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Cablegate: Media Analysis: Palestinian Media Downplays Role Of

VZCZCXRO2218
RR RUEHDE
DE RUEHJM #0739 1211504
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301504Z APR 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1346
INFO RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 4106
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 8225
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 4082
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 0041

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 000739

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA, NEA/IPA, NEA/PPD
DUBAI FOR PELLETIER
LONDON FOR SREEBNY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR KPAL KWBG KPAO KINR
SUBJECT: MEDIA ANALYSIS: Palestinian Media Downplays Role of
Factions in Provoking Israeli Military Operations

1. SUMMARY: Reporting on Palestinian-Israeli violence in the Gaza
Strip, the Palestinian media typically relegates any provocative
action by Palestinian militant factions to the background, focusing
instead on Israeli actions and Palestinian deaths and injuries. The
resulting coverage downplays Israeli deaths or injuries and leaves
readers with the impression of unprovoked or excessive Israeli
military operations. The April 9 attack by Palestinian gunmen on an
Israeli fuel depot at Nahal Oz near the Gaza border and the
subsequent Israeli military reaction illustrates this trend. END
SUMMARY.

2. The Gaza Strip is daily front-page and top of the hour news
material for the Palestinian press, with particular attention paid
to Israeli operations and resulting Palestinian deaths. The lead
headlines in all three print dailies routinely include the number of
Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military, but
rarely mention provocative actions that precede Israeli operations.


NAHAL OZ ILLUSTRATES
--------------------

3. On April 9, Palestinian gunmen raided the Nahal Oz Israeli fuel
depot on the Israeli side of the Gaza border, killing two Israeli
civilian guards. In response, the Israeli Air force struck Gaza,
killing seven Palestinians, some militants and some children. The
military wings of all three Palestinian factions claimed
responsibility for the attack on Nahal Oz.

4. Palestinian media coverage reported on the Israeli military
response and the resulting Palestinian deaths and injuries and left
the initial Palestinian attack and the resulting Israeli deaths in
the background. On April 10, both Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida
dailies ran banner headlines declaring that "seven Palestinians were
martyred and three Israelis killed" conflating several events into
one. Articles in all the dailies highlighted that three children
were among the Palestinian dead. The front pages showed photos of
the wreckage of a car hit by an Israeli missile and a woman holding
two children running for safety. Al-Hayat Al-Jadida incorrectly
identified the two Israelis killed as soldiers and called the
Palestinian gunmen "resistance fighters." In related reports,
Al-Hayat Al-Jadida also claimed the violent events in Gaza could be
traced back to the work of "resistance fighters" to "expose" an
attempt by Israeli special forces to "creep into" an area in the
eastern Gaza Strip, giving justification to the Nahal Oz attack.
The Al-Quds lead story noted in its sub-headline that two Israelis
were also killed and described the Israeli reaction as a "revenge
shelling" on the Gaza Strip, but did not specify the cause.

5. The PA issued an official statement condemning the Palestinian
factions for attacking Nahal Oz and accusing the gunmen of
undermining ongoing efforts to "alleviate the suffering of
Palestinians in Gaza," and "intentionally giving the Israelis
pretexts to close the crossings and cut the fuel supply" to Gaza.
Al-Quds did not mention the PA statement, and Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat
Al-Jadida focused on the statement's call on Israel to avoiding
harming Gazans and largely ignored the criticism of the Palestinian
gunmen.

6. In its main editorial, Al-Quds directly linked the military
escalation to the Palestinian attack on Nahal Oz, stating that the
Israeli operation was a response to the Palestinian attack. The
same editorial, though, was clear in expressing condemnation of the
Israeli military reaction, maintaining that such reaction reflects
"Israel's immense desire for revenge."

WALLES

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