The role of media in the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Bad other instead of suffering neighbor. Why do both parties not see the degree of harm they cause to each other?

Bachelor Thesis, 2016

42 Pages, Grade: 1,7

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures .. ii

List of Abbreviations .. ii

1. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as Classic Example of an Intractable Conflict: Introduction .. 1

1.1. Intractability and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict .. 2

1.2. Conflicts Between Israel and Gaza: The Operations Brother’s Keeper and Protective Edge .. 5

2. The Role of Media in Violent Conflict: A Constructivist Perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict .. 6

2.1. Constructivist Theory in International Relations .. 6

2.2. Constructions of Violence in Public Discourse .. 9

2.3. The Case of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Theoretical Framework .. 10

2.3.1. Rules of Formation, Silences and Practices .. 10

2.3.2. „Bad Other Instead of Suffering Neighbor“: Hypotheses.. 12

3. Data and Methodology .. 14

3.1. English Media in Israel and Palestine ..14

3.2. Operationalization of the Theoretical Concept .. 16

4. Data Analysis and Discussion .. 18

4.1. Distribution of Articles and Conceptual Categories .. 18

4.2. Compassion, Suffering and Culpability in Israeli and Palestinian Newspaper Articles 23

4.3. Findings of Compassion in Context .. 25

5. Perception as Bad Other Instead of Suffering Neighbor: Conclusion .. 27

Appendix A: Tables and Figures .. I

Appendix B: Depictions … IV

Appendix C: Executive Summary in German Language .. V

Bibliography.. VI

List of Tables and Figures

Table 4.1: Distribution of articles according to time .. 19

Table 4.2: Distribution of articles according to length .. 19

Table 4.3: Distribution of keywords (frequency in percent) .. 21

Table 4.4: Distribution of keywords per sample (frequency in percent) .. 22

Table 4.5: Frame occurrence (present or not) by sample and newspaper .. 24

Table A.1: Results of the keyword strategy and compilation of the sample .. I

Table A.2: List of categories and words compiling the dictionary .. I

Table A.3: Category occurrence by newspaper .. II

Table A.4: Distribution of articles according to time (both samples in comparison) .. II

Table A.5: Codebook with descriptions .. III

Figure 4.1: Keyword occurrence by newspaper .. 20

Depiction B.1: Paragraphs containing expressions of compassion .. IV

List of Abbreviations

DOPOISGA Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements

IR International Relations

IDF Israeli Defense Forces

JP Jerusalem Post

PA Palestinian Authority

PLO Palestine Liberation Organization Ma’an News Agency

UN United Nations

WAFA Palestine News & Information Agency

1. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as Classic Example of an Intractable Conflict: Introduction

The [2014 Gaza] war led to the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians and 71 Israelis, as well as thousands of rocket attacks by Hamas on the Israeli home front and thousands of air strikes and artillery strikes by the IDF on Gaza.

- Jerusalem Post, 14.10.2014

The sharp increase of the death toll has risen to reach about 2,088, wounding more than 10,482. Among those killed by the Israeli ongoing attacks are 562 children, 255 women and 98 elderly.

- Palestine News & Information Agency, 23.08.2014

In Israel and Palestine, more than an entire generation has been raised knowing nothing else but a perpetual state of war with the other. The conflict contains two completely different narratives, narratives of victimization, oppression and hate. Each side can understand itself to be the victim of history, and exactly those zerosum notions of victimhood are the critical part of the intractability problem within the conflict (see for instance Cohen 2005: 343 ff.). Due to its importance for Middle-East peace and stability in the region, there is the need to further investigate the miscellaneous causes of this intractability. Concerning this matter, the challenges faced by media in covering the Israeli-Palestinian story were recently examined at the annual United Nations International Seminar on Peace in the Middle East [1] held in May 2015. Although the role of media and discourse in the midst of conflict was only a minor topic, the role of (international) media – especially the distortion of facts [2] – has been a question of matter for long (see for instance Behrens 2003; McMahon 2010, 2011; Baden 2014; Ozohu-Suleiman/Ishak 2014). This paper shares the assumption that those media representations contribute their part to the ongoing rivalries at the base of both people, which hinders reconciliation and therefore contributes to the intractability of the conflict. It wants to affiliate with the question of the role of local media representation in terms of the perception of harm each side causes the other and thereby integrate itself into the scientific discourse on the conflict. The following research question will be investigated: Why do both conflict parties see the other side as bad other instead of suffering neighbor?!

In the following two subsections, the intractability and the key facts of the conflict will be presented, which leads to a short revision about the events of investigation in this paper that constitute the 2014 Gaza war. The second chapter serves as introduction to constructivist theory in International Relations (IR) followed by an approach to constructions of violence in public discourse and the related method of (media) content analysis. Towards the end of this chapter, the outlaid theoretical framework will be applied to the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In addition to the examination of the rules of formation, silences and practices within the conflict, two hypotheses concerning the question of one side perceiving the other as bad other instead of suffering neighbor will be compiled. Logically, I will illuminate the units of analysis and operationalize the theoretical framework in the third chapter. The final analysis and discussion of results will be conducted in the fourth chapter. Therewith the distribution of articles and conceptual categories serves to give an outline for the investigated media landscape and depicts the quantitative part of the analysis. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the qualitative findings within two selected subsamples and a detailed analysis of those articles containing compassion. Based on the empirical findings, the above-mentioned research question will be answered in the fifth chapter, including remarks and incentives for further research.

1.1. Intractability and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Intractable conflicts are deep-rooted, identity-based, they have a long duration and are often anticipated as resolution-resistant. Conflicts that are skillfully managed with a limitation of violence mostly move to the tractable end of the scale whereas highly escalated conflicts involving reoccurring patterns of violence move towards intractability (cf. Burgess/Burgess 2003: n. pag.). Prevalent causes of such conflicts are irreconcilable moral differences (right and wrong, good and evil), high-stakes distributional issues (who gets what) and domination or "pecking order" conflicts (power and status) (cf. Burgess/Burgess 2003: n. pag.). Framing of conflicts in terms of justice also contributes to intractability, and can cause serious issues in the negotiation process for peace (cf. Maiese 2003: n. pag.).

It is important to understand that the reasons for intractability differ from the original causes of the conflict. During the dispute of a conflict, new issues and agendas evolve and the way each side treats the other changes (cf. Crocker et al. 2005: 5 f.). Geography and Geopolitics may promote intractability (see for instance Zartman 2005), but in the majority of cases deep-seated issues of identity and grievance are involved. Referring to this, the extent of discrimination of a certain group and denial of (basic) human needs may also play a role (cf. Brown 2001: 209 f.). For the Israeli Palestinian conflict, it is of utmost importance that zero-sum notions of identity as well redound to intractability: “each side sees itself as a victim and creates or reinterprets key cultural and religious symbols that perpetuate both the sense of resentment and the conflict” (Crocker et al. 2005: 7). Thus, over generation(s) the conflict becomes institutionalized due to the presence of violence in people’s everyday lives.

Louis Kriesberg identifies several phases of intractability, namely the eruption of intractability-susceptible conflict episodes, escalation, failed peace-making efforts, institutionalization, de-escalation, and termination and recovery (cf. Kriesberg 2005: 68). Moreover, he argues that those phases do not have a fixed ordering. This is best explained by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After peace-making efforts like the Oslo Accord and several other third party interventions, the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians is now again in a phase of de-escalation, and switches regularly between phases of escalation and de-escalation (see for instance Cohen 2005; Telhami 2005; Behrendt 2000; Barnett 1999).

Phases of institutionalization are important for this paper in terms of the theoretical framework. People of each side tend to see the other side as enemies with bad qualities, one side’s call for justice may sound like a cry for revenge to the other, and over time such socialization further contributes to intractability, and those factors surely correlate with the duration of the conflict (cf. Kriesberg 2005: 74). I argue as sort of premise that in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since the early stage of institutionalization, a subliminal connotation of continuing institutionalization persisted and still exists. Hence, local media function as means of institutionalization and therefore have to be investigated within the above-mentioned (logical) framework.

However, in most long-enduring conflicts resistance to possible settlements prevails due to overlapping causes of intractability. Thus, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict functions as classic example of an active, long-enduring conflict including episodic but recurring violence. It has persisted for over six decades now and was carried out on different levels, varying from bilateral through regional and interstate conflict to conflict with international (third party) involvement. One can even come to the conclusion that the parties and particularly the elites by now define themselves through the conflict, while they refuse to accept the other identity as defined by “the enemy” (cf. Crocker et al. 2005: 9-14). The biggest problem in this context is the belief in retaliation and revenge in the narratives of both sides. When Israel intends to stop terrorism, the Palestinians interpret it as deepening of occupation. And Israel does not separate terrorism from Palestinian society, even though the majority of Israelis would prefer a peaceful solution with the Palestinians (cf. Cohen 2005: 352 f.). Possible (alternative) solutions in addition to the mostly discussed two-state solution such as a bi-national state and the call for justice with the right of return inclusively have been discussed by various scholars (see for instance Hassassian 2011; Nabulsi 2007; Elmusa 2007; Telhami 2005).

To understand the intractability of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, one has to take account of its evolution particularly since the Oslo Accord [3] which is by many scholars considered as major breakthrough or at least discursive change in the Israeli- Palestinian peace process (see for instance Behrendt 2000, Barnett 1999). There is certainly no doubt that the format brought together both parties – Palestinians and Israelis – to have face-to-face talks for the first time to discuss a possible 2-state solution. Almost 60 percent of the Israelis even supported the negotiations due to the constant grind of the intifada and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) became accepted to be the representative of the Palestinian people (cf. Gelvin 2014: 231 ff.).

Not only but especially since the Oslo Accords, the reoccurring problems became illustrated, the conflict’s essence clarified and one can recognize where the main issues are situated that right now still hinder peace in the historic land of Palestine. The analysis of Oslo’s failure substantially has derived four main areas of issue: the question of security for Israel; what to do with Palestinian refugees and their right of return; which are the legal borders of Israel; and how could Jerusalem be divided and function as one city and two capitals (cf. e.g. Ma’oz 2002: 135 f.; S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace: n. pag.).

Following Manuel Hassassian, an important lesson to be drawn from Oslo’s failure is the awareness that not only policy work on the political level is required but impact at the grassroots level. This lays foundation for comprehensive reconciliation between both parties. There is antagonism against Israelis as a whole due to the high level of long-term frustration, whereas on the Israeli side the talks ended with a continuation of what they have been doing ever since (cf. Hassassian 2002: 130). In a later policy paper on the Quartet peace efforts, Hassassian further states the necessity of reform for the PLO in mobilizing and empowering the Palestinian people while formulating coordinated goals and tools that lead to national unity. This is to prioritize the political discourse, though he also enforces national non-violent resistance (cf. Hassassian 2011: 94). Middle East peace will only be secured if it takes root in everyday life of people in the region. In conclusion, additionally to the general discourse the grassroots level has become very important after the Oslo Process. This is a major reason for the role of media possibly playing an important role in the future development of the conflict. In addition, for those seeking peace, there is the hope that new generations will realize that “inflicting maximum pain on the other side also means maximum pain for one’s own side” (Cohen 2005: 354). Stephen Cohen here emphasizes the need for multifaceted exchange programs and the role of media (cf. Cohen 2005: 355).

Having now led out the groundwork for the understanding of intractability in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, I come to the events that will be analyzed in this paper. In content analysis, time spans and events are the unit of analysis and therefore determine the sample. Real random samples and quota sampling are rather rare (cf. Gehrau et al. 2005: 7). To date, tit-for-tat reactions hindered both conflict parties to break out of the circle of violence. It usually comes to a situation in which both players think it must be better to engage in conflict than to leave it (cf. Telhami 2005: 357, 364). Since Hamas came into power in 2006, most outbreaks of violence were between Israel and Gaza. The enhanced role of Hamas in the Palestinian Authority (PA) more or less signified the continuation of the conflict (see for instance Inbar 2008: 192 f.). Proof is depicted by the 2014 Gaza conflict which can be traced back to the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas, that led to Israeli Operation Brother’s Keeper and ended up in Operation Protective Edge, a massive military operation with many air strikes on residential homes in the Gaza Strip (cf. UN 2015a: 9).

1.2. Conflicts Betw een Israel and Gaza: The Operations Brother’s Keeper and Protective Edge

A tremendous problem with the wars between Israel and Gaza is that Palestinian casualties represent “more than a hundred times the number of Israeli casualties” (Levy, quoted acc. to Peterson 2015: 119). On the 12th of June, 2014, when three Israeli teenagers were trying to hitchhike from the West Bank settlement Alon Shvut to their homes, they eventually became kidnapped by two Hamas members from Hebron [4]. One of the teenagers had a cell phone, called an emergency hotline and the kidnapping became public. As a direct consequence, Operation Brother’s Keeper was initiated by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Five Palestinians were killed and around 350 were arrested during the operation. Abbas denied the linkage to Hamas, whereas later a Hamas member admitted his involvement in the kidnapping [5]. It turned out that a Palestinian extremist close to Hamas conducted the attack with background assistance from actual Hamas members. As result of the Israeli operation, Hamas reacted with rocket attacks [6], whereas it is not absolutely sure who the first was to break the 2012 ceasefire agreement between Gaza and Israel. In reaction of Israeli air strikes causing death of several Hamas militants due to tunnel explosions, Hamas intensified its rocket fire. This furthermore led to IDF’s Operation Protective Edge initiated by president Netanyahu.

At the end, a new Gaza ceasefire began with a troop withdrawal by Israel. It was adopted after about four weeks of fighting, starting with a 72-hour truce. [7] After all, according to official numbers the conflict caused death to 66 soldiers and 6 civilians (469 soldiers and 87 civilians wounded) on the Israeli side. On the Palestinian side, 2,251 were killed (see UN 2015b).

2. The Role of Media in Violent Conflict: A Constructivist Perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

To evaluate the local value of newspaper articles, their role for its readers in making sense of the world is of utmost relevance. The main pillar of this work is an analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a constructivist perspective. This meta-theory is based on the assumption that the constitution of our world is constructed by our society, which therefore means that all our knowledge is also socially constructed (see for instance Ulbert 2005, Adler 2013).

2.1. Constructivist Theory in International Relations

From the repertoire of constructivist theory, Thomas Risse makes use of an actionbased approach and concentrates on the constructivist challenges of IR theories that are based on the paradigm of rational choice (see for instance Risse 2003a; Risse 2000). Why people act (or do not act) in a certain way is the research focus in this branch, where the constructivist perspective tries to enrich common IR-theories on the one hand. Hence, constructivism is first and foremost not a substantial theory even though it is mentioned in the same context as realism, liberalism, institutionalism, and so on. On the other hand, the role of norms and ideas in and of world politics can be analyzed from different meta-theoretical perspectives (cf. Risse 2003b:3). Therefore analyses of ideas, norms and values in the subject of international relations can be, but are not automatically constructivist.

Yet constructivism delivers an added value to IR-theory. Meant are the improvements in considering the constitutive effects of knowledge on social reality, the inclusion of (social) communication highlighting process over content, its dependence on language as “vehicle for the diffusion and institutionalization of ideas” (Adler 2013: 125), and the joint relationship between acting, communication and rationality (cf. Adler 2013: 123 ff.).

In social constructivism, the idea of mankind as homo oeconomicus is contrasted with the idea of a homo sociologicus [8]. While decisions are based on instrumental rational choices in the first concept, the second one acts on the assumption that a social actor is embedded in a diverse set of social relations. However, to elaborate the way in which social structures are relevant for the sense-making of an actor and how those in return influence the social structure, a more substantial theory is needed (cf. Risse 2003b: 4). So this work further draws on the assumption of an actor who is led by norms and rules (structure-centered) and individually allocates meanings (actor-based) to make sense of his surroundings and hence the world. Such an understanding is based on the research logic as found with Martin Hollis and Steve Smith, and was later supplemented by Cornelia Ulbert as theoretical action-based assumptions (cf. Hollis/Smith 1990: 215; Ulbert 2005: 12). Referring to Risse, this paper aims at maintaining an ontological position between actor and structure, considering the embedding of actors in social structures. This is the case if they communicate a social identity to them, and open up opportunities, or restrict options of action respectively. In this context, social norms not only have causal effects on actors, but also constitute their interests, social preferences, and ultimately their identities (cf. Risse 2003b: 7 ff.). Realizing that identity lies at the core of national and transnational interests is a major empirical contribution of constructivism to IRtheory. Though there is the criticism of scholars such as Mearsheimer that identities do not change as often as constructivists say they do, those critics agree that identity lies at the core of people’s interest (cf. Mearsheimer, quoted acc. to Adler 2013: 127).

Contradictory to what I have said above, there are certain attempts to develop a substantial constructivist theory like the concept of realist constructivism from Samuel Barkin. In addition to an exploration of common ground and important distinctions between realism and constructivism, he has done significant work in changing the way of scholars to view IR. Instead of thinking about both streams as mutually exclusive paradigms, he developed the synthesis of both concepts as sort of an own theory (cf. Barkin 2010: 4 ff.). Given the fact that realism was the prevailing IRtheory in terms of influence on policy, his work can be stated as remarkable. Whereas Barkin’s concept uses realism as substantial addition to constructivism, Risse and his colleagues developed an alone-standing constructivist theory focusing on international norms and human rights. Their central question is the evolvement of (international) norms and the related process of norms socialization (cf. Risse/Sikkink 1999). They argue that international norms are internalized and implemented domestically by three types of causal mechanisms: processes of instrumental adaption and strategic bargaining; processes of moral consciousnessraising, argumentation, dialogue, and persuasion; and processes of institutionalization and habitualization (cf. Risse/Sikkink 1999: 5). Latter ones are significant for this work, though not in terms of habitualization of international norms for political actors, but rather for implementing norms and attitudes in people’s minds, where they steer their actions. Following the process of norms socialization, principled ideas and norms lead to adaption and strategic bargaining, and moral consciousness-raising, whereas those two processes interact with each other. Institutionalization and habitualization phases follow and end up in the internalization of norms in identities, interests and behavior (cf. Risse/Sikkink 1999: 12). This overall process serves as theoretical framework to investigate the role of media representation in the internalization of norms and interests. This leads to the method of discourse analysis as prevailing method in this paper. In discourse analysis, the influence of processes of social construction of reality and particularly its communication jointly with the effect on society during times of conflict are reconstructed and analyzed (cf. Keller 1997: 319). In addition, the overall formation of political attitudes and the communication of norms and values are shown in the media (see for instance Fairclough 2003). Political communication starts with the nation state, where different actors compete for the attention of the audience within the public sphere. In addition, transnational political communication also takes place and national debates become thereby extended. However, there needs to be the given social context of perceiving common problems, wherewith “people start talking once they perceive they are ‘in the same boat’” (Kantner 2015: 86; emphasis in original). In this context, a content analysis of local newspaper articles from both sides will be used as means. The analytical framework for this analysis will be set in the following chapter.

2.2. Constructions of Violence in Public Discourse

Research has demonstrated the importance of the media’s role in conflict environments, because people rely on public discourse to make sense of violent conflict (cf. Baden 2014: 2). Referring to terms like terrorism, security, self-determination, autonomy, and peace process, there is high significance of language in the Middle East (cf. Khalidi 2013: 1). This sort of conceptual categories as lowest level of discourse analysis are constructed to identify important objects of concern, main actors and evaluative considerations such as exclusive collective identities. Exclusionary practices in the assignment of labels differentiate between “us” and “them” (cf. Baden 2014: 6). According to Norman Fairclough, there is a triple relationship to the way people understand their social environment: it reflects participant’s schematic beliefs, informs people’s beliefs, and most importantly shapes shared beliefs and social/cultural conventions (see for instance Fairclough 2003; Pan/Kosicki 1993). Relevant information needs to be selected and specific understandings, evaluations, and courses of action in a competitive debate are purposefully advocated. Consequently framing is a major focus in discourse analysis of conflict (cf. Baden 2014: 8). Frames as cognitive patterns are used “to make sense of the perceived material by ‘imposing’ that pattern and its known features on that material” (Ensink/Sauer 2003: 5). Finally, narratives [9] constitute a range of assumptions about the environment wherein social life takes place. They often mobilize collective memory to legitimate present courses of action, and require the less explication the longer the conflict continues (cf. Baden 2014: 11 f.). Here, one has to consider that discourse not only functions as explicitly provided information but also in the form of presupposed information (cf. Ensink/Sauer 2003: 12). Yet, the evolution of conflict interpretations over time and particularly their varying roles for the development of conflict are not sufficiently researched (cf. Baden 2014: 6). At this point, the upcoming work wants to integrate into the scientific discourse. Regarding English language media, to date mostly foreign media landscapes have been investigated in terms of coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (see for instance most recently Peterson 2015; Ozohu-Suleiman/Ishak 2014) and therefore it will be drawn on those analysis to see how the conflict is represented in local newspapers, where representations are assumed to be more polarized.

2.3. The Case of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Theoretical Framework

In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the focus is on commonly shared constructions of reality which are formed by the discourse in Israeli and Palestinian news media. To reach final negotiations that are accepted on the grassroots level, a “common lifeworld” of collective interpretations would be necessary (see for instance Habermas 1992; empirical adaption in Behrendt 2000). This leads to recent discursive analyses of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as discussed in the next chapter.

2.3.1. Rules of Formation, Silences and Practices

The dominant reading in scientific literature on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict depicts the Oslo Process as revolutionary and peacemaking breakthrough. It suggests that the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements [10] (DOPOISGA) “provided Israel with security it could not obtain militarily; represented a historic territorial compromise between Jews and Palestinians; and changed intra- Palestinian relations, Palestinian-Israeli relations and Arab-Israeli relations” (McMahon 2010: 5). Constructivist scholars describe the integration of initiators from both sides into the discourse community of multilateral peace talks and assume that in the shade of those secret talks a common environment (common “lifeworld” according to Habermas) had developed. In constructivist theory, this serves as substantial indicator for the success of discursive processes (cf. Behrendt 2000: 103 f.). Particularly contemporary literature during the Oslo Process viewed the negotiations as such a breakthrough, fostering reconciliation especially on the Palestinian side. The face-to-face negotiations were seen as reconciliatory discontinuity in the discourse (see for instance Shikaki 1996, Rubin 1996, Zartman 1997). This includes Israel’s recognition of the Palestinian people and its political rights, jointly with acceptance of the PLO as its representative and the allocated territory of the Gaza Strip plus West Bank (cf. Shikaki 1996: 82 f.). Rubin even claimed that the Arab- Israeli conflict was over (cf. Rubin 1996: 3). Yet it turned out that there was not much of a common ground when the second intifada followed the Oslo negotiations as another phase of escalation. However, there are also scholars that view the Oslo Peace Process and following post-Oslo peace initiatives as (re-)articulations of the predominant and manifested discourse of Palestinian-Israeli relations which is marked by Israel’s predominance. The transition from conflict to peace during the Oslo negotiations can be entitled a failure “because the politics of peacemaking during the process were a continuation of, rather than a break from, the politics of conflict” (Hassassian 2011: 87).

In this context, Sean F. McMahon identifies three silences, rules of formation and practices [11] that seem to be coherent in the discourse of Palestinian-Israeli relations even after the Oslo Process. They lead to the interpretation that the negotiations were a continuation of Israeli occupation by other means (cf. McMahon 2011, 2010). He argues that the first rule of formation, the representation of Arabs as rejectionist and Israel as reconciliatory, was amongst other things institutionalized by the constitution of the police force by the DOPOISGA, having jurisdiction over only Palestinians. This proposition is not acceptable for Palestinians because it does not give them sovereignty for their own land (cf. McMahon 2010: 103 f.). Israel being represented as victim of the conflict or its symmetric assumption (second rule) was institutionalized as logic extension of the first rule: “Palestinians have been or are intransigent rejectionists unaccepting of Israel’s equally valid claims of Palestine; Israel has been the victim of this intransigence; and Palestinians must demonstrate that they have abandoned their intransigence by building trust and credibility with Israel” (McMahon 2010: 114). Rule number three, the represented assumption that Israel would permit a sovereign Palestinian state (cf. McMahon 2011: 57 f.) is of minor importance for this work. Moreover, the silence of Israeli practice of transfer that still continues until the present day has been identified as first silence. No reference to the transfer was allocated by the United Nations (UN) to Israel and the DOPOISGA did not acknowledge the victims of transfer (cf. McMahon 2010: 73 f.). Israel’s aim for territorial maximization and its functioning as a conquest movement (second silence) has been institutionalized during Oslo. McMahon argues that there is no explanation for how Israeli military forces even came to occupy the Gaza Strip or the West bank (cf. McMahon 2010: 83 f.). This leads to the third silence, the missing representation of denial for Palestinian nationhood by Israel. Even though Oslo has contributed to Israel’s recognition of the Palestinians, it does not embody any change in Zionist practice (cf. McMahon 2010: 90).

Even though McMahon has done significant work by analyzing the discourse of Palestinian- Israeli relations, his work appears to be biased since the identified factors arise mainly from an analysis of Israel’s behavior. Observations that are taken into consideration often turn against Israel such as the silence of Zionism’s denial of Palestinian nationhood and right to self-determination, the rule of formation that Arabs are represented as rejectionists and Israel as compromising and peace-seeking. After all, McMahon’s conclusion more or less omits Palestinian practices, which is why this analysis can be seen as one-sided and a more profound analysis of both sides seems to be necessary. It might not be possible to conduct such a comprehensive analysis in this work, but this shortcoming clearly served as starting point and inspiration for this paper.

Concerning the problems in covering the Gaza war(s), a recent analysis by Luke Peterson has investigated the frames that occur in UK- and US-newspapers during the 2008-09 Gaza war [12] (see Peterson 2015). Most important for this work are Israeli/ Palestinian culpability and especially Israeli/Palestinian suffering, which will be incorporated into the analysis.

2.3.2. „Bad Other Instead of Suffering Neighbor“: Hypotheses

From the background knowledge from chapter 1, and with reference to Peterson’s discourse analysis of Gaza war coverage, the first hypothesis was drawn:

H1: In both newspapers, articles focus on each side’s [ 13] interest. In JP articles, Pal estine is associated with terrorism as Israel’s major concern and casualties are rel ativized by those concerns. Frames of Palestinian culpability and Israeli suffering are prevailing. In WAFA articles, (civilian) casualties are in the center of coverage whereas terrorism is not represented. It is assumed that frames of Israeli culpability and Palestinian suffering prevail in those articles.

First and foremost, H1 serves to get an idea of both newspapers in terms of covering the conflict. Since this work is embedded in a constructivist framework, there is the necessity of further drawing on (social) constructivist theory. When it comes to perceiving “the other side”, it is necessary to have certain norms that are anchored in society (see for instance Risse et al. 1999; Tietz 2002). The term obligation within the individual role description are important in this context (cf. Tietz 2002: 169 ff.). But how do those norms evolve, win recognition and persist? This question is in the center of the theoretical framework for the upcoming analysis. At this point, the subject of philosophy will be used to elaborate why people would not see the full extent of harm they cause to others. It is assumed that this can be led back to the missing expression of compassion in local newspapers, so that they do not see or feel the degree of harm to them, or at least it does not affect them. They would not feel it because according to their norms the enemy is the bad guy and compassion is just not represented and anchored in their “lifeworld”. When Richard Rorty describes Heidegger’s acting as ascetic priest, he talks about “opting out of the struggles of his [Heidegger’s] fellow humans by making his minds its own place, his story the only story that counts, making himself the redeemer of this time precisely by his abstention from action” (Rorty, quoted acc. to Voparil/Bernstein 2010: 310 f.). Further drawing on Kundera, he illuminates the essentialist approach to human affairs. What matters for the narrating side takes precedence over all concerns of the other side. This causes ignorance about the other side, because each side feels connected to the truth perceived as reality. Therefore the narrating side will ignore the concerns of the other side resulting in a limited view on the whole issue (cf. Rorty, quoted acc. to Voparil/Bernstein 2010: 314). In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this would mean that each side focuses on their demands whereas they completely ignore the pain of the other side and the connected extent of harm that they cause to them. This correlates with what Rorty later describes as “discriminating between the true humans and the pseudohumans” (Rorty, quoted acc. to Voparil/Bernstein 2010: 351). Moral institutions would act in a manipulating way if this sort of separation occurs, rather editing and forming thoughts than increasing knowledge (cf. Rorty, quoted acc. to Voparil/Bernstein 2010: 355). Sentiments and a sense of moral obligation will only be felt, if there is a connection. This allows people to make reference to “our kind of people” and “people like us”. Therefore, different moral communities exist, one people sees the other as some kind of lower level and as they see them as dehumanized, there would be no sense for compassion, or the degree of harm they cause to the other side, respectively. The identity of those people is related to a thinking of oneself as a good sort of human, whereas they see others that do not belong to them as particularly bad. This especially is the case if insecurity is prevailing (cf. Rorty, quoted acc. to Voparil/Bernstein 2010: 358 ff.). This leaves room to refer to Jennifer Mitzen’s view of the situation as security dilemma in her analysis of ontological security in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict [14]. According to her, there is the need to feel secure in whom one is, as identity or self. Certain forms of uncertainty that are deeply anchored can threaten this identity. Moreover, she uses a basic trust system in which actors try to minimize uncertainty (cf. Mitzen 2006: 342, 346). Identity and distinctiveness to others is a key part of society (cf. Brewer, quoted acc. to Mitzen 2006: 352). Roles and identities have to be internalized and competitive states are always willing to fight for their ideas and interpretations (cf. Mitzen 2006: 357 ff.).

According to this line of thoughts, there would be no shared moral identity in the sense of a moral community in both Israeli and Palestinian newspapers. This compassion would not be anchored in people’s everyday live and thereby contributes – amongst other factors as explained in chapter one – to the intractability of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. As Rorty puts the relation between sympathy (and consequently compassion): “Security and sympathy go together […]. The tougher things are, the more you have to be afraid of, the more dangerous your situation, the less you can afford the time or effort to think about what things might be like for people with whom you do not immediately identify” (Rorty, quoted acc. to Voparil/Bernstein 2010: 361). In addition, the ignorance of suffering of a particular people causes a lack of understanding for this particular other people and some sort of generous anger. People need to see the details of the pain and suffering that is experienced, which results in moral obligations such as the sense that the pain of others matters (cf. Rorty, quoted acc. to Voparil/Bernstein 2010: 319, 507). In this context, it would be the job of journalists to deliver back to the audience what the others feel, that they are also humans, and the details of suffering would include at least a sense for compassion. All this leads to the second hypothesis:

H2: In Israeli and Palestinian society, the image of the other side as enemy is prevalent which comes along with dehumanization and ideas of good and bad. Thus, in JP and in WAFA articles will be very few expressions of compassion for the other side. It is assumed that those expressions occur in the context of civilian casualties that nevertheless concentrate on their own suffering so that they immediately relativize the sentiment for compassion. In a moral sense, there is consequently no anchoring of moral norms towards the enemy in each society.

3. Data and Methodology

3.1. English Media in Israel and Palestine

Analyzed will be articles from the English versions of the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post (JP) and the Palestinian newspaper Palestine News & Information Agency (WAFA), which both count as rather conservative. Therefore, it can be seen as “hard case” analysis. JP is a daily newspaper in Israel, founded in 1934 and originally named The Palestine Post. Amongst information about the Middle East region, it also provides international news. It is mainly published in English with an electronic version in French, and has a small circulation of about 15,000 daily and 40,000 on weekends. However, since it is read by Israel’s diplomatic community, its influence exceeds its circulation. [15] WAFA is the news agency of the Palestinian Authority situated in Gaza, and was before the PLO’s news agency. However, it also publishes whole articles wherefore it is handled as newspaper by the database. It provides daily news mainly from the Palestinian territories and is originally published in Arabic with further versions in English, Hebrew and French. [16] Considering the Ma’an News Agency (MNA) as major source of information for Palestinians, WAFA’s influence might not be as big as that of JP. Unfortunately, MNA was not available on the Nexis database. However, with its location in Gaza, WAFA functions as major source of information for the region, even though it does not publish nearly the amount of articles as JP does.

The unadjusted sample contained all articles of these two newspapers that can be retrieved through the Nexis database by the following keywords: killing, casualties, air strike, raid. Those keywords are chosen because they indicate articles that actually talk about violent conflict. Amongst other appropriate keywords, those four retrieved the relatively greatest amount of articles per newspaper. All articles that were published between 1/6/2014 and 31/12/2014 were taken into consideration. This is to include the events from the beginning of the riots due to the kidnapping, through the operations Brother’s Keeper and Protective Edge, and the development of the media landscape after those events until the end of the year. The according search request resulted in 161 WAFA articles and 1,336 JP articles. In the next step, those articles that are not related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were deleted, as well as irrelevant archive reports or letters that are not related to the topic. Exceptions are letters to the editor, as well as JP articles reviewing the Arab press (“Hot off the Arab press”), and newspaper reviews amongst WAFA articles, that dealt with the conflict. Concerning duplicates, this work relies on the duplicate analysis available in the Nexis search engine; the chosen attribute was “similar”. The rest of the data set was systematized into the variables NEWSPAPER (WAFA and JP), PUBDATE (publication date of the article), LENGTH (exact length of the article) and LENGTHCAT (categorized length of the article). Moreover, those duplicates found during the systematization were deleted, but it cannot be guaranteed that there are no remaining duplicates. The author is aware of methods to erase doublets (see for instance Kantner et al. 2011), but Provalis Research does not offer any tools for detection.

Finally, the adjusted sample contains 134 WAFA and 1,007 JP articles, which makes a total sample of 1,141 articles.

3.2. Operationalization of the Theoretical Concept

The inquiry starts with an analysis of the conceptual categories derived from the first chapter. The dictionary-based frequency analysis [17] (as typical for constructivist studies, see for instance Ulbert 2005: 15 f.) is to get a better idea of how topics are distributed between articles of the two newspapers and refers to H1. Violence, aggression and fighting is the category to indicate those articles that actually talk about violence during the conflict. Deaths and casualties are an indicator for the harm they do to each other in the form of losses as consequence of violent conflict. The category civilians, women and children indicates when it is talked about the death of innocent people, pinpointing the horribleness of war together with “deaths and casualties”. Terrorism reveals articles about terroristic acts. This has to be considered as keyword because Hamas as leading political power in the Gaza Strip is declared as a terrorist organization and Israel mostly talks about Palestinian terror. Security and insecurity indicates those articles talking about security issues and security forces, which depicts a major factor and concern for Israel. Harm expressions indicate pain, grief and dolor, and therefore those articles that get emotional and not only neutrally report casualties. Peace expressions show articles dealing with the peace accords and possible solutions for the conflict. Together with the war and harm indicators, this category reveals those articles that nevertheless talk about peace accords, or its forlornness. Finally, morality and justice as category was introduced to retrieve those articles dealing with the question of morality. Attacks of both parties are viewed as immoral and not justifiable; often they are declared as war crimes. Altogether, those conceptual categories are important to find those articles relevant for investigating the research question.

The second part of the analysis is of qualitative nature, in which was drawn on Peterson’s analysis of Gaza war coverage [18]. His frames of Israeli/Palestinian Suffering and Culpability were incorporated. In terms of culpability, the concept of historicization can be an indicator whereat expressions like “retaliating for Palestinian rocket fire into Israel” (LA Times, quoted acc. to Peterson 2015: 123; emphasis in original) indicate Palestinian culpability. An example for Israeli culpability would be the description that road-travels become dangerous because Israeli spotters perceived any vehicle as potential threat, or the like (cf. Peterson 2015: 124). More important for this work are the frames of Israeli and Palestinian suffering. The emphasis on harm caused to Israeli citizens and dramatic descriptions of rocket attacks constitute the suffering on the Israeli side. Titles like “Gaza Rocket Fire Intensifies” are characteristic for this frame. In the Palestinian case, suffering can be expressed by details of physical injury of Gazans caused by Israeli actions. Particularly shocking scenes with dead children and the focus on the decimated infrastructure in Gaza constitute the frame of Palestinian suffering (cf. Peterson 2015: 125 ff.).

Moreover, to investigate H2, it is necessary to reveal those articles that contain compassion. As this work also draws on (social) philosophy, compassion was defined according to the moral philosophy of Joseph Butler: “real sorrow and concern for the misery of our fellow creatures” (Butler, quoted acc. to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2016: n. pag.). Therefore, the frame Israeli/Palestinian Compassion is understood as sympathy and sorrow for the other side which is expressed by the clear statement of feelings. Israeli compassion was indicated if sorrow for Palestinians is expressed in a JP article. Consequently Palestinian compassion was indicated if sorrow for the Israeli side is expressed in a WAFA article. This is also the case if sympathy is uttered in some quote. Following this understanding, Israeli compassion cannot be indicated in a WAFA article, and vice-versa.

The qualitative analysis was done in two smaller samples out of the overall sample, containing an equal amount of JP and WAFA articles. In favor of H2, the first sample was compiled by the range of all articles that contained all of the keywords that were introduced above. It includes those articles that deal with civilian casualties, terror and harm expressions, but nevertheless talk about peace possibilities and matters of morality and justice. The selection for the first subsample contains 92 JP and 12 WAFA articles. To reach a balanced sample per newspaper, every 8th JP article was chosen to be part of the final subsample (12 JP and 12 WAFA articles). This procedure might not be correctly random, but is seen as sufficient for this work. In contrast, the second subsample contains only those articles that examine (civilian) deaths and casualties, and harm expressions. If compassion occurs in this sample, it would be against H2. The following selection contains 133 JP articles and 10 WAFA articles, whereas every 13th JP article was chosen for the final subsample (10 JP and 10 WAFA articles). On this basis, a qualitative analysis of those two subsamples which result in a total of 44 articles was conducted.

During the reading of those articles, several frames have been indicated that hinder the expression of compassion and were summarized under the umbrella terms degradation and enemy image. Those factors were derived on the theological basis of dehumanization (degradation), and perceptions of good and bad (enemy image). Degradation in JP articles would be the focus on Hamas as terrorist organization, conducted Palestinian war crimes, and other expressions that do not allow seeing the Palestinians as legal negotiation partner. Palestinian aggression, their denial for peace, and other representations depicting the Palestinians as “the enemy” were coded as enemy image. In WAFA articles, degradation was indicated if an article examines Israeli war crimes, as well as depictions of Israel as the occupier and other forms that downgrade the possibility of negotiations with Israel. Israeli aggression and brutality, and the asymmetry of the conflict, as well as all other depictions of Israel as the enemy were summarized by the term enemy image. This includes particularly Israel’s superiority, whereas Israeli terror was also found.

Finally, it is important to consider that this is not a quantitative statistical analysis and only two newspapers of each party’s media landscape were regarded. Therefore no valid claims about reality can be made in this work. It must be seen as explorative, however, due to the coding by only one person the results can at least be seen as reliable. To further draw valid inferential assumptions in such an analysis, one would have to analyze newspapers of each political spectrum that is read by a greater amount of people on both sides. Such analyses to investigate national media as transnational discourse arenas for the cases of military inventions and war coverage have been done in the framework of the e-identity project. Therewith, a large corpus of more than 500,000 newspaper articles has been developed covering the European and US-American media landscapes in six countries (see for instance Kantner 2015, Overbeck 2014).

4. Data Analysis and Discussion

4.1. Distribution of Articles and Conceptual Categories

As depicted in table 4.1, most articles of the adjusted overall sample were published in July and August, all together 620 JP and 69 WAFA articles which adds up to a total of 689. During this time span, Operation Protective Edge was conducted, wherefore it is comprehensible that there are more articles dealing with aggression, war and casualties. But also in November, we have a total of 124 articles which could be an indicator that the conflict then was more present than usual during this time. It seems surprising that in June, where the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers was conducted by some Hamas members, motives of violence were not excessively represented in local (particularly Israeli) media, but actually the least over the analyzed time span with only 61 articles. WAFA surprisingly sponsors in the same month the relatively greatest amount of articles into the sample. A possible explanation for this is that the Israelis were first shocked, before they initiated the Operation Brother’s Keeper which then created Palestinian aggression and finally resulted into Operation Protective Edge. But this is only an assumption. Generally, it is remarkable that JP publishes a lot more articles than WAFA does. This could be an indicator for the different purpose of WAFA as news agency. Thus, JP and WAFA are not fully comparable, however, due to accessibility issues this was chosen as “second best option”.

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Table 4.1: Distribution of articles according to time

In addition to the time series analysis, there is also something to say about the distribution of articles concerning their length as depicted in table 4.2. The majority of articles (631) are in the range of 500 to 999 words, whereas only 40 articles contain 2000 and more words. The fact that only 4 WAFA articles belong to that last category might be an indicator for the quality of its journalism. In this context one has to consider that WAFA also does not have the intention to reach as many people as JP does, and their capacities are not really comparable.

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Table 4.2: Distribution of articles according to length

To analyze the distribution of keywords, it is important to compare to which degree the category is represented in each newspaper (see figure 4.1). The representation of most categories is distributed equally; exceptions are the categories harm expressions (74.6% representation in WAFA, only 56.1% in JP articles) and terrorism (75.9% in JP, only 27.6% in WAFA articles). The first finding is no surprise, because there are many civilian casualties on the Palestinian side in Gaza and this is expressed by the according reports of casualties. An explanation for the second finding could be Israel’s concept of terrorism. Every attack from Gaza becomes declared as terroristic act, which results in a high representation of the category whereas Gazans themselves use this concept very much fewer.

Those findings are mostly in favor of H1 in the sense that each side focuses on their major concern. For JP representing the Israeli side, harm expressions are mostly in context with reports about casualties on the Palestinian side. There is not so much (physical) harm caused to the Israeli side, or the degree of harm is not comparable, respectively. In addition, along with security concerns terrorism is used as major justification for Israeli attacks in Gaza, which therefore explains the prevalence of terrorism in those articles. Per contra WAFA representing the Palestinian side has a major focus on harm expressions due to the high number of casualties in Gaza. In addition, they do not see themselves as terrorists, wherefore this concept is not present as much as in JP articles. Though it is remarkable that security seems to be an equally distributed matter for both sides, whereas it was expected to be a major concern for Israel. However, the categories of civilians, women and children, violence and aggression, as well as deaths and casualties are also more or less equally present in both newspapers.

So far those findings concerned the content analysis of the overall sample divided by newspaper. Now a detailed analysis of the sample per newspaper will follow, giving allowance for a more profound insight. Since the majority of articles belong to JP and only a small amount belong to WAFA, the frequency analysis was conducted separately for each newspaper to retrieve the correct figures.

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Figure 4.1: Keyword occurrence by newspaper [19]

Amongst all WAFA articles, the most frequent category isdeaths and casualties (24.3%) followed by violence, aggression and fighting (23.2%). This is turned around in JP articles, where violence depicts 34.3 percent of the categories (see table 4.3). In JP articles, keywords indicating morality and justice and harm expressions are the least frequent ones (2.5% and 2.6%), whereas in WAFA articles terrorism is the least frequent category (2.3%). It is remarkable that harm expressions in JP articles constitute only 2.6% and in WAFA articles 8.4%. This might be also due to the strong hits and lots of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip and is in favor of H1. Extremely notable are the 10.1% of peace expressions in WAFA articles, whereas this constitutes only a minor factor with 4.8% in JP articles. A rather interesting finding is that security and insecurity was an almost constant factor with more than 9% in both newspapers. This is because Israel usually argues with security issues and thereby justifies his actions against the Palestinians, which is also the reason why they are not willing to grant an armed force to them in the peace talks. But arguments of security issues are rather rare in the Palestinian narrative. As already stated in the overall analysis regarding the keyword/category occurrence, this finding is of surprising nature and questions the full stability of H1. Instead of the assumed major focus on security in Israeli media, this focus was equally distributed. Concerning the concept of terrorism, however, it is majorly represented in JP articles, which clearly speaks in favor of H1. The occurrence of frames of suffering and culpability will be analyzed during the qualitative analysis in the following chapter.

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Table 4.3: Distribution of keywords (frequency in percent)

To conduct the compassion analysis and to test H2 in the next chapter, the overall sample has been divided into two samples20 (see operationalization in chapter 3). For the first sample, six JP articles were published in July, three in August, two in October and one in November. Concerning WAFA, two were published in July, four in August, three in September, two in October and one in November. For the second sample, six JP articles were published in July, two in August, and one in October and November. Concerning WAFA, one was published in June, five in July and four in August. Therefore, the distribution of WAFA articles is not even, however, all articles retrieved by the keywords were chosen for this spectrum, and for JP articles the distribution is almost equal between both samples. This means that statements about the sample (or in this case about the analyzed newspapers) should not be biased. Given the fact that those articles only containing civilians, deaths and casualties and harm expressions were retrieved first and cannot be part of the second sample, this allows to make assumptions about WAFA articles. This is due to the use of all articles within the selection for the sample. Deaths and casualties are mostly reported in August, whereas peace possibilities are rather discussed in the months after the violent phase of the conflict. Nevertheless it is also possible for JP articles to say that deaths and casualties were majorly reported in July and August. This represents the violent phase of the conflict, and where harm and many (civilian) casualties are reported, it is assumed to be most likely to find expressions of compassion. However, as this work argues, jointly with peace expressions and concerns of morality and justice, whereas each side focuses on their major concerns to immediately relativize the sentiment of compassion (namely security issues and terrorism, suffering, degradation and forms of enemy image).

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Table 4.4: Distribution of keywords per sample (frequency in percent)

By comparing both samples directly to each other, one can see that the category of violence, aggression and fighting is relatively more present in the second sample (see table 4.4). Reported deaths and casualties in WAFA articles are more present in the second sample (22.4% vs. 13.7%). The same is true for civilians, women and children (28.6% vs. 18.3% and 11.4% vs. 7.1%), though civilians seem to be even less of a topic within the second sample’s JP articles (18.4% vs. 22.0%). Harm expressions are more present in WAFA articles, and generally in the second sample (7.1% in the first and 11.4% in the second sample for WAFA; 3.8% vs. 6.0% for JP)). If no compassion is found in this (second) sample, then its occurrence in articles of those two newspapers must be related to other factors, such as peace expressions or relativizing expressed concerns (sample one). With 4.6%, terrorism is not so present in the WAFA articles of the first sample, however, not present at all in the second sample. Concerning JP, the concept of terrorism is even more represented in the second sample (12.6% vs. 11.3%). Morality and justice is the least present category with a generally lower presence in JP articles. In the second sample only 0.5% amongst all keywords belongs to this category, while actually 4.8% of the keywords among the WAFA articles in the first sample belong to it. Extremely remarkable is that peace expressions hold the second highest factor in the WAFA articles of the first sample (20.5%), though in JP articles discussions about peace are with only 7.5% rather rare in comparison. Considering this finding, it is not really clear what assumptions could be drawn. Any inferential conclusions that there is a greater desire for peace in Palestinian society than in the Israeli one (or the like) must be seen very skeptical. Nonetheless, this is an interesting finding with a view to the sample and will be interesting to see in relation with the upcoming findings.

4.2. Compassion, Suffering and Culpability in Israeli and Palestinian Newspaper Articles

As assumed in H2, compassion was not found very often in the two samples that have been analyzed. In the first sample, three expressions of compassion were found in JP articles, whereas only one example was found within WAFA articles. The second sample contained only one example of compassion amongst JP articles, however, it was not real compassion for the other side but the Arab world’s empathy towards the Palestinians was expressed. Since it nevertheless concerns the feelings for those people, it was coded as Israeli compassion. Indicators for compassion were merely superficial, namely sympathetic, to grieve and to regret, as well as the statement to feel empathy. After a short discussion of the occurrence of the above-mentioned frames (see Table 4.5), those paragraphs and documents containing compassion will be analyzed in more detail.

If one compares JP and WAFA articles in the first sample, amongst the fact that compassion is more present in JP articles (three times vs. one time), it is noteworthy that even in JP articles Israeli culpability was indicated three times and Palestinian culpability in WAFA articles only one time. In addition, Israeli suffering is present in six JP articles, and Palestinian suffering five times. This could speak for a more balanced representation in JP articles, at least concerning the relevant topic and time span. Yet, Palestinian culpability was present in 9 out of 12 times in JP articles, while Israeli culpability was only present in five WAFA articles and Palestinian suffering six times. Therefore, the former finding is clearly in favor of H1. The other findings explained in this paragraph do not disprove it, but are not completely verifying its assumptions. Concerning the explanatory frames, degradation is very much present in JP articles (seven times), and enemy images are also represented in five articles. Those frames are less present in WAFA articles. Consequently, the prevalence of the own side’s suffering jointly with the other side’s culpability according to H1 is partly proved for the first sample. JP articles seem to be more balanced but at the same time contain more frames of degradation. This is compensated by the less-balanced WAFA articles which focus on their own suffering and Israeli culpability, whereas those frames are only present in half of the respective articles.

The compilation of frames in WAFA articles in the second sample is very remarkable, since they only contain Israeli culpability and Palestinian suffering in every single one. This finding is clearly in favor of H1. Nonetheless, JP articles are not much more balanced reporting Palestinian culpability in 8 out of 10 cases. Yet, the frame of Palestinian suffering is present in 4 articles, while 6 articles contain Israeli suffering. Among those articles, 9 apply degradation and 8 depict the Palestinians in the frame of enemy image, whereas WAFA articles use degradation and enemy image fewer. Thus, those findings are not much less in favor of H1 than the findings amongst all WAFA articles within the second sample.

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Table 4.5: Frame occurrence (present or not) by sample and newspaper

The first sample is the one in favor of H2, which is – due to the keywords retrieving those articles – at the same time more balanced. This can easily be indicated by comparing both samples. Compassion was found in three JP articles of this (first) sample, whereas JP generally makes more use of degradation and enemy depictions. Perhaps this is to get justification amongst their people, because the majority of Israelis wants peace and no enemy (see chapter 1.2). WAFA articles more or less report their casualties and the related suffering, which is obviously represented in the second subsample. Within those articles, degradation and enemy image is used five times each which makes it even less offensive in terms of downgrading than JP articles in the first subsample. However, assuming that the second sample is more representative for those JP articles representing (civilian) casualties jointly with harm expressions, one can say that those articles are also in favor of H1. Thus, one has to be careful with assumptions about the overall sample because this is only a smaller subsample.

After all, for the prevailing sample it is true that the more balanced the article, the more likely it is to find compassion. This is proved for JP articles, which express compassion for the Palestinians in a manner that degrades them and depicts them as enemy at the same time. WAFA articles are generally a little less balanced and focus on their own suffering, whereas compassion is expressed only 1 out of 12 times. This seems to be remarkable, though it has to be considered that there are many more casualties on the Palestinian side than on the Israeli side. Nevertheless, the sentiment of compassion for Israeli losses of life – which is absolutely not in relation to the ones on the Palestinian side – was expressed in one article. Even though this is only a finding within a small amount of articles, this finding is noteworthy. In addition, one has to consider that WAFA functions as Palestinian news agency, wherefore there are much lesser forms of degradation and relativizing features within this finding which will be shown in the upcoming detailed analysis.

4.3. Findings of Compassion in Context

Now this part is particularly of explorative nature. According to time, the first example of Israeli compassion for Palestinians was found in a JP article with the title “JStreet critique of Diaspora Jewry highlights rift in views of Israel” published on July 14th. After the introduction which laid foundation for Palestinian culpability by concentrating on Hamas’ real goal to destroy the state of Israel, J-Street’s grief for families in Gaza was expressed:“Continuing its statement with a series of 'ands,' JStreet said that it grieves for "families in Gaza whose innocent children are dying, for the families of the three kidnapped and murdered Israeli teens, and for the family of the Arab teen slain in an apparent revenge attack in Jerusalem (JP, 14.7.2014, author’s emphasis). This can be seen as clear statement of compassion not only for Palestinians in Gaza, but as well for the parents of the teenagers, and even for the Arabs in Israel. The revenge attack is stated as apparent, which clearly is assessing towards the negativity of this happening. However, the rest of the article mainly contains frames of Palestinian culpability, although a lot of Palestinian suffering is present as well. The most powerful degradation that is present in this article is the depiction of Hamas as racist terror organization with vengeance and incitement as major goals. After all, J-Street is a clearly pro-Israel platform and this article was mainly about Jews living overseas. Therefore, this might be a reason why the expression of compassion towards the Gazan people was granted.

The second example of compassion was found in a JP article dealing with Israel’s accusation of ignorance towards information indicating the presence of civilians in a school raised by a UN chief dated on August 4th. After referring to the statements of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and a UN-report indicating Israeli war crimes in the context of civilian casualties in Gaza (frame of Palestinian suffering), Israeli Brig.-Gen. Motti Almoz was cited. He stated“that Hamas operates out of civilian areas and that the IDF does its utmost not to harm civilians and regrets any wounding of innocent Palestinians in Gaza . But he did not specifically address the issue of Sunday morning's attack” (JP, 4.8.2014, author’s emphasis). Here again a degradation of Hamas which is operating out of civilian areas introduces the statement of compassion. In addition to another paragraph referring to Palestinian suffering in Gaza, Israeli culpability was indicated in the context of a UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) official’s statement that the IDF had been notified 33 times of the presence of civilians in that particular school that was attacked. The article discloses within the frame of Palestinian suffering stating that according to a UNRWA spokesman each shelter houses about 3,000 civilians. Thus, the context in which the expression of compassion was found is mostly according to UNRWA’s depictions of the conflict and one has to consider that its reputation in Israel is relatively distant.

The final example within the first sample where compassion was found in a JP article was published on August 11th. “Despite a clear -cut case and highly articulate spokesmen, logic and reason were drowned out by the emotional impact of the global media sympathetic to Hamas by depicting - out of context and sometimes even totally fabricated - footage of heartbreaking and devastating war casualties and loss of innocent lives” (JP, 11.8.2014, author’s emphasis). In this case it is questionable if this is a real depiction of compassion for Palestinians. This is because it refers to global media ostensibly sympathetic to Hamas and is immediately downgraded by the declaration that those depictions are out of context, or even completely fabricated. Feelings were nonetheless expressed, in fact in a questionable manner, but this is the reason why it was counted to compassion. Moreover, the article is full of degradation not only towards Hamas but Abbas and the PA in general. One time, the frame of Israeli culpability occurs jointly with Israeli aggression, however, it is free of Palestinian suffering. A possible conclusion is that since this whole article focuses on the degradation of the Palestinian officials, and hence the whole people, compassion was in order to express. Eventually even to erase any feelings for them. The only expression of compassion in a WAFA article was found on October 25th, which is remarkable because this is more than two months after the establishment of the ceasefire that ended this violent period of the conflict. The article focuses on PLO official Saeb Erekat’s reaction to Netanyahu’s assigning blame to Hamas for a run-over incident in Jerusalem. " We regret all loss of life . At the same time we reiterate that the Israeli occupation of Palestine remains the main source of violence and instability in the region. Palestinian citizens continue to be oppressed, imprisoned, injured and killed by the occupation forces, with impunity and the full backing of the Israeli government," Erekat concluded” (WAFA, 25.10.2014, author’s emphasis). The expression is situated at the end of the article, which is very much different from JP articles where the statements were found at least in the first half of the text. One can see that this remark of compassion rather serves as formal set phrase and introduction for the frame of Israeli culpability. He depicts the occupation as major source of violence and instability in the region, and concludes with Palestinian suffering. The article mostly contains Palestinian suffering and Israeli culpability for it, whereas the degradation by majorly characterizing Israel as aggressive occupier seems to make this short expression of regret (and therefore compassion) irrelevant.

Concerning the second sample and as stated above, Israeli compassion was not really found. Only empathy of the Arab world towards the Palestinians was expressed in a short article examining the initiation of Operation Protective Edge on July 9th: “But while Israel has pledged to "answer quiet with quiet," Hamas seems determined to make a bid for Palestinians' and the Arab world's empathy by dragging Israel into a military confrontation that already has turned bloody and might well be prolonged” (JP, 9.7.2015). Amongst depictions of Palestinian culpability and Israeli suffering due to the Gaza rocket fire; this article mostly serves as degradation of Palestinian officials, and particularly the people in Gaza. It serves as justification for the IDF operation and therewith the expression of feelings as means was turned around. In the given circumstances, this can also be seen as sort of prevention for Israeli compassion towards the enemy.

5. Perception as Bad Other Instead of Suffering Neighbor: Conclusion

In this work, the role of media in the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been investigated by using The Jerusalem Post and The Palestine News & Information Agency as examples for Israeli and Palestinian news media. Therewith, I have drawn on constructivist theory to investigate why the other side is perceived as “bad other instead of suffering neighbor.” The intractability of the conflict was seen as premise, among other things caused by the depiction of irreconcilable moral differences and perceptions of good and bad (dehumanization and depiction as enemy).

In this context, local media functions as means of institutionalization, where constructivist theory comes into play. The process of norms socialization and their anchoring in society served as basis of the theoretical framework for the conducted content analysis. The central argument of this work was that each side focuses on their own interests and concerns, and depicts the other side as bad other (first hypothesis). Compassion was assumed to be found in those articles reporting casualties and related harm. Nevertheless, it would only be found if the respective article also focuses on the concerns of the corresponding side for relativizing purposes (second hypothesis). In practice this was operationalized for testing by compiling two subsamples, of which the first one is in favor and second one against H2.

Now I want to draw the full circle back to the research question of perceiving the other side as bad other instead of suffering neighbor. Why does each side not see the degree of harm they cause to the other? Well, in both newspapers each side depicts the other side often as enemy and only the own side is perceived as “the good side”. Expressions of compassion for the other side are very few and if they are expressed, there is no deep expression of sympathy. The assumption drawn from Richard Rorty that dehumanization hinders feelings towards the other side has been proved as true for the evaluated sample. Therefore, speaking for the analyzed newspapers the norm of compassion seems not to be anchored, which can also be seen as sign that this norm, or generally norms that allow feelings for the other side, might not be anchored in each society.

According to the empirical findings, it has been proved that each side predominantly focuses on their own interest and major concerns following the respective narrative. Terrorism is a major concern for Israel and is therefore a lot more represented in JP than in WAFA articles. This relation is upside down regarding findings of harm expressions. This category is overall predominantly represented in WAFA articles. Reports of casualties are also more present in WAFA articles, but the difference in terms of keyword distribution is only 6 percentage points. However, security and insecurity measures are equally divided in both newspapers. The most remarkable finding was that peace expressions were preponderant in WAFA articles (10.2% of the keywords in the overall sample, even 20.5% in the first subsample), whereas they were only a minor factor in JP articles. The author points out the incentive to further investigate this discovery. Concerning the qualitative part, H1 has partly been proved. Palestinian culpability was found in most of the analyzed JP articles, whereas Israeli culpability was a little less present in WAFA articles. One can say that those frames are represented to a certain extent in each newspaper; however, they are not necessarily present in each article. A remarkable exception was that the WAFA articles of the second subsample were all in favor of H1. This means that those WAFA articles only retrieved by (civilian) casualties and harm expressions without containing all of the other relevant categories as assumed in the compassion thesis are likely to focus completely on their own interest. In fact, those frames are more present concerning each side’s own suffering and the other side’s culpability. The other side is always depicted worse which is an indicator for the focus on each side’s concern. Means of degradation and enemy image are present in articles of both sides.

Regarding inferential assumptions towards Israeli and Palestinian media, it is of utmost importance that those can only be drawn as implications for further research. This work analyzed a small sample out of a tremendous repertoire of particularly Israeli and also Palestinian news media that in addition is published not in the local languages of Hebrew and Arabic but in English. Therefore, it was more a hard-case analysis of conservative newspapers that are available for the international (Englishspeaking) community. Nevertheless, it can lead to interesting findings that deliver incentives for further comparative research (in terms of newspaper variety and language consideration). With regard to making valid and reliable statements about media landscapes, I want to refer to the e-identity project, in whose framework corpus- linguistic tools have been developed to analyze a large amount of newspaper articles (see chapter 3.2). According to the keyword strategy, only those articles that at least reportdeaths and casualties jointly with civilians, women and children and harm expressions were searched to find compassion. Therefore, it was not investigated if perhaps other articles that do not belong to those categories might as well contain compassion.

Yet, since all WAFA articles retrieved by those keywords have been regarded, one can draw certain assumptions about WAFA articles in the time span of investigation that also leave room for inferential assumptions about WAFA articles in general. Those articles reporting (civilian) casualties, harm, and in addition contain peace expressions and matters of morality and justice, etc., are more likely to contain compassion and are generally more balanced than those simply reporting casualties and harm. This is in favor of H2 and could therefore be an indicator for the missing anchoring of the moral norm of compassion towards the Israelis depicted as enemy. Concerning JP articles, it is hard to draw such assumptions because the two final samples for qualitative investigation were only a small selection of the retrieved articles by the respective keywords [21]. Even though it was tried to select the articles

randomly (see chapter 3), there is a chance that compassion was expressed among the remaining articles in the selection for the particular subsample. However, due to the missing research capacities the author had to accept this matter of fact, although he is aware of this limitation.

The findings in terms of frame occurrence in JP articles lead at first to the assumption that they are generally more balanced than WAFA articles. In the discussion, I argued that this might be due to the quality of journalism and much greater range of JP. Given the fact that three articles expressing compassion were found could lead to the assumption that JP articles and therefore as well the Israeli media are more insightful, empathetic, and try to deliver the full picture. Still, there is more degradation found in Israeli articles than in Palestinian ones, and Palestinian culpability is prevailing. This finding rather supports the assumption that the more degradation and enemy image constructions are present, the more room is left to express compassion and relativize it at the same time. I would even go as far as follows: In Israeli media, authors tactically try to eliminate the sentiments towards the enemy to justify their brutal attacks. Support of their population is needed, wherefore this line of thought could be plausible and is here clearly seen as suitable for further investigation. However, it is questionable if there is no sentiment of compassion at least for Palestinian suffering in Gaza anchored in Israeli society.

So after all, H2 was also proved to be true to a certain extent. As the qualitative analysis has shown, compassion is very rare even amongst those articles reporting casualties and harm. However, those findings were more superficial expressions of compassion instead of deep sympathy towards the enemy and the respective suffering. Compassion was indicated in the first subsample 3 out of 12 times in JP and only one time within WAFA articles. The detailed investigation of those articles has shown that degradation and depictions of the other side as enemy (that cannot be trusted) are supposed to relativize sentiments towards this enemy. In the second sample, no real compassion was found except compassion by the Arab world towards the Palestinians dragged into conflict, which was expressed in a JP article. The author’s assumption in this case was the total eradication of feelings and the creation of a very strong, emotional enemy image towards the Palestinians. Although those are only speculations based on interpretations, this is clearly an incentive for further research in this branch.

[Appendix A is omitted from this this preview]

Appendix A: Tables and Figures

Table A.1: Results of the keyword strategy and compilation of the sample

Table A.2: List of categories and words compiling the dictionary

Table A.3: Category occurrence by newspaper

Table A.5: Codebook with descriptions

Appendix B: Depictions

Depiction B.1: Paragraphs containing expressions of compassion

Sample 1

Jerusalem Post, 14.7.2014

“Continuing its statement with a series of 'ands,' J-Street said that it grieves for "families in Gaza whose innocent children are dying," for the families of the three kidnapped and murdered Israeli teens, and for the family of the Arab teen slain in an apparent revenge attack in Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem Post, 4.8.2014

“Brig.-Gen. Motti Almoz told Channel 2 News that Hamas operates out of civilian areas and that the IDF does its utmost not to harm civilians and regrets any wounding of innocent Palestinians in Gaza. But he did not specifically address the issue of Sunday morning's attack.”

Jerusalem Post, 11.8.2014

“Despite a clear-cut case and highly articulate spokesmen, logic and reason were drowned out by the emotional impact of the global media sympathetic to Hamas by depicting - out of context and sometimes even totally fabricated - footage of heartbreaking and devastating war casualties and loss of innocent lives.”

Palestine News & Information Agency, 25.10.2014

"We regret all loss of life. At the same time we reiterate that the Israeli occupation of Palestine remains the main source of violence and instability in the region. Palestinian citizens continue to be oppressed, imprisoned, injured and killed by the occupation forces, with impunity and the full backing of the Israeli government," Erekat concluded.”

Sample 2

Jerusalem Post, 9.7.2014

“But while Israel has pledged to "answer quiet with quiet," Hamas seems determined to make a bid for Palestinians' and the Arab world's empathy by dragging Israel into a military confrontation that already has turned bloody and might well be prolonged.”

Appendix C: Executive Summary in German Language

Diese Arbeit analysiert die Rolle von Medien im israelisch-palästinensischen Konflikt. Dabei wird die Frage untersucht, weshalb beide Konfliktparteien das Ausmaß an Leid nicht sehen, welches sie sich gegenseitig zufügen. Von besonderer Bedeutung ist dabei das Verständnis des jeweils anderen als „schlechten Anderen statt leidendem Nachbarn.“ Untersucht werden die zwei englischsprachigen ZeitungenJerusalem Post (JP) und Palestine News & Information Agency (WAFA). Das gesamte Textkorpus besteht aus 1.141 Artikeln, wovon 1.007 JP- und 134 WAFAArtikel darstellen.

Nach einer kurzen thematischen Einführung in die Kernthemen des Konflikts und insbesondere in dessen Widerspenstigkeit wird die konstruktivistische Theorie der Internationalen Beziehungen herangezogen. In Anlehnung an Richard Rorty wird davon ausgegangen, dass nicht ausgedrücktes Mitleid als entscheidender Einflussfaktor auf das Nichtsehen des Leids der anderen Seite fungiert. Das zentrale Argument ist zunächst, dass sich beide Seiten auf ihre eigenen Interessen konzentrieren und die Gegenseite als schlechten Anderen darstellen (erste Hypothese H1). Folgend wird davon ausgegangen, dass Mitleid nur in den Zeitungsartikeln ausgedrückt wird, welche von Opfern und dem damit verbundenem Leiden (der anderen Seite) berichten, aber gleichzeitig die Bedenken und Anliegen der eigenen Seite fokussieren. Letzterem wird eine Relativierungsfunktion zugeschrieben, die das Leiden in den Hintergrund drängt und somit Mitleid vorbeugt (zweite Hypothese H2).

Die empirische Untersuchung hat gezeigt, dass die jeweils andere Seite in beiden Zeitungen häufig als Gegner und die eigene Seite als die gute Seite verstanden wird. Ausdrückliche Äußerungen von Mitleid und Mitgefühl gegenüber der „gegnerischen Seite“ sind äußerst selten. Die Herabsetzung, bzw. Degradierung des Anderen ist durchweg erkennbar und kann insbesondere für die qualitativ analysierten Teilstichproben nachgewiesen werden. Rückführend auf den konstruktivistischen theoretischen Unterbau dieser Arbeit geben die Ergebnisse der vorliegenden Untersuchung demnach Anreiz zur Vermutung, dass Normen und Werte verbunden mit Mitgefühl für die jeweils andere Seite in der israelischen und palästinensischen Gesellschaft nicht verankert sind.


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[1] See United Nations Press Release (accessed on 13.01.2016).

[2] See for instance (accessed on 13.01.2016).

[3] The peace process started in September 1993 “to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority […] for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, […] leading to a permanent settlement (cf. McMahon 2010: 1).

[4] For a detailed depiction of the kidnapping, see for instance (accessed on 20.12.2015).

[5] See for instance (accessed on 15.01.2016).

[6] For a brief timeline of the Israel-Gaza tensions see (accessed on 15.01.2016).

[7] See (accessed on 15.01.2016).

[8] Risse’s 2003 work contains a comprehensive comparison of rational choice and constructivist approaches (Risse 2003a).

[9] A narrative is defined as “discursive representations of time-ordered sequences of events” (Baden 2014: 11).

[10] See Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1993 for the detailed declaration of principles.

[11] Since they are not part of media representations, the practices of Israeli settlement, producing acceptable interlocutors and proffering initiatives ostensibly aimed at ending occupation will not be regarded in this work.

[12] The focus here will be on the construction of frames rather than the results of the analysis, because the distribution of certain frames in foreign media is not relevant.

[13] Considering this is a media content analysis, the actors of each side would be the authors of the published articles within the respective newspaper.

[14] For a detailed analysis in terms of ontological security within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict see Mitzen 2006.

[15] For more information on the Israeli press, see Society_&_Culture-/press.html (accessed on 20.12.2015).

[16] For the English version of WAFA, see (accessed on 20.12.2015).

[17] For a detailed list of categories and words compiling the dictionary, see table A.2, p. I.

[18] For a detailed codebook with descriptions, see table A.5, p. III.

[19] For a detailed table depicting category occurrence by newspaper see table A.3, p. II.

[20] For a detailed table of articles per publication date for both samples see table A.4, p. II.

[21] In the first sample, 12 out of 92 articles have been selected, and 10 out of 133 in the second sample.

42 of 42 pages


The role of media in the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Bad other instead of suffering neighbor. Why do both parties not see the degree of harm they cause to each other?
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Kai-Uwe Ratheiser (Author), 2016, The role of media in the protracted Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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