The US media reports: Gilad Shalit swapped for 1000 non-people (Updated)

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Update: The NY Times' Ethan Bronner falsely claimed in his report on the prisoner exchange that "Fatah runs the West Bank." In fact, the West Bank is under Israeli military occupation, including the small areas (Area A) that the Palestinian Authority was granted control over under the Oslo Accords. The Israeli military and civil administration has official control over 60% of the West Bank (Area C), according to the guidelines of the Oslo Accords, and authorizes the residency of over 350,000 Jewish Israeli settlers there. Isn't it time the Times assign a fact checker to keep watch over the chronically sloppy Bronner?

By now, Gilad Shalit is back in Israel, while around 1000 Palestinian prisoners will eventually be released from Israeli jails, then scattered to various locations from Jerusalem to Egypt to Syria, where many will live in permanent exile. While some Israelis doubt the wisdom of the prisoner swap, there can be little doubt that the state of Israel has scored a public relations victory in the United States. American coverage of the prisoner exchange has focused almost exclusively on Shalit, his family, and Jewish Israeli society's "bittersweet" reaction to the deal.

Reports on the exchange generally did not mention the identities of the Palestinian prisoners, and if they did, they tended to only name those who had committed violence against Israelis. It is of course newsworthy that perpetrators of lethal violence against Israeli civilians are being freed, and that many Israelis are outraged about it, but the American media made no effort to contextualize the conflict propelling the violence -- the word "occupation" was not mentioned once in today's reports on the exchange. Nor was there been any description of disproportionate Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians, including by Shalit's tank unit, or Israel's routine kidnapping of Palestinians without charges. In reporting the first major Israel-Palestine news event since the Mavi Marmara massacre in 2010, the American media produced an entirely Shalit-centric barrage of coverage that even the Israeli Foreign Ministry could not have matched.

Here is a wrap-up of breaking and recent reports:

The New York Times' scandal plagued Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner attempted to channel the mood of Jewish Israeli society in an October 15 report on Shalit's scheduled release. Bronner, whose own son served in the Israeli military, wrote, "When Israelis say they view the seized soldier, Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, as their own son, they mean it." Throughout Bronner's article, he upheld the national campaign for Shalit's release as an example of the higher value Israel places on human life, while dismissing those who think otherwise as "Palestinians and some critics of Israel."

Today, Bronner relied on help from reporters Stephen Farrell and Fares Akram in Gaza to cover the prisoner exchange. The article mentioned the identities of exactly zero Palestinian prisoners, only describing the preparations for their return to Gaza. Similarly, The Washington Post's coverage of the swap focused entirely on Shalit, with no mention of individual Palestinian prisoners.

CNN International's Richard Allen Greene did not interview any Palestinians about the prisoner deal. Instead, he quoted leaders of Jewish American organizations and Israel's ambassador to London, who claimed that "everyone [in Israel] has been touched by terrorism." On Twitter, former CNN correspondent and current ABC "This Week" host Christiane Amampour referred to 400 of the Palestinian prisoners released in the deal as "hardcore Hamas activists."

The Associated Press devoted a whole graf to a quote by the mother of Palestinian prisoner Abdel Latif Shkair, focusing on Shalit and his family throughout the rest of the article. Reuters did not detail the backgrounds of Palestinian prisoners in its report on the exchange, noting only that "many...going free were convicted in deadly attacks." How many? Reuters did not say.

CBS News's Mark Phillips named a few Palestinian prisoners, but only those who had been involved in deadly attacks on Israelis. Reporting from Tel Aviv, Philips stood next to a monument to the victims of a terror attack and declared, "Israeli cities have many -- too many -- monuments like the one marking a spot where 21 young people were killed by a terrorist bomb 10 years ago. The instigator of that attack is about to be set free... Some of the most hardened high-profile terrorists are not being released, and many of those who are will be sent into exile. But with a score of 1,027 to 1, the price of terror just went up."

One prisoner left out of the swap was Ahmad Saadat, the PFLP leader abducted by Israeli forces and sentenced in a military court to thirty years in prison for belonging to an outlawed organization after the Israeli Attorney General decided the state had insufficient evidence to try Saadat in a civilian court. Saadat, who has spent the last two years in solitary confinement without family visits -- punishment for his leadership of a prisoners' rights movement -- initiated a mass hunger strike of Palestinian prisoners to demand more humane conditions in Israeli jails. Yesterday, he was transfered to a hospital due to complications from twenty days without food.

For his part, Shalit reportedly told an Egyptian interviewer today, "Hamas treated me well."


Hamas is "cowardly"? Hamas continues a fight against a modern army outfitted with F-16's and tanks aplentry. Cowardly? Here's "cowardly" -- Jewish settlers armed to the teeth by the IDF against an indigenous population for whom arms are prohibited. That's cowardly. And the tough IDF? I don't think so. It has never faced an adversary of any standing at all. It is 4th rate. IDF breaking the bones of adolescents in the West Bank. Good Jewish boys, six of them to break the bones of a single teenager! They are cowards. And were it not for American support, Israel itself would not have amounted to anything much. Without massive subvention and civilian "enemies", the IDF would be left to pee in its collective pants in a fair fight. Hamas is "cowardly"? These ridiculous IDF "heroes" will someday be brought low. The sooner the better.

This is typical propaganda by a controlled media. Thankfully we have the internet so the truth is available for those who wish to seek it. What worries me is how long until the imperialist powers put a stop to the internet as we know it.

While one could argue that the idea and practice of Jewish Exceptionalism has nourished generations of Jews through the diaspora and the Shoa, it has now reached the state of being akin to Derrida's pharmakon both cure and poison: Zionism begins as a manifestation of the left, only to drift precipitously rightward in a vain quest for security, while willfully ignoring the apartheid state that that created.The numerical asymmetry of one to one thousand simply being an empirical demonstration of pernicious mind set that your thoughtful essay put in high relief.

max blumenthal, i hope hamas will treat you 'well' one day, and under threat of a hamas thug touching your shoulder, you will cower in fear in a forced interview and lie about how you were treated, though you look starved and limping. you truly deserve a few years of hamas treatment, if you are so ignorant as to write that about gilad, who has clearly suffered, while you obviously have never visited a single palestinian in an israeli jail. why don't you come here and walk the walk, big man? talking the talk from your ivory tower, while you rely on media reports you yourself admit are fraudulent, is as pathetic as the actions of the cowardly hamas, taunting the weakened shalit this morning in front of the cameras. LET THAT BE YOU ONE DAY, blumenthal, and justice will be served.

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