Global media attention on Iraq allows Sharon to continue Palestinian genocide

While the world remains riveted on Iraq, and debates the inevitability of an American invasion, the Sharon regime finds it expedient to intensify its barbaric military conduct in Palestine, out of the glare of the cameras.

In this either/or situation, media outlets have been hard-pressed to shift their focus away from Iraq, simply because it remains the major international story. While this view may be supported by media bosses as the most “pragmatic”, many journalists argue that both Iraq and the on-going military occupation of Palestine are equally worthy of sustained coverage.

After all, the “war on terror”, which is the rubric whereby the Bush administration is prosecuting its military invasion of Iraq, is the identical cover used by the Zionist regime to maim and kill Palestinians.

International media giants, such as CNN, BBC, API and Reuters, who have a distinct advantage over smaller, localised outfits such as SABC, e-tv, and SAPA, and despite having a presence in Israel, have unfairly relegated horrific daily events in occupied Palestine, to mere ‘snippets’. This muted coverage of the world’s longest struggle against foreign occupation, is reflective of America’s immoral and unjust policy vis-é-vis Palestine.

Deputy Secretary of Defence, Paul Wolfowitz, in a recent interview with the Washington Post, claims that following war with Iraq, “our stake in pushing for a Palestinian state will grow”. To assert, as Wolfowitz does, that the US interest in Palestinian statehood, and dealing with Israeli settlements will be serious, following the overthrow of Saddam is to believe that nobody has paid an iota of attention to the atrocities committed by Sharon’s armed forces.

South Africa’s media faces the daunting task of ensuring that coverage of Israeli bulldozers razing Palestinian homes; Israeli tankers blowing up buildings; and Israeli assassins executing defenders of the intifada, is not banished from public view.

As a regional media powerhouse, South Africa has no choice but to live up to the continent’s expectations.

(Mr. Iqbal Jasarat is Chairman of the Media Review Network, which is an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa.)