News Release

Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation

The New York Times reports Monday: “Fragile Cease-Fire Takes Hold Between Israel and Gaza After Weekend Attacks.”

SAREE MAKDISI, makdisi at humnet.ucla.edu, @sareemakdisi
Makdisi’s books include Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation. He is professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA. His pieces include “Apartheid” for Critical Inquiry.

He said today: “The way sentences are constructed and the word choices made (‘militant,’ ‘retaliation,’ etc.) frame the story in such a way that the story is told before it even really begins, because the words have done their work. (Once you hear that a state is ‘retaliating’ for ‘militant’ rocket fire, what more do you really need to know? And how different would it be if you read that the rockets were being fired in ‘retaliation’ for years of occupation?). ‘Militant’ is used to describe Palestinians but not Israelis (who are presumably peaceable).”

Makdisi wrote in the Los Angles Times last year: “The Palestinian scholar Edward Said once pointed out that facts don’t speak for themselves; they require a narrative to absorb and sustain them. What was missing from almost all of the mainstream media coverage, as usual, was not the facts as such, but rather the Palestinian narrative of enforced exile and struggle for return that renders those facts comprehensible, both politically meaningful and emotionally resonant.”

Background: In March, United Nations investigators found “Israeli security forces committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. … These violations clearly warrant criminal investigation and prosecution.” And that Israeli forces have “intentionally shot children, they’ve intentionally shot people with disabilities, they’ve intentionally shot journalists.” See Institute for Public Accuracy news release: “U.N. Report of Israeli Crimes and the Efforts to Silence Critics.”