Nedim Aslan of Vakit newspaper interviews the Director of Middle East Monitor, Dr Daud Abdullah, to talk about the establishment of the institution, its stated purpose and its role in aiding conflict resolution in the Middle East.
Dr Abdullah spoke of the widespread ignorance on the causes of the conflict in Palestine and the role played by the media and lobby groups in perpetuating this problem. The reliance of the media on official Israeli sources and the lack of independent, critical and objective coverage compounded the problem faced by the public.
Dr Abdullah noted the example of the Palestinian refugees who fled in 1948 and the fact that the media rarely referred to the right of return of the refugees in articles and commentary focused on the two state solution. The omission is a deliberate attempt to obscure the truth and to divert from important obstacles in need of resolution as part of the peace process. By the media ignoring the right of return of Palestinian refugees, it aids and abets the distortion of the key issues at stake in the negotiations for peace.
Dr Abdullah said ME Monitor was established to reverse this strategic omission by developing resources, organizing conferences and partnering with human rights organizations to ensure the causes and consequences of the conflict are more accurately and more justly conveyed to the wider public.
Dr Abdullah said that just as Israel is today supported by governments like the US and Europe, so too was the apartheid regime in South Africa similarly buttressed. And just as world public opinion forced individual governments to exert pressure on the apartheid regime to restore rights and dignity to the people of South Africa regardless of race, so too can world public opinion be mobilized to end the occupation and immense suffering of the Palestinian people. It requires a concerted campaign to bring out the truth, and to this end ME Monitor was created.
Dr Abdullah also spoke of the important role Turkey can play in mediating for peace. The protest of the Turkish government against Israeli action in Gaza, and the courageous comments of PM Erdogan, was significant for its reflecting world opinion on the horrors of Gaza. Turkey, and the whole of the Muslim world, carries a responsibility for a just solution to the conflict in the Middle East. 'Jerusalem is not just a Palestinian matter, it is a concern for the whole of the Muslim world. How will Muslims react if the Israelis deny them entry into Al-Aqsa mosque?', Dr Abdullah said.