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Killing and banning journalists reveals what Israel wants to conceal

January 11, 2024 at 2:06 pm

Families, loved ones and colleagues of two journalists who were killed, including Hamza Dahduh, the son of Al Jazeera correspondent Wael Dahduh, attend the funeral ceremony in Rafah, Gaza on January 07, 2024 October 25, 2023 [Stringer/Anadolu Agency]

On Monday, Israel’s High Court declared that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) can continue barring foreign journalists from entering Gaza, on the pretext of security concerns. According to the court decision, foreign journalists can place “an undue onus on IDF resources in wartime,” reported the Times of Israel. 

As Israel faces accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the ruling sheds light on the urgency for Israel to prevent further scrutiny by the media of what’s happening in Gaza. The IDF has implemented several constraints on media, including guidelines of what should not be published and what should be approved by the Israeli military censor. In a statement issuing directives to the media, Kobi Mandeblit, Brigadier General Chief Censor, introduces them thus: “In light of the current security situation and the intensive media coverage, we wish to encourage you to submit to the Censor all materials dealing with the activities of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and the Israeli security forces prior to their broadcast.” What we happen to see on mainstream media from journalists embedded with the IDF, therefore, is not only heavily censored, but also definitely in line with the Zionist narrative “Israel good, Palestinians bad”.

Footage showing Israeli atrocities are accompanied by claims that Israel is abiding by international law and doing everything possible to prevent civilian casualties

Moreover, on mainstream media pro-Palestine voices are talked over without giving them the chance to articulate the reality of what is happening in Gaza. Footage showing Israeli atrocities are accompanied by claims that Israel is abiding by international law and doing everything possible to prevent civilian casualties. In Gaza, Palestinian journalists are targeted deliberately in extrajudicial killings, despite their very clear “Press” vests and helmets. As of today, at least 79 journalists have been killed in Gaza, 72 of them Palestinian; 16 have been wounded; three are reported missing; and 21 have been arrested by Israel. Other sources put the number killed at 100, and this is besides other forms of violence against them, including killing the family members of Palestinian journalists.

READ: ICC to investigate Israel attacks on Gaza’s journalists

In the most recent extrajudicial killing of journalists, Hamza Dahdouh, the son of Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Gaza Wael Dahdouh, and Mustafa Thuraya, were killed by an Israeli missile strike on their vehicle. The IDF justified the killing by saying terrorists were being targeted. Later, the story changed, with IDF spokesperson Daniel Hangari explaining: “We understand they were putting a drone, using a drone. And using a drone in a war zone, it’s a problem. It looks like the terrorists.”

But what does a terrorist look like? As Israelis’ justifications for genocide become further deranged, so do their actions. The targeting of journalists is nothing new for the apartheid state. Shireen Abu Akleh’s murder in Jenin in 2022 garnered the most media attention due to her dual Palestinian-US citizenship. Even so, justice didn’t prevail.

In Gaza today, the presence of journalists and their protection is of utmost importance. But not for Israel. Palestinian journalists are being killed by the IDF with the ludicrous suggestion that they look like terrorists, while international journalists are barred from the enclave due to purported security concerns and added logistics for the IDF. In Israel’s narrative, the only way to protect journalists is to prevent them from entering Gaza and reporting remotely, otherwise journalists suddenly “look like terrorists” and are thus subject to being murdered, just as Palestinian civilians have been murdered by the US-supplied Israeli bombs and bullets.

The truth is that journalists have brought Israel’s genocide to worldwide attention, exposing how the use of “never again” in the Zionist narrative has become the façade for Israel and the international community’s complicity in allowing the colonisation of Palestine to take place and continue unabated. However, there are moments where silence never works. For months, the world has been shown proof of Israel’s genocidal actions. Shutting out journalists by preventing access or killing them only points towards the brutality that Israel would rather not expose. In doing so, Israel has invited unwanted attention, and now there is no escaping it.

READ: Blinken told Israel it’s ‘impossible’ to completely eliminate Hamas

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.