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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 08:24 PM
Original message
Twilight Zone / A great darkness has fallen
Operation Warm Winter ended without a single Israeli journalist setting foot on the Gaza side of the Erez border crossing with Israel. Even the military correspondents, who usually recount the brave acts of our forces from inside their jeeps and armored vehicles, were not taken this time to report on the raids in Jabalya and Sajiyeh. A handful of other correspondents, those who are still interested in what the Israel Defense Forces leaves behind after its campaigns of killing and destruction, stayed home. They have been holed up in their houses for over a year and a half already.

Don't believe the microphones you sometimes see in TV reports on Gaza, adorned with the logo of the Israeli television channels. They are meant only to deceive us. Don't believe the meager reports in the press from Gaza that are written by Israeli correspondents. They are all done by phone, with all the limitations that involves. Not one local journalist, neither Jewish or Arab, neither Shlomi Eldar nor Suleiman al-Shafi, neither Amira Hass nor this writer, has passed through the Erez terminal since the end of November 2006.

The press in Israel is under a major blackout: The IDF is not allowing it to do its job. Gaza, an hour-and-a-half drive from Tel Aviv, is outside the range of journalistic coverage. Daring Israeli correspondents have traveled to Iraq and Lebanon, Syria and Iran, to report to their readers what is happening there - but not to Gaza. It's as though the Strip, which is central to our diplomacy and security, and where everything that happens affects the Negev and the rest of the country, has been declared a closed military zone, as though it were beyond the Mountains of Darkness. We were in the refugee camp in Jenin during the height of Operation Defensive Shield, we were in Bethlehem when it was besieged, we were in Gaza when armed gangs walked around on every street corner, we were in Beit Hanun when Israel shelled it with artillery, we were in the home of Salah Shehadeh the day after the one-ton bomb was dropped on it, we were in the house of the paralyzed girl on a respirator, Maria Aman, the day after most of her family was killed by a criminal missile. One stormy summer's day IDF soldiers even fired at our car in Tulkarm. But we haven't been in Gaza for months.

This blackout on the actions of the IDF and the Shin Bet security services, and the fact that the Israeli press is forbidden to cover what is happening in the Strip, has been accepted with exemplary silence. The press bowed its head, submissive and obedient, as in the bad old days when it maintained other disgraceful silences, from Qibya to Kafr Qasem.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/961666.html
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
1. Operation Warm Winter? Who the hell thinks up these wankerish names?
I want them to name my next baby! ;)

On a serious note, if the Israeli press isn't being allowed to cover what's happening in the Gaza strip, is it safe to guess that the coverage we're being given is coming from the IDF itself?

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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Doesn't AP and Reuters have reporters/photographers covering Gaza?
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 11:02 PM by oberliner
There are numerous photos and articles available online from the AP and/or Reuters which appear to have been taken/written from inside Gaza.


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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I suspect that they mightn't be in Gaza...
The articles and photos are coming from Reuters etc, but I don't think there are reporters there covering what's been happening. I'm guessing most of what's being reported in the press would be coming from the IDF itself or Gazan civilians who are able to communicate with the outside world...
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:50 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I think that many of them are actually in Gaza
They list Gaza on the photo credits and article bylines.

I do believe that there are Reuters and AP photographers and reporters operating out of Gaza.
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:57 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. It doesn't mean that journalists are actually there...
And if they were, it would lead me to ask why Israeli journalists like Gideon Levy and Amira Hass aren't allowed to report from Gaza.

Anyway, if you do find something about journalists (apart from Gazans themselves) reporting from the Gaza Strip, I'd be interested in seeing it. I just had a bit of a search but could only find stuff about reporters there in the past, and not now...
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 12:37 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. I think that it does mean that
Edited on Sun Mar-09-08 01:00 AM by oberliner
On Yahoo News you can do a search for "Gaza" under news photos and you will find numerous photos that purport to have been taken in Gaza and list an AP or Reuters photographer for the photo credit.

Are you suggesting that either those photographers did not actually take the photo they are credited with or that the photo was not actually taken in Gaza?

As an example, there is a photo with the following caption and credit:

A masked Palestinian participates in a Hamas rally, in Bureij, central Gaza Strip, Friday, March 7, 2008. Hamas militants backtracked Friday on an earlier claim of responsibility for an attack on a religious school in Jerusalem Thursday evening that left eight Jewish seminary students dead.
(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Edit: removed link (wasn't working)

Is it not fair to assume that the photo associated with that caption was taken in Gaza by a photographer working for the AP?
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 01:03 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Is Hatem Moussa a resident of Gaza?
I kind of suspect he might be. So my question remains. Where are the foreign journalists? Where is the Israeli press? Who's behind the articles that are appearing in the Israeli media, especially the ones that are reporting things that cast the Palestinian people in a negative light (eg celebrating the attack on the Yeshiva)? If Gideon Levy and Amira Hass aren't allowed to report from Gaza, who is the IDF allowing to report from there?
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. My take on the OP
I think that the OP is trying to make the argument that Israeli reporters are not covering Gaza and therefore Israelis are not able to understand the totality of the situation from an Israeli perspective. Rather than getting reports directly from fellow Israelis reporting from Gaza, the Israeli public is only getting news from the region as covered by non-Israeli sources (i.e. AP, Reuters, Al-Jazeera). The major Israeli newspapers are not sending their own staff to Gaza and Israelis are missing out as a result.



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ProgressiveMuslim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #2
11. Al Jazeera had coverage from there last week during the bombing. nt
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Yeah. Bullshit predominates.
One of the reasons I read widely in the non-Western press is just to get some alternative "reporting" on what is going on. You can sort of cross-check and develop some heuristics about what to believe and what to ignore. But even then ...

I was mostly taken here with what this says about how the war - I've decided to just call it a war - is affecting Israeli society, one of my little hobby-horses.
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:42 PM
Response to Original message
5. It is similar to what is happening in America
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 11:42 PM by azurnoir
with Iraq, pictures of what have wrought there and in Afghanistan are few and far between in the American press, it sanitizes the suffering of the other and helps create the good guys vs bad guys myth.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #5
10. It happens in all wars. Hardly invented recently.
You could argue that the absence (relatively speaking) of domestic witch hunts is an improvement on the past.
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Tom Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-09-08 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
13. from Jewish Peace News....


One morning, in 1992, when I was working on the staff of Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, we received notice from our contacts in Gaza of a new tactic adopted by the Israeli armed forces. After numerous court cases had stalled (though not prevented) their use of home demolitions in retaliation for Palestinian individuals' alleged involvement in attacks against Israelis, the army experimented with the following alternative: claim that persons wanted for perpetrating alleged attacks are hiding in their family homes, notify the families (at about 5am) that they must evacuate immediately and use tanks to shell the homes, supposedly in order to "flush out" the wanted persons. At the time, this was a highly significant development because it trashed even the meager (and in hindsight largely misplaced) hope of defending human rights through recourse to Israel's High Court of Justice.

After formulating a press release, we spent the day negotiating with the Hebrew press, trying to get it to report this information coming only from Gazan sources (which we knew to be reliable). One of our contacts, at the news desk of a major evening paper, was closely related to a government minister and she immediately called him to verify. His answer was brief and dismissive: "I don't believe it." Not only did the paper shelve the item but over the next few days it did not report on any of the developments following the shelling which---in this newspaper's version of reality---had never taken place.

In the following piece from Haaretz, Gideon Levy describes the version of reality currently being produced by Israel's media, one which is totally devoid of direct reports from the Gaza Strip.

For me, in 1992, knowing and understanding what was really going on meant finding, following and assessing an array of alternative sources. While Levy is totally justified, in my view, for exposing and condemning the passive and perhaps criminal collusion of Israel's media, many non-government and alternative organizations continue today, as then, to publicize directly what the established media fails to report. Aside from giving a sense of the slanted UN-reality presented by Israeli media coverage and consumed by most Israelis, Levy's article underlines the importance of the wide scope of activism collecting, reporting and transmitting systematically hidden information.

Rela Mazali


Racheli Gai added:

It's very common (almost a cliche) to point out how open Israeli newspapers are, and how so much stuff which one dares not mention in the U.S., for instance, gets discussed in mainstream Israeli media. While this has a grain of truth - it's mostly limited to opinion pieces, and - as Levy's piece shows - isn't particularly true of ongoing coverage (or lackthereof) of the "facts on the ground".

---------------------------
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