FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
July 23, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Why Boris Johnson is Even More Dangerous Than Trump
Christopher Ketcham
The American West as Judeo-Christian Artifact
Jack Heyman
Whitewashing American History: the WPA Mural Controversy in San Francisco
David Mattson
Through the Climate Looking Glass into Grizzly Wonderland
David Macaray
Paul Krassner and Me
Thomas Knapp
Peckerwood Populism is About Political Strategy, Not Personal Belief
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange and His Wiki Wicked leaks
Howard Lisnoff
What Has Happened to the U.S. Since the Kids Left Woodstock?
Victor Grossman
“How Could They?” Why Some Americans Were Drawn to the Communist Party in the 1940s
Gary Leupp
Minnesota, White People, Lutherans and Ilhan Omar
Binoy Kampmark
Lunar Narratives: Landing on the Moon, Politics and the Cold War
Richard Ward
Free La Donalda!
July 22, 2019
Michael Hudson
U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses
Evaggelos Vallianatos
If Japan Continues Slaughtering Whales, Boycott the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Mike Garrity
Emergency Alert For the Wild Rockies
Dean Baker
The U.S.-China Trade War: Will Workers Lose?
Jonah Raskin
Paul Krassner, 1932-2019: American Satirist 
David Swanson
U.S. Troops Back in Saudi Arabia: What Could Go Wrong?
Robert Fisk
American Visitors to the Gestapo Museum Draw Their Own Conclusions
John Feffer
Trump’s Send-Them-Back Doctrine
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
Landscape of Anguish and Palliatives: Predation, Addiction and LOL Emoticons in the Age of Late Stage Capitalism
Karl Grossman
A Farmworkers Bill of Rights
Gary Leupp
Omar and Trump
Robert Koehler
Fighting Climate Change Means Ending War
Susie Day
Mexicans Invade US, Trump Forced to Go Without Toothbrush
Elliot Sperber
Hey Diddle Diddle, Like Nero We Fiddle
Weekend Edition
July 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.
Anthony DiMaggio
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Andrew Levine
South Carolina Speaks for Whom?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man
Bruce E. Levine
The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t
Evaggelos Vallianatos
How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government
Pete Dolack
All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago
Ramzy Baroud
Who Killed Oscar and Valeria: The Inconvenient History of the Refugee Crisis
Ron Jacobs
Dancing with Dr. Benway
Joseph Natoli
Gaming the Climate
Marshall Auerback
The Numbers are In, and Trump’s Tax Cuts are a Bust
Louisa Willcox
Wild Thoughts About the Wild Gallatin
Kenn Orphan
Stranger Things, Stranger Times
Mike Garrity
Environmentalists and Wilderness are Not the Timber Industry’s Big Problem
Helen Yaffe
Cuban Workers Celebrate Salary Rise From New Economic Measures
Brian Cloughley
What You Don’t Want to be in Trump’s America
David Underhill
The Inequality of Equal Pay
David Macaray
Adventures in Script-Writing
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail