26 June, 2009

What suddenly changed?

Western media often have a funny way of refusing to speak in a straightforward manner about the most simple things - calling colonies "settlements", or occupied territory "disputed" for example. This applies especially to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, of course, and Swedish media is usually no different from other Western media in this regard. So I was positively surprised by this article about Netanyahus trip to Europe this week, and the resistance he met there against his demand that Israel should be allowed to "continue colonize the West Bank." Further on, the journalist uses the (very correct and straightforward) phrase "extensive jewish colonization" of the West Bank to describe Israel's settlement policy. Surely this would have been almost unthinkable in a mainstream daily newspaper not so long ago?

I haven't been following Swedish media coverage of the conflict closely during my stay in Egypt, so I can't tell for sure, but this might be a small indication that a broader change in attitudes towards Israeli colonialism and apartheid is taking place. I think the public outcry against the war on Gaza might have played a role in this, as well as the new focus of the Obama-administration on the issue of settlements (even if he is wrong to focus narrowly on settlement expansion - the Arabist blog has a good discussion about this issue over here.) But of course, it might also be simply because it is easier for journalists to write critically about a right-wing Israeli government including blatant racists like Lieberman.

Pic above: Jewish colony Har Homa in eastern Jerusalem in the background, a demolished Palestinian home in front.

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