A Discursive Analysis of the Gaza Conflict of 2008-09: Provocation and Proportionality in War Reporting
The paper employs an interpretative discourse analysis, to investigate the cultural ideas evoked linguistically throughout the coverage of the Gaza War of 2008-09 (Operation Cast Lead). It aims to provide a historical context to better understanding Operation Protective Edge. To allow for a comparative dimension, the paper develops two ‘frames’ of analysis that systematically look at two recurring themes and scrutinise their discursive strategies and functions in the construction of meaning and ideology. These include Provocation, which examines questions of responsibility and culpability; and Proportionality, which embraces matters of legitimacy and authority in relation to the humanitarian aspect of the war. The findings indicate that the actions of a protagonist may be deemed legitimate with regard to provocation, but illegitimate with regard to their proportionality. The peculiar circumstances of the war pushed the media in the direction of greater separation from the predominant ideologies ensued by the Israeli Army. It suggests that BBC World Service lack a coherent discursive strategy at the level of the lexical in their reporting of Gaza.