a demographic threat .....
With the Israeli government moving closer towards implementation of a massive ethnic cleansing campaign known as the Prawer-Begin Plan, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to spin the “Jewish and democratic state” as anything other than a racist experiment. But that hasn’t stopped mainstream US outlets from performing language wizardry in an attempt to distort the latest atrocity about to be committed by America’s greatest ally.
Absent outside intervention, the Prawer Plan will destroy 35 unrecognized Arab villages in the Negev (Naqab) desert, forcibly removing 40,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel from their ancestral lands. Israel will then “concentrate” them into reservation-style cities, where, as journalist Max Blumenthal recently explained, “they will be transformed into an urban proletariat to basically serve the Jewish population.” Meanwhile, Jewish-only neighborhoods will be erected over the ashes of their destroyed villages to combat the “demographic threat” posed by non-Jews in a country invested in ethnic purity.
It’s a racist campaign of dispossession and ethnic cleansing, plain and simple. But that’s not how mainstream US outlets see it.
After spending months avoiding any mention of the Prawer Plan, the New York Times broke its silence this past weekend, dutifully and predictably echoing Israeli government talking points while failing to quote a single Palestinian. The Times’ Isabel Kershner described the Prawer plan as “a government plan to regulate Bedouin settlement in the Negev.” She continues:
Intended to resolve a land dispute between the Bedouins and the authorities that has been simmering since the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, the plan proposes a mechanism to deal with land ownership claims and compensation. It also calls for the evacuation of 35 Bedouin villages that are not recognized by the state and the resettlement of the residents in existing or new towns.
First off, siblings fighting over claims to a dead relative’s property is a “land dispute”. What Israel intends to do is land theft. Secondly, the use of the term “evacuation” suggests that the Times has confused the Prawer Plan with some sort of natural disaster, like a hurricane or typhoon, before which an evacuation may be necessary to protect human life. Sorry to break it to you Kershner, but the Prawer Plan is 100 percent man-made and preventable. Lastly, I’d love to know if the Times would find it appropriate to label the US government’s ethnic cleansing and subsequent concentration of Native Americans into reservations a “resettlement.”
Kershner noted that “Negev Bedouins live in unrecognized villages that are not connected to the state water or electricity networks,” which the Israeli government with the help of loyalists like Kershner is utilizing to spin the Prawer Plan as beneficial for Bedouins who, thanks to Israel’s generous offer for “resettlement”, will move to towns with access to basic services.
But Kershner fails to inform Times‘ readers that these villages are unrecognized by Israel solely because their residents are not Jewish. Even though their existence in the areapredates the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 (otherwise known as the Nakba), the Israeli government labels the indigenous residents of the Negev “intruders“. As a result, they live in conditions that bear a striking resemblance to South Africa’s system of Apartheid—they cannot connect to state electricity and water networks, they are denied basic services like garbage collection and sewage treatment, and they are prohibited from building homes, clinics or schools. But don’t expect to learn any of this from Kershner, who, like all the New York Times’ Jerusalem correspondents, has a pattern of distorting the truth about Israel, which isn’t surprising given her conflict of interest.
Though the Los Angeles Times employed similar distortions aided by antiseptic language like ”relocation” to describe the Prawer Plan, it was the least offensive because it managed to quote Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the award for most vile mainstream reporting goes to the Associated Press, which not only failed to quote a single palestinian but repeatedly referred to the affected community as “nomadic”. This is a myth that reinforces the stereotype of “uncivilized” and wandering Arabs with no permanent address and therefore no real claim over the land. But this couldn’t be further from the truth as most Bedouin villages existed long before Israel did.
The AP went on to report that recent protests against the plan in the West Bank and Israel on November 30, dubbed an international Day of Rage against the Prawer Plan, “turned violent when some protesters threw rocks and fire bombs at police and burned tires,” which allegedly injured 15 officers. There’s no mention of injured demonstrators because apparently the unleashing of water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas on unarmed protesters by Israeli police doesn’t qualify as “violent”. Neither does the man-handling of children, like the 14-year-old boy captured on video being brutally arrested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEMZohuCUEk