Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Confronting the occupation

Episcopal News Service - I recently returned from a two-week pilgrimage to Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories, my third trip to the area. It was emotionally devastating.

I travelled in the company of some 30 Northern California members of Friends of Sabeel North America. Sabeel is an ecumenical Palestinian Christian liberation theology group based in Jerusalem and headed by the Rev. Naim Ateek, an Episcopal priest and graduate of Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

Our trip was a little different from the average Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The average pilgrim flies into Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, gets on an Israeli bus, drives up the coast to Galilee, across the Galilee to Nazareth and Capernaum, down the Jordan Valley, and up through the Judean Wilderness to Jerusalem. Such pilgrims see lots of sacred sites, but meet not a single Palestinian, and return with the same one-sided view of Israel/Palestine he or she left with.

Ours, however, was a pilgrimage to experience the truth of the current situation in Israel/Palestine and to witness to it.

To that end, we travelled from Mount Hermon on the occupied Golan Heights, where we met with Druze villagers cut off from their families in Syria, to the Negev desert in Israel's south where Bedouin villagers are struggling to save their homes from demolition.

And across the West Bank we experienced pain at every turn -- the shuttered shops in Hebron, the empty ones in Bethlehem, the farmers in Qalqilya and Jayous cut off from their fields, the sullen streets of the refugee camps, the still-open wound of a decade-old massacre in Jenin, the stench of tear gas in Bil'in. And, everywhere, the gleaming white hilltop colonies, home to half a million Israeli "settlers"; the myriad checkpoints; and the looming obscenity of a 30-foot-high wall.

The pain was perhaps most pronounced in East Jerusalem's neighborhoods where we met with Palestinians whose homes were being demolished in Silwan and, in Sheikh Jarrah, where elderly Palestinians were living in a tent beside their home now occupied by young Israeli religious extremists. Even the dead, we learned, were being dispossessed. In the Muslim cemetery of Mamilla -- across the street from the American Consulate -- graves were being desecrated to make room for an American-financed "Museum of Tolerance."

My sense of profound sadness and moral outrage was blessedly tempered by our encounters with young Palestinians and Israelis...
Read More