It seems that there are more news articles dedicated to the Palestinian bid at the UN than there actually are Palestinians. Everyone has their input about what happens, including the two authors here. Until 10 days ago it was only academics who knew anything about what they were writing, and described the process accordingly. Now in the past 10 days there has been a plethora of news pieces describing the situations and what is expected.
That being said it seems that the media cares to try and make a bigger issue of this than Palestinians actually are and in the process dismiss all the other things going on in Palestine (hours earlier in the village of al Nabi Saleh, many Palestinians were injured practicing their legal right to protest, yet where was CBS?). A new poll released said 80% of Palestinians support the bid. I would love to know how this was asked and presented. A simple going to the “thousands upon thousands” of demonstrators today (there were maybe a thousand who attended and it was because everyone was given the afternoon off and there was a concert) showed that this is a simple lie. Palestinians may believe in the idea but are not given full information about what they actually entails. Many Palestinians support this move for the simple fact they support (and benefit) from Fatah, and think they know what is best. Also they feel that any way to get the Palestine issue on the top of the agenda is a good thing.
I was in my usual coffeeshop, Baladna, in Ramallah on Friday when Mahmoud Abbas made his ‘grand speech,” finally detailing his actual plan at the UN. The coffeeshop had 90 people in it when all of the sudden 25-30 media people (including CBS News) arrived because Abbas’ speech was to begin soon and they wanted “Palestinian” input. The media set up all their cameras (in front of Palestinians) and asked everyone if they spoke English and if they would speak on TV about the bid. No one except the owner Walid spoke English well enough to do an interview. 3 minutes before the speech the media asked the TVs to all put on the speech and turn the volume up as loud as possible. The national anthem preceded Abbas, in which 2 people stood up. When Abbas stood up to speak 3 people clapped. Most Palestinians did not even watch the speech, let alone react, and decided (rightfully in my mind) that playing cards was much more important. The two guys who were clapping at every other Mahmoud Abbas had 3-4 cameras on them at anytime to show “Palestinian” input on the issue. 2/90 is not the worst ratio or distortion possible, but it is rather close. The media filmed for 30 minutes around the coffeeshop, filmed Palestinian men smoking argileh and playing cards just so their Western audience knows they are real Palestinians. At one point during the speech a herd of trash collecting goats passed the coffeeshop and all the cameras turned to film the goats. (insert Edward Said quote about Orientalism *here*)
After the speech was done and the Western media outlets got enough crap footage to edit and make into a story, they left. As they were leaving, the stereotypical journalist looking guy from CBS turns to his cameraman and says “did you get video of the guys playing cards?” and the cameraman looks at him with that look and replied “oh do you mean was the camera on? Yes I got it.” The CBS journalist told Walid the interview would air at 5, 6, and 11pm EST on CBS. The only thing they showed was 5 seconds of al-Manara, the main circle in Ramallah.