Rosie DiManno's Occupied Territory
Rosie DiManno's Occupied Territory
For as long as I can remember, Rosie DiManno has single-handedly defended an Israeli settlement on page A2 of the Toronto Star. (www.thestar.com ) Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday Rosie issues drive-by reports in which she fires her literary M16 at all the usual suspects; anyone who questions the received opinion of the rich, or physically resists their domination. Now that the Bush Cartel is waging global war, DiManno is locked and loaded.
â€œMake righteous war, not la-la peaceâ€, she demands on June 4th, calling for â€œsnarly, vigorous interventionâ€ in Congo with troops who are allowed to â€œKill the enemy. No bargaining, no discussion, no turning heel and fleeing. Because what is the point of peacekeepers when there is no peace to keep?â€ One wonders which expendable group of Congolese teenagers Rosie considers â€˜the enemy,â€™ but questions spoil all the self-righteous fun in la-la land.
â€œPalestinians should forget about any right of return,â€ DiManno advises readers on May 28, 2003. We bleating sheep must be properly led down the â€˜road-map.â€™ â€œIn the last year, 140,000 babies were born in Israel. Mazel tov,â€ is her opening line.
Rosie DiManno is full of admiration for Israel, â€œa sliver of democracy in the Middle East,â€ she is quick to inform us, made more miraculous and good given â€œthe terrorist reality of living in the besieged Jewish state, the suicide bombers,â€ and â€œthe endless international naggingâ€¦â€ (emphasis mine)
The â€˜storyâ€™ in DiMannoâ€™s writing usually consists of the missed beats in her war dance.
Much of the â€œnaggingâ€ comes from within Israel itself. The Israeli Democracy Institute, a non-partisan group founded in 1991 to monitor the quality of Israeli â€˜democracyâ€™ issued its annual report 5 days before Rosie DiManno composed her latest hymn to greater Israel. The Institute characterized Israelâ€™s condition as â€˜alarming.â€™ â€œProtection of human rights in Israel is poor; there is serious political and economic discrimination against the Arab minority; there is much less freedom of religion than in other democracies."
Rosie promotes the Israeli stateâ€™s religious nature in the same breath as its assumed democracy, without any recognition of the inherent contradiction between the two. â€œJewishness is the very essence of Israel,â€ she gushes breathlessly. â€œBut for all its fortitude, this self-contained Israeli biosphere is demographically fragile. Which is why Palestinian â€˜right of returnâ€™ can never be accepted,â€ she writes.
Most Israelis agree with Rosie these days, or so the Israeli Democracy Institute reports â€“ with dismay. â€œAs of 2003, more than half (53%) of the Jews in Israel state out loud that they are against full equality for the Arabs; 77% say there should be a Jewish majority on crucial political decisions; less than a third (31%) support having Arab political parties in the government; and the majority (57%) think that the Arabs should be encouraged to emigrate."
Rosieâ€™s mission is to make Israelâ€™s policy of occupation and colonization of Palestinian land palatable for a Canadian audience â€“ thus she has a tin ear for certain funeral dirges.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu visited the Israeli democracy in May 2002 and was moved to write how â€œit reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about.â€ Rosie got a different picture from her visits - â€œPalestinians are the persecuted darlings of an international media generally unsympathetic to Israel,â€ to which she feels compelled to add â€œ(For which I do not blame ordinary Palestinians on the groundâ€¦â€ who never seem to speak in their own voices from her columns; likely because they are busy resisting Israeli occupation.
DiMannoâ€™s pro-Israel rhetoric would be clearly seen for what it is â€“ a whitewash for racism of the most appalling sort - if one were to supplant the word â€˜South Africaâ€™ for Israel, â€˜whiteâ€™ for Jewish, â€˜rightsâ€™ for right of return, â€˜Africaâ€™ for Middle East, â€˜blackâ€™ for Palestinian, and â€˜apartheidâ€™ for Israeli democracy. But of course thatâ€™s just the opinion of an international journalist unsympathetic to Israel, and so is of no account.
While weâ€™re on the subject of words and their meaning, a leaked memo, http://electronicintifada.net/artman/uploads/luntzwexneranalysis.pdf made available recently by the Electronic Intifada, might lift the dark cloak of mystification in which DiManno smothers the term â€˜Israeli democracy.â€™ Called â€œThe Wexner Analysis, Israeli Communications Priorities 2003â€ it was published for The Luntz Research Companies and The Israel Project to advise uncritical supporters of Israel on their public relations strategy. Surprise â€“ no mention of this newsworthy item from DiManno, though her favourite word â€˜democracyâ€™ appears 27 times.
Here is instance #4. â€œAll the arguments about Israel being a democracy, letting Arabs vote and serve in government, protecting religious freedom etc. wonâ€™t deliver the public support you need to secure the loan guarantees and military aid Israel needs.â€ What will deliver the goods? â€œSecurity,â€ which makes 13 lucky appearances. â€œYou need a national security angle â€“ one that clearly links the interests of both Israel and America,â€ says Wexner.
The word â€˜occupationâ€™ does not appear once in the Wexner document, though the word â€˜militaryâ€™ appears 8 times, once to inform us that â€œmilitary action is better than appeasement.â€ Speaking of military action, the word â€˜Americaâ€™ packs 63 appearances into 17 pages.
Since 1948, Israel has absorbed over $91 billion dollars of US aid, (http://www.wrmea.com/html/us_aid_to_israel.htm ) much of it military. The result - Israel is armed to the teeth, with real weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons and the latest US technology, all directed at maintaining and extending the military occupation of Palestinian lands, and the destabilization of the entire Arab region. The only beneficiaries of this arrangement are the arms merchants, Big Oil, the Israeli state, and Israeli settlers.
The victims are legion and largely Arab, but only Israelis have a voice in DiMannoâ€™s column inches.
After she reminds us that 140,000 good Israeli babies were born in one year, she adds that â€œ31,000 people emigrated to the country.â€ Rosieâ€™s ledger has no column for deductions. Thus she fails to mention the fact that thousands of Palestinians have been murdered and maimed by Israel since the beginning of the latest Intifada.
Here are the statistics omitted by DiManno, courtesy of the Red Crescent Society. (http://www.palestinercs.org/Database/Date/ ) From the beginning of the second Intifada to May 26, 2330 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli democracy, 5789 injured by democratic live ammunition, 5687 by rubber bullets, 5392 by tear gas, 5937 injured by a variety of other means for a total of 22,805. According to Bâ€™Tselem, (http://www.btselem.org/ ) 720 Israelis civilians and soldiers had been killed by Palestinians from the start of the al-Aqsa Intifadah to May 19, 2003. The IDF puts the figures at 681 Israeli dead, 4823 Israeli wounded as of the end of May, 2003.
Of this inequitable reality, Rosie reported on May 11 that Palestinians and Israelis are â€œequally populating each other's cemeteries.â€ Add mathematics to the casualty list.
DiManno also seems unmoved to write about the Palestinian people inside the statistics she refuses to add up. Yet she is full of horror at Palestinian resistance, her Eagle eye fixed only on the terror tactics flowing out of the 36 year occupation she justifies with every word, like these from her May 14 column, about how painful it was for Airel Sharon to accept the â€œroad map.â€
â€œAll foreigners (excluding diplomats and people with "special humanitarian needs") are for the moment â€” and this is an open-ended policy â€” barred from either entering or exiting Gaza. That will be viewed as a draconian measure, but it can reasonably be attributed [emphasis mine] to the last suicide bombing inflicted against Israelis a fortnight ago,â€ she writes.
Is this journalism, or merely the re-phrasing of the well rehearsed excuses made by the Israeli state each time it kills an Arab in order to expand a settlement? Rosie answers us with this shopworn line - â€œBut terrorism against Israel is interpreted differently, using a moral compass not applied elsewhere.â€
And so the predictable shrug. â€œThree Palestinians were killed in Gaza on Monday during the army demolition of homes in a refugee camp south of Rafah. The army claims they'd found tunnels beneath the houses, used to smuggle arms. All three Palestinians were teenagers. The Israel Defence Forces further claimed to have prevented on Monday two suicide bombings planned for the near future, with the detention of seven suspected militants.â€ They always claim that.
A journalist would investigate these claims and try to understand their political significance. DiManno checks her moral compass. Surprise! Itâ€™s perfectly calibrated. â€œIsrael's uncompromising critics will dismiss all of these claims and allegations. To their mind, Israel can never do anything right or justifiable, despite having absorbed more than 90 suicide bombings in the last 31 months,â€ writes DiManno, ending her circular argument where she began it â€“ la-la land.
IF Stone (an actual reporter) reminds us that facts are subversive. The names of the Palestinian people killed on Monday May 12 2003 - Hassan Ahamd Al Astal, 18, a farmworker killed as he tilled his fields, Mohammad Abu Armaneh, 19, and Salim Arjah, 20, shot dead by Israeli soldiers. â€œDr Ali Mousa said that martyr Abu Armaneh, was hit by more than ten bullets in various parts of his body, while martyr Al Arjah was left bleeding till death as ambulances coming under intensive and random fire by occupation troops could not make it to the scene, indicating that two other citizens were injured,â€ according to a report by the Amman based Jerusalem Forum. A journalist might ask what crime these young men committed.
Rosie is too busy stumping for greater Israel.
The right of return for Palestinians â€œis so unrealistic, so foolishly dreamy, that one must question the sincerity of those who insist upon its inclusion in any peace discussions,â€ she informs us on May 28. Cease fire? â€œAnd "ceasefire" is a non-starter with Israel, which fears that backing off the radicals â€” stopping the military incursions, the targeted assassinations â€” will simply allow them to retrench and re-arm during a period of truce.â€
After much re-phrasing of the received wisdom of the Israeli Defence Forces and the settler movement, Rosie gets to her malign point. â€œThe simple mathematical fact is this: Israel canâ€™t absorb 1.8 million Palestinians. Not economically, not socially, not politically. The return of Palestinian refugees and their descendents would utterly swamp Israel and ultimately erase its Jewish character.â€
Have we found the loadstone which sends Rosieâ€™s moral compass spinning to the far right? Here is this reporterâ€™s interpretation: 1.8 million Palestinians are equated with swamp water, and the Israeli sponge is already saturated with immigrants.
More statistics that dare not speak their names from the outpost on A2. From 1989 to 2002, Israel absorbed 1,139,081 immigrants, according to the Israeli Ministry of Immigration Absorption. http://www.moia.gov.il/english/index_en.asp These immigrants are entitled to various financial supports, including income support. â€œA single immigrant over the age of 17 with his/her own Immigration Certificate or a child of an immigrant over the age of 23 is entitled to a grant,â€ says the Israeli democracy. Not a loan, a grant. Plus income insurance of 1248 shekels per person per month, plus help finding employment, with tuition fees, etc.
Palestinians whose families were kicked off their land in 1948 need not apply.
But this is not naked racism. Palestinians and their supporters have an attitude problem, according to DiManno. â€œThe problem is that too many Arabs, and Muslims, persist in viewing [emphasis mine] Jews in Israel as foreign implants and Israel itself as an outlaw occupier in its entirety.â€
DiManno reduces historical facts â€“ Israeli government immigration statistics, international law - to mere â€œviewsâ€ and conveniently dismisses them. But the facts cannot be dismissed, or forgotten.
The authors of the recently leaked Wexner Analysis have not forgotten, though not for lack of trying. Their document mentions the fact of illegal Israeli settlements only once. â€œThe settlements are our Achilles heel, and the best response (which is still quite weak) is to emphasize Security.â€ What is â€˜securityâ€™ in Israel? â€œSecurity is the context in which you should explain the need for loan guarantees and military aid and why Israel cannot just give up land.â€ Democracy (the weak spot) is not mentioned in this perfectly circular argument, because the settlements - for which all this killing of Palestinians is going on (more weakness) - are the antithesis of democracy.
That Israel is an outlaw state and an illegal occupying power on Palestinian land is not just a â€˜viewâ€™ - it is an indisputable fact in law. Need we review it again? For Rosie, once more.
U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181(II) (November 29, 1947) provided for the partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state, with international status for Jerusalem. Weâ€™re still waiting for the Arab state, and Jerusalem is annexed to Israel; â€œVisible between the gentle swells of Judean hills, the white-stone buildings of Jerusalem shimmer in the distance,â€ Rosie transmits on May 11, from an illegal Israeli settlement inside the Green Line.
U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 (III) (December 11, 1948) affirms the right of Palestinians to return to their original homes and lands, and to receive compensation for any losses incurred, as well as the right of resettlement for those Palestinian refugees choosing not to return, and compensation for their losses. â€œâ€¦so unrealistic, so foolishly dreamy,â€ says Rosie DiManno, shortly after her visit to the illegal settlement.
Article 49, paragraph 4 of the Fourth Geneva Convention declares that the "occupying power (Israel) shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territories it occupies (Palestine)." DiManno openly advocates the settlements, as I shall presently demonstrate.
DiManno suggests in her May 28th article a â€œstatute of limitationsâ€ on the legal right of return, which she declares is merely â€œsymbolic to Palestinians now three generations removed from the homes they either abandoned or were forced to evacuate in 1948.â€ This is an incredible statement. Would DiManno suggest to Bâ€™Nai Brith Canada, which presented her with an award for excellence in Journalism in 2002, that the right of Canadian Jews to â€˜returnâ€™ to Israel is also symbolic, given that most were not born there?
The United Nations Security Council, perhaps in a fit of â€˜anti-Israel hysteriaâ€™ called Resolutions 242 (1967) and 465 (1980) has demanded that Israel "dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction of planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem."
Here is all the outrage DiManno can muster at the occupation. â€œThe cost of occupation alone, of military vigilance is crippling the country,â€ [Israel] â€œwhile draconian pass laws and curfews have impoverished Palestinians,â€ who have no country, yet. As long as the Israeli economy can bare the costsâ€¦ She also cites the â€œhostile mediaâ€ as a problem - for Israel.
DiManno calls for an end to Palestinian resistance, in a word â€“ surrender to the tender mercies of the IDF, and the police forces of a puppet Palestinian Authority. What of the young boys and men who put their small bodies between US made D6 armour plated bulldozers and the houses of their friends and neighbours - â€œbrainwashed Palestinian youths,â€ according to DiManno. She urges the Palestinians enter into negotiations with Israel in a weakened position: â€œnot just by accepting the roadmap,â€ but also that Palestinians should â€œleave off their ruinous, violent tactics,â€ and â€œrelinquish any right of return,â€ - foreign settlers who want to illegally colonize Palestinian land excepted of course.
â€œThe road map is disastrous and would only bring about the destruction of Israel," was the message being telegraphed from illegal Israeli settlers on page A2 only two weeks previous. Remember, this is balanced reporting at its best.
On May 11, Rosie reported from an Israeli Settlement, Alon Shvut, â€œabout 10 kilometres east [emphasis mine] of the subsequent (1967) ceasefire demarcation boundary, also known as the Green Line.â€ Her coverage of the illegal settlement was gushing, the return of the occupied land to Palestinians described as â€œa dreaded worse case scenario.â€
Rosie does not stop at uncritical quotation of settler Ruth Lieberman, originally from Cleveland who says â€œI don't think we are the obstruction. It's not like we're extending the border into Lebanon or Egypt. They can't annex Alon Shvut â€” look at our regional proximity to Jerusalem. And we're not imposing on anybody."â€ She backs Ruth up not with facts or history, but her own received mystification.
â€œJews have continuously inhabited Alon Shvut for millennia, all the way back into the era of the Patriarchs, as evidenced by biblical landmarks in the vicinity, including nearby Herodion, Herod's mountain. This is Judea,â€ she editorializes. [emphasis Rosieâ€™s]
But itâ€™s occupied Palestine. Alon Shvut was built to drive out the native Palestinian population of the village of Beit Sakariya which still sits right beside it, despite Israeli attempts to destroy the town and drive out the native inhabitants.
In 1967, Israel annexed the area, and established Gush Etzion, (http://www.gush-etzion.org.il/council.htm ) one of the first illegal settlements.
â€œAll the Palestinian families of this devastated village left their homes except one single family,â€ says Jerusalemâ€™s Applied Research Institute, http://www.arij.org of the colonization. The ARIJ monitors Israeli settlement activity. â€œAs of today, the village houses around 100 family members who live in hazardous primitive structures (shacks).â€ See http://www.arij.org/paleye/sakariya/index.htm for details, including photographs and maps. But the illegal colony of Alon Shvut continues to grow via the creation of new â€˜outposts.â€™
On January 29, 1998 colonists from Alon Shvut set up a new outpost on Palestinian land in Beit Sakariya. They called it Givat Hahesh. â€œSeven mobile homes were set up on a hill one kilometer east of the Alon Shvut colony,â€ according to the ARIJ. Though illegal, even by the lawless standards of the Israeli state, Givat appears on the settlement map on the Gush Etzion website. Beit Skariya, inhabited continuously by the Palestinians for hundreds of years does not. Nor does it appear in name in DiMannoâ€™s reportage. Rosie writes of Gush Etzion, â€œTwenty thousand Jews live here, their towns and villages sprouting on the hillsides, now extending toward each other; an intertwining populace separated by a patchwork quilt of Arab-owned farmland and olive groves worked by Palestinian families from the village of Nahhalin.â€
What could possibly disturb this pastoral? Only the inconvenient facts of history.
Nahhalin is surrounded by illegal settlements, and the Israeli authorities have developed various methods for driving the natives out, from tearing down their houses, to time honoured bureaucratic schemes Kafka or John Ashcroft would recognize. â€œIn October 1991, Israeli surveying teams came to the land for ambiguous reasons, and one month later the Israeli government declared 300 dunums of the original 420 dunums as a â€œstate landâ€. The reason behind this action was to transfer the land for expanding the Israeli colony of Neve Daniel,â€ the ARIJ once again informs us. See http://www.poica.org/casestudies/Nahallin-4-8-03/index.htm for the case study.
DiManno once again only has ears for the settlers most transparent excuses. â€œResidents stress that their homes are built on either Jewish-purchased land or land owned by the state. [emphasis mine]"We never touch private Arab land," says Lieberman.â€
In her examination of Alon Shvut, Rosie DiManno does not refer to the well documented history of settler terror, only the self-congratulatory remark of the recent American settler who says of the outposts and the criminals who create them, â€œI see them as heroes. They're doing an amazing thing in protecting our land. I compare them to the original settlers of Israel, the ones who created the actual fact of a Jewish state.â€
The colonization is created and perpetuated by military violence, and it begets violent resistance, about which DiManno equivocates. â€œSettlements and outposts require expensive security deployment, government-funded infrastructures and barriers to Arab movement. Resentment builds and erupts. Attacks and retaliations occur. Each side has ambushed the other.â€ DiManno paints a false picture of two equal sides and describes violence in sentences without subjects, eliminating cause and effect, fact and history. Shit happens.
Torture of children also happens at the Gush Etzion police station. See http://www.jerusalemites.org/crimes/torture/index.htm for accounts from the victims. Bâ€™Tselem reports that â€œThe methods of torture included: Forcing minors to stand in painful positions for prolonged periods; Beating the minors severely for many hours, at times with the use of various objects; Splashing cold water on the detainees in the facility's courtyard in wintry conditions; Pushing the minor's head into the toilet bowl and flushing the toilet; Making death threatsâ€¦â€ Torture at Gush Etzion is also documented by Amnesty International at http://www.amnesty.org.il/reports/MDE_6.html .
No word on it from Rosie DiManno, whose moral compass points her towards the Gush Etzion local authorities, along a path of twisted logic.
Of the illegal outpost of Givat Hahesh, DiManno quotes Gush Etzion Mayor Shaul Goldstein - â€œ"If you waited for official permission, nothing would ever get done. You wouldn't even be able to add one little room to your house." Yet this is the situation faced by the invisible residents of Beit Sakariya, who â€œare not allowed to build stone houses, or even to add a single bedroom to their houses. Those shacks are even threatened of ultimate demolition at any time under the pretext of being built without a permit,â€ according to the ARIJ. Bâ€™Tselem provides some context. â€œIn this situation, and with no option, many Palestinians are compelled to build without a permit. The construction is the only way left to them to provide housing for themselves and their families.â€ DiMannoâ€™s take - â€œThis is the kind of nudge-nudge, wink-wink tacit approval from government that makes left-wing Israelis and Palestinian sympathizers crazy.â€ I thought the Israeli government was preventing poor Mayor Goldstein from building his one little room just a moment ago?
DiManno describes the Mayor of Gush Etzion as â€œa member of the Yesha Councilâ€ of Judea Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza http://www.yesha.virtual.co.il/ . â€˜Yeshaâ€™ is the Hebrew acronym for all three regions. Who exactly the Yesha Council is â€“ Rosie leaves it to the imagination.
The Yesha Council is, â€œone of the most powerful political lobbies in Israel,â€ according to Tamir Sorek, a leader of Israeli soldiers who refuse to serve the occupation DiManno mystifies, wink-wink, nudge-nudge.
The Yesha Council of Israeli Settlers is an organization to the right of Ariel Sharon â€“ the mass murderer and war criminal. DiManno makes them both sound like reasonable citizens engaged in debate instead of genocidal fanatics, though true, the entire mainstream media indulges this dangerous fantasy. â€œThe Yesha Council, [of Judea, Samaria and Gaza] feeling betrayed by Sharon's government and battle-weary after 32 months of the Palestinian uprising, met last week to gird for battle against the new peace plan,â€ she writes. â€œThey don't care about being cast as "chronic peace refuseniks."â€ Yesha Council member Goldstein describes Sharon as "1,000 times more dangerous" than all his predecessors, a frightening opponent who'd been one of theirs, a member of the family.â€ Rosie takes this insane nonsense seriously. â€œThis is the cradle of Judaeism. This is our land,â€ she quotes Goldsteinâ€™s plea, as if repetition could make it true. We now leave Rosie, turning to others for context, and sense.
The Yesha Council has demanded that the Sharon government expel the mass of Palestinians from their lands â€“ thatâ€™s ethnic cleansing, and DiManno does not explore this context. Yet itâ€™s certainly newsworthy, as Sorek points out. â€œWhile the demands rising from the right wing demonstrations tend to be realized in non-institutionalized ways (â€œin blood and fire we will expel Rabinâ€), the demands of Yesha Council tend to become the official policy of the Israeli government immediately once they are considered legitimate,â€ he writes.
The Yesha is known for making other radical and violent demands, such as at various times the assassination of Yasser Arafat, his expulsion from Palestine, and that Palestinians be forbidden from driving their own cars in the West Bank. On March 11, 2002 the Yesha Council organized a demonstration of tens of thousands of settlers who called on Ariel Sharon to dismantle the Palestinian Authority. Neve Gordon writes of it that â€œManyâ€¦who gathered at Rabin Square on March 11 carried banners calling for the â€œtransferâ€ of Palestinians from Israel.â€ Shortly thereafter Yasser Arafatâ€™s Ramallah compound was destroyed by the IDF, and Jenin was razed. March and April 2002 saw 1393 Palestinian dead and wounded. A coincidence, of course.
Yeshaâ€™s latest mass rally against peace occurred Wednesday, June 4th, 2003 on Zion Square in Jerusalem. Twenty thousand peace refuseniks showed up to denounce the â€˜road mapâ€™ which Rosie demands Palestinians accept.
Whatâ€™s on the Yeshaâ€™s mind these days? A teeny tiny fence, which certainly would never â€œimpose on anybody.â€ Says a recent edition of Haâ€™aretz â€œThe Yesha Council of Jewish settlements is preparing a blueprint for a fence to separate Israelis and Palestinians along a line east of the Green Line. In a number of regional councils in the territories, the blueprint for their area has already been drawn up and the Defense Ministry has received copies.â€ The Green Line demarcates the pre-1967 boundary between â€˜Israelâ€™ and the Palestinian territories which Israel has illegally occupied ever since. Alon Shvut is on the wrong side â€“ of the Green Line and of international law.
Haâ€™aretz later reported â€œYesha Council of Settlements is instead lobbying for the fence to be built on the lines defining "Area A," the smaller territories ruled solely by the Palestinian Authority. The council's chairman, Benzi Lieberman, has assured there will be "a bitter struggle" against the government if the fence goes up along the Green Line, since "it has the potential to become a political line," he said. Israelâ€™s borders are always expanding, and the Yesha has clearly been driving Israeli state policy outward, just as Sorek describes.
Hereâ€™s the Yeshaâ€™s rationale, but DiManno doesnâ€™t consider it newsworthy. For that we must turn once more to the Israeli press. â€œPinhas Wallerstein, head of the Binyamin regional council and one of the leaders of the Yesha Council explained some of the guidelines behind their blueprint: "Maximum Jewish population, with minimum Arab population, over maximum area, and all as part of an effort to correct the losses that a fence along the Green Line will bring about.â€â€
Gush Etzion will be inside the fence, and Beit Sakariyaâ€™s residents will likely be cut off from the rest of Palestine if the plan is enacted.
The irony is that DiMannoâ€™s sentimental rhetoric - â€œThis is Judea.â€ - would never cut it in Israeli journalism, which reports these facts as a matter of course.
Amira Hass reported on the effects of the fence in Haâ€™aretz on June 1, 2003 â€œThere have already been many reports about how tens of thousands of villagers have been cut off from their lands, how some villages have been imprisoned between the two sides of the "fence," and how Qalqiliyah has been cut off entirely. There have also been reports about how the separation fence is constantly being moved eastward, by settler demand.â€
These are just facts. Hass continues, â€œBut the Yedioth reporter, Meron Rapaport, went a step further, asking key people in the settlements about those facts. According to the quotes from Ariel Mayor Ron Nahman, he has already seen the map of Palestinian enclaves being created by the fence: "That's the same map I've seen every time I've visited Arik [Sharon] since 1978. He told me he's been thinking about it since 1973."â€ Now thatâ€™s journalism â€“ â€˜monitoring the centres of powerâ€™ as Hass once described her work to Robert Fisk.
DiManno speaks for the centres of power. How else to explain the following rant?
â€œPalestinians might revile Israelis as oppressors and occupiers, might bleat to the international community for redress of their political grievances. But Palestinians the world over aren't hunted down like dogs. Arabs the world over aren't targeted for extermination. Muslims the world over aren't murdered in packs. Humankind would not stand for it. The Pan-Arab alliance would not stand for it. Islamic countries would not stand for it,â€ said Rosie in her December 2nd, 2002 column. Such chutzpah! But thatâ€™s all it is.
The Wexner analysis advises Israel apologists to â€œFind yourself a good female spokesperson.â€ They must have been thinking of Rosie DiManno. Along with the illegal settlements and the occupation she defends, Rosieâ€™s redoubt on page A2 is safe, but only as long as we continue to stand for it.
The author, Stephen James Kerr firstname.lastname@example.org is an investigative journalist in Toronto.
What you can do.
Tell Rosieâ€™s editors what you think.
Read Rosie DiManno on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. When you have had enough, write a letter to the Editor of the Toronto Star at email@example.com or via fax to 416 869-4322; or by mail to One Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5E 1E6. (The Star reminds readers that letters must include full name, address, and phone numbers of sender. Street names and phone numbers will not be published.) Always maintain a polite tone, and use facts to win your argument.
For more information see
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