Gaza horror goes ignored

Israeli soldiers walk next to a tank at a staging area, near the border with the Gaza Strip July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip has produced a death toll that is approaching 200 people, mainly civilians, a wide swathe of destruction in one of the most densely populated places on earth and yet another humanitarian crisis in the Arab world.

But if one samples the media coverage in the region, at least in the mass medium of television, one might conclude that Israel’s actions are a simple, every-day occurrence. For the most part, entertainment programs of all types continue to be broadcast as if nothing is amiss.

There are of course exceptions, but for the most part, satellite television stations give the impression that they are doing the minimum required of them, no more and no less. While there are other conflicts raging in the region, which deserve coverage, the Israeli offensive theoretically has none of the difficult political baggage that surrounds the wars raging in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

In essence, an occupying power for decades has done everything it in its power to avoid coming to terms with an occupied people that is demanding its legitimate right to self-determination. All of the other aspects of the situation can be boiled down to this simple fact. Any side that rejects Israeli conditions is labeled an enemy of peace, or terrorist.

On the ground, there have been a few instances of popular anger at what is taking place in Gaza, but the gatherings and protests have been matched by a number of robust rallies on several continents. In those countries, as people in this region are fond of pointing out, pro-Israeli media outlets dominate the scene – nevertheless, there is a noticeable groundswell of support for Palestinian civilians as they confront the Israeli war machine.

In sad contrast, the Arab world is experiencing relatively little in the way of mass anger – at least expressed outside the home – and perhaps it’s no surprise, when opinion-makers on television continue to treat Gaza as something worth only a bare minimum of effort and concern.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 14, 2014, on page 7.




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