Watch: Israeli Channel 2 (poorly) covers the protest in Nabi Saleh

Recently, a popular Israeli news program visited the village of Nabi Saleh, just west of Ramallah, in order to investigate the demonstrations for an Israeli audience. They ended up producing half of hour of misleading Border Police testimonies while missing the fascinating story of Palestinian-Israeli cooperation inside the village.

Palestinian Child in a Cloud of Tear Gas in Nabi Saleh on International Human Rights Day. Photo Credit: Joseph Dana
Palestinian Child in a Cloud of Tear Gas in Nabi Saleh on International Human Rights Day. Photo Credit: Joseph Dana

360, an Israeli Channel Two news magazine which approaches current affairs from a “360 degree” angle, recently aired a program about Nabi Saleh. The program was designed to give Israelis a look into demonstrations which have been gaining international headlines for years but received relatively little domestic coverage. The thrust of the program left the viewer with the feeling that the third intifada is underway in Nabi Saleh and the “unarmed” resistance of rocks will soon give way to terror and weapons. Even a number of the commentators noted that the events in Nabi Saleh are similar to those in Egypt and Syria but that it is important to remember that the Palestinians always resort to terror in the end.

Surprisingly, not everything in the program was part of a bigger Israeli propaganda strategy which is all too often the case with Israeli mainstream media. A number of interviews with villagers about their experience of collective military repression were honest depictions of the hardship placed on Palestinians by Israeli occupation. However, Border Police officers who were directly  responsible for the violence described by the villagers, were depicted as sensitive and questioning actors who none the less dutifully complete their duties in a heroic manner. The classic Zionist motif of the shooting and crying Israeli solider was so strong in the program that at times it appeared pathetic.

I must confess that I was not on the edge of my seat with excitement to see how the Israeli media portrayed Nabi Saleh, a village which I have covered for over one year. But I was shocked to see how they portrayed the Israelis which regularly attend demonstrations there.  Not one of the Israelis present in Nabi Saleh are  referred to as “Israeli”. Rather, the programs narrators, journalists or producers used only the term anarchists, which is the same term which the army uses due to its trouble maker connotations.

Actually, there is one place where Israeli activists are referred to directly and in a positive light. During an interview with Nariman Tamimi, a Betselem field photographer and resident of Nabi Saleh, she candidly tells the camera that before the demonstrations her only experiences with Israelis were as soldiers and settlers but now she has a number of Israeli friends.  Tamimi’s comments highlight one of the most interesting story lines of the Nabi Saleh demonstrations; the joint struggle between Israelis and Palestinians. Ignoring completely this storyline, the program sent an unmistakable message; there are no Israelis which support the unarmed struggle in Nabi Saleh, only anarchists. You can watch the full program in Hebrew from the 360 website here: