The Intermountain had a wonderful editorial the other day. Its theme was the potential of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (even if those residential locations were termed “West Bank settlements”) for peace and coexistence. In part, it read:
Hamas is tied up in knots over the fact that Israelis and Palestinians can and do work together. This is not peace on the political level, to be sure, but if political peace is to come, it can only be sustained by peace on the human level. In Barkan, peace was, and remains, on the human level, the murderous act of the terrorist notwithstanding.
And it reminded Hamas that:
Each Palestinian terrorist attack results in another Israeli settlement, or in another expansion of an existing settlement. The only way for Palestinian terrorists to slow Israeli settlement expansion is to come the peace table.
I then thought to myself that very little news is devoted by the media to what actually does happen in Judea and Samaria except if there is violence. Can you imagine if everyday a newspaper, radio or television news program would carry a headline along the lines of “No Arab Was Attacked at Barkan/Shiloh/Sha’ar Binyamin Industrial Park Today”? Or “Out of 8 Million Olive Trees, None Were Damaged Today”?
There is good news in Judea and Samaria. There are almost 20,000 Arab workers in Jewish businesses earning, in most cases, twice what they would earn in their own local jobs. Israeli and Palestinian Authority ambulances and paramedic crews do treat all injured, no matter what origin.
There is much that is upbeat and positive. Reporting and investigating those, which are the vast majority of occurrences, could even be part of what radicals call “peace journalism.”
But, of course, either that would not attract ratings and sales or would not serve the political/ideological outlook of the media personnel involved.
Another aspect is simply getting facts correct. And history.
One of the more aggressive pro-“Palestinian” promotional activist groups, the International Solidarity Movement, uploaded a report on Oct. 8 highlighting an event at As-Sawiya, in the Palestinian Authority’s Nablus District. It informed the readers that Israeli soldiers, a policeman, and one Israeli civilian supposedly “harassed a group of Palestinian and international olive pickers at the village [and] security vehicles from the nearby settlement of Alia arrived, too.”
I am not familiar with the name “Alia” and was further intrigued when this claim was put forth:
As-Sawiya is slowly being surrounded by Alia as it expands along three sides of the village and encroaches on its land. The particular area being harvested yesterday was among the closest to the Alia settlement.
So, where is “Alia”?
Thanks to Google Maps, a search for As-Sawiya reveals that it is just north of Shiloh, so “Aliya” must be Eli.
Let’s look at the map:
You almost do not have to know how to read to realize by looking at it that Eli is what is surrounded by Arab villages. In fact, a bit south-east of Qabalan is Talfit, a village whose name derives from “Tal/Tel” (hill), and “Fit” which comes from the Roman Emperor who ruled the village during the Roman period. The source informs us that the village was established in 1900, that is, less than a century ago.
I was wondering how many people reading that item, or how many college students would know that Palestinian Authority religious judge Sheikh Muhannad Abu Al-Rumi delivered a Friday sermon there on Oct. 5. His language might not be acceptable among certain pro-Palestinian advocates, although I fear fewer and fewer would be upset at him saying the liberation of Palestine and the departure of the Jews constitute a “divine decree,” that the Jews are “foreigners” who falsify history and “dance over the blood and body parts of others.” And he added, “each and every instance of global corruption is sanctioned by their rabbis.”
He then continued, moving to larger issues, declaring
The liberation of this land is a tenet of our faith, which will be realized in spite of everybody … Palestine, with its bride Jerusalem, is Arab and Islamic. There is really no need for us to prove the city’s Arab identity. These matters are indisputable.
As it happened, earlier this week, the world was informed of an archaeological discovery. A column drum (a cylindrical stone block) which had been repurposed from an earlier building, likely from the last quarter-century B.C., during Herod’s reign, had the oldest known instance of the word “Jerusalem” spelled out in full carved on it. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced that whereas earlier inscriptions had the name Jerusalem spelled either “Yerushalem” or “Shalem,” this find has it as “Yerushalayim” as it is spelled in today’s Hebrew.
Reflecting on the words of Judge Abu Al-Rumi and his claim of indisputability regarding “Palestine,” I am thinking that perhaps we may yet hear of a find of a stone with “Filastin” on it, maybe even from perhaps 5,000 years ago.
If the media are not focused on the whole picture, and most of it is good and positive, and if they cannot report the truth of today’s or yesterday’s events, how can we who are the subjects of their reporting ever proceed forward towards peace and coexistence?
Yisrael Medad is an American-born Israeli journalist and political commentator.