Plight of Palestine Go Unreported by Western Media: UK Author
- June, 27, 2017 - 01:10
- World news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior peace activist and author based in Britain highlighted the muted response of the Western media to the sufferings of the Palestinian people and said the blockades, the constant harassment of the nation and the illegal Israeli settlements go unreported.
“Western media coverage of the Palestinian issue is poor; for most of the time the blockades, the constant harassment, the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories, the complete collapse of the peace process and the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements goes unreported” Chris Nineham said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency.
“The plight of the Palestinian people is largely ignored in the mainstream except when there is a major act of aggression by the Israelis,” he noted.
Chris Nineham is a founder member of the Stop the War Coalition and the Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is the author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.
The following is the full text of the interview:
Tasnim: As you know, millions of Muslims and anti-Israeli activists on Friday held worldwide demonstrations to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people and condemn the Israeli regime’s continued inhumane acts against the defenseless people. In your opinion, why is the Quds Day important to the Palestinians and other oppressed nations?
Nineham: It is vital that the issue of the occupation of Palestinian lands is remembered. The plight of the Palestinian people is largely ignored in the mainstream except when there is a major act of aggression by the Israelis. It has always been up to the campaigning movements to keep the issue in the public eye internationally. In Britain, I think the movement has had some success in doing this. There are regular demonstrations and protests, local groups of various kinds supporting the Palestinians generating regular activity including the BDS campaign. All of this regular, local activity, taken together with the continued campaigning of the anti-war movement has meant that at moments of crisis like the attacks on Gaza in 2009/10 and 2014, the movement in Britain is in a position to organize massive demonstrations against Israeli aggression. This, in turn, has helped generate a situation in which the majority of people here according to polls now regard Israel as the main source of the problem in the conflict. Now is a particularly important moment because there are reports coming out of the Gaza strip especially of increased harassment and suffering caused by an intensification of the blockade.
Tasnim: The day is also seen as the legacy of the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini, who officially declared the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as International Quds Day back in 1979. What do you think about Imam Khomeini’s initiative and his role in preventing the Palestinian issue from sliding into oblivion?
Nineham: Quds day and Naqba day are both important opportunities internationally to bring the issue of Palestinian rights into the public realm. This year too is the hundredth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration which helped to lay the basis for the imperialist partition of the region. There are a number of events in Britain examining this critical moment too. The important thing is that there is permanent campaigning around these issues, keeping the demands of the Palestinian people in the public spotlight. This also relates to the wider work of the anti-war movement. The disastrous wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, on Libya and Syria have created a sense of anger and a high level of popular engagement with questions of British foreign policy. Over the years the cumulative effect of the protesting, the public meetings, the rallies and the information generated on and offline has helped to develop this. We are now in a situation where a majority of the British public disapprove of all the wars which we have been taken into over the last few decades. This, in turn, has meant a high level of understanding of the reasons behind Western governments support for Israel and its general lack of concern for the suffering of the Palestinian people. All these things have their roots in a cynical Western foreign policy that attempts to promote the West's geopolitical interests in the Middle East and beyond. That foreign policy is further discredited by the fact that it has comprehensively failed. All the countries that the west has invaded, occupied or bombed over the last sixteen years are in meltdown with fighting still raging. The anger against the West in the region has grown along with increased instability. It is clearly time for a complete re-orientation of Western foreign policy - and that re-orientation must include a change of course over the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Tasnim: The Israeli military forces attack Palestinians in occupied territories almost on a daily basis. Recently, Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East al-Quds, attacked by Israeli forces, were left suffocating and injured after tear gas grenades and rubber bullets were fired. Why has the international community, particularly the Western mainstream media, made a muted response to the Tel Aviv regime’s human rights violations against Palestinians so far?
Nineham: Western media coverage of the Palestinian issue is poor. For most of the time the blockades, the constant harassment, the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories, the complete collapse of the peace process and the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements go unreported. When it is discussed at all, the problem is framed at best as a conflict between too equally intransigent or belligerent peoples, when actually it is a conflict between one of the most heavily armed states in the world with an impoverished, surrounded people who have been driven off much of their land and often have only their bare hands to resist. Israel, quite simply, is a key ally of the West in the Middle East and so criticism of its conduct is kept to an absolute minimum. There needs to be a massive campaign to start to turn this situation around in Britain and elsewhere. We have to end a situation in which the media and the whole public discourse is so weighted against the Palestinian people.