Black and white and shades of gray: Palestinians in the Israeli media during the 2nd Intifada

Tamar Liebes*, Zohar Kampf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


An examination of the Israeli media coverage of Palestinians during the 2nd Intifada demonstrates a new openness, not compatible with the "crisis routine" of rallying around the flag. Fifteen years earlier, in the 1st Intifada, Palestinians were altogether excluded from the screen. This time round, in spite of the higher level of violence, the Israeli public was exposed to their human side-as political leaders, victims, witnesses, and even terrorists. The authors' analysis of news photos and television representations (2000-2005) reveals that during the 2nd Intifada coverage was expanded to include a broad range of Palestinian figures. Alongside traditional framing, Palestinians are also seen as ordinary people living under occupation, often as direct victims of the Israeli military. Analysis of the relationship among these images (including their textual framing), with their implied readers and with "real" readers with ideological preconceptions, leads to arguing that the emotional appeal of the varied representation calls into question the understanding of the conflict as a fixated black-and-white dichotomy. The authors suggest reasons for this new media openness. In conclusion, the authors point to the ways in which their model can facilitate an understanding of images of the "other" side in armed conflicts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)434-453
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Press/Politics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Broadcasting news
  • Journalism
  • Middle East
  • Political conflict
  • Terrorism
  • War coverage


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