Disappearing Palestinian Deaths in the NYT

It really is offensive for commentators to use the word “violence” to mean “violence against one side in a conflict.” As in Martin Indyk’s op-ed in the New York Times yesterday (8/27/10), which argues that there is “For Once, Hope in the Middle East,” because, “First, violence is down considerably in the region.” Here’s his complete explication of this point:

Throughout the 1990s, Israel was plagued by terrorist attacks, which undermined its leadersâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢ ability to justify tangible concessions. Israelis came to believe that the Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat was playing a double game, professing peace in the negotiations while allowing terrorists to operate in territory he was supposed to control.

Today, the Palestinian Authority is policing its West Bank territory to prevent violent attacks on Israelis and to prove its reliability as a negotiating partner. Hamas–mainly out of fear of an Israeli intervention that might remove it from power–is doing the same in Gaza.

These efforts, combined with more effective Israeli security measures, have meant that the number of Israeli civilians killed in terrorist attacks has dropped from an intifada high of 452 in 2002 to six last year and only two so far this year.

Missing, of course, is any mention of violence against Palestinians. According to the Israeli human rights group, there have been 100 Palestinians killed by Israelis in the time period following Israel’s December 2008 assault on Gaza; the assault itself killed 1,397 Palestinians, a large majority of whom were either minors or non-combatants.

It’s difficult to be hopeful about peace in the Middle East when major U.S. news outlets treat Palestinian deaths as absolutely irrelevant.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.