Can anyone doubt that if there were more than 1,300 hunger strikers in any country in the world other than Palestine, the media in the West would be obsessed with the story? It would be featured day after day, and reported on from all angles, including the severe medical risks associated with such a lengthy refusal to take food. At this time, two Palestinians who were the first to start this current wave of resistance, Thaer Halaheh and Bilal Diab, entering their 64th day without food, are reported by the prisoner protection association, Addameer, and the NGO, Physician for Human Rights-Israel, to be in critical condition with their lives hanging in the balance. Despite this dramatic state of affairs there is scant attention in Europe, and literally none in North America.
So writes the distinguished UN rapporteur on Palestinian human rights. Richard Falk.
An internationally respected former Princeton professor of International Law pulls no punches in the latest edition of Foreign Policy Journal.
Read on—and shake your head at the steadfast bias of the Western media.
In contrast, consider the attention that the Western media has devoted to a lone blind Chinese human rights lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, who managed to escape from house arrest in Beijing a few days ago and find a safe haven at the U.S. Embassy. This is an important international incident, to be sure, but is it truly so much more significant than the Palestinian story as to explain the total neglect of the extraordinary exploits of these thousands of Palestinians who are sacrificing their bodies, quite possibly their lives, to nonviolently protest severe mistreatment in the Israeli prison system? Except among their countrymen, and to some extent the region, these many thousand Palestinian prisoners have been languishing within an opaque black box ever since 1967, are denied protection, exist without rights, and cope as best they can without even the acknowledgement of their plight.
Te west has always rued the fact of the missing “Palestinian Gandhi” (israel usually boots them out, Mubarak Awad a great example.
Falk throws up the incessant drum beating over the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was captured and held in captivity until the Israelis after 5 years released over 1000 prisoners held under administrative detention. Hysteria. Then when shalit came out, averred his good treatment by his captors, the media lost interest. And hushed Shalit’s dad up when he said if he were Palestinian he’d o the same.
Falk saves his parting shot for the omniscient NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman:
That rock star of liberal pontificators, Thomas Friedman, has for years been preaching nonviolence to the Palestinians, implying that Israel as a democratic country with a strong moral sensitivity would yield in the face of such a principled challenge. Yet when something as remarkable as this massive expression of a Palestinian commitment to nonviolent resistance in the form of this open-ended hunger strike, dubbed ‘the war of empty stomachs’, takes place, Friedman along with his liberal brothers is stony silent, and the news sections of the newspaper of the New York Times are unable to find even an inch of space to report on these dramatic protests against Israel’s use of administrative detention and abusive treatment during arrest, interrogation, and imprisonment. Shame on you, Mr. Friedman!
And shame on the press in general.