Analyses of conservative and liberal editorials about the Israeli occupation of the Gaza strip
In the midst of debates surrounding the issue of the occupation and recent evacuation of Israelis in the Gaza strip, American newspapers had been filled with editorials reflecting American society's stand on this issue. It became apparent that this issue had been unanimously viewed by Americans as over-delayed, that Israel's decision to evacuate Gaza was not only right, but is also just. In effect, Americans criticized two important elements in the issue of Israeli evacuation at Gaza: the first element criticized was the overdue evacuation of Israelis, and the second element was that despite its evacuation of settlers, Israeli had gained more than it lost by "giving up" Gaza for the Palestinians.
In this paper, analyses of two editorials are conducted in order to illustrate how Americans perceived and reacted over this important international politics issue. "Sharon: Hero and Goat of Gaza" by Patrick Buchanan and "Fighting Israel's Wall" by Ann Petter are both editorials that offer criticism of the Israeli occupation of Gaza, although each differed in the tone they used in arguing their position. Buchanan offered a more conservative and diplomatic approach in criticizing the Israeli and American governments on the said issue, while Petter maintained a fiery, liberal tone about her outright protest against Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory of Gaza.
Given these backgrounds about each of the editorial discussed and analyzed, this paper, then, posits that Petter's editorial emerges as the most persuasive argument than Buchanan's because of the liberal and more personalized tone she assumed in expressing her protest about this current event relevant to Americans. Because of her strong opposition and clear argument against the issue, Petter successfully communicated the message that Israelis had done the Palestinians great injustice by maliciously occupying Gaza despite its being a Palestinian territory. The texts that follow discuss in detail the arguments raised in Buchanan's and Petter's respective editorial, as well as analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments each author raised.
Buchanan's editorial delved into the history of Israel's occupation of the Gaza strip and the political dynamics surrounding their alleged occupation and eventual evacuation of the Palestinian territory. He first discussed the history behind Israel's alleged occupation of the Gaza strip. Buchanan appropriately summed up Israel's actions regarding the occupation issue in the following passage from his editorial: "For his resolve in removing the settlers, despite threats on his life, Ariel Sharon deserves credit. But for the settlers' being there, where they never belonged, he bears full blame. Both the tragedy and the debacle of this past week are Sharon's doing."
This passage rested on the historical fact that Gaza was an original territory of Palestine, and Israeli presence in the territory became accidentally possible after the Six-Day War in 1967. Thus, over the years, Israelis managed to "usurp" the Gaza territory, thereby affecting Palestinian economy upon the establishment of the Separation Wall. What had once been a simple issue of illegal occupation became an international issue that also led to extreme violence between the Israelis and Palestinians.
What now becomes an issue, according to Buchanan, was the supposed benefit that Israel took from the U.S. In exchange of evacuating Gaza. By evacuating the Gaza strip, Israel, through the leadership of Sharon, would receive $2.2 billion, the amount of financial resource required for him to make this 'goodwill gesture' to Palestine (and the U.S.). The injustice behind this transaction, Buchanan argued, was the payment given to Israel despite its illegal occupation of Gaza. It was actually Israel's fault that it has severe political relations with Palestine, yet, they will receive financial help from the U.S. By undoing a political conflict Israel itself had initiated. Unfortunately, the U.S. government becomes an accessory to Israel's offense because it tolerated Israel's actions by providing it financial aid.
Looking into Buchanan's series of arguments in his editorial, its primary strength was that it helped readers understand the historical context from which the issue originated. By discussing the history of Israel-Palestine political relations, readers become more receptive to his portrayal of Israel as the antagonist and Palestine as the 'injured party' on the issue of the Gaza strip occupation. He also justified how the U.S. becomes Israel's 'accomplice' to its commitment of injustice against Palestine. In fact, his portrayal of U.S. As harboring "rampant animosity" in the Middle Eastern region becomes the reason why U.S. was willing to support Israel -- it is its only ally in the highly-hostile and anti-U.S. Arab world. Thus, the reader becomes better informed and more able to provide his/her opinion about the issue after reading Buchanan's editorial.
However, despite his informative piece, Buchanan failed to sway his readers by agreeing with his arguments in the article. His failure to persuade effectively was due to the numerous information contained within the article, confusing the reader about its real focus and argument. It was not clear whether Buchanan was criticizing only Ariel Sharon, or the U.S. government, or both of them. He lacked the tone to clearly express to his readers his position about the issue. Buchanan tried to argue using facts, but information overload became a disadvantage for him because it clouded the readers' attention: it seemed that information about the issue controlled the article rather than Buchanan's thoughts about the issue. In sum, his article initially tried to argue, but failed to do so when too much information had changed the focus of not only his readers, but Buchanan himself.
Ann Petter's editorial, meanwhile, offered another perspective and tone to the issue of Israeli's evacuation from the Gaza strip. In contrast to Buchanan's focus, Petter's article expressed a more personal tone to the issue as she narrated her own experiences while covering the evacuation event. While Buchanan assumed the role of the observer on the events occurring at the Gaza strip, Petter became a participant to the event itself, making her more than just a reporter but an eyewitness to the alleged injustice committed by the Israelis against Palestinians.
Her article being more of a narrative rather than just a simple report about the events happening at Gaza, Petter relayed her experience as a witness to the Israeli evacuation of Gaza. Her objective for coming was not only based on her need to witness the event as a reporter, but also to seek justice for the Palestinians, whom she believed to be the primary victims of the Israelis' occupation of Gaza. Communicating with her readers, Petter appealed and made clear the relevance of the event not only to Israelis and Palestinians, but to people of all nations who are experiencing injustice:
... Why did I come from outside Israel to participate in political activity here? The first and simplest answer is because it is the right thing to do. The international community needs to insist on justice for all, for the sake of all. Secondly, I came from outside Israel to engage in political activity here because my country, the United States, bears the greatest responsibility for perpetuating violence here.
Making clear her objectives for witnessing the evacuation of Gaza, Petter also related to her readers recent events that demonstrated how U.S. aid to Israel had contributed to further the downward spiral of Israel-Palestine relations, a conflict that has only left numerous casualties and resolved few problems among each state's peoples (Israelis and Palestinians).
What was ironic about all these events, according to Petter, was that U.S. had been a staunch supporter of international laws relating to violations of human rights. U.S.'s continued support to Israel magnifies the fact that its being a supporter of human rights was negated by the reality that it actually supports military actions violating human…