Biased Media Coverage of the Middle East

Ray Hanania’s Column


Hugh Dellios, the Israeli-based correspondent for the Chicago Tribune doesn’t mind writing a story about how the Iraqis have tried to distort the history of the brutal American siege of their country for the past 10 years.

Nor does he mind ignoring, during his own tenure as the newspaper’s ostensibly objective Arab-Israeli correspondent, all of the in-your-face facts that demonstrate a similar bias on the part of his Israeli hosts.

After all, he has to live in Israel, and he certainly doesn’t want to offend his friends, government “minders,” and the pro-Israeli lobby in the west where his newspaper circulates.

He only visits Iraq when he feels like writing a story that undermines sympathy for the suffering Iraqis, at a time when the suffering heaped upon the Iraqis by Israel and the United States is evoking more and more outrage from the World at large.

It’s always amazing to me how the Arab World will allow a reporter as biased as Hugh Dellios to freely enter their country and write with the biased perspective that they endear during years of enjoying the hospitality of Israel.

Ironically, the Israelis are not as kind. They often stop journalists on their borders or at Ben Gurion Airport, especially Palestinians and Palestinian Americans, and force them to leave without entering.

And it is even more ironic that Dellios, who “bravely” enters Iraq to assassinate truth, is fearful of entering the West Bank and Gaza Strip without the protection of Israeli military soldiers.

He writes most of his stories from the comfort of his Jerusalem offices about how the Palestinians “are provoking” Israeli military responses that result on massive civilian Palestinian deaths and very few Israeli deaths.

It is a complaint often heard among Arab journalists who live and who breathe the reality that Hugh Dellios and most other Western reporters refuse to cover or report.

It only takes one trip to the reality of the West Bank to witness the truth: that Israeli soldiers who are heavily armed and wearing heavy armor protected vests, helmets and outfits, fire upon defenseless Palestinian civilians using so-called “rubber coated bullets.”

These rubber coated bullets are steel ball bearings more deadly than normal bullets, and coated with a thin coat of rubber or plastic to allow the Israelis a “propaganda edge” in descriptions of their brutality.

In almost every instance that Dellios and other reports assert that the Palestinians are provoking the violence and confrontations, the truth is the Israeli soldiers are doing all of the provoking, and it is intentional.

This provocation is an integral part of the strategy of newly elected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, one of the most fanatic and extremist leaders to rule this colonial-style nation of mostly anti-Muslim and anti-Christian children of a generation murdered at Nazi gas chambers during World War II.

Sharon wants the violence because it gives him the excuse to reinforce the settlements of the most fanatic Israelis, allows him to increase the illegal confiscation of Arab owned land, and forcibly remove more Palestinians from their homes.

Dellios and others fail to see this strategy, relaxing in the comforts of their Israeli hosts, and swallowing like baby food the one-sided military reports that Israeli “minders” carefully prepare for their regular feedings.

It is shameful journalism, at its worst.

The truth is there for any good journalist to see. Certainly fanatics on both sides, Palestinians and Israelis, are murdering each other using bombings and assassinations.

But the daily provocation that is reported as if it is a similar part of the terrorism described above, is mis-reported and even distorted to strengthen Israel’s propaganda advantage.

The majority of Palestinians are willing to allow Israel to live in peace in the lands they captured in 1948, in exchange for them returning the land they captured in 1967. All the land! Returning ALL of the West Bank. Returning ALL of the Gaza Strip. And returning ALL of that small part of Jerusalem that the Arabs controlled until it was taken from them in a war in 1967.

Israel has built settlements in these lands since 1967, knowing full well that the settlements were illegal, and that any land compromise in exchange for peace would require that they be dismantled.

But Israel doesn’t want to dismantle any of these illegal settlements, which violate the Geneva Conventions, which Israel picks and chooses when it will honor.

In fact, Israel doesn’t want to give back much at all.

Dellios and other “journalists” often reported that the Palestinians rejected “the most generous concessions” an Israeli prime minister has ever offered, without explaining that this sense of generosity is a blasphemy to the concept of negotiated compromise.

To most Israelis, their sense of charity is to steal your land and not kill the owners. It is “the most generous concession” we have come to expect from Israel’s record of inhumane brutality.

I expect this kind of corruption of the truth from the Israelis.

But I expect much more honesty from individuals who claim the mantel of the journalistic profession.

(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American writer based in Chicago and a regular contributor to MMN. His columns are archived on the web at

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