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Quotes and Agendas: Israelis vs. Palestinians on Media, Public and Policy Agendas
Unformatted Document Text:  Fan-Page 8 Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) is the dominant news wire in Germany and was therefore used to represent the German press. Germany is an interesting case because it has had a special and favorable relationship with Israel as an outgrowth of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War. However, Germany is also part of Europe and might be more influenced by European viewpoints that might be different from those in the United States. An additional factor is the growing role that German diplomacy has taken in peace negotiations in the Middle East. German leaders, diplomats and politicians have become frequent visitors in the region, trying to offer gestures and compromises to promote a peaceful settlement of the conflict. TASS/ITAR-TASS (TASS) has undergone a name change from TASS before the dissolution of the Soviet Union to ITAR-TASS following the creation of the Russian Republic. TASS has been the official news wire of the two states (For convenience, TASS will refer to both TASS and ITAR-TASS). During the Cold War, the Soviet Union had close relations with Syria and Iraq so TASS might have given the Palestinians a stronger voice at that time. However, with the end of the Cold War, Iraqi and Syrian ties to Russia have weakened so TASS coverage might have become less favorable. Xinhua News Agency (Xinhua) is the official news wire of the People’s Republic of China and was used to represent the Chinese press. China is a Communist state that has undergone evolution but without the widespread reorganizations in governmental structure that have occurred with the demise of the Soviet Union. Therefore, Xinhua’s attitude toward the Middle East might not have changed much over the years. Overall, China’s sympathies might well have lain more with the Palestinians than with the Israelis dating back to the Cold War when the United States supported Israel, and China was generally opposed to the United States. Thus, coverage in these five news agencies serves as our database to represent various countries, political settings and media environments and aims of different key audiences. Combined, these five major organizations dominate the flow of news to a very large fraction of the world’s news consumers. Polls of the United States Population Polls from the POLL database of the Roper Center at the University of Connecticut were obtained from the LexisNexis online database to explore American public opinion toward Israelis and Palestinians. The database was searched from January 1, 1977 to August 17, 2002 using the condition that either word root "Palestin!" or "Israel!" had to be in the poll record (the ! sign meant that any trailing letters were permitted). All 2980 polls found with this search command were retrieved for further analysis. Among these polls, two questions gave results that could be used to construct informative time series: (1) The Israeli/Palestinian sympathy poll series was based on this question or a very close variant: In the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, which side do you sympathize with more -- Israel or the Palestinians? (2) The Israeli/Arab sympathy poll series used a very similar set of questions: In the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with Israel or more with the Arab nations? Methods

Authors: Fan, David. and Weimann, Gabriel.
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Fan-Page 8
Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA) is the dominant news wire in Germany and was therefore used
to represent the German press. Germany is an interesting case because it has had a special and
favorable relationship with Israel as an outgrowth of the Holocaust that occurred during the
Second World War. However, Germany is also part of Europe and might be more influenced by
European viewpoints that might be different from those in the United States. An additional factor
is the growing role that German diplomacy has taken in peace negotiations in the Middle East.
German leaders, diplomats and politicians have become frequent visitors in the region, trying to
offer gestures and compromises to promote a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

TASS/ITAR-TASS (TASS) has undergone a name change from TASS before the dissolution of
the Soviet Union to ITAR-TASS following the creation of the Russian Republic. TASS has been
the official news wire of the two states (For convenience, TASS will refer to both TASS and
ITAR-TASS). During the Cold War, the Soviet Union had close relations with Syria and Iraq so
TASS might have given the Palestinians a stronger voice at that time. However, with the end of
the Cold War, Iraqi and Syrian ties to Russia have weakened so TASS coverage might have
become less favorable.

Xinhua News Agency (Xinhua) is the official news wire of the People’s Republic of China and
was used to represent the Chinese press. China is a Communist state that has undergone
evolution but without the widespread reorganizations in governmental structure that have
occurred with the demise of the Soviet Union. Therefore, Xinhua’s attitude toward the Middle
East might not have changed much over the years. Overall, China’s sympathies might well have
lain more with the Palestinians than with the Israelis dating back to the Cold War when the
United States supported Israel, and China was generally opposed to the United States.

Thus, coverage in these five news agencies serves as our database to represent various countries,
political settings and media environments and aims of different key audiences. Combined, these
five major organizations dominate the flow of news to a very large fraction of the world’s news
consumers.

Polls of the United States Population

Polls from the POLL database of the Roper Center at the University of Connecticut were
obtained from the LexisNexis online database to explore American public opinion toward
Israelis and Palestinians. The database was searched from January 1, 1977 to August 17, 2002
using the condition that either word root "Palestin!" or "Israel!" had to be in the poll record (the !
sign meant that any trailing letters were permitted). All 2980 polls found with this search
command were retrieved for further analysis. Among these polls, two questions gave results that
could be used to construct informative time series: (1) The Israeli/Palestinian sympathy poll
series was based on this question or a very close variant: In the dispute between Israel and the
Palestinians, which side do you sympathize with more -- Israel or the Palestinians? (2) The
Israeli/Arab sympathy poll series used a very similar set of questions: In the Middle East
situation, are your sympathies more with Israel or more with the Arab nations?
Methods


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