Political and Ideological Tensions in Palestine

A critical language analysis of news reporting of the 2014 Gaza war


  • Rami Qawariq An-Najah University- Palestine




Critical Discourse Analysis, News Reporting, Political Conflicts, Gaza War 2014


It is widely accepted that the struggle over media representation within the Palestinian-Israeli struggle is no less important than the struggle on the ground (Wolfsfeld, 1997). Although the role of the media in this struggle has been a focal interest for researchers, the vast majority of studies adopt top-down approaches with macro-level tools of analysis which lead to a dichotomous positive ‘Self’ and negative ‘Other’ representation. This study, in contrast, is a qualitative language-based analysis of three Palestinian news websites, which publish in English, during the 2014 Gaza war. These news websites are indicative of the media landscape in Palestine, and the choice of these outlets is intended to present a range of possible views. The study adds to the effort that approaches media discourse to detect fissures and dissonances, rather than identifying stabilities and symmetries. It aims at revealing some discursive aspects of the way marginal ideologies compete with the dominant discourse in Palestine. This is intended to shed light on the latent change in the Palestinian political culture and how it is discursively articulated. Within the framework of critical discourse analysis, the study takes account of transitivity (Halliday, 1985; Halliday & Matthiessen, 2004), the social actor model (van Leeuwen, 2008) and referential strategies (Reisigl & Wodak, 2009) to conduct its bottom-up analysis. The study finds that Palestinian news websites subtly exploit representations of actions and actors in their struggle for power, representativeness and legitimacy. More importantly, the results of this study reveal that a marginal ideology in Palestine is growing and competing with hegemonic national narratives. While the hegemonically dominant ideology depends on common public knowledge and backgrounds much contextual information, the marginal ideology mainly functions via the extensive contextualization of events, which takes a bottom-up discursive direction in relation to the prevailing socio-political culture.Keywords: Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory; conflict; Shakespeare; Chinese Daoism; education