The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a complex media landscape, with the government exercising significant control over the press. Government mouthpieces include the Saudi Press Agency, Arab News, and the TV station al-Arabiyya.
There are also intellectual papers of record, such as al-Sharq al-Awsat and al-Hayat, which are Saudi owned and influenced, but not quite government puppets. There are even tabloids, such as Okaz, which is wildly popular and independently owned; the paper has been described as “the closest thing the Kingdom has to The New York Post.”
“[Saudi media] is all government controlled or government influenced,” Henderson said. “Arab News, for example, directly reflects the public relations campaign of Muhammad bin Salman. This campaign emphasizes the positives, all the time. And yet there’s so much bad news out of Israel.”
Mohammad bin Salman wants the media to spin the new, closer relationship with Israel as a positive, Henderson says. Despite the yearning for increased economic and cultural normalization, however, Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians remains a major hurdle.
Government-controlled media outlets maintain a superficially similar line when covering the conflict. Hard news stories and press statements run fairly standard rhetoric on Israel: the Golan Heights are “occupied,” and Jerusalem is “our paramount concern,” while those who perish are “martyrs.” Al-Arabiyya TV often runs items critical of Israel, such as a segment in February profiling Janna Jihad, a young Palestinian journalist and cousin of activist Ahed Tamimi.
Henderson believes, however, that coverage is changing. While outlets like the Saudi Press Agency and Arab News may not yet toe a clear line, they try to maintain a positive approach even when covering recent events in Gaza, Henderson said.
“I sense the agonies they’re going through,” Henderson said. “Impressionistically, I sense that what they’re reporting now is more in sorrow than in anger.”
Small omissions may also indicate a government strategy to shift the public’s attention away from criticizing Israel. Nadim Koteich is a Lebanese journalist whose video columns are consistently syndicated on Saudi-controlled al-Arabiyya. His anti-Hezbollah activism has made him quite popular in Saudi Arabia, where his videos on al-Arabiyya regularly receive hundreds of thousands of views.
At the same time, an increasing number of Saudi intellectuals, many of whom are avid and enthusiastic supporters of Mohammad Bin Salman, have begun to publicly call for normalization with Israel. Many of them publish their op-eds in the same publications that maintain harsh rhetoric on Israel in their news clips.
“If there were to be peace,” wrote Hamza bin Salim, a journalist for The Peninsula, a Saudi-owned newspaper, “Israel would instantly become the number one destination for Saudi tourism.”
Many journalists pushing for normalization, whether in tweets or in columns, cite the nefariousness of Hamas. In his remarks to The Atlantic, Bin Salman described an “evil triangle” — containing not only Iran and Sunni terrorist organizations, but the Muslim Brotherhood as well.
Some Saudis consider Hamas, an organization which has received Iranian support and which until recently was officially a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, to be a natural enemy of the new, liberal Saudi project.
“Iran is playing a malicious game in Gaza in cooperation with Hamas and they are mobilizing to provoke chaos,” Saudi blogger Mansour al-Khamis tweeted.
Al-Khamis added that the Great March of Return ought to be called the “Motolov March,” a reference to the improvised explosives used by Hamas militants during the recent Gaza protests.
Other journalists advocating normalization emphasized longstanding Saudi support for the Palestinian cause.
“Some people might think I’m against the Palestinian struggle, but that’s just not true,” tweeted pro-Bin Salman journalist Turki al-Hamad. “We’ve suffered for Palestine since 1948… development stalled for Palestine, freedoms were repressed because of Palestine. And if Palestine is ever created, it’ll just be another backwards Arab state. Enough!”
Hani al-Zahiri, a journalist at Okaz, echoed such sentiments. On May 5, he published an op-ed asserting that Saudi Arabia has much to gain from open relations with Israel — and besides, everyone else is doing it.
“No one has supported the Palestinian cause, financially and politically more than Saudi Arabia… without gratitude or thanks from anyone,” wrote al-Zahiri in Okaz. “Meanwhile, other the Arab and Muslim countries have been assessing the value of public diplomatic relations with Israel for many years, and they enjoy hundreds of billions of dollars in trade!”
“We can say loudly and clearly,” al-Zahiri concluded, “that as long as the Palestinians sit at the same table as the Israelis, nothing should stop Saudi Arabia from sitting and negotiating with them, either.”
With the rise of social media, however, Saudis have more options for media than government sponsored propaganda. In addition to the government-owned press, a network of bloggers and Twitter users take advantage of social media to provide their own analysis of Saudi politics. More than one-third of the country is active on Twitter, producing more than 150 million tweets a month.
After Trump’s controversial promise in October to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a clip went viral on Saudi social media: “The 10 Most Detestable Saudi Writers To Call for Normalization with Israel.” Al-Rashid made the list, as did Turki al-Hamad.
In cyberspace, the government’s restrictions on freedom of speech are somewhat loosened, and Saudis are more likely to challenge the Kingdom’s new direction. While traditionally pro-government papers have been friendly to publishing pieces which advocate normalization, Saudi Twitter has been less forgiving.
Al-Zahiri’s call for negotiations, for example, received widespread condemnation from Saudis on social media.
“Pure bullying — deserves no response,” tweeted Ahmad bin Rashid bin Sa’id, one of Saudi Arabia’s most popular Twitter users. “#Palestine_Is_Our_Nation’s_Struggle, #No_to_Normalization.”
In a press statement, Lieberman said a regional planning board would be asked to designate 2,500 of the housing units for immediate construction, and another 1,400 to follow.
Lieberman will ask The Higher Planning Council in Judea and Samaria to promote planning procedures in more than 30 communities throughout the West Bank.
The housing units will be distributed mainly between the settlements of Ariel (400), Ma’ale Adumim (460), Kiryat Arba (15), Avnei Hefetz (130), Talmon (180), Kfar Etzion (160) and Halamish/Neve Tzuf (60).“We committed to building in Judea and Samaria and we are fulfilling that commitment,” Lieberman said in his press statement. “We will approve 2,500 new housing units next week at the planning council for immediate construction in 2018. In the coming months we will seek approval for thousands of additional housing units. We will continue to populate and develop Judea and Samaria with actions.”Israel disputes that its settlements are illegal and says their future should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians, who want the West Bank to be part of a future state
“We will promote building in all of Judea and Samaria, from the north to south, in small communities and in large ones,” Lieberman wrote.
There was no immediate comment from Palestinian officials, who have long argued that Israeli settlements could deny them a viable and contiguous country.Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, areas that are also home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians.
The Israel Air Force targeted over 50 Iranian sites in Syria after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force fired 20 rockets at Israeli military posts in the Golan Heights.
දමස්කස් ගුවන් තොටුපලේ සම්පූර්නයෙන්මන්ම විනාශවූ ගබඩා සංකීර්නය
2018. මැයි 11
The targets hit at the airport include storage facilities housing advanced weapons, reportedly including rockets and missiles that belong to the Quds Force troops operating in Syria.
Some of the satellite images, taken by ImageSat International (ISI), show “The Glasshouse,” the headquarters of the Quds Force at the Damascus International Airport, while others show damage caused to a weapons storage facility in a field.
None of the rockets fired by the Quds Force hit inside Israeli territory – four were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, while the rest fell inside Syria.
The Israeli retaliatory strike, code named “Operation House of Cards, lasted a
The IAF bombarded military installations at Tel Gharba, Tel Kleb, Nabi Yusha and Tel Maqdad, as well as a military compound of the Iranian Quds Force in al-Kisweh, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.an vowed retaliation after a suspected Israeli air strike last month killed seven of its military personnel in a Syrian air base.
The attack on the Golan Heights, just past midnight, marked the first time Iranian forces have attacked Israel from Syria, where they have deployed along with Iran-backed Shiite militias and Russian troops to support President Bashar Assad in the seven-year-old civil war.
ඉන්දියානු රෝ ඔත්තුකරුවෝ 1990 ඇමතුම් ඇම්බ්යුලන්ස් එකෙන් පැමින මගේ බිරියගේ ජීවිතය බේරා ගනිති!!!
Israeli Border Police arrested a 30-year-old on suspicion of antiquities looting in the ancient Christian pilgrim graveyard at Akeldama, located in Jerusalem’s Hinnom Valley and associated with one of Jesus’s 12 apostles, Judas Iscariot.
Early Friday, police units patrolling the area noted unusual activity on the grounds of the archaeological site located about half a kilometer from the Old City of Jerusalem. After surveying the site, they found three disturbed areas, excavation tools and a hidden place for tool storage, or possibly a hideout for looters.
From the 4th through 7th century, Byzantine monks and hermits lived on the site, which is still occupied by a Christian monastery built on the spot where Judas is meant to have hanged himself, the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St Onuphrius, built in 1874. The monastery includes two ancient tombs, an altered burial cave called “Refuge [or Retreat] of the Apostles” and a subterranean Second Temple-period tomb whose roots may stretch even to the First Temple, according to scholars.
Since 680 CE, most Christian pilgrims who died in Jerusalem were buried here and there is an impressive Crusader period “charnel house” or bone vault at the site called “Chaudemar.” Also among dozens of Christian graves is what could possibly be the burial place of the family of the high priest Annas, according to a Biblical Archaeology Review article.
An inspector from the Israel Antiquities Authority’s theft prevention unit was summoned to the scene and began an investigation. If charged, the 30-year-old Jerusalem resident faces up to five years in jail for antiquities theft and damage to an archaeological site.
Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said in a statement, “The Border Police / Israel Police view with great severity any attempted damage to sites which preserve the historical heritage of the Land of Israel. Any person who commits an unauthorized act at archaeological sites, harms and/or loots them, commits a crime of up to five years in prison.”
In Christian tradition, the land surrounding Akeldama is associated with Judas Iscariot, the traitor among the 12 apostles who sold his master for 30 silver pieces. Accounts differ, but the one from the Book of Acts, excerpted in a Biblical Archaeology Review article on the site, also may account for the soil’s ruddy color:
“Now this man [Judas] acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood” (Acts 1:18–19).
In another account found in the Book of Matthew, Judas returns the blood money to the priests, who, viewing it as tainted, purchase this field instead, calling it in Aramaic Hakal-Dema, or a “Field of Blood.”
According to the BAR article, the site “was identified as Akeldama as early as the third and fourth centuries” by the early Christian historian, Eusebius, who made a site visit in 335 CE. Other Christian writers, including Jerome, who in 400 CE attempted to match names with important biblical sites, also identified this spot as the Field of Blood.
There are some 80 burial caves in the area, the majority of which date to the Herodian period (37 BCE – 70 CE), according to the BAR article.
“Some of these tombs are in magnificent condition, still standing to their full height,” write the authors, Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer, who label Akeldama as “one of the most impressive, important, yet largely unknown archaeological sites in the Holy Land.’
The Sri Lanka Nutrition Society (SLNS) has alleged that the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) is blocking moves to employ Wayamba University graduates of Agriculture, Livestock and Nutrition from taking up nutritionist jobs in state hospitals.
SLNS President Anoma Chandrasekera who is also the head of the Department of Applied Nutrition, Wayamba University, said the GMOA had claimed that the graduates were not trained to look into human nutrition. However, Dr. Chandrasekera said the GMOA’s concerns appear to be with the title of the degree which reads as ‘Agriculture, Livestock and Nutrition’ and believe that the graduates are qualified only in animal nutrition.
Dr. Chandrasekera charged that hospitals continue to employ doctors for the job and they in turn use dieticians to execute the job. “Doctors send out circulars and get the work done through dieticians,” she said. In the maternity clinics MOHs (Medical Officers of Health) health workers and midwives do the job of a nutritionist.
This has resulted in patients not being properly told what food choices they can have. “Doctors stop them from consuming certain foods, but fail to give alternatives,” she said. For the past 20 years about 500 nutritionists have passed out of the Wayamba University but have failed to secure jobs as nutritionist in state hospitals. There is only one nutritionist who has been employed in the country–at the National hospital. Consequently, except for a few who work as nutritionists in the private hospitals, others have moved onto teaching and other administrative segments, Dr. Chandrasekera said.
She said that MBBS doctors do post graduate courses in nutrition and get the jobs. The general belief is that the doctors are more qualified to do the job however they do not have the necessary knowledge. She also said some general practitioners do an additional one year of a post graduate degree in nutrition and qualify for the job. “But these doctors are not ready to work in difficult stations including Vavuniya, Ampara and Jaffna. As a result people suffer.
The GMOA, while denouncing the accusations by the SLNS said they were against Wayamba University graduates taking up jobs as nutritionists in hospitals not because of the title, but because of the degree programme itself, which does not include any clinical practice in a hospital setting.
GMOA Additional Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said nutrition in hospitals should be handled by a properly qualified nutritionist who has got clinical training in a hospital setting. “When it involves the whole population, others can come in, but in hospitals only a clinical nutritionist specialised in the field can take up the post,” he said. He said nutrition was a broad field including cultivation, livestock and clinical service and these graduates could work as nutritionists in a community setting.
Drawing parallels, he said that in the United States and other western countries nutrition in hospitals is handled by physicians, anaesthetists, Surgeons and Paediatricians. Closer home, in India, hospital nutrition is done by personnel with degrees in dietetics. However, Sri Lanka does not have a dietetics degree programmes. At present nutritional advice is given by para medical officers including midwives, public health officers and personnel in the MOH offices.
Dr. Herath said that the GMOA is committed to improving the standard of the health service given to patients and is trying to bring in a scientific mode in the dissemination of nutrition to patients. “We want to be a benchmark to the world,” he said.
“We are planning to create a post graduate degree in nutrition through the post graduate Institute of Science. We have plans to start a Nutrition Physician Degree – a six-year course with the affiliation of the Health Ministry,” he said.
“We also want to bring in a proposal for a three- year diploma course in dietetics with the approval of the UGC and the Sri Lanka Medical Council,” he said.
Also, he said, the ongoing plans to establish a Clinica Faculty at the Wayamba University will enable the university to use the Kuliyapitiya hospital as the Teaching hospital for clinical practice for future Agriculture, Livestock and Nutrition undergraduates.