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Wikipedia:Arab-Israeli conflict editing project/General remarks

I can't agree to that, see the Talk page for reasons. --Uri

Some thoughts on how bias is brought in articles about the conflict.

First, there is often a missing distinction on political arguments and reasonings.

If you write about politics, you have to be aware of the peculiarities of political language. If one side is saying something, it doesn't imply that they are also meaning it and neither that they for themselves are believing it.

Take for example the article on UN Security Council Resolution 242. The facts are: there is an UN-resolution who calls for end of occupation and Israel decided to ignore it. These are the important facts. The unimportant part is what Israel said to justify its decision. This is an example for diplomatic speech, i.e. speech which hides a single message to transfer behind a legal discussion: "We won't fullfill it". Nobody really cares for which arguments are used, neither Israel nor the UN and the reader of wikipedia neither.

This is a example of arguments which should be IMHO not mentioned in Wikipedia because they are irrelevant and only bore the reader. Let's distinguish them from "real" arguments: such a real argument is for example the objections Israel raises in the debate about the right of the Palestinian refugees to return. A real argument is something the speaker firmly believes in and it constitutes a real problem for him. Let's clearly distinguish between "political excuses" (i.e. diplomatic speech) and real statements, political programs, strategies and whatsoever.

Next important thing is not to mix different levels of speakers. "Arabs say, Israelis say..." It may be hard for the individual to acknowledge, but in official political debates it is simply irrelevant, what the Palestinian baker and the Israeli IT-expert are saying. If there is a great mass running down the street screaming "down with Israel!" this is a political statement, but not on the same level as a Israeli government decision or the "official line" of the Fatah, and the latter are the stuff which count for politics (and also for our articles). This doesn't mean, however, that the masses have no influence in politics - it refers only to the depiction of debates in wikipedia where I often find a unseperated mix of all these different levels. These masses on the street may cause the PLO to adopt a certain strategy, the demonstration may illustrate the reaction to a certain event under the population - as such one can refer to them, but not "The Israeli goverment says this", and "the Arabs claim". In political science (and these articles should match the standard of political science) one distinguishes clearly between the differing opinions of the people (researched by statistics and interviews) and the statements of political leaders and organizations.

to be continued

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