Technorati Tag: Israel and Media Bias and Hamas and Middle East.Mideast Media Sampler 12/27/11
1) Will Hamas split or co-opt?
Jonathan Schanzer asks Will Hamas splinter as external leaders seek a new home?
December 21 was a big day in Palestinian politics, as the terrorist group Hamas reportedly agreed to join the Palestine Liberation Organization. If Hamas seals the deal, it is widely expected that it will renounce violence just as the PLO did.But it may not be that simple. Hamas cadres are not of one mind on key issues such as the use of violence and political participation.Schanzer goes on to explain that there appears to be a significant faction within Hamas that wishes to join the PLO and renounce violence. But, he adds:
If Hamas does renounce violence, it will create a vacuum. This is exactly happened in the late 1980s, when the Yasser Arafat's PLO renounced terrorism. It was the upstart Hamas that quickly filled that void, establishing a reputation as a headline-grabbing terror group that promised to deliver what the PLO could not: the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state of Palestine.If Hamas joins the PLO, could a new Hamas splinter fill the void? Perhaps. But even if it isn't Hamas, another jihadist group will likely emerge. No matter what it's called, we can count on Hamas members being part of it.Khaled Abu Toameh has a much different view of Hamas's direction, when he explains Why Hamas wants to join the PLO.
Hamas is joining the PLO not because it has changed, but out of a desire to make the Fatah-dominated organization stick to its true mission: the liberation of Palestine from Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea -- in other words, all the land that is currently Israel -- and to achieve the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees to their original villages and homes inside Israel.Once Hamas takes control over the PLO, it will seek to cancel all agreements and understandings reached between the organization and Israel, above all the 1993 Oslo Accords. Hamas also wants the PLO to withdraw its recognition of Israel.Hamas leaders and spokesmen are openly saying that joining the PLO does not mean that they would recognize Israel's right to exist or abandon the "armed struggle" against the Jewish state.Abu Toameh argues further that those who are listening to the moderate words of Hamas are not paying attention to the Arabic "clarifications."
2) Is there a story here?
Ethan Bronner reports on the struggles of Israel's Channel 10, Israel TV Station’s Troubles Reflect a Larger Political Battleground:
Traveling in luxury at the expense of others may violate public service rules and the law. It also doesn’t look good. But instead of accolades for its journalism, Channel 10 is now fighting for its life, and Mr. Netanyahu’s hostility toward it is being cast as part of a broader cultural and political war in Israel between the left and the right involving efforts to control the judiciary, the reporting of news and public discourse.It is a battle that most immediately pits the rightist governing coalition against the liberal elite as the government refuses to postpone the station’s debt, which could force it to close.I am not familiar with the details of this issue outside of what's reported here. MK Shai's response, however, is outrageous. Anyone passingly familiar with Israeli media knows that there is plenty of anti-Netanyahu sentiment. Shutting down a single station will not stop the criticism.
“The fight over Channel 10 is partly a matter of revenge — Netanyahu wants to make them pay for what they did to him,” argued Nachman Shai, a member of Parliament from the opposition party Kadima and a former news executive who helped set up Channel 10 a decade ago. “But it is also part of a three-front struggle — over the courts, civil society and the media. The right wants to control every institution. Freedom of expression is at risk.”
While the reporter, Ethan Bronner, mentions that Netanyahu's allies are suing the station, it appears that the debts Channel 10 owes are independent of the legal action. So the only question is whether or not the government will allow the station an extension. If that's the case, it's hardly an assault on the democratic nature of Israel.
It may not look good on the surface, but there doesn't seem to be much of a story here, unless one wants to argue that Israel is becoming a dictatorship.