An Associated Press article by Ben Hubbard entitled "Ramalah an island of Palestinian peace" provides us with an excellent example of how elements of the media would like us to think about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. [Hat tip: Elder of Ziyon]
Hubbard paints a picture of the "normal" Ramallah (the sub-editor who devised the title has problems with spelling as well as analysing the content of the article being described) but, as The Elder points out, "the lead of the story indicates that all the PA territories could be just like Ramallah if it wasn't for those pesky militants. Then, as you read on, you see that Ramallah is the exception - that the entire West Bank is not much different than Hamas' Gaza in outlook."
And, of course, the problem behind all of this is the "occupation".
"We're under occupation," said Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah. "It's just a five-star occupation."
So the real culprits are the Israeli occupiers and if only something could be done about them, we would see Palestinian moderation flourish, a proposition that is about as accurate as the claim in the article that "the Islamic militant Hamas is largely absent from this city of 57,000, meaning that Ramallah could provide the best glimpse of what a Palestinian state could look like without Israeli occupation."
In the 2006 Palestinian elections, the Hamas Party (Change and Reform) gained the highest number of votes of all parties in Ramallah. It is hardly "absent" despite what Mr. Hubbard and the AP would have us all think.
With that in mind, it's not possible to let the day go past without commenting on Ed O'Loghlin's effort in today's Melbourne Age. This time, O'Loughlin sets out to demonise the Israelis because of a decision by the United Nations to halt all construction and repair work in Gaza due to an Israeli blockade. He complains that "among the projects halted was an emergency project to shore up the crumbling banks of a sewage settling pond in northern Gaza, which could drown scores of local villagers if the banks collapse. Five people drowned in sewage earlier this year after a smaller pond in the complex collapsed."
Now, here's my problem with O'Loughlin.
Way back in March when those five people drowned in their own sewage, O'Loughlin failed to report on this tragic story. He made no mention at the time of the fact that Israel assisted with the relief effort, that European funds earmarked for the repair project had mysteriously gone missing and that many of the pipes actually purchased for use in upgrading the sewage system were converted so that they could be used to launch quassam rockets at innocent Israelis in Sderot across the border. This is the news that O'Loughlin didn't reveal to Age readers a little over three months ago. Today, he suddenly cares about the Palestinians and makes it appear that somehow, the fault for their plight is entirely with Israel: that Palestine is not "normal" because of the Israelis alone and not because of the actions of the elected Palestinian government whose genocidal intent towards Israel and its Jewish population and its many other failings are constantly swept under the carpet by this reporter.
And that is how the news from this region is delivered in the murky sewers of the Age.