[News] Why are journalists surprised that Israel kills children?

Anti-Imperialist News 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
*https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/amena-saleem/why-are-journalists-surprised-israel-kills-children*

There was nothing surprising about Israel finding itself not culpable 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/patrick-strickland/israeli-military-exonerates-itself-slaughter-children-gaza-beach> 
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 
guilty verdicts.

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 
<http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/11/israel-clears-military-gaza-beach-children>/ 
and Robert Tait in /The Daily Telegraph 
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/11670640/Israeli-exonerates-itself-over-killing-of-Gaza-boys-on-beach.html>/ give 
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 
<http://blogs.channel4.com/paul-mason-blog/israeli-beach/3832> for 
Channel 4 News, describe how their own observations, both during and 
after the attack, refute Israel’s allegations that it was targeting 
Palestinian fighters.

But the sense that there has been a miscarriage of justice by a 
reputable organization, rather than an outright cover-up by a rogue 
army, remains.


    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 
clearly children.”

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 
slaughter.

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 
journalistic scrutiny.

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.


    Damage limitation

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 
<http://chat2gaza.com/2014/04/04/how-trigger-happy-israel-is-targeting-children-and-youth-in-palestine/>.

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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/will-israelis-filmed-killing-palestinian-teens-nakba-day-get-away-murder/14520> 
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 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/photostory-israeli-bulldozer-driver-murders-american-peace-activist/4449>, 
British media workers 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Miller_%28filmmaker%29>, Turkish 
humanitarians 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/crimes-i-saw-mavi-marmara/8868>, 
UN staff 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-killing-british-citizen-iain-hook-unrwas-project-manager-jenin/4234>) 
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 
Palestinian children 
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/gaza/11056976/The-children-killed-in-Gaza-during-50-days-of-conflict.html>at 
an average rate of 10 a day, wiped out a total of more than 2,200 
Palestinians.

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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