MESS Report / Are the Palestinians silencing the attempted rape of U.S. peace activist?In the past, the question has been asked in terms of the media: what wouldn't journalists do in order to stay on the good side of Arab leaders, both inside and outside of the Palestinian territories.
The story of the Palestinian popular protest against Israel in several West Bank villages has recently garnered worldwide praise. However, as with any other massive movement, the popular protest too has its darker sides. The Palestinian Authority, as well as the leaders of the Palestinian popular protests in villages such as Bil'in, Na'alim, Umm Salmuna, have been trying to keep the following story away from both public knowledge and the media's eye: One of the more prominent Umm Salmuna activists – a village south of Bethlehem, long entrenched in a battle against the West Bank separation fence – is suspected of the attempted rape of an American peace activist who had been residing in the village as part of her support of the local protest.
Omar Aladdin, who had been arrested three months ago over suspicions he had attempted to rape the U.S. citizen, was subsequently released after agreeing to apologize to the young woman. However, Haaretz had learned that representatives of both the popular protest movement and the PA have since applied pressure on the American peace activist as to prevent her from making the story public.
For example, in 2004--CanWest inserted the T-word (terrorist) in a piece from Reuters that it used.
"Our editorial policy is that we don't use emotive words when labeling someone," said David A. Schlesinger, Reuters' global managing editor. "Any paper can change copy and do whatever they want. But if a paper wants to change our copy that way, we would be more comfortable if they remove the byline."In that case, Reuters was 0 for 2.
Mr. Schlesinger said he was concerned that changes like those made at CanWest could lead to "confusion" about what Reuters is reporting and possibly endanger its reporters in volatile areas or situations.
"My goal is to protect our reporters and protect our editorial integrity," he said.
And in this case, in having the girl bury the story and not make it public, these activists are doing the same.
Just how far will these people go in order to ingratiate themselves with the Palestinian Arabs?
Well, remember Rachel Corrie?
During the past few days she [Corrie] and the nine other ISM activists had become preoccupied with an anonymous letter circulating through Rafah that cast suspicion on the human shields. "Who are they? Why are they here? Who asked them to come here?" it asked. The letter referred to Corrie and the other expatriate women in Rafah as "nasty foreign bitches" whom "our Palestinian young men are following around." It was a sobering reminder that outsiders -- even international do-gooders -- were untrustworthy in the eyes of some Palestinians.
That morning, the ISM team tried to devise a strategy to counteract the letter's effects. "We all had a feeling that our role was too passive. We talked about how to engage the Israeli military," Richard "Fuzz" Purssell told me by phone from Great Britain…."The idea was to more directly challenge the Israeli military dominance using our international status," Purssell told me. "Just how far will ISM and other 'humanitarian' activists go to prove themselves in the eyes of Palestinian Arabs?
How far were they willing to go then?
How far are they willing to go now?
Technorati Tag: Omar Aladdin and Rachel Corrie and Media Bias.