Killing the Truth in Gaza

Blood on our hands. A recent protest in Fresno. Photo by Bob McCloskey
Blood on our hands. A recent protest in Fresno. Photo by Bob McCloskey

“If the genocide in Gaza is not halted, it will presage a new world order. A world where the old rules, more honored in the breach than the observance, no longer matter. It will be a world where nations with vast bureaucratic structures and technologically advanced military systems carry out, in public view, massive killing projects.” 

—Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Chris Hedges

On Feb. 18, Al Jazeera News reported the latest numbers of casualties in Gaza released by the Gaza Health Ministry. Since Oct. 7, there have been 28,895 deaths and 68,883 injuries. Many more remain buried under the rubble. The United Nations says that more than two-thirds of the casualties are women and children.

In the West Bank, 396 Palestinians have been killed. Many have been injured, and more than 7,000 have been arrested. 

Among the dead are more than 340 healthcare workers, 156 UN staff members and 126 journalists. The healthcare workers include many first responders, shot or bombed when they arrive on the scene to help the injured. UN staff are killed when UN schools and other facilities are bombed. Many believe these groups are targeted for death.

Al Jazeera reports that “officials suggest the targeting of journalists may be a ‘deliberate strategy by Israeli forces’ to silence reporting. United Nations experts have condemned the deadly attacks on journalists and media workers in Gaza, calling on Israel to allow journalists to enter the besieged territory and to ensure their protection.” Many of the journalists killed were Al Jazeera journalists.

And the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) appear to be targeting hospitals, resulting in the deaths of many healthcare workers. According to the United Nations, hospitals and other vital medical infrastructure in Gaza and the West Bank have been attacked nearly 600 times since the war began.

In other recent news, on Jan. 26 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to prevent any acts of genocide against the Palestinians and do more to help suffering civilians. However, it stopped short of ordering a ceasefire as requested by South Africa, which brought the case.

The ICJ ordered six provisional measures including for Israel to refrain from acts under the Genocide Convention, prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to genocide, and take immediate and effective measures to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.

Sadly, nothing has changed since the order and the IDF continues to indiscriminately bomb and shoot civilians. Humanitarian aid remains blocked at the border. Civilians are facing starvation and dehydration. This is all being carried out with full U.S. support.

Recently, the U.S. Senate approved another $14 billion in military aid for Israel. As of this writing, the aid had yet to be approved by the House.

Many international law experts are saying the United States might be brought before the ICJ for aiding and abetting genocide. As U.S. citizens, we are obligated under international law to demand that our government cease and desist from its unconditional support for Israel’s potential war crimes.

Sami Bahous, executive director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), said that “women and girls pay the highest price in conflicts.”

She said that 67% of the people killed in Gaza since Oct. 7 are thought to be women and children. “That is two mothers killed every hour and seven women every two hours. We mourn them all.”

None of this would be known without journalists on the ground in Gaza and the West Bank. As previously stated, journalists appear to be targeted by the IDF. The IDF told the Reuters and Agence France-Presse news agencies in October that it could not guarantee the safety of their journalists operating in the Gaza Strip, after they had sought assurances that their journalists would not be targeted by the IDF.

Often, journalists’ homes are targeted. For example, several journalists were killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza. The Forum of Palestinian Journalists said that on Oct. 25, 2023, Saed al-Halabi and Mohammed Labad were killed in Israeli attacks, adding that Halabi was killed after his house was struck earlier in the day.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released this statement and a report documenting the bombing of the residences of journalists on Feb. 18.

[below to be indented]

“CPJ emphasizes that journalists are civilians doing important work during times of crisis and must not be targeted by warring parties,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.

“Journalists across the region are making great sacrifices to cover this heart-breaking conflict. Those in Gaza, in particular, have paid, and continue to pay, an unprecedented toll and face exponential threats. Many have lost colleagues, families, and media facilities, and have fled seeking safety when there is no safe haven or exit.”

The CPJ reports that 88 journalists and media workers were confirmed dead: 83 Palestinian, 2 Israeli and 3 Lebanese.

The report documents that 26 journalists were reported injured, 4 journalists were reported missing and 25 journalists were reported arrested.

The report documents multiple assaults, threats, cyberattacks, censorship and killings of family members.

The CPJ is also investigating numerous unconfirmed reports of other journalists being killed, missing, detained, hurt or threatened, and of damage to media offices and journalists.

[end of indent]

Another case of journalists targeted in their homes is the case of Alaa Al-Hams, a 35-year-old Palestinian journalist for the local Palestinian News Agency SND. She recently died of injuries after being seriously wounded in an Israeli airstrike on her family house in Rafah city, southern Gaza Strip, which resulted in the tragic loss of 10 members of her family on Dec. 2, 2023.

Another attack was on Angam Ahmad Edwan, a Palestinian journalist who worked for the Libyan TV channel February. She was killed in an Israeli airstrike on her home in Jabalia city, northern Gaza Strip.

The CPJ documents 86 other deaths of media workers in Gaza and the West Bank. Journalists around the world must demand justice and accountability.

Sadly, the “journalists” and reporters at CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and other media outlets in the United States will never do that. They would rather parrot the lies and propaganda the Israeli government sends them than practice real journalism.

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