The Press and Politics in Israel: The Jerusalem Post from 1932 to the Present

By Erwin Frenkel | Go to book overview

8
The Intifada and the Press

TRUNCHEONS AND TATTLERS

Facing us in a bare briefing room at army headquarters in Gaza were three young colonels, each well under 40. It was late in the afternoon and, like their soiled battle dress, they were weary, yearning more for sleep than a meeting with querulous editors who would soon be whisked back to the comforts of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

"I want them to hear what's on your minds, and I want you to hear what they have to say," the commanding officer, General Yitzhak Mordechai, told us after making the introductions. Broad shouldered and dark skinned by virtue of his Kurdish family roots, Mordechai was a tough, beribboned field commander.

Like most of his rank, he talked and smiled easily with the Israeli press. Even career advancement at the higher levels of the army was no longer wholly immune to the uses of public relations. The entire southern district, embracing the Negev and the now peaceful Sinai frontier with Egypt, was under his command. But since December 9, 1987, when the Palestinian uprising, or intifada, began, the Gaza Strip filled his hours.

Earlier that day, the army had brought us down to the Gaza Strip. The entire area was under curfew. At midday, shopkeepers in the city of Gaza and the other towns were allowed to open their stores for two hours to enable die inhabitants to purchase provisions. When the time was up, the iron shutters (meant for thieves not curfews) would close over the store fronts, and the streets would be emptied for the patrolling jeeps and occasional troop carriers. That was on quiet days.

On other days, the intifada's young leaders would rule. Mass street demonstrations against Israeli occupation; protest strikes keeping thousands of Gazans from work in Israel; hooded, fleet-footed youngsters hurling bags of urine and feces at Israeli troops; cursing Palestinian women clutching babies while the air was fouled by burning tires and tear gas canisters; 18-year-old boy soldiers

-137-

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The Press and Politics in Israel: The Jerusalem Post from 1932 to the Present
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Prelude xiii
  • 1- Beginnings 1
  • 2- News and Other Party Games 17
  • 3- Family Feuds Before The Six-Day War 33
  • 4- A New Israel and a New Press 59
  • 5- Uncaging a Newspaper 87
  • 6- Reporting Mr. Begin 97
  • 7- Unity Without Consent 121
  • 8- The Intifada and the Press 137
  • 9- Conglomerate Conquest 151
  • Notes 177
  • Bibliography 181
  • Index 183
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