BEIRUT: Palestinian mothers weep over the bodies of children whose expressionless faces indicate their untimely fate. Israeli rockets strike three-story buildings, turning homes into rubble. These were the images broadcast across all eight Lebanese television channels Monday, in the Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Gaza.In a rare move by highly partisan local media outlets, Tele Liban, LBCI, MTV, Al-Manar, Al-Jadeed, NBN, Future TV and OTV broadcast the common report for their nightly newscasts to voice solidarity with Gaza against the Israeli offensive, which began approximately two weeks ago.
The program, titled “Palestine, you are not alone,” began at exactly 8:10 p.m., and lasted for almost half an hour. It opened and ended with a patriotic poem by the iconic late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.
The Palestinian death toll in the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that began on July 8 jumped to more than 500 Monday, as Israeli forces pounded the densely populated coastal strip. Eighteen Israeli soldiers have also died, as well as two Israeli civilians.
Female anchors from the different television stations announced the bulletin one after the other, denouncing decades of Israeli acts of aggression that have taken place since the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948.
Two male anchors from rival Future and Al-Manar stations followed by praising the land of Palestine, its renowned olive trees, and the people’s resistance in the face of Israeli oppression.
“It is the Arab people’s fate to free the occupied land,” they said.
“The enemy is the same ... and the stances toward the Palestinians are the same,” they added.
Prompted by the rising death toll, which now includes almost 100 children, As-Safir newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Talal Salman was spurred into proposing the initiative.
“It is simply an attempt to express, through our visual media channels, the Lebanese people’s solidarity with the people of Gaza, who live under a cruel siege and whose innocent civilians are being killed every day,” he told The Daily Star last week.
Every channel ran the same eight reports – each produced and presented by a different studio – on the different points of conflict and the history of Palestinians and their struggle.
Future Television reported on the internally displaced families in Gaza, airing images of children eating meager meals while hiding away in a school. The Free Patriotic Movement’s OTV reported on the mothers of the Palestinians who perished under Israeli bombardment and fought for the cause. MTV – aligned with March 14 – did a full report on the children of Gaza, many of whom have been killed or inflicted with physical and emotional wounds.
LBCI reported on the families in the south Lebanon town of Marwahine in Tyre, who suffered fatalities during Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon. Al-Jadeed – which is close to March 8 – looked at the foreigners, such as the late Rachel Corrie, who had gone to Palestine to fight for the Palestinian cause and stand up against Israeli aggressions.
Hezbollah’s Al-Manar reported on the Palestinian people’s weapons, documenting the transition from the notorious rocks and pebbles that youths threw at Israeli forces and tanks during the last century to the rockets currently used by Palestinian resistance groups. State channel Tele Liban focused on the power and strength of Palestinian children, and the Amal Movement’s NBN focused on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon who long to return to their homeland.
The newscast ended with the recording of Darwish reciting his poem as images of the bombardment on Gaza flashed up on the screen.