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Israeli operation in Palestine and the language of media

Palestinian aggressors are called terrorists, Jewish extremist group is called Extremist

Ground Report | New Delhi: The Western media claims to be neutral and balanced, but when it comes to the Palestine and Israel, the language used by them clearly shows how the specific use of words is confusing the situation.

A recent example is the incident in the Sheikh Jarrah area of ​​Jerusalem. There were several Palestinian families living in the area, which Israel is evicting. When the Palestinians began to protest, Israel used force and killed and injured several people.

A country is forcibly evicting people who have lived in the same place for generations, but the word that the Western media has for this is the property dispute. 

As if this is a minor incident of property transaction, an incident which has been pending in the civil court for 15, 20 years, finally comes to an end.

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French news agency AFP coverage (FFP Twitter)

Then there is the issue of forced eviction. English is a broad language, there are many words to describe this event, for example Forced Expulsion but instead the word Eviction is being used in many newspapers, which is once again a legal term. 

That is, if a person has bought a house with a loan from a bank and is not able to pay the installments, then the court gives notice of his eviction. Also consider another ‘homeopathic’ type of removal in the New York Times clipping below that is being used to reduce the perception of forced evictions.

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Not only that, when it comes to Israeli and Palestinian protests, the two most common words used in international English newspapers are Clash and Conflict.

The word Clash is usually used where both sides are equal. On the one hand being one of the most powerful forces in the world, on the other hand ‘armed’ protesters with slingshots, then the word Clash loses its meaning.

This particular use of language is not limited to recent events. Researchers have long questioned the use of specific language in the Western media’s coverage of Israel and the Palestinians.

When Palestinians take action against Israel, it is called Attack, but Israeli action is usually called Retaliation. 

According to the American organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the term was used 150 times on three American channels over a two-year period, but 79 percent to describe Israeli action, and only 9 percent to describe Palestinian action Independent Urdu reported.

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You may remember Gilad Shalat, an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants in 2006 and released in 2011 after a prisoner exchange with Israel.

(New York Times)

The most used word in the Western media about this was Kidnap. But when Israel “retaliated” and captured 60 Hamas members, half of whom were members of parliament, the most used word was “arrest.”

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Similarly, Palestinian aggressors are called terrorists, but when a Jewish extremist group targets Palestinians, it is called Extremist or Vigilante instead of Terrorist.

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  • Wahid Bhat

    Wahid Bhat is an environmental journalist with a passion for covering climate change and environmental issues. He holds a degree in English Journalism (EJ) from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and has received Media Fellow for NFI India (National Foundation for India) and Thomson Reuters Foundation. Wahid's reporting has been published in a range of respected outlets including Earth Journalism, Global Village Space, The Quint, Youth Ki Awaaz, and Devdiscourse

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