The disturbing silence on Israel’s killings in Gaza
Mainstream American and Israeli news media fuel the killings of Arab and Muslim journalists by their immoral silence, while only caring about journalists abused in countries where they have political comfort. Israel has killed or seriously wounded 22 journalists covering their sniper killings of civilians on the Gaza side of the border. Since 1992, Israel has murdered 16 journalists to silence truth, justice and accurate media coverage #NewsMediaisEnemy
By Ray Hanania
It’s bad enough that so many people are being killed and injured in the protests along the Gaza border with Israel. But what makes it worse is the callous nature of the response from the governments and the media in Israel and the United States.
According to the United Nations Human Rights Organization (UNHRO), 112 Palestinians including 14 children have been killed by the Israelis and more than 12,000 have been seriously injured since the protests began on March 30.
March 30 is important because protestors were commemorating the 42 year anniversary of Land Day, when Israeli police callously shot and killed six Israeli Arab “citizens” who were protesting the government’s confiscation of non-Jewish lands to create homes and farms for Jewish Israelis.
The violence heightened on Monday as Israeli and American officials gathered to celebrate moving of the U.S. Embassy to Occupied Jerusalem, another event showcasing the continued violation of non-Jewish Palestinian rights by Israel and America.Mohammed Asad at ‘home’ in rubble filled Gaza Strip. Aug. 1 2014. His home was targeted by the Israeli military in 2014 because he is a journalist
During his embassy speech, President Trump’s envoy to the Middle East Jared Kushner accused the protestors of “being a part of the problem” blocking peace. Incredulously, Kushner made no mention of Israel killing 1,200 protestors.
As Kushner was celebrating the embassy opening on former Palestinian lands, Israel that same morning was involved in nearly doubling the number of dead. The UN Human Rights Commission reporter 58 Palestinians were killed and 1,360 Palestinians were seriously injured Monday. The numbers continued to increase each day after.
Violence is not new to the region. Israelis have been killing Palestinians since it was founded 70 years ago this week. Although some Israelis have died in clashes, the majority of victims are Palestinians Israeli forces using excessive force.
It’s almost as if Israel is making a political declaration: “The more you protest against us, the more you will be killed!”
Worse is how the Western news media is taking sides. When it comes to Israel, the mainstream news media skewers coverage to heap blame for violence on Palestinians while minimizing Israel’s provocations and violence.
That no Israelis have been killed or injured in recent confrontations demonstrates how false the narrative of Israel being the “victim” really is.
One of the issues raised by the Arab news media is that most of the victims killed by Israeli snipers were 300 to 700 meters from the Israel-Gaza border. To throw a “fire bomb” that far would make the Palestinian a super athlete.
Even if the distance was only 100 meters from the border, not even the best American football quarterback can throw a lighter football that far, let alone a heavier “fire bomb.”
That might explain an even more horrendous trend in Israel’s violence against the Gaza protestors. Many of the victims targeted by Israeli military snipers are Arab journalists.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports 22 journalists working on the Gaza side of the conflict have been seriously wounded by Israeli sniper fire. The journalists were all wearing clothing identifying them as working journalists. Maybe, however, their media identification made them an Israeli target?
Two of the injured journalists, Yaser Murtaja and Ahmed Abu Hussein, died from their injuries. Murtaja was a photojournalist and cameraperson for Ain Media, while Abu Hussein was a photographer for the Voice of the People Radio. According to the CPJ, the latest two journalism deaths brings to 16 the total number of working journalists killed by Israel since 1992.
Two is not a small number. In fact, killing one journalist would normally be a huge story in the mainstream American news media, except, apparently, when the shooters are Israeli soldiers. Some of the media covered the killings, but criticism of Israel’s role was muted and many parroted Israeli claims the journalists were “Hamas” terrorists.
Three of the largest American journalism associations — the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), which has more than 10,000 American members, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) — have all been silent on Israel’s killing of journalists.
These are just a few of media associations whose members include many of the country’s top editors, reporters and columnists working at the country’s largest newspapers, radio and TV stations.
In contrast, the SPJ, the NAHJ and the NABJ have been outspoken in their criticism of President Trump, not for moving the embassy in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, but for his biting criticism of mainstream journalists.
When a Slovak journalist, Jan Kuciak, was killed along with his partner Marina Kusnirova in their apartment in Velka Maca, a village east of the capital of Bratislava, the media went berserk with coverage, accusing the local government of being responsible because the journalists were investigating the country’s financial corruption. It was a headline in the Washington Post on February 26, only one month before the first Palestinian journalists were being gunned down by Israel.
The New York Times wrote about a journalist killed in Veracruz, Mexico in March. Gutiérrez Zamora was the third Mexican journalist killed there in the past year, and 10 were killed in the prior year, the newspaper reported.
In 2012, during Israel’s assault of Gaza, the National Press Club (NOC) in Washington D.C. called for an investigation into Israel’s abuses of Palestinian journalists. The NPC came under a massive assault from pro-Israel activists for implying Israel doesn’t respect journalist rights. Two years later when as many as nine journalists were killed or wounded in Gaza, the NPC learned its lesson and only found the courage to issue a press release denouncing the abuse of a journalist in Iran.
Downplaying reporting on the killing of Arab journalists is another aspect of how the West trivializes Arab rights while exaggerating Israel’s propaganda claims, making Israel’s response to the Gaza protests even more heinous in nature.
Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist and the author of several books including “Yalla! Fight Back.” His personal website is www.Hanania.com. Twitter: @RayHanania