The Coverage of June 1967 War in the Three Palestinian Newspapers and Palestine TV on the 5th, 6th and 7th of June 2007
Last June, the Palestinians commemorated the 40th anniversary of the June 1967 War through marches and several other activities. Factions competed over issuing statements, while the press and the television covered these activities over three consecutive days.
Arab satellite channels, such as Al-Jazeera and Al Arabiya, as well as Palestine Satellite Channel (PBC) were highly interested in this occasion.
In its reports and follow-up on the occasion, Al-Arabiya provided statistics and data on the 'June War' and its continuous repercussions and results that have persisted for forty years. Al-Jazeera, on the other hand, used the occasion to address and survey the opinions of Arab and Palestinian citizens. The poll revealed an ignorance of the June War and unveiled a state of indifference towards such a grave event.
What characterized the coverage of the event in the three daily newspapers and in the PBC was a follow up on the political and field events and a simple news reporting. The reports occupied large spaces in the three newspapers, which also published articles and photos from the archives of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and some news agencies such as Reuters and AFP. Special focus was given to humanitarian reports by local correspondents and foreign news agencies, that included moving stories about witnesses and victims of the June War.
June 1967 War in the three local newspapers:
The media coverage of this event linked war and defeat to the reality that the Palestinian were living on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the June War, in particular, the severe division, infighting and fragmented reality, as if it constitutes yet another aspect of the defeat. The aggravated political events and internal schism among factions necessitated such linkage.
Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah published a four-column AFP report at the bottom of its front-page entitled:
'Naksa anniversary…forty years of occupation, killing and imprisonment'
The report reviewed the desperate conditions of Palestinians forty years after the 'June 67 War' and the resulting military weakness, tight room for diplomacy and internal division. The newspaper merely published the AFP report, with no further analysis, as local newspapers usually do, relying on foreign news agencies in covering local news.
In Gaza, which witnessed a violent and harsh internal Palestinian conflict, the 'June War' appeared in a six-column news report published on page 9 of Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah and entitled:
'Forty Years after Massacres, Judaization and Settlement Activities (subheading)
The report, written by their Gaza reporter Nufuth Al-Bakri, spoke about the June War as an event that changed the life of a whole people who had not yet awakened from their first Nakba, to lose the rest of the lands; then came the infighting, siege and disorder to eliminate whatever is left of their dreams.
The linkage between the occasion and the present reality was conventional and did not address the repercussions of the on-going events and their serious impact on polity.
Such a link was also evident in the local articles page in Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, where a number of articles written to commemorate 5 June linked the occasion to current events, including those of Nahr el-Bared Refugee Camp between the Lebanese Army and Fateh Al-Islam fundamentalist organization, whose victims were Palestinian refugees.
According to writers, the June War is renewed, and defeat prevails. In his article entitled "Beyond Talk' and published on 5 June 2007 in Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, Basem Abu Sumayya said:
“No matter how strongly we shed crocodile tears and commemorate through marches and rallies, no matter how much we dance over our wounds and show regret, this unforgettable war will not wipe out the shame of infighting and the resulting disorder and chaos whose outcome we continue to suffer from.”