Monday, August 22, 2005

Arab TVs fend off Israeli propaganda claims in Gaza coverage - Yahoo! News

Arab TVs fend off Israeli propaganda claims in Gaza coverage - Yahoo! News

DUBAI (AFP) - Arab satellite news channels Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya have been forced to fend off accusations they served up Israeli propaganda with their coverage of the historic evacuation of the Gaza Strip settlements.

“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 mainly 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'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.

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