Understanding the Conflict

Before i can assess the representation of Palestine, by the British media, i want to understand the conflict, to broaden my knowledge of the topic at hand. this is why i have explored without limiting to the UK, information regarding the conflict.

Via google scholar, i have found a book called “Image and Reality of Israel – Palestine Conflict”, by Norman G. Finklestein.

Norman G. Finkelstein, 2003. Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, New and Revised Edition. 2nd Edition. Verso.

“…the core of Zionist belief, and proved to be the principal obstacle, to any reconciliation with arabs- namely that Palestine should one day contain a Jewish majority.” (pg. 7, Image and Reality of Israel – Palestine Conflict, 2003)

this ideology held by the zionists, is assessed as the principal obstacle to Arab- Israeli peace. The Channel 4 Dispatches documentary “Children of Gaza”, shows a first hand opposition in palestinian mentality, in defence of their land.

Dispatches – Videos – Children of Gaza – Channel 4. 2013. Dispatches – Videos – Children of Gaza – Channel 4. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/videos/all/children-of-gaza. [Accessed 10 December 2013].

at 00:26s of the documentary short clip, the subject states “we will defend our country and not let them one inch into our land.”

from the above book, the BBC, Channel 4, and the ISM website, it is clear, than the main cause for dispute between the state of israel, and the Palestinian people, is ownership over land. the other problems, including the blockade for aid and food, are extensions of this initial problem.

Palestinian Loss of Land

Juan Cole, (2010), Palestinian Loss of Land, 1946 – 2000 [ONLINE]. Available at:http://www.juancole.com/images-ext/2010/03/map-story-of-palestinian-nationhood.jpg [Accessed 10 December 13]

This is the change in palestinian and israeli land, since a year before the United States, provided the jews their own official land, as seen in the map, second from the left.

this helps to understand the anger in the palestinian population, and the outrage of attacks, since 1969 until present. it also, indirectly states the impact of the zionists, over israeli military action.



Children of Gaza

This is a Documentary that is filmed under the Dispatches series, the “award winning investigative current affairs programme”

Dispatches – Videos – Children of Gaza – Channel 4. 2013. Dispatches – Videos – Children of Gaza – Channel 4. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/videos/all/children-of-gaza. [Accessed 12 December 2013].

i cannot embed the video, so in the harvard reference above, is the link to the page with the short clip outlining the essentials of the documentary. the full documentary is no longer available on ‘4OD’

The very first to lines from the clip, are as follows ‘ Before the war, i was only thinking about my education. but since the war, i only think about defending my country.’

Immediately, the emotional response i personally receive from the first few seconds, is very similar to the one i received from the ISM ‘Reports” page. this is a very different scene, from the one painted by the BBC’s ‘Life in the Gaza Strip’ News page.

the Mis-en-scene, in this video is very destructive. the boy is sitting in the rubble of a destroyed building. he’s wearing tacky clothes. his face is dirty. personally, i can feel a sense of dehydration just from looking at those shots. the representation of the palestinian situation, is much more gloom, and saddening in this documentary.

Screen shot 2013-12-13 at 00.35.31 Screen shot 2013-12-13 at 00.36.30


above, are screenshots, displaying the Mis-en-scene, described above.

“(a) demonstrates innovation, experiment and creativity in the form and content of programmes;

(b) appeals to the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society;

(c) makes a significant contribution to meeting the need for the licensed public service channels to include programmes of an educational nature and other programmes of educative value; and

(d) exhibits a distinctive character.”

Channel 4’s Remit – Channel 4 – Info – Corporate. 2013. Channel 4’s Remit – Channel 4 – Info – Corporate. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.channel4.com/info/corporate/about/channel-4s-remit. [Accessed 10 December 2013].

Above is the remit for channel 4. from this, we can see that they must show ‘programmes of an educational nature and other programmes of educative value’. 

this documentary is fulfilling the requirements of the channels remit. it is a culturally diverse programme, has an educational purpose, and exhibits a distinct feel, in comparison with the BBC News page’s depiction of Palestine.

“Children of Gaza” focuses partially on the Islamic Jihad resistance in Palestine. it seems to voice a lot of palestinian opinions on killing jews, as well as create an empathy for the palestinians. this emits a feel of absolute realism, and a lack of manipulation of their current state.

this documentary, has definitely provided me with a sense of life in Palestine, which i can surely use in my practical artefact. i also learned, from this, the passion, and hatred towards the jewish army, in some palestinian people.

Channel 4’s representation in that of a different nature to the BBC’s. The BBC seems to focus on Palestine as a state. it focuses on the economy, education, or all round statistical data. it is a much more quantitive evaluation of the palestinian situation. Channel 4 however, seems to go deeper, and focus on the people within the state. it aims to create an emotional response from the audience, while still remaining as neutral and unbiased as possible.

web-based news coverage comparison BBC – ISM

The BBC thoroughly covers the current Palestinian situation. in its ‘Middle East’ Sections of their News page. The article referenced below, called “Life in the Gaza Strip” seems to outline the BBC’s representation on the current situation. it describes the economy, and living conditions of individuals in Gaza, as well as literacy rates, which are mentioned to be around 93% for women, 98% for men. these figures are astoundingly high, even in comparison to the UK’s 99% for both men and women.

“There are colleges and universities in Gaza, there are about five or six, but it’s so limited because there are so many graduates without jobs so the market is over-saturated.”

this is a quote from the article, which explains the unemployment rate.

“After eight days of conflict between Israel and the Hamas movement in Gaza in which five Israelis and over 150 Palestinians died, a ceasefire is taking hold and some semblance of normal life is returning.”

above, is the only statement in the article, titles ‘Life in the Gaza Strip’ that mentions Palestinian and Israeli lives being taken in conflict.

A lot of the article seems to simply outline the state, and gives positive quotations, to remove some of the negative light on the current situation. A quote from a palestinian in the article states:

‘Despite this, he says his family can afford their basic needs.

“We are very happy when everything is safe and we are living a normal life…I had the opportunity to move abroad a long time ago but every time I come back, because this is where I belong,” he said.’

BBC News – Life in the Gaza Strip. 2013. BBC News – Life in the Gaza Strip. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-20415675. [Accessed 06 December 2013].


These are a few headlines, from the REPORTS section of the International Solidarity Movement Website.

Three people detained and several people injured during demonstration in Nabi Saleh

Harassment and arrest in Khan al Luban

Daily brutality towards Palestinians in occupied Al-Khalil

Demonstration against Israeli forces as invasions and arrests increase in Azzoun

Reports | International Solidarity Movement. 2013. Reports | International Solidarity Movement. [ONLINE] Available at:http://palsolidarity.org/category/reports/. [Accessed 12 December 2013]

Amongst other headlines, these represent an entirely different story, in comparison with the BBC. although the BBC website mentions some negative aspect of the current situation, the ISM website seems to have an completely different take on the situation.

obviously one of the goals of the ISM is to raise money for their operations in Gaza and the West bank, so a slight exaggeration can be predicted in their website.

another huge difference between the two news pages is the visual content.

below are images from each web page.


Shoes for sale at a makeshift street market


Many children attend schools run by the UN

The two captioned images above, are from the BBC website. They both show progress in Palestine. the first is a shoe market, which is in the economy section of the website, and the second shows a class of girls, being educated in a UN run school.



the above two photographs are from the reports page of the ISM website. the top is showing a blindfolded man being arrested, and the one below shows an israeli soldier watching Palestinians being tear gassed. now the level of brutality shown in the photographs, varies massively, from the BBC to the ISM.

The BBC’s remit states they must inform and educate. they cannot lie about their content, and so we assume their facts online, are truthful. however, the BBC is not required show an absolute picture. they can very well avoid certain topics, which they deem irrelevant, or unnecessary. therefor, if they choose to avoid writing or presenting about a massively violent state, like the ISM suggests Palestine is, then they are not breaking the laws of their remit.

“Who We Are

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the long-entrenched and systematic oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian population, using non-violent, direct-action methods and principles.  Founded in August 2001, ISM aims to support and strengthen the Palestinian popular resistance by being immediately alongside Palestinians in olive groves, on school runs, at demonstrations, within villages being attacked, by houses being demolished or where Palestinians are subject to consistent harassment or attacks from soldiers and settlers as well as numerous other situations.”

About ISM | International Solidarity Movement. 2013. About ISM | International Solidarity Movement. [ONLINE] Available at:http://palsolidarity.org/about/. [Accessed 09 December 2013].

The above, is a quote from the Palestinian-led, ISM website. it states what their aim as an organisation is.

The ISM as a charity, has the purpose, stated in their statement above. the website however, is a media tool, with multi-purposes. like any organisational website, its aim is to self-promote. this involves creating awareness of themselves as a body, as well as promoting the cause they are involved in.

To raise money, is the second motive of their website. they are a not-for-profit charity organisation, and therefor must raise funds, in order to produce operations. emotional responses are required in donors, and therefor the brutality in the photographs, and the intense report headlines can be justified.


To evaluate, the representation by the BBC’s page is a subtle one, in comparison to the ISM web page. there is no way of deriving which is the more realistic, however the differences are very visible. by looking at the aim, and guidelines for each establishment, the content on their pages is accurate, to what they are trying to achieve. the BBC’s page definitely informs, however the extend to which it does that, is still under question.

The BBC – Historical Documentary

  • 1.

consisting of or based on official documents.

  1. “documentary evidence of regular payments from the company”
    synonyms: recorded, documented, registered, written, chronicled, archived,archive, on record, in writing, on paper; More

  2. 2.
    using pictures or interviews with people involved in real events to provide a factual report on a particular subject.
    “a documentary programme about Manchester United”
    synonyms: factual, non-fictional, real-life, true to life, fact-based More

  1. 1.
    a film or television or radio programme that provides a factual report on a particular subject.
    synonyms: factual programme, factual film;

    This is the Online definition of a ‘DOCUMENTARY’. from the definition, it can be assumed that all statements made in a documentary, are of fact and not opinion. some documentaries are very opinionated, especially Channel 4 produced documentaries, however these must have a disclaimer, stating that the opinions within these documentaries are of the individuals stating them.

    Historical Documentaries, like the one below, can be used to really understand the timeline of the palestine/israel conflict, in a confined time, in a visual/audio manner.

    ‘To inform, educate, and Entertain’ is the mission of the BBC. The visuals in the Documentary, are clearly for entertainment, however they serve every purpose in informing AND education audiences of what actually happened, without being over manipulative regarding events.

    Israel & Palestine: The Truth


    This documentary focuses on the wars between the two states. It is an accurate account, and can be used in my project to show historical importance in Palestine’s Current state. It also can be used to show the neutrality in the BBC depiction of the historical conflict. However, it must be remember that this is a historical documentary, and not one of current state.

    This will play a relevant part in my major project, as i will need to understand what went on in the state of Israel, to be able to attempt to understand some of the emotional responses from people i talk to, or read of. having said that, this documentary will not play a major role in my practical artefact, as i wish to make that a current study, rather than a historical one. i will include up to 4 historical references where appropriate, just to inform new audiences, as i wish to direct my practical artefact at a mass british audience. this is the only way i believe the impact i wish it to have, will occur.

A Questionare for ISM Charity Workers.

i sent an email to the ISM, via their contact page, asking for a response to my questionnaire from their British volunteers. i understand that they would be very busy, which is why i offered in return, a small fee of money, and my services to help out, either during easter, or the summer.  i have previously contacted the ISM enquiring about their work in Palestine. I received a reply after about 3-4 weeks of sending the email, and so i’m hoping to get a response within around 2-3 more weeks! below is a link to a PDF file with the questionnaire, along with a short analysis of the questions i asked. these questions will also be evaluated once i receive the responses.

ISM Worker Questionnaire <- PDF TO QUESTIONNAIRE

Different Perspectives

Different Perspectives


The Internet obviously has a vast amount of information available. Websites for charities such as the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) focus on the Palestinian Side of the Conflict, in hope to aid the people of the state, without much involvement in political affairs.


This is a charity I will partially use, to analyse the current situation in Palestine.


One of the goals of this charity, is to raise money, in able to fund their operations in Palestine.

Screen shot 2013-12-11 at 13.31.05


I can assume from this, that some of the stories posted in their ‘Reports’ page, are exaggerated slightly, to provoke an emotional response in their audience. This is why I have decided to email the charity, with a short questionnaire. This will allow me to have in total, 3 perspectives of the current situation.




  1. A politically motivated perspective, from the British Media.
  2. An Pro Palestinian view, from the charity websites such as the ISM
  3. A Real view, from aid workers currently in Palestine.


Another advantageous perspective would be a pro Israeli one. This would be more difficult to obtain via primary research, however through means of secondary, this would be accessible.