On January 29th, The Nightly News with Michal Rabinovitch—which airs on Israel’s public broadcaster, known as Kan—ran a series of stories that were broadly representative of the channel’s programming over the past few months. A story about diplomatic progress toward a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas was followed by a report on the rockets launched into Israel’s interior from the Gazan city of Khan Younis; the segment included video from inside Hamas tunnels and footage captured by soldiers’ body cameras as they fought house to house. Next came a story about how Israeli soldiers were failing to open fire—as, the panelists emphasized, they had instructions to do—on any Gazan approaching the “buffer zone” along the border with Israel; that day, five Hamas fighters had come within 500 meters of an Israeli town, generating fear of another infiltration. The show then turned to coverage of Israeli politics, interviews with young war widows, a story about a car-ramming attack that day at an army base in Haifa, video of Israeli protesters trying to stop humanitarian aid from entering Gaza, and, finally, a profile of struggling businesses in the north, near the border with Lebanon. In the middle, it cut to a nine-minute briefing by Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman.
Notably absent from this coverage of the war and its reverberations was any mention of the killing of Palestinian civilians, or of the perils now facing the more than 2 million people trapped in the besieged enclave—including not only Israel’s military campaign, but also famine, thirst, displacement, and lack of medical care. In most Israeli media coverage, “it is as if [Palestinian civilians] don’t exist,” Gideon Levy, a reporter for the left-leaning Israeli daily Haaretz, which has covered the plight of Palestinians in Gaza, told the progressive American news program Democracy Now!. On international news networks, “you see Gaza. You see children dying on the dirty floors of the hospitals, bleeding to death. You see the uprooted people, you see the destruction, you see the suffering . . . and the starvation,” Levy said. “In Israel you see only the soldiers, only the hostages.” [Continue reading…]