For the better part of 21 years, ever since the launch of negotiations between Israel and the PLO, the Jewish media, as a matter of a policy of negligent reporting, have played down what the PLO, the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA communicate in the Arabic language to the Palestinian people.
The following link reflects some of the pieces that our agency has produced over the past 11 years:
Finding out what the other side conveys to their people is not a rocket science. There are daily memos that emanate from all PA offices. There are three PA controlled newspapers. And the PA runs the PBC TV and radio stations, 24/7. Most importantly, there are tens of diligent Palestinian journalists who can be retained, full time, or part time, to provide the news media with clear, honest reports from the scene of the action. The courage of Palestinian reporters who stand up against the authoritarian rule of the PA and Hamas remains an unwritten story.
However, the Jewish media prefers to cover the story without hiring Palestinian reporters and without following their news outlets, allowing news stories to be filtered through editors who want to report to their readers that some kind of peace process is ensuing.
Our news operation acts differently. We work with Palestinian reporters and with Israeli journalists who know Arabic on a PHD level.
Over the past six years, we have been filming Palestinian education in the UNRWA camps that serve the descendants of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war. We have also acquired and commissioned translations of the new Palestinian school books published by the PA with funding from the US and other nations, and we have provided our coverage for media outlets in all nations that currently fund the PA and UNRWA.
In that context, our agency has just released a new film, UNRWA GOES TO WAR, shot on location in UNRWA facilities near Gaza,.Ramallah and Jenín, filmed by Palestinian TV crews who literally took their lives in their hands.
This film will be screened at the US Congress and for 12 other legislative bodies that fund UNRWA in the near future.
We have asked to screen 15 minutes of “UNRWA GOES TO WAR” at the forthcoming session of the American Jewish Press Association annual conference that will take place in Maryland, at the session designed for Jewish journalists to share their special projects.
Yet AJPA has so far said no to the screening. We appeal that decision.
To agree to such a decision would be to accept the unstated policy of the Jewish media refusing to hear and see what Palestinians and their allies in UNRWA openly communicate.
This open letter represents a formal appeal to fellow members of the American Jewish Press Association to reconsider that AJPA restriction and to lend the floor of the conference to another form of news coverage.