FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How to Report on Gaza

If you are a Western journalist and you have to report from Gaza, the best thing to do is to treat the Palestinians as a threat.

Their bodies are weapons, their existence is dangerous. If a Palestinian is killed by an Israeli soldier, the most appropriate thing to do is to call it a “clash.” Clashes take place when two armed forces confront each other.

Unarmed Palestinians are armed by the fact of their existence. If Israeli soldiers shoot to death 15 unarmed Palestinians, then the best way to tell that story is to say that “deadly clashes” took place in Gaza (“Deadly clashes in Gaza mark start of Palestinian campaign,” March 31).

If you are a Western journalist and you have to report from Gaza, don’t talk to any Palestinian officials. Talk only to the Israeli military and to the Israeli government. When the Israeli military says that the Palestinians began the “clash” with rocks and “burning tires,” repeat that as the origin for the Israeli use of tear gas and live fire.

Don’t bother to report what you have seen with your own eyes, or to watch videos on YouTube shot from both sides of the perimeter fence. No need to see that video of unarmed men kneeling down to prayer and then Israeli snipers picking them off one by one. Better to be a stenographer for the Israeli army than to be a journalist of the facts.

If you are a Western journalist and you have to report from Gaza, talk to a few Palestinians who say that they will never give up, that they “have nothing to lose.” Offer no context for these statements, nothing to make these statements of futility make sense. Or to appear sympathetic.

Don’t write about the permanent siege on Gaza – its land and sea borders closed by Israeli authorities. Don’t bother with the documentation from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, based in Gaza City.

If you read their weekly reports, you will find that the Israeli navy repeatedly has been bombing the Gaza coastline over the past several weeks — including regular attacks on Palestinian fishing boats off al-Sudaniya. There you will find reports of Israeli warplanes striking the Beit Hanoun Services Club stadium in northern Gaza. You will find evidence that the Israeli soldiers have been repeatedly shooting at shepherds in the eastern part of Gaza Valley. Israel will not let international human rights agencies to enter Gaza. Israel does not want this context.

If you are a Western journalist and you have to report from Gaza, don’t ask the Palestinian political groups about the planned six weeks of unarmed protests at the perimeter fence. Don’t bother to report that this is a peaceful protest, something that liberals have often demanded of the Palestinians. Don’t bother to ask why the Palestinian leadership has urged people to be peaceful and why they have asked for this gathering at the fence.

Why mention that March 30 is the anniversary of the 1976 Land Day events in the Galilee, when Palestinians fought to defend their way of life in northern Israel?

Why mention that there is a politics at work here and not merely the instinct of an encaged people?

This article originally appeared in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

More articles by:

Vijay Prashad’s most recent book is No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (New Delhi: LeftWord Books, 2015).

December 10, 2018
Jacques R. Pauwels
Foreign Interventions in Revolutionary Russia
Richard Klin
The Disasters of War
Katie Fite
Rebranding Bundy
Gary Olson
A Few Thoughts on Politics and Personal Identity
Patrick Cockburn
Brexit Britain’s Crisis of Self-Confidence Will Only End in Tears and Rising Nationalism
Andrew Moss
Undocumented Citizen
Dean Baker
Trump and China: Going With Patent Holders Against Workers
Lawrence Wittner
Reviving the Nuclear Disarmament Movement: a Practical Proposal
Dan Siegel
Thoughts on the 2018 Elections and Beyond
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: I Can Smell the Dumpster Fires Already
Weekend Edition
December 07, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Steve Hendricks
What If We Just Buy Off Big Fossil Fuel? A Novel Plan to Mitigate the Climate Calamity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Cancer as Weapon: Poppy Bush’s Radioactive War on Iraq
Paul Street
The McCain and Bush Death Tours: Establishment Rituals in How to be a Proper Ruler
Jason Hirthler
Laws of the Jungle: The Free Market and the Continuity of Change
Ajamu Baraka
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Time to De-Colonize Human Rights!
Andrew Levine
Thoughts on Strategy for a Left Opposition
Jennifer Matsui
Dead of Night Redux: A Zombie Rises, A Spook Falls
Rob Urie
Degrowth: Toward a Green Revolution
Binoy Kampmark
The Bomb that Did Not Detonate: Julian Assange, Manafort and The Guardian
Robert Hunziker
The Deathly Insect Dilemma
Robert Fisk
Spare Me the American Tears for the Murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Joseph Natoli
Tribal Justice
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Macdonald Stainsby
Unist’ot’en Camp is Under Threat in Northern Canada
Senator Tom Harkin
Questions for Vice-President Bush on Posada Carriles
W. T. Whitney
Two Years and Colombia’s Peace Agreement is in Shreds
Ron Jacobs
Getting Pushed Off the Capitalist Cliff
Ramzy Baroud
The Conspiracy Against Refugees
David Rosen
The Swamp Stinks: Trump & Washington’s Rot
Raouf Halaby
Wall-to-Wall Whitewashing
Daniel Falcone
Noam Chomsky Turns 90
Dean Baker
An Inverted Bond Yield Curve: Is a Recession Coming?
Nick Pemberton
The Case For Chuck Mertz (Not Noam Chomsky) as America’s Leading Intellectual
Ralph Nader
New Book about Ethics and Whistleblowing for Engineers Affects Us All!
Dan Kovalik
The Return of the Nicaraguan Contras, and the Rise of the Pro-Contra Left
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Exposing the Crimes of the CIAs Fair-Haired Boy, Paul Kagame, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front
Jasmine Aguilera
Lessons From South of the Border
Manuel García, Jr.
A Formula for U.S. Election Outcomes
Sam Pizzigati
Drug Company Execs Make Millions Misleading Cancer Patients. Here’s One Way to Stop Them
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Agriculture as Wrong Turn
James McEnteer
And That’s The Way It Is: Essential Journalism Books of 2018
Chris Gilbert
Biplav’s Communist Party of Nepal on the Move: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian
Judith Deutsch
Siloed Thinking, Climate, and Disposable People: COP 24 and Our Discontent
Jill Richardson
Republicans Don’t Want Your Vote to Count
John Feffer
‘Get Me Outta Here’: Trump Turns the G20 into the G19
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail