[News] Why are journalists surprised that Israel kills children?
news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jun 15 11:35:15 EDT 2015
Why are journalists surprised that Israel kills children?
Amena Saleem <https://electronicintifada.net/people/amena-saleem> Media
Watch <https://electronicintifada.net/blog/media-watch> 15 June 2015
There was nothing surprising about Israel finding itself not culpable
for the killing of four boys on a Gaza beach
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/children-die-playing-football-taxi-grandma-israel-bombs-gaza-tenth-day> in July
last year, as it did in a military judgment released a few days ago.
Israel’s investigations into its own crimes aren’t known for delivering
What was interesting, however, was the reaction of some mainstream
journalists — journalists who felt they had a vested interest in this
case because they had witnessed the strikes which killed the four boys
from the Baker family as they played football one afternoon during
Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza.
Articles by Peter Beaumont in /The Guardian
and Robert Tait in /The Daily Telegraph
off a sense of disbelief and indignation that the investigation by the
Israeli army into the attack cleared all personnel involved and declared
the incident “a tragic accident.”
Both these journalists, and Paul Mason in his blog
Channel 4 News, describe how their own observations, both during and
after the attack, refute Israel’s allegations that it was targeting
But the sense that there has been a miscarriage of justice by a
reputable organization, rather than an outright cover-up by a rogue
Struck in error?
This journalistic respect for Israel’s army is highlighted in Tait’s
article, as he writes that the slaughter of the boys was “surely an
indication that something had gone badly wrong in Israel’s military
procedures for such a deadly strike to have been aimed at what were
By which he indicates his belief, shared by many mainstream journalists,
that, unlike the killing of the Baker boys, the rest of Israel’s
military procedures in Gaza last summer were not acts of indiscriminate
Bombardments which leveled homes, mosques and entire neighborhoods,
massacring whoever was in the vicinity, babies and children included,
weren’t, according to Tait’s reasoning, deliberate acts of terror, but
acceptable military activity.
The BBC, true to form, goes one step further in the esteem in which it
holds the Israeli army. Its online article into Thursday’s findings
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-33106578> does nothing but
quote chunks from the Israeli army report and is headlined “Gaza beach
attack: Israel ‘struck boys in error.’”
There is no attempt to critically analyze the report’s conclusions, as
Tait, Beaumont and Mason all did for their respective news
organizations, and no Palestinian comment.
Instead, the BBC simply provides a platform for Israel’s
self-exonerating report to be aired, free from the inconvenience of
And it ends, of course, in typical BBC fashion, by giving Israel’s
excuse for attacking Gaza last July and August — “to put an end to
rocket-fire and remove the threat of attacks by militants tunneling
under the border” — with no mention of the Palestinian reality of
occupation, siege and resistance.
It is this high regard in which many mainstream journalists hold the
Israeli army which explains, perhaps, their shock that its soldiers
could deliberately target children and then their disbelief that its
commanders could dub that deliberate targeting an accident.
The question then is, why are mainstream journalists so easily taken in
by Israeli propaganda, appearing to believe Israel’s refrain that it has
“the most moral army in the world?”
The truth they ignore, and consequently fail to convey to their
audiences, is that Israel kills Palestinians at will and with impunity
Its army only announces investigations into a killing or killings on the
rare occasion that Western journalists or politicians become agitated
about Palestinian life being taken — usually because the killing has
been caught on camera
and can’t be hidden.
Those same journalists seem unware of the reality that an Israeli
announcement of an “independent investigation” is nothing more than a
damage limitation exercise, an exercise in “public relations” to quieten
the critics, and that the word “independent” is meaningless in these cases.
It is meaningless because the outcome of an Israeli investigation into
Israeli crimes will almost exclusively be a finding of Israeli
innocence. There is nothing independent about the process, and it
shouldn’t be reported as such.
Wake up to reality
The military’s absolution of blame for the slaughter of the Baker boys
wasn’t a one-off, as the resultant mainstream reporting seemed to
suggest. It was part of a pattern which will be repeated over and over
until the occupation ends.
Israel is a colonial power. It will kill whoever it has to
(Palestinians, US activists
British media workers
to make its colonial goals <http://jfjfp.com/?p=72476> a reality. And it
will lie, cover up and propagandize in exactly the same way that all
colonial powers did in centuries past to get away with its crimes.
Mainstream media journalists need to wake up to these facts. They need
to be sharper, more intelligent and more astute in the way they cover
Israel and the occupation. They need to read and understand history,
especially European colonial history, and they need to embrace, rather
than dismiss, context in their reporting.
Israel didn’t just kill those four young boys last summer. Its
warplanes, warships and tanks wiped out 89 entire Palestinian families
<http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.612255>, wiped out 504
an average rate of 10 a day, wiped out a total of more than 2,200
Its politicians and military should be tried for all these crimes. And
they should be tried in a properly independent manner — or as
independently as the world allows — at the International Criminal Court
<http://www.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/icc/Pages/default.aspx>. This is what
the mainstream media should be clamoring for. Not expressing polite
surprise that an “independent” Israeli inquiry acquitted Israel of
deliberately slaying four little Palestinian boys who dared to play
football in Gaza.
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