in international law because international law tends to support Palestinian claims on the issues in dispute. The NYT, reflecting US and Israeli state practices, never applies international law to US and Israeli foreign policies. By ignoring the law¿s obligations, the NYT assists Israel¿s 40-year-long illegal belligerent occupation of Palestine¿s territories, the West Bank and Gaza, the world¿s longest occupation. The occupation inevitably produces all Israel¿s other illegalities, the annexation and settling of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the separation barrier on Palestinian territory, the killing of civilians, the assassinations, the detentions, the systematic abuse, the torture and atrocities, the destruction of more than 4,000 homes and of farms and orchards, the closures and curfews. Friel and Falk show that the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are illegal. As Article 49'6' of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, ¿The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.¿ The UN¿s International Court of Justice has stated, ¿The Convention is applicable to the Palestinian territories.¿ A General Assembly Resolution of April 1997, among many others, ¿Reaffirms also that Israeli settlements in all the territories occupied by Israel since 1967 are illegal and an obstacle to peace.¿ Israel has always refused to accept that the Convention applies to its occupation. The NYT, reflecting Israeli state practice, ignores the Convention. After the second Intifada started on 29 September 2000, the first terrorist bombing inside Israel occurred only on 22 November, by which time Israeli forces had killed more than 230 Palestinians, including 80 children, and injured more than 9,000. So it is wrong to say, as the NYT consistently does, that Palestinians started the killing of civilians. Between September 2000 and November 2006, the Israelis killed 4,032 Palestinians, including 808 children. Palestinians killed 1,017 Israelis, including 119 children. The NYT reported and condemned the Palestinian violence in 50 front-page, and 25 front-section, articles, but it barely reported and never condemned the far greater Israeli violence, which it only reported, if at all, on its inside pages. Thus the NYT depicted Palestinian violence as the main source of violence in the conflict. The NYT reported particular incidents very partially. For example, Amnesty International, but not the NYT, reported that after Israeli soldiers killed a 13-year old Palestinian girl, their commander said, ¿Anything that¿s mobile, that moves in the zone, even if it¿s a three-year-old, needs to be killed.¿ He was tried, but acquitted of all charges. After Israeli soldiers shot an unarmed 13-year old Palestinian boy in the back, the Guardian, but not the NYT, reported, ¿the army said the boys planned to throw rocks at Israeli cars, which the military defines as terrorism.¿ There was no investigation or trial. Friel and Falk conclude from a review of many similar incidents, ¿it appears that Israel¿s rules of engagement permit Israeli soldiers to shoot and kill Palestinian children who wander toward the separation barrierWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.