Mass Media Needs to Probe Deeper Re: Israel/Gaza Conflict
By Ralph Nader
October 27, 2023
In the midst of extensive coverage of the war in Gaza, there are questions that the U.S. mass media should address:
1. How did Hamas, with tiny Gaza surrounded by a 17-year Israeli blockade, subjected to unparalleled electronic surveillance, with spies and informants, and augmented by an overwhelming air, sea and land military presence, manage to get these weapons and associated technology for their October 7th surprise raid?
2. What is the connection between the stunning failure of the Israeli government to protect its people on the border and the policy of P.M. Netanyahu? Recall the New York Times (October 22, 2023) article by prominent journalist, Roger Cohen, to wit: “All means were good to undo the notion of Palestinian statehood. In 2019, Mr. Netanyahu told a meeting of his center-right Likud party: ‘Those who want to thwart the possibility of a Palestinian state should support the strengthening of Hamas and the transfer of money to Hamas. This is part of our strategy.’” (Note: Israel and the U.S. fostered the rise of Islamic Hamas in 1987 to counter the secular Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)).
3. Why is Congress preparing to appropriate over $14 billion to Israel in military and other aid without any public hearings and without any demonstrated fiscal need by Israel, a prosperous economic, technological and military superpower with a social safety net superior to that of the U.S.? USDA just reported over 44 million Americans struggled with hunger in 2022. This, in the midst of a childcare crisis. Should U.S. taxpayers be expected to pay for Netanyahu’s colossal intelligence/military collapse?
4. Why hasn’t the media reported on President Biden’s statement that the Gaza Health Ministry’s body count (now over 7000 fatalities) is exaggerated? All indications, however, are that it is a large undercount by Hamas to minimize its inability to protect its people. Israel has fired over 8,000 powerful precision munitions and bombs so far. These have struck many thousands of inhabited buildings – homes, apartments buildings, over 120 health facilities, ambulances, crowded markets, fleeing refugees, schools, water and sewage systems, and electric networks – implementing Israeli military orders to cut off all food, water, fuel, medicine and electricity to this already impoverished densely packed area the size of Philadelphia. For those not directly slain, the deadly harm caused by no food, water, medicine, medical facilities and fuel will lead to even more deaths and serious injuries.
Note that over three-quarters of Gaza’s population consists of children and women. Soon there will be thousands of babies born to die in the rubble. Other Palestinians will perish from untreated diseases, injuries, dehydration, and from drinking contaminated water. With crumbled sanitation facilities, physicians are fearing a deadly cholera epidemic.
Israel bombed the Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border. Only a tiny trickle of trucks are now allowed there by Israel to carry food and water. Fuel for hospital generators still remains blocked.
5. Why can’t Biden even persuade Israel to let 600 desperate Americans out of the Gaza firestorm?
6. Why isn’t the mass media making a bigger issue out of Israel’s long-time practices of blocking journalists from entering Gaza, including European, American and Israeli journalists? The only television crews left are Gazan-residing Al Jazeera reporters. Israeli bombs have already killed 26 journalists in the Gaza Strip since October 7th. Is Israel targeting journalists’ families? The Gaza bureau chief of Al Jazeera, Wael Al-Dahdouh’s family was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Wednesday.
7. Why isn’t the mainstream U.S. media giving adequate space and voice to groups advocating a ceasefire and humanitarian aid? The message of Israeli peace groups’ peaceful solutions are drowned out by the media’s addiction to interviews with military tacticians. Much time and space are being given to hawks pushing for a war that could flash outside of Gaza big time. Shouldn’t groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace, the Arab-American Institute, Veterans for Peace and associations of clergy have their views and activities reported?
8. Why is the coverage of the war overlooking the Geneva Conventions, the United Nations Charter and the many provisions of international law that all the parties, including the U.S., have been violating? (See the October 24, 2023 letter to President Biden). Under international law, Biden has made the U.S. an active “co-belligerent,” of the Israeli government’s vocal demolition of the 2.3 million inhabitants in Gaza, who are mostly descendants of Palestinian refugees driven from their homes in 1948. (See, Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide).
9. What about the human-interest stories that would be revealing? For example: How do Israeli F-16 pilots feel about their daily bombing of the completely defenseless Gazan civilian population and its life-sustaining infrastructures? What are the courageous Israeli human rights and refuseniks thinking and doing in a climate of serious repression of their views as a result of Netanyahu’s defense collapse on October 7th?
10. Where is the media attention on the statements from Israeli military commentators, who, for years have declared high-tech US-backed, nuclear-armed Israel to be more secure than at any time in its history? Israel is reasserting its overwhelming military domination of the entire region, fully backed by U.S. militarism.
Historians remind us that in a grid-locked conflict over time, it is the most powerful party’s responsibility to lead the way to peace.
Establishing a two-state solution has been supported by Palestinians. All the Arab nations, starting with the Arab League peace proposal in 2002, support this solution as well. It is up to Israel and the U.S., assuming annexation of what is left of Palestine is not Israel’s objective. (See, the March 29, 2002 New York Times article: Mideast Turmoil; Text of the Peace Proposals Backed by the Arab League).
More media attention on this subject matter is much needed.
The Rebellious CEO by Ralph Nader will be published on November 14th. For more information go to: rebellious.ceo