The latest issue of the London Review of Books has a Diary piece (don’t you love those? I do.) by Israeli journalist Yonathan Mendel, in which he describes his work covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A particularly interesting tidbit:
In most of the articles on the conflict two sides battle it out: the Israel Defence Forces, on the one hand, and the Palestinians, on the other. When a violent incident is reported, the IDF confirms or the army says but the Palestinians claim: ‘The Palestinians claimed that a baby was severely injured in IDF shootings.’ Is this a fib? ‘The Palestinians claim that Israeli settlers threatened them’: but who are the Palestinians? Did the entire Palestinian people, citizens of Israel, inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, people living in refugee camps in neighbouring Arab states and those living in the diaspora make the claim? Why is it that a serious article is reporting a claim made by the Palestinians? Why is there so rarely a name, a desk, an organisation or a source of this information? Could it be because that would make it seem more reliable?
All italics are Mendel’s. He also looks at verbs like ‘initiate,’ or ‘launch’ versus ‘respond.’ Interesting stuff, particularly for those of us who are obsessed with language or politics (or both.)