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A Call-To-Action for Palestine


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A Call-To-Action for Palestine

  1. 1. A Call-To-Action for Palestine: An Analysis of the Pan-Arab Press (Egypt, GCC,& Lebanon) GOV 248 Prof. Bozena Welborne Dec. 22, 2016 Janis Luke, The Daily Star-Lebanon Sonia Peña, The National-UAE Colgan Powell, Al-Jazeera-Qatar Srabasti Sarker, AlSharq Al-Awsat-Saudi Arabia Divya Schlesinger, Al-Ahram-Egypt
  2. 2. Introduction While a variety of international newspapers are largely influenced by the political agendas of their respective countries, the Pan-Arab provides a more sympathetic stance towards the Gaza blockade. The other news outlets presented their positions on the blockade as a conflict perpetuating further the instability between Israelis and Palestinians. These positions make a difference in influencing the respective audiences’ of these newspapers. In order to better understand how the blockade of Gaza influenced Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab relations, the Pan-Arab Press focused its analysis on the Freedom Flotillas through news reports and editorial articles. The Gaza Freedom Flotillas refer to a group of ships carrying humanitarian aid in the form of supplies and activist sailing from around the world to Gaza in an attempt to break Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010. Israel’s response to the Flotilla was to seize and raid the Gaza-bound ships in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Israel questioned the humanitarian motives of the flotilla organizers, believing the aid will only serve to support Hamas moving forward. Our research across five newspaper outlets and seventy five articles serves to demonstrate how the Pan-Arab press is framing this conflict from May 2010 to July 2011. From the results, we have concluded that the Pan-Arab Press ultimately frames itself as pro-Palestinian, but on a spectrum that attempts to be neutral whilst pushing a predominantly liberal rhetoric. The Al-SharqAl-Awsat-Saudi Arabia and Al-Jazeera-Qatar both have an international audience and are partly owned by the government or the reigning royal families in the region. They both attempt to appear neutral to the Flotilla but are seen as pro-Palestinian. Saudi Arabia believes that the blockade is a result of the lack of concessions made by Israel and Hamas on the blockade. Qatar frames the situation as a violation against human rights. The views expressed by these two newspaper outlets depict Saudi Arabia attempting to unite the leaders of the Arab Nations, including Turkey and Syria, against Israel and Qatar supporting the social and economic development of the Palestinians. In terms of foreign policy, these newspapers do not state their positions explicitly. Al-Ahram-Egypt is an Arabic and English newspaper with one of the widest circulations in the world. The Egyptian government owns a majority of the outlet and thus despite Al-Ahram’s attempts to come across as impartial, there is significant potential for bias in their reporting. Their political alignment is vague and whether or not the paper can be considered politically moderate is up for interpretation, but the outlet downplays Egypt's involvement in the blockade of Gaza and focuses on portraying both domestic and international relations with Israel in a negative light. The National-UAE depict the conflict as a humanitarian crisis and use a leftist rhetoric to underscore their pro-Palestinian stance. The publication outlined the conflict as a violation of human rights by Israel and even related Israel with other historical events, i.e. the apartheid. Although the publication is taking a left stance on this topic, it is still unclear whether this is due to the political agenda of the United Arab Emirates, since their role in this conflict is also unclear
  3. 3. and has not been explicitly states in all publications. ​The National seems to be the least neutral out of all five publications. The Daily Star-Lebanon is an English newspaper edited in Beirut, Lebanon. Although founded largely for ex-patriates, the Daily Star was founded by the wealthy Lebanese Hariri family. The Daily Star focuses predominantly on writing feature pieces than reporting events, or doing political wraps. This is partially because at the Daily Star-Lebanon desk in particular, the Arabic speakers are limited. However, by having a young expat writing base, this allows the Daily Star the opportunity to present a more "liberal” perspective than some of their competitors. This perspective also influenced how the 2010 Freedom Flotillas were reported as well. The Daily Star focused primarily on the aggression and brutality from Israel during the conflict, diplomatic allegiances, as well as leadership actions taken by Israel, Hamas, and the US. While each publication is very different, each press outlet still has either the ruling class or the government.The Pan-Arab press position makes a difference in that it provides an international voice on behalf of the Palestinians and other Arab co, for their legitimacy is in question in the eyes of the international community. Individual Analysis of Newspapers The Daily Star-Lebanon Founded in June 1952, The Daily Star looked to serve as a news outlet for expatriates brought to Lebanon by the oil industry. Although the newspaper outlet is not a state-sponsored news outlet, the close ties between the founding Hariri family and Lebanese government should not be ignored. Two men in the Hariri family have served as the Lebanese Prime Minister. The journalists of The Daily Star are a combination of Lebanese and ex-pat writers. Victoria Yan, journalist for the Daily Star, shared that there are only three fluent Arabic speakers out of eight writers, thus affecting what the newspaper can report. However, the liberal perspective that the news outlet does have allowed for salient Pro-Palestine articles to be published. As illustrated by the word frequency below, The Daily Star’s Pro-Palestine stance appeared when discussing the calls to peace by Hamas as well as protests, surrounding the Arab Spring, calling for international interventions in Israel’s brutal retaliation to the Freedom Flotillas.
  4. 4. DAILY STAR- LEBANON Node Analysis These trends in Pro-Palestine news coverage were also clear during the coding process. The nodes that were most frequently coded were ​conflict, allegiance, and leadership, while rights, aid, and peace did not appear as often. Conflict (subnodes: aggression, blockade, brutality, freedom, Gaza, protest) Conflict was the most common theme and was coded 325 times across the articles. The Daily Star primarily focused on Israel’s brutal retaliation to the aid being sent from Turkey as well as the diplomatic tensions caused by the flotillas as well. The news outlet began coverage of the conflict with the report of the sunken flotilla ship from Turkey, and proceeded to denounce all parties involved in hindering aid to Gaza. The general consensus of the newspaper was that Israel should be held accountable for not only preventing the international aid flotillas from reaching Gaza, but also for not paying reparations to Turkey after the murder of eight Turkish activists on board the flotilla. The Daily Star also covered the responses of Hamas and Hezbollah during the conflict as well. Hamas called on Greece to stop the blockade on Gaza because of the desperate need for aid in the impoverished area, for example. During the time of the Freedom
  5. 5. Flotilla, the Daily Star also reported on the protests following the blockade that would eventually exist alongside the Arab Spring. With one of the more politically flexible governments in the Middle East, the Daily Star had the opportunity to speak out against countries like Israel without censorship. This allowed the Daily Star to serve as a platform to cover stories that empathized with the Palestinian struggle in Gaza. Allegiance (subnodes: international, Israel, Turkey, US) Allegiance was coded 234 times across the articles, making it the second most frequent node. The Daily Star’s coverage of allegiance primarily pertained to diplomatic cooperation of the US and Israel. Because of the Gaza blockade, US foreign policy suffered. At first, the US refused to denounce the actions taken by Israel, however, because of its NATO relations to Turkey, the US ultimately could not afford to ignore the conflict completely. Other Arab states and activists also called on President Obama to stop the Gaza blockade to no avail. On the other hand, Egypt and other Arab states, as well as activists, showed an immense amount of support for Turkey cutting ties with Israel during the blockade as well. Greece also assisted in the Gaza blockade in July 2011 The focus on the US not only showed how complicit the western empire was during the flotilla unrest, but also a need for an international intervention as well. This coverage and empathy towards the Freedom Flotillas alluded to The Daily Star’s disappointment in the lack of international complacency in the oppression of Palestine. Leadership (subnodes:Hamas, UN, US, youth) Leadership focused essentially on the opinions held by heads of state, the decisions made by the UN, as well as leadership taken by the youth leading the protests as well. This node was coded 230 times across the articles. The Daily Star wrote that “Turkey was ‘entitled’ to react to the blockade” and commended Turkey on its leadership in cutting ties with Israel. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also commented that “Turkey wanted confrontation” when sending the flotillas to Gaza. The UN lead the negotiations of the legality of the flotilla raid and deemed them legal. This decision not only justified the murder of innocent activists, but can also be regarded as yet another catalyst for the protests in Lebanon, and later the Arab Spring. While covering both sides of the conflict equally, it is obvious that the Daily Star was sympathetic to Turkey. Within Lebanon, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, called on Lebanese citizens to join the rally for the Flotillas and to join together in supporting the Palestinians and Gaza. Protesters and activists led demonstrations at the US Embassy in Lebanon to also denounce the leadership of the US and Israel. By portraying the U.N. decision as a loss for Turkey, the Daily Star once again directs the reader’s attention to the flawed system of diplomacy. The Daily Star reported that Israel believed the aid ships were carrying arms, Turkey made it clear that it would not be asking for an apology if that were true. It is clear that The Daily Star had a willingness to question the validity of international institutions while giving praise to activists seeking recognition and aid. Rights
  6. 6. (subnodes: human, violations) Rights was one of the least coded nodes in the articles. While suspecting reports on a number of human rights violations, The Daily Star covered rights in regards to whether Israeli retaliation was warranted or not. Initially, rights was discussed in terms of Turkey’s right to send aid to Gaza. The Daily Star covered the Turkish aid as a humanitarian effort to support those living in Gaza. On the other hand, coverage Israel acknowledged its right to retaliate, but ultimately worked to discredit it’s method of retaliation instead. The Daily Star primarily focused on the right of the citizens in Gaza and their rights to aid. The news outlets coverage of rights showed a focus on the priority of protecting and providing for citizens rather than asserting a specific diplomatic standing. Aid (subnodes: ships, supplies) Overall, aid was not covered unless the flotilla was being directly mentioned. However, insights into the language during the negotiations for peace also showed that diplomatic approval works as its own form of aid during the conflict. The Arab League met on June 3, 2010 to discuss how they could present a united front in support of Palestine and the flotillas. Unfortunately, these talks did not lead to any collective action by the Arab League. Other countries, such as Ireland, also called for the attack on aid ships to stop, however Israel did not listen. Greece also engaged in the blockade and held a firm position in its allyship with Israel. This lack of coverage of aid specifically showed the conflicts focus on diplomacy rather than providing support to Palestine. Peace (subnodes: discussion, protest) Peace was the least coded node out of the six. The Daily Star never reported that groups in the conflict came to an agreement regarding next steps towards peace. However, the only group mentioned in relation to peace was Hamas. Hamas called for Greece to stop their blockade on the flotilla ships to Gaza. The newspaper also mentioned the collapse of negotiations between Israel and Turkey. During this time, Turkey closed airspace to Israel and threatened to do the same to the US. Israeli President Shimon Peres however did mention that if peace in Israel was to be reached then talks with Hamas could not be ruled out. The Daily Star’s lack of coverage of peace directly stems from the inability of the governments and activists involved to reach an agreement on next steps. There is still unrest in Gaza today. The National-UAE The National is a government owned publication based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Further investigation revealed that ​The National has been heavily scrutinized in past years for its political agenda. The political direction of the newspaper has been at times been unclear;
  7. 7. however, during the timeframe discussed above, the newspaper took a very defined stance with the Arab League and the protection of Palestinians in occupied territories. The nodes that appeared most frequently across the fifteen articles were conflict, allegiance, rights, and aid respectively. Although ​leadership and ​peace were also coded, these nodes did not appear with enough frequently to alter the outcome of this investigation. It is critical to note that the node analysis revealed that the publication chose to frame the conflict with Gaza and Israel as one that was predominantly the fault of Israel. Hamas is mentioned a total of two times, and both times it was referenced by an international leader in a statement. ​The National seems to strongly reject connecting the aid of Gaza with Hamas, perhaps due to a great number of international players classifying Hamas as a terrorist organization. Node Analysis Conflict Conflict was coded across 14 out of 15 articles a total of 85 times. It was by far the most important node coded within ​The National. I noticed ​conflict could be separated into two sub categories: domestic and international. Although I mean domestic conflict here as direct conflict between Israel and Gaza, the articles seemed more concerned with the international players involved in the conflict as well. Significant references within this node addressed the conflict between international players, primarily Turkey, Egypt & Israel, rather than the direct conflict between Gaza and Israel. One of the principal events that was coded in almost every article under the node ​conflict was the botched raid of the Mavi Marmara. This raid was mentioned at least once per article even months after the attack. ​The National carefully constructed a dialogue in which the conflict derived from the blockade was directed, at times even explicitly, as solely the fault of Israel. Allegiance Although ​allegiance was not coded as much as ​conflict, it was still among the top nodes that helped outline the theme of the newspaper on the Freedom Flotillas. ​The National seemed extremely concerned with the international players and their ties to the conflict. In fact, the articles at times reads as a call to action for Arab states as well as international activists. The newspaper was quite obviously sides with a pro-palestinian outcome to the conflict and makes little to none attempt at maintaining neutrality. Often times allies to Israel, such as the United States and European Union, are heavily critiqued for being “in cahoots.” Anytime a nation or international entity was mentioned, The National always made sure to address or talk in terms of their ally. Clearly defined allegiances on behalf of Gaza were commended, however; even Egypt faced harsh scrutiny for not “taking responsibility of Gaza.”
  8. 8. Rights Rights was coded primarily in two ways addressing three players: Israel, Gaza, & activist groups. The articles addressed ​rights mainly in terms of human rights violation against Gaza by Israel. Rights in association with “violation of Israel’s sovereignty” was only mentioned when quoting Israeli officials. Although slight, the rights of activist groups to respond in a time of crisis was also highlighted in some articles. Rights of activist groups seemed to only be invoked to support the argument of human right violations on behalf of residents of Gaza. There was also an interesting connection being made by some writers between ​rights and justice. The call for justice as a direct result of violation of rights from both all players was consistent in almost every article. Aid Aid was coded significantly largely due to the nature of the Freedom Flotillas. It was mentioned in almost every article. However, at times the purpose of the Freedom Flotillas was overshadowed by the political dialogue of the newspaper. ​Aid seemed to serve more as a general fact of the Freedom Flotillas rather than a topic of discussion on its own; however, ​aid was referenced in conjunction with ​rights as well rather than simply standing on its own. ​The National typically used the discussion of ​aid to promote the “violation of human rights” framework of the blockade. There was explicit anger and frustration on behalf of the publication at the impediment of aid for the people of Gaza due to Israel's blockade. Aid was coded mainly in terms of political aid and aid in the form of supplies. ​The National very clearly meant to spotlight the members of the international community who were aiding the people of Gaza in a positive light and praised them for their leadership. Leadership Leadership was chosen as a node due to the significant appearance of world leaders and organizations throughout our publications on the Freedom Flotillas. Quotes by officials representing the United States, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, the European Union, United Nations and Greece were all mentioned. Turkey garnered the most favor among the publication and praised for its exemplary leadership with regard to defending Gaza from Israel. Turkey was constantly referred to as a model nation for all others seeking justice for Gaza and for demanding the public apology of Israel. While ​The National was elated that Egypt opened its trade borders with Gaza, the publication still heavily scrutinized the Egypt for not taking full responsibility for Gaza. Through the articles, it was clear that the United Nations was viewed as an ineffective agency at controlling the crisis in Gaza and conducting legitimate investigations, especially into Israel officers and the deaths aboard the Mavi Marmara. Peace
  9. 9. The results of this node were particularly surprising; ​Peace was coded 11 times across 5 articles. I would have thought that ​aid would have been linked with ​peace more frequently than with conflict; however, ​peace was rarely mention altogether. The references pertaining to ​peace were mainly from excepts from the United Nations calling for all players, both nations and international activists to attempt to find a solution or carryout aid through peaceful channels without provocation and conflict. ​The National largely rejected these measures and largely promoted the aiding of Gaza through a united front and the maneuvering of ships, which went in direct contradiction to the recommendations of the United Nations for a peaceful reconciliation. Word Length Count Weighted Percentage israel 6 169 2.28% gaza 4 154 2.08% flotilla 8 124 1.67% turkey 6 47 0.63% aid 3 45 0.61% world 5 43 0.58% palestinian 11 41 0.55% international 13 40 0.54% blockade 8 39 0.53% freedom 7 37 0.50% activists 9 36 0.49% raid 4 31 0.42% government 10 26 0.35% ship 4 26 0.35%
  10. 10. humanitarian 12 24 0.32% Al-Jazeera-Qatar The Al-Jazeera-Qatar is a Doha-based state-funded broadcaster owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network, which is partly funded by the House of Thani, the ruling family of Qatar. The outlet believes they are impartial and conduct fact-based reporting. The newspaper's approach influences how they approach framing the overall situation of the Freedom Flotilla. There were a variety of articles from fact-based pieces and opinion pieces. There were ten fact-based articles and five opinion articles. The analysis of the nodes are the top three nodes, ​rights, ​conflict, ​allegiance, which I believe to be significant, followed by the last three nodes, ​leadership, ​aid, and ​peace. Node Analysis Rights Rights was the most coded node and its presence in the articles was heavily themed around human right violations, Palestinians and Freedom Flotilla activists, and right of autonomy, Israel and the Palestinian’s recognition from an international audience and from one another. The blockade on Gaza and strict control of travel between Gaza and the West Bank has decreased goods and services from being imported, along with Palestinians and exports getting out. The consequences have been the decrease economic growth and what "positive human consequences" that would have come to term if Palestinians been able to build infrastructure in Gaza and travel freely. The second violation relating to human right violations were the rights of the activists participating in the flotilla. The treatment of activists was questioned as these activists were detained and subjected to interrogations by the Israeli government before being deported to their respective countries. The deaths due to the raid were thought of as "war crimes and crimes against humanity" and that Israel's raid on the flotilla violated international law. The final right violation was the right to autonomy for both Israel and the Palestinians. Israel's defense in its force against the flotilla was that Israel is within its right under international law to intercept the ships. Then there is the right of autonomy for the Palestinians where there is growing support that Palestinians have the "right to access the outside world and the right to determine their own future." The U.S. role in this is unclear, Secretary Clinton stated, "Israel's legitimate security needs must be met just as the Palestinian's legitimate needs for sustained humanitarian assistance and regular access to reconstruction materials must also be assured." A senior Hamas leader said that "[Israel is concerned about these ships...because they grant legitimacy to [engage] with the Palestinian government."
  11. 11. Conflict (subnode: casualties) As the second most coded node was conflict. The node was referenced from the Palestinian perspective of the tactics used by the Israelis to seize and raid the aid ships. Mohamed Vall, a freed Al Jazeera reporter, was quoted that there were "30 war vessels surrounding this [Mavi Marmara] ship, and helicopters attacking with very luminous bombs." A captain of one of the seized ships told reporters that an Israeli navy ship threatened to sink his vessel before troops boarded and turned guns on all aboard. There were accounts of Israeli soldiers opening fire on passengers even if they were raising a white flag. These accounts contradict Israeli explanations of the raid. Israel insisted that its troops acted in self-defence after being attacked by those onboard. The casualties that received the most attention were when nine Turkish nationalists were killed on the lead ship Mavi Marmara, which sparked international condemnation and a call for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to act over the flotilla raid. Allegiance (subnode: international approval) There are three themes identified in the articles reflecting ​allegiance. The first is how international institutions aligned themselves to the flotilla. The United Nations and the European Union members were regularly quoted as empathizing with the aid convoys and the Palestinians. These institutions would question the motives of the Israeli government and legality of the force used by the Israeli military. The second theme was how allegiance has shifted in the western societies from being Pro-Israel to being empathetic toward the Palestinians. One article spoke specifically about the disconnect between government and citizens when concerning Israeli policy. The government may align itself with Israel while its citizens may not. The last theme was who was sending aid and who was not. Several European countries were repeatedly mentioned for sending aid, while the position of the United States was murky. It was mentioned several times that the United States was attempting to prevent aid workers from participating in the flotilla. Secretary Clinton believes Israel blockade on Gaza leave the Palestinians in a situation that is “unsustainable and unacceptable.” ​Allegiance was used to provoke international institutions to take intervene against Israel or to further rally support for the Palestinians by sending a clear message to Israel that the international community is not accepting the siege on Gaza. Leadership Leadership was reflected in the articles through the individuals, countries, international institutions, and organized movements participating in the Freedom flotilla. The articles included numbers aboard the ships sailing to Gaza and used these individuals as sources. Leaders of influential countries with ties to the Arab-Israeli crisis were identified, specifically President
  12. 12. Obama, Israel's Prime Minister, and military personnel, and the authoritative figures working on behalf of the Palestinians. They mentioned the overall framing of a leader's position and therefore a country's position on flotilla. International institutions, the United Nations and the European Union, were referenced directly through their leaders or by councils condemning Israel's siege and raid on the ships. Organized movements such as the Free Gaza Movement and organizations with ties to either Israel or the Palestinians were among those referenced support the narrative of the reality flotilla had on all parties involved in the conflict. Aid The reference of ​aid was specific to the personnel and humanitarian goods and services that were a part of the Freedom Flotilla. Some articles went into detail as to the monetary value of the aid, the number of ships, and personnel aboard. There are references to the countries taking part in sending humanitarian aid. The articles go into details about the reconstruction materials that were part of the cargo delivery to Gaza. They explain that Gaza's infrastructure is crumbling and that reconstruction material is sorely needed. There are questions concerning Israel's reason for seizing and raiding the ships. Israel's defense is that they want to stop Hamas from occurring weapons and ammunition, but Palestinians believe it is to continue Israeli’s control in Gaza. Peace Any reference to ​peace specifically points to actions taken by Israelis that created obstacles to peace development. The Palestinians felt that their economic and social development was suffering due to Israel's siege and that lifting the siege would significantly change opportunities among the Palestinians. The articles also used ​peace in the context of what parties were included or excluded from peace talks. Specifically the mention of including or excluding Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, from peace negotiations. Though Hamas is in power and is largely responsible for the tunnels, the Palestinians have become increasingly disconnected with Hamas's rhetoric. To achieve sustainable peace on behalf of the Palestinian people, radical change in the balance of power between the two sides would need to happen. The newspaper suggested that Palestinians have been and will continue to be at a disadvantage to the Israelis. Word Length Count Weighted Percentage people 6 66 0.57% obama 5 65 0.56%
  13. 13. international 13 64 0.55% activists 9 63 0.54% opinion 7 62 0.53% indepth 7 43 0.37% blockade 8 39 0.34% freedom 7 38 0.33% state 5 36 0.31% hamas 5 34 0.29% rights 6 33 0.28% middle east 10 32 0.28% peace 5 32 0.28% siege 5 29 0.25% strip 5 28 0.24% AlSharq Al-Awsat-Saudi Arabia Alsharq Al - Awsat is known as a leading Arabic international newspaper headquartered in London. It is also one of the most influential newspapers in the region. The paper was founded with the approval of the Saudi royal family and government ministers, and is noted for its support of the Saudi government. The newspaper is owned by Faisal bin Salman, a member of the Saudi royal family. I have found nine opinion pieces and six factual articles. Overall, the blockade has been framed as one caused mainly by the intransigence of the Israeli government and Hamas. I will be analyzing the nodes in the order of their frequency with leadership being the most important and ​rights being the least. Node Analysis Leadership
  14. 14. I have chosen leadership to reflect the role of Israel, United States, and United Nations in Gaza blockade as words such as “international”, “netanyahu”, “negotiations”, “Washington” closely associated with leadership have appeared 30 times, 24 times, 14 times and 13 times respectively. The newspaper has not only condemned Netanyahu for promoting violence, but has also demonstrated the failure of the U.N. Security Council’s investigation into the Freedom Flotilla attack due to Netanyahu’s denial to allow the U.N. the right to question the Israeli military involved in the flotilla attack. This reflects the Pro - Palestinian nature of the newspaper. President Barack Obama seems to have played an important role in this crisis. The newspaper seems to be of the opinion that president Obama will never be able to negotiate peace in the Middle - East unless he takes a strong stance against Israel. The reason why Obama has been so involved with the crisis could be because of U.S. government’s desire to maintain a sphere of influence in the middle east. Conflict Conflict is an overarching theme that runs across almost all the articles. The terms “flotilla” and “blockade” that relate closely to the theme of conflict are two of the most frequent words in the word cloud. The theme includes the “Freedom Flotilla” incident when Israeli commandos attacked a Turkish ship at the coast of Gaza that was attempting to transport activists and aid to the Gaza strip. The articles accuse Netanyahu of thwarting the peace process by using attacks on the Freedom Flotilla as a pretext to cancel the meeting that was scheduled to take place with US President Barack Obama, as he was expecting to face demands to speed up the process of negotiations. As a consequence, the ties between Israel and Turkey have severed. Peace The reference to ​peace directly or indirectly has been made only in some of the articles. The word “negotiations” that is closely related to peace has appeared 14 times across all articles. It accuses both Hamas and Israel as opponents of peace as Hamas continue to refuse to recognize Israel and as Israel pay no heed to international laws established to ensure peace. Obama has been portrayed as a leader who has unsuccessfully attempted to bring about peace in the middle east either by organizing meetings or offering aid while trying to maintain peaceful relationships with both Israel and Palestine. Reference has also been made to the Arab initiative that was initiated by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in order to make the point that if the leaders of the Arab nations such as Turkey and Syria really push for peace, then Israel will have to submit to their will. This shows that according to the newspaper, peace can only be attained if Hamas and Israel make concessions, Obama take a stronger stance and Arab nations come together against Israel. Allegiance I have chosen ​allegiance to not only reflect the lack of allegiance of the Israeli - Arabs to Israel, but also to show both the international approval and disapproval of the Gaza blockade. Hanin Zoabi is an Israeli - Arab lawmaker. Her decision to join hundreds of activists on a Pro -
  15. 15. Palestinian flotilla has elevated her from relative political obscurity, transforming her into the poster child for the growing rift between Israel’s Jewish majority and its Arab minority. International approval & disapproval: The word “international” has appeared 30 times across all articles. While countries such as U.S. and Greece have been shown as the main actors upholding the blockade, countries such as Turkey, France, Sweden and Ireland have been shown as main actors condemning the blockade. Aid I had chosen Aid not only because this project is on Freedom Flotilla but also because words such as “flotilla”, “international” and “activists” that are closely associated with aid have appeared 84 times, 30 times and 29 times respectively across all articles. The implication of the word aid in the articles ranges from economic aid to political aid & support from a number of countries. While Greece has been shown as a country supportive of the Israeli government, Ireland has been shown as a country supportive of the Palestinian people. Interestingly, U.S. has been shown as a country supportive of both Israel and Palestine. Greek support for Israel has been shown by explaining the Greek ban on all Gaza bound fleet that has been referred to as “outsourcing of Israeli foreign policy” by the American activists. Irish support for Gaza has been implicitly conveyed through news coverage of sabotage of two Irish boats by Israeli soldiers. While the American activists have been shown to be advocating Gaza, the American government has been shown to be in support of Israel. Rights Rights is the least popular node across the articles. However, the node has manifested itself in unique ways in different articles. Few references have been made to the rights of the Palestinians to live peacefully in their space. According to the newspaper, the women, children and elderly in Palestine should not have to pay for the problems that Israel has with Hamas. Moreover, it seems that the Obama administration has been trying to legitimize Israel’s blockade of the strip, and delegitimize the attempts of the American activists to challenge the blockade, ​drawing from the security concerns that Israel faces from Hamas - Controlled Gaza. ​References have also been made to the oppression of rights of the Arab minority to voice their opinion in Israel. This shows that although both the U.S. and the newspaper itself highly condemn Hamas authorized terrorist activities, they use it to justify the rights of two completely different groups of people.
  16. 16. Word Length Count Weighted Percentage flotilla 8 84 1.53% blockade 8 31 0.56% palestinian 11 31 0.56% international 13 30 0.55% activists 9 29 0.53% netanyahu 9 24 0.44% palestinians 12 19 0.35% president 9 16 0.29% administration 14 15 0.27% hezbollah 9 15 0.27% minister 8 15 0.27% nasrallah 9 15 0.27% negotiations 12 14 0.25% washington 10 13 0.24% incident 8 11 0.20% Al-Ahram-Egypt Al-Ahram is the second oldest newspaper in Egypt and among the widest-circulating newspapers in the world. Because privately-owned news sources are illegal in Egypt, the Egyptian government has majority ownership of the paper; this has led to a history of influence and accusations of censorship by the Egyptian government, potentially demonstrating biases reflecting Egypt's foreign policy agenda. Their political alignment is nebulous, but the outlet downplays Egypt's involvement in the Flotilla and focuses on portraying relations with Israel negatively. The articles express admiration for Turkey's decision to cut ties with Israel, and while they do not show any direct support for the Flotilla, they publish reports on
  17. 17. official opinions in favor of the Flotilla, on Egypt’s decision to allow searched aid vessels into Gaza, and on the right of Palestinians to humanitarian aid. There is a notable gap between the first article of the set, published December 2010, and the rest of the articles, which begin in April 2011 and continue from there; this is mostly due to the Arab Spring, during which it appears all available reporting staff were focused on the uprising. Even when news returns to the subject of the flotilla, several of the articles published come from associated presses, and those that don’t are relegated to a specific few writers. The political tensions caused/elevated by the Spring are generally downplayed in the articles. Node Analysis Conflict (subnode: casualties) Conflict was the most common theme across the articles, signifying Egyptian focus on the violence perpetrated by Israeli forces during the course of the flotilla conflict. Al-Ahram brought up the slaughter of eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American by IDF forces on the Mavi Marmara in almost every single article, which accounted for a significant number of the references to death and casualties, but also often did this in conjunction with discussion of IDF brutality against Egyptians. While the paper never questioned the Egyptian government’s plans to address the violence against Egyptians, by repeatedly bringing up Turkey’s response to the deaths of its citizens it was able to subtly address the notion of what the consequences of following Turkey’s example (or not) could be. Allegiance (subnode: International Approval) Allegiance was the second-most common node coded due to Al-Ahram’s focus on the actors involved in the flotilla and blockade conflicts rather than on the aid crisis in Gaza or the humanitarian efforts of the flotilla activists. Allegiance typically stood for the political ties being referenced by various nations, while International Approval was focused primarily on the influence of non-state actors such as UN officials. Egypt was preoccupied with Israel’s side of the conflict, shown both by almost no mention of Egypt’s own role in the blockade as well as with heavy focus on Turkey, Greece, the UN, and the EU. Turkey came up most often--the nation’s decision to end all contact with Israel until an apology for the deaths aboard the Mavi Marmara was issued was supported by Egyptians; Al-Ahram frequently reported that the consensus in Egypt was that the Egyptian government should have followed suit and cut ties with Israel entirely. Also important were Greece and the UN, both of which expressed serious concerns over the possibility of weapons being smuggled into Gaza by the activists aboard the flotilla. Al-Ahram attempted to be vague about Egypt’s own political position on the subject, but the anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian, if not pro-flotilla, sentiments were obvious within the articles. ​Leadership
  18. 18. The subject of leadership in the event of the second Freedom Flotilla is extremely important to the Egyptian press because my ability to code for it so frequently stems from Egypt’s overwhelming focus on the opinions of a few leaders. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is typically quoted in conjunction with reporting on Egyptian public opinion directly opposite whatever he says; if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is not quoted, his decision to cut ties with Israel is mentioned as being lauded again and again by both Egyptian officials and the Egyptian public; UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon serves to represent the international world’s position on the conflict and the flotilla, though it is usually unclear whether or not the Al-Ahram staff agrees or disagrees with his assessment of the situation. Overall, it appears that the newspaper skirts taking its own ideological stance or expressing a specific stance of the Egyptian government’s by reporting repeatedly on stances taken by other players in the standoff. Rights Rights generally only came up in reference to Palestinian right to aid, food, and humanitarian relief. Most notable was the single op-ed piece by Khalid Amayreh, who detailed in extreme, perhaps hyperbolic language how racist and transparently anti-humanitarian the Israeli government was acting in response to the flotilla, as well as how dire the situation on the ground in Gaza was. The other significant reference was in an article about the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food’s denouncement of UN support for anti-flotilla efforts by Israel, Greece, and other countries. Professor Olivier De Schutter was concise but firm when he stated that Palestinians were in need of aid regardless of the potential political turmoil it could cause, and while Al-Ahram seemed to remain neutral on the subject, it also seemed to lean toward the same decision as far as Palestinian right to aid went. Aid The fact that the flotilla was an international humanitarian aid effort was only briefly mentioned in a few articles. Khalid Amayreh’s opinion piece mentioned it the most, speaking in extreme terms about immediate Palestinian need for humanitarian aid and the implications of that aid not getting safely delivered to Gaza. Otherwise, most Al-Ahram pieces minimized the overall significance of the aid aspect in favor of focusing on politics, which can be clearly seen in the Aid word tree--most of the branching subjects are related to politics. When it is brought up, it is almost always in reference to the international aspect of the flotilla or specifically in relation to the Turkish government’s involvement and decision to cut ties with Israel. The lack of reference to aid shows, at best, Egyptian willingness to cooperate with aid mission attempts paired with a distrust of Hamas’ intentions and deep-seated anti-Israeli sentiments. For the most part,
  19. 19. Egypt’s own role in the aid efforts and the blockade as a whole is generally left unspecified. Peace Peace was hardly ever referenced in any of the chosen articles. If the subject came up at all, it was usually related to Israeli actions that suggested no desire for peace talks according to the Egyptians. Often, the topic of an Israeli apology for either the deaths of Turkish nationals aboard the Mavi Marmara or the violence perpetrated against Egyptians in various IDF raids was brought up, and just as often Al-Ahram reported Israeli officials standing firm in their refusal to issue any such apology for either set of attacks. The single opinion article related to the flotilla brought up Israel’s lack of effort toward peace agreements as both a sign and symptom of extreme racism and anti-humanitarian sentiment within the country’s government, though it was very much an outlier in how strongly worded its opinions were. Otherwise, peace was hardly mentioned at all. Word Length Count Weighted Percentage israel 6 93 2.47% flotilla 8 83 2.20% gaza 4 70 1.86% turkey 6 35 0.93% palestinian 11 31 0.82% ships 5 30 0.80% report 6 28 0.74% blockade 8 25 0.66% international 13 24 0.64% egypt 5 23 0.61% sail 4 23 0.61% state 5 22 0.58% greek 5 22 0.58% minister 8 22 0.58% activists 9 22 0.58%
  20. 20. Group Analysis The common theme across the newspapers was ​conflict. The issue of the Flotilla was directly related to the perceived injustice of the blockade. Our research proved that Israel consistently acted as the aggressor against not only Palestinians, but also Arabs and activists, most of whom reacted peacefully during that time. ​Allegiance was the second most common theme, which is indicative of the emphasis placed on the international perception of the conflict and the Flotilla. The focus on international perception portrayed diplomatic decisions made by countries, such as Turkey, as a call to action for the international community. This suggests a need for aid in a broader sense than just the Flotilla. Across each publication, Turkey was praised for cutting its allegiance with Israel, demonstrating that these countries desired strong action against Israel, however the international community still took no action against them. ​Aid was one of the least common nodes across the publications, but this can be understood considering the emphasis on aid in the form of allegiance. ​Peace and ​Rights were among the least coded themes across all of the publications. While the surrounding Arab countries were very attuned to the rights of the Palestinians, they expressed Israel as not respecting those rights and had no desire to make concessions for peace. The research of Pan-Arab Press confirmed that because of Israel’s position as a proxy to larger colonial powers and its refusal to negotiate peace, the other diplomatic leaders would not step in. Node Frequence across all 75 articles Name: Source References Aid 56 293 Allegiance 59 472 ● International Approval 38 141 Conflict 72 689 ● Casualties 23 74 Leadership 70 567 Peace 48 232 Rights 56 364 Conclusion
  21. 21. The research of the Pan-Arab Press proved that a large majority of publications in the Middle East have Pro-Palestine tendencies. These news outlets named Israel, the Palestinians (in addition to Hamas), United States, United Nations, and Turkey as invested parties in the conflict. The Pan-Arab Press portrayed the United States as complicit in Israel’s decision to cause instability in Gaza and during the Freedom Flotilla. With Turkey’s decision to sever ties with Israel, thus creating a new allegiance between Turkey and Palestine, this allows Turkey the opportunity to serve as diplomatic support to Palestine in the future . The United Nations was seen as ineffective in both brokering peace and enforcing international human rights laws. The Pan-Arab Press noted the language used to defend the actions taken by Israel as “ambiguous”. It also noted that ambiguous language itself as support for a specific regime. While the American and Israeli Press are largely influenced by the political agendas of their respective countries, the Pan-Arab, Palestinian, and British Press are left leaning and more sympathetic towards the Gaza blockade. By demonstrating sympathies towards the Palestinians, new movements could arise out of European and Arab countries. The American and Israeli Press’ positions on the blockade will further perpetuate the instability between Israelis and Palestinians. These positions make a difference in influencing the respective audiences’ of these newspapers. The Pan-Arab press position makes a difference in that they lend an international voice on behalf of the Palestinians, for their legitimacy is in question in the eyes of the international community.
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