The Rhetoric of Gaza War: A comparative Analysis of the Palestinian and the “Israeli” Discourse in Media Reporting

Hamza Tamimi
Ahmad Atawneh

The purpose of this study is to analyze the discourse of Gaza War (2009), focusing on the discursive features that were employed to serve the different agendas of the different parties of Gaza War. The data for this study consisted of news reporting about Gaza War, quotes of "Israeli" and Palestinian politicians, and TV reports and interviews. The data were collected from three Palestinian newspapers, two "Israeli" newspapers, and from stable links of some websites where some related data could be found. The analysis of the data allowed us to work out a framework of different categories of discursive indicators which are ideologically oriented. Following Van Djik's (2003) and Fairclough (2003), the discursive indicators were categorized into the following categories: 1- the legitmation of just/unjust war, 2- the use of the pronouns we, they, us, them, I, and our, 3-lexicalization, and 4- modality. This paper has shown how war language is dependent on elements like the just war theory, the choice of the lexical items, the modality of the speaker in expressing self-confidence about his commitment to the truth of what he believes as true or tentatively true. The "Israelis" driven by their power and strong allies use a political language that serves their purposes in ways ignoring the cause of attacks against Israel while stressing only the results of such attacks that causes panic and some damage to their citizens. The Palestinians take some pride in their fight by standing against the giant power of "Israel" and its allies though they bear heavy losses in deaths and damage in properties.