A friend writes:
Isabel Kershner has some useful information about Israel’s hysterical response to the fly-in today, though she leaves out the frightening scenes of angry crowds at the airport.
But she obfuscates the basic reality that the fly-in was mean to underline, that Israel controls all borders and entry and exit of Palestinians and foreigners into and out of the West Bank, and cuts Palestinians off from the outside world. Readers won’t learn these very basic facts about Israeli control over Palestinian lives in the NY Times.
Instead, this is how Kershner describes the initiative to fly-in via Israel’s Ben Gurion airport:
There were persistent reports that the foreign visitors would try to create chaos and paralyze Ben-Gurion Airport, despite strenuous denials from the organizers of the campaign, who advocate nonviolence. They insisted that the foreigners only wanted to transit the airport and “go to Palestine.” (The West Bank has no airport of its own.)
A less knowledgeable reader might ask, “Well why didn’t they just cross a land border to visit the West Bank?” (Kershner didn’t tell you that Israel similarly controls the land borders).
Another reader might ask, “Why don’t the Palestinians just build their own airport rather than using Israel’s? Don’t they get enough foreign aid?” (The NY Times didn’t explain that Israel won’t allow Palestinians to have their own airport).
This is how AP has described Israeli control of the borders in it’s reporting on the fly-in:
Visitors can reach the West Bank only through Israeli-controlled crossings, either through international airports or the land border with Jordan. Citing security concerns, Israel bars most Palestinians from entering Israel or using its airport, meaning they must travel to neighboring Jordan to fly out.
Why can’t the NY Times describe these basic structural realities?