Letter to Chicago Tribune: Fear and Loathing in Israel
by Steven Feuerstein

Written in response to a November 3, 2020 article in the Chicago Tribune.

Your November 3, 2020 article "Fear returns as a staple...Israel" by Stephen Franklin certainly gave us a strong feeling of the fear and uncertainty experienced by Israeli Jews, including "what mostly troubles them in the current crisis is how suddenly they have felt defenseless...[confronted by] stone-throwing Palestinians now armed also with guns...breathing down their necks."

Such graphic language is very powerful, and in fact not all that unusual in portraying the plight of Israeli Jews, as violence increases in their part of Israel with the latest car bombing.

I suggest, however, that this coverage demonstrates a very strong bias in favor of the Israeli government and directly harms the cause of peace in the Middle East.

By any reasonable measure, the day to day experience of Palestinians, trapped inside their small towns and villages in occupied territories, surrounded by Israeli Defense Forces tanks, helicopter gunships and heavily-armed soldiers, is much more terrifying.  Yet you rarely, if ever, report on this Palestinian trauma.

It is not hard to find such information.  The Independent Media Center at regularly reports on life within Palestinian towns. Here is one eyewitness report, for example, by Marina Barham from Beit Jala "Since 4:30 pm, we have been under heavy shelling by Israeli tanks and helicopters.  The shelling was targeting all houses and residential areas in Beit Jala, Aida refugee camp and Al-Khader village, near Beit Jala.  This shelling continued until about ten in the evening."

You could also report on the decisions of groups like the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron, which announced to the IDF that it was going to spend the night in the homes of Palestinians in hopes of stopping their indiscriminate shelling of civilians.

I am not writing to discount the fears and uncertainties of Israeli Jews in today's Israel.  I am, instead, writing to express my dismay at your seeming inability to present the human face and daily intense suffering and loss of life—of Palestinians.