Palestine and Israel
Our views of world conflicts such as war are influenced by the part of the world in which we live. When exploring media coverage of discord, it is important to think about where the author is from and how it has influenced the way he/she has portrayed disharmony. Reports on a world conflict can express extremely different views depending on the social values and understandings of the writers. One must read articles that address the issue of war with cultural relativism by taking into account the local values and historical experiences of the writer. By neglecting this approach, a reader may be persuaded to believe biased and often untrue facts. When researching the war in the Middle East, for example, I found that different countries presented the fighting in different ways. A U.S. newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, presents the conflict in a biased manner and blames the Palestinians for the fighting because we are allies with the Israelis. On the other hand the Dawn, a Pakistani paper, presents the same issues but gives a more accurate and sympathetic view of the Palestinians’ situation. Reflecting on these differences, I realized that culture and national interests shape newspapers’ presentations of war. As an informed reader, it is important to know that I am often given a biased presentation of the facts surrounding a conflict and with this in mind I have changed the way I view reports on war presented by the media.
In order to be culturally relativistic when reading about the history of the conflict in the Middle East, one must understand that while anger and a desire for land play a role in the fighting these are not the main causes of this conflict. It is necessary to look beyond these common myths of war in order to look for the true causes of the bloodshed. A deep underlying truth that could explain some reason for this turmoil is that neither side, Israel nor Palestine, has come to terms with living with each other. Therefore, the two groups’ cultures clash as members of each side bind together in compassion and loyalty while fighting to gain power and prestige for their people.
Israel gained control of Bethlehem in 1967 when their army invaded the West Bank. Ever since then the Israelis have felt that Jerusalem is its eternal and undivided capital. For years the Arabs have also been asking for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. On December 6, 1987, an Israeli truck killed six Palestinian workers. The Palestinians were convinced that this was a deliberate murder. Three days later a young Palestinian picked up a stone from the ground and threw it at an Israeli patrol. His friends followed this act and soon hundreds were throwing stones.
Palestinian intellectuals interpreted this action as an attempt of their youth to shake themselves free from twenty dismal years of Israeli rule. This spontaneous uprising took most by surprise. For generations Israel’s domination...