… we had asymmetrical access to the press.
When I was researching the seeming impossibility of understanding the lack of progress toward a peaceful solution to the conflict in Palestine, I was surprised to find some scholarly work that focused on exactly this issue. For our purposes here, it’s enough to say his book investigated the parallels between the Irish/English, Palestinian/Israeli and the South African/Anti-Apartheid situations.
Much of the difficulty IMHO, and the author makes this clear in this analysis also, is that the power of the occupier is such that they control the way the world sees the issues framed, and of course it is in their interest to make sure that from the perspective of someone ‘outside‘ the conflict, everything appears to based in ‘mindless hatred’ and ‘centuries old tribal warfare’ or ‘deep religious divisions’.
The occupied are not only fighting the occupiers, but also the collective mis-understanding of the whole world, that insists it ‘knows‘ that the ‘problem‘ cannot be fixed because the ‘bad guys’, (read IRA, PLO, or ANC) are irrational players who refuse to ‘get with the program‘ ‘be reasonable’ or ‘civilized‘ or what ever false reason is being foisted on the consumers of the co-opted press who after all have no real stake in the conflict itself but none the less feel very strongly that they ‘know what is going on’.
What they inevitably think they know, is that the occupied and their leadership are irrational people with unrealistic demands, and it’s obviously impossible to ‘make them happy’. The other side of the false narrative is that the occupiers are civilized people with reasonable expectations who face extermination if they are not allowed to deal in a pragmatic manner with the imminent threat.
It’s become clear after the fact, that allowing the Irish Catholics to share power in Northern Ireland has not resulted in mass emigration of Protestants, and the political inclusion of black Africans in South Africa has not resulted in the extermination of white South Africans, and so I believe that at some distant time, Palestinians and Israelis will probably live together in peace.
This will not come about because the world decides it’s important to understand the truth about the roots of the conflict before voicing strong opinions. The co-opted press will continue to spread dis-information right up until the peace-treaty papers are signed, and the killing ends. At that point, all the folks who right now firmly believe that there is no way to make peace with the Palestinians will suddenly be greatly surprised, and will forever after deny that their collective ignorance had anything to do with the fact that peace took so long in coming.
When peace finally comes to the Middle East, all the dopes in the world will think it’s because the Palestinians suddenly decided to be reasonable.