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Al-Arabiya og Al-Jazeera kritiseres for å dekke Israels evakuering fra Gaza. Det vekker sympati for bosetternes lidelser og respekt for den israelske hæren, hevder kritikere i den arabiske verden.

«We understand when the international media fall into the trap of the Jewish settlers and run live coverage of the evacuation,» said Abdel Bari Atwan, editor-in-chief of the London-based newspaper Al-Qods Al-Arabi.

«But we do not understand that Arab channels should fall into the same trap and serve (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon’s objectives,» said Atwan, dubbing the evacuation «a grotesque media circus.»

«Arab public opinion cannot be fooled by the crocodile tears shed by the settlers on houses built on stolen Palestinian territory in Gaza,» he said.

The criticism stemmed 2_kommentarly from footage of the Jewish settlers crying over their lost homes, scenes which were seen as depicting the Israelis as victims, explained Atwan.

And the images of Israeli forces evacuating angry settlers without violence were seen as portraying the army as a powerful and disciplined institution.

Atwan er redaktør for den London-baserte avisen Al-Qods Al-Arabi. Atwan er fast deltaker i BBCs mediepanel, Dateline London, og intervjues som synser om arabiske forhold og terror.

Man må spørre: hvilket forhold har han til informasjonsfriheten? En historisk hendelse som evakueringen av Gaza skal ikke dekkes fordi det kan vekke sympati for jøder! Dette smaker av den uforsonlighet som er selve roten til elendigheten i Midtøsten. Det er interessant at det tyter ut når Sharon gjør et positivt trekk. Det går ikke etter boka til de uforsonlige, som har sett for seg et helt annet forløp. Noen av de samme tendenser ser vi blant norske eksperter og kommentatorer.

Da er det oppløftende å se at de to satellittkanalene, som ellers er kritisert for å piske opp stemningen, ikke gir etter.

Atwan’s remarks echoed similar criticism by a number of Arab intellectuals and viewers who called in during talk shows on the evacuation, but such claims have been flatly denied by both channels.

Nakhle al-Haj, director of news and programmes at the Dubai-based Saudi television Al-Arabiya, said the channel ran special coverage on the long-suffering Palestinians of Gaza.

«We showed the difficulties encountered by the fishermen, the agricultural workers, the traders … and all the residents,» he told AFP.

«Sharon did not use us,» he insisted. «On the contrary, we have run into a lot of difficulties. Israeli authorities didn’t make things easy for us, especially when it came to access to the settlements.»

Ayman Jaballah, deputy editor-in-chief of the Qatar-based television Al-Jazeera, told AFP that «we were fully aware that Israel could try to benefit from this historical event on the media front.

«And this is what we explained live,» he said. «We tried to cover the event in an objective manner and we allowed all parties to explain their points of views.»

The two channels, viewed daily by dozens of millions of people, beefed up their teams of correspondents in the Palestinian territories for the pullout, which ends 38 years of Israeli occupation.

Al-Jazeera has mobilized six correspondents, each accompanied by complete crews, while its rival Al-Arabiya channel has deployed seven correspondents on the ground.

Saken har interessante perspektiver. At Al-Jazeera kommer inn i den israelsk-palestinske konflikten og dekker den profesjonelt er noe nytt. Konflikten er brukt til å holde hatet mot Israel og USA ved like i den arabiske verden. Nå merker de uforsonlige at taket glipper og får panikk.

Arab TVs fend off Israeli propaganda claims in Gaza coverage