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On Wednesday, Israel carried out a 24-hour, round-the-clock military assault on Gaza, one of the most densely populated places on earth, killing at least three Palestinians, including a 23-year-old pregnant mother and her 18-month-old daughter.
Images of the young family’s blood splattered home trickled out onto the Internet, but that’s pretty much where much of the media’s reporting of Israel’s latest effort to ramp up its most recent and ongoing siege of the embattled Palestinian enclave started and ended.
Not a single mainstream television network in the United States carried any mention of Israel’s barrage of 140 bombs and missiles directed at Gaza on Wednesday, which came on the back of a sustained Israeli effort to break the will of Palestinian resistance since the Great Return March began more than four months ago.
Since March 30, Israel has killed more than 150 unarmed Palestinian protesters, alongside a number of slain medics and journalists in Gaza. According to Palestinian health officials, more than 16,000 have been wounded.
You wouldn’t know any of this, however, if your sole or primary source of information comes courtesy of mainstream television networks. When a Palestinian, who after years of subjugation, knowing nothing but a permanent state of Israeli military occupation, carries out an act of random violence in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, US television networks not only carry round-the-clock reports of the attack, but also with headlines that sensationalize and decontextualize the violence, such as “Terror in Tel Aviv: Palestinian Stabs Israeli Man to Death.”
When Palestinians are systematically slaughtered en masse, however, like they were when the Israeli military killed 59 unarmed protesters in a single day on the day of the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem in May, their deaths were described benignly as “confrontations,” and when Israel carries out an all-out assault on Gaza, the contest between the region’s most powerful military and the Palestinian civilian population is described as a “war.”
Noam Chomsky, the famed MIT professor and linguist, eloquently and famously called Israel’s violence for what it is when he stated,
“Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command in control, no army… and calls it a war. It is not a war, it is murder!”
On the odd occasion Western media outlets do factually report Israel’s indiscriminate and intentional use of violent force to murder Palestinians, it’s typically followed by either a story that “balances” out a “both sides” narrative, usually involving comments from an Israeli spokesperson or military commander, or the original report is edited in a way that suggests the original story hadn’t passed the desk of Israeli government censors.
The BBC News is case in point. On Wednesday, the British government-controlled news agency tweeted a succinct and error-free headline regarding Israel’s 24-hour bombardment of Gaza. The headline read, “Israeli air strikes kill woman and toddler.”
Within moments of posting the tweet, Israeli online trolls and government officials swamped BBC News Twitter account, with Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon, demanding the network change the headline “immediately.”
Change it immediately, the BBC News did. The network deleted the original tweet, replacing it with, “Gaza air strikes kill woman and child after rockets hit Israel.”
First of all, no Israelis were killed by these rockets, which typically fall harmlessly in empty fields adjourning Gaza. Secondly, only one Israeli soldier has been killed during the same period more than 150 unarmed Palestinians have been killed and more than 15,000 wounded by the Israeli military. Thirdly, the Israeli military recently and openly admitted it is targeting the populated civilian areas in Gaza, “so residents feel the price of the escalation and demand explanations from Hamas.”
Hamas, the product of Israeli creation, is again being used as a fig leaf by Israel to ‘justify’ its 70-year long ongoing effort to ethnically cleanse Palestine of the Palestinian people, while the US media goes along for the ride, echoing both Israel and the Trump administration’s propaganda.
When Israeli gunned down nearly 60 peaceful and already engaged Palestinian protesters in a single day in May, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley shamelessly blamed Hamas, even though Hamas had nothing to do with the Great Return March protests. In turn, an Israeli friendly US media amplifies these lies, particularly outlets aligned with right-wing politics. FOX News, for instance, blamed Palestinians for their own deaths, framing unarmed protesters as “instigators.”
The near-total blackout of coverage on Israel’s air assault on Gaza this week in the US media speaks to something even more sinister, however. What television networks chose to cover reflects both the preferences of producers and the interests of their respective audiences. Networks are driven by a single motive: profit, which is driven by ratings. In choosing not to cover Israel’s latest round of unjustifiable violence against the Palestinian people, American audiences are conveying to their most watched news programs that they care not one iota for Palestinian lives.
And that, right there, is the most damning indictment of all!
CJ Werleman is a journalist, political commentator, and author of ‘The New Atheist Threat: the Dangerous Rise of Secular Extremists.
Featured image is from The Bullet.