Intifada Hits the Headlines
How the Israeli Press Misreported the Outbreak of the Second Palestinian Uprising
Publication Year: 2004
In this nuanced and detailed study of newspaper reporting during the escalation of the second Intifada in the fall of 2000, Daniel Dor shows how real events are subject to distortion and manipulation by the media. In an analysis of the heart of Israel's media establishment -- the newspapers Yediot Ahronot, Ma'ariv, and Ha'aretz -- he finds a wide gap between the reality reported by field reporters and the eventual newspaper accounts framed by editors. Led by beliefs, opinions, and emotional responses rather than the facts provided by their reporters, these editors created a platform on which a new and fearful narrative for Israeli--Palestinian relations was built. Yet while Dor demonstrates that the media construct the news rather than simply report it, his sophisticated analysis also shows that no one entity or person is responsible. Rather than a supreme authority, Dor argues, it is the influence of fear, anger, ignorance, and a desire to please and sell newspapers that threatens the freedom of the press in a liberal democracy.
Published by: Indiana University Press
Three years after the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada, public opinion polls consistently tell a paradoxical story: On the one hand, they show that substantial majorities on both sides, Israelis and Palestinians, understand and accept the basic parameters of the final settlement. On the other hand, the polls also show that each side is deeply...
I would like to thank Miran Epstein, Avi Weinberg, Jacky Hugi, Yehiel Limor, Rafi Mann, Moshe Negbi, and Haim Rechnitzer for their help with the original Hebrew version of the book, and Jérôme Bourdon, Dafna Lemish, Gabi Lanyi, and especially Chuck Salmon for...
On Friday the 13th, October 2000—two weeks after the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising that later came to be known as the “El-Aqsa Intifada”— the local Tel Aviv supplement of Israel’s most popular daily, Yediot Ahronot, published a survey conducted by the Geocartographia Institute among Arab and Jewish residents of Jaffa. The investigators were...
2. “Under Arafat’s Baton”
The first newspaper reports of the “El-Aqsa Intifada” reached the newsstands on Monday, October 2, after a weekend extended by the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana). In the preceding three days, the Jewish residents of the country had watched in fear and anger the harsh, incomprehensible television images: thousands of Arabs hurling rocks, burning...
3. “Make No Mistake, Yasser”
The two factual statements that came to dominate newspaper headlines during the first two days of the Intifada—the “fact” that Arafat had initiated and planned the riots, and the “fact” that he used Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount as an “excuse”—remained at the core of the news coverage of the Intifada throughout the...
4. “The Limits of Restraint”
As we have seen in the preceding chapter, Barak’s ultimatum captured the Sunday papers’ main headlines. The main front page headline in Ha’aretz is: BARAK’S ULTIMATUM TO ARAFAT: CEASE FIRE BY TOMORROW OR NEGOTIATIONS ARE OFF. Under another front page headline—ISRAEL PLANNING A SERIES OF SANCTIONS—the newspaper...
5. “A Fifth Column”
On Yom Kippur eve, October 8, about twelve hours after the apocalyptic morning newspapers hit the stands, thousands of Jews throughout Israel took to the streets. They had decided to deal personally with what Yoel Markus had called, in the above paragraph, “the real problem.” In Nazareth, Karmiel, and Tiberias, in Hatikva neighborhood...
6. “In All Their Murderous Ugliness”
The second week of the Intifada—a short week that started the day after Yom Kippur, Tuesday, October 10—was burned into the Israeli collective memory as the week during which it finally “became clear” that the Palestinians had turned their backs on the peace process and were doing everything possible to drag Israel into...
7. “We Have Turned Every Stone”
On Monday, October 16, only four days after the Palestinians were “exposed in all their murderous ugliness,” Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat met again, at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit in Sinai. The newspapers reporting the planned summit, on Sunday the 15th, expressed considerable...
During the first month of the Intifada, the Jewish public in Israel went through a radical transformation in its perception of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In social-psychological terms, this change can be characterized on the basis of the distinction between tractable and intractable conflicts (Kriesberg 1993; Bar-Tal 1998, 2000, 2001): In the Oslo period, from...