Channel 4 News suggests PA leaders aren’t responsible for poor governance

Regardless of journalists' individual views on the logic behind the economics-first approach of the new US peace plan, their insistence on treating Palestinians and their leaders like children by robbing them of agency serves, as much as any other single factor, to grossly distort their readers' understanding of the conflict.

A June 26th report (Israelis and Palestinians absent from Kushner Middle East conference) by Channel 4 News international editor Lindsey Hilsum is standard British media fare, but includes an observation worth briefly commenting on.

Pay attention to the section of the video beginning at 22 seconds and ending at 40 seconds:

It’s telling that, following US Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin stressing that long-term investment in the Palestinian economy requires strong property rights and the rule of law, Hilsum editorialises:

“No answer to the question: how can Palestinians have property rights and rule of law if their land is occupied by Israel?”

There is “no answer” because it’s an absurd question, one born either of ignorance or ideology. 

If it’s the former, let us remind the Channel 4 News journalist that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians in the West Bank are governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), and there is nothing preventing authorities in Ramallah from instituting economic and political reforms necessary for an improved business climate. 

But, it’s more likely that the journalist – as with so many reporters assigned to the region – is blinded by an ideology which insists that Israel – and only Israel – is responsible for Palestinian suffering, and so is unable to process the intuitive idea that bad decisions by PA leaders lead to bad outcomes.

Regardless of journalists’ views on the logic behind the economics-first approach of the new US peace plan, their insistence on treating Palestinians and their leaders like children by robbing them of agency serves, as much as any other single factor, to grossly distort their readers’ understanding of the conflict.

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