A Glossary of Dispossession

During 2005 the Israelis and most main media trumpeted the “disengagement” from Gaza, and claimed that bold steps had been taken to resolve the conflict. Despite these claims, the reality is that more Palestinian land has been stolen, many have been dispossessed, and ethnic cleansing has been exacerbated especially in Jerusalem. Meanwhile Israelis are orchestrating a propaganda campaign to hide this latest sordid chapter of dispossession. The main feature of this campaign is its invisibility: Israel and its media surrogates are effectively diverting attention from what is happening on the ground. There are virtually no reports about the progress of the construction of the wall and the effect it is having on those caught in its path. Furthermore, it is evident that events have been stage-managed and over hyped to divert media attention elsewhere, e.g., the hoopla surrounding the eviction of the settlers in Gaza [1]. The third feature is the adoption of propaganda-tainted words; these are a subtle means of altering the perception of the Palestinian condition and the nature of Israeli actions — and these are the focus of this article.

Words are very important. Words frame issues, palliate, mollify, exculpate or even hide sordid acts. Words like “disengagement”, “viable state”, “barrier or fence”, etc., alter our understanding of the Palestinian condition under the unrelenting ethnic cleansing that has been the norm during the past decades. Invariably western media and its coterie of “analysts” use propaganda-tainted words when referring to Israeli actions and the Palestinian condition. The list below analyses a few of the prevalent words that hide or exculpate the dispossession of millions [2].

Abused terms or curious new terminology
(alphabetic order) Translation American arbitration

PAUL de ROOIJ is a writer living in London. He can be reached at proox@hotmail.com (NB: all emails with attachments will be automatically deleted.)