Israel’s war in Gaza is a genocidal war, aimed at the destruction and/or forced displacement of a people. This has included intentional starvation of the population of Gaza, bombing areas that people had been told would be safe, and a massive assault on the health care system. But one of the key crimes of this war has been the intentional murder of journalists and journalists’ families who make these crimes known to the world.
None of this could be carried out without the financial, military, “intelligence,” and diplomatic backing of the United States.
While you read this, keep in mind that the U.S.—and Biden in particular—never tires of talking about its great “democracy” and contrasts it to the “undemocratic” powers that the U.S. opposes. Similarly, Biden and other U.S. presidents talk all day long about how Israel “shares our democratic values.” So, let’s get into what Israel has been doing to journalists in Gaza in light of all that.
The killing of journalists is a war crime. Palestinian journalists are the main source through which Israel’s war crimes and crimes against humanity reach the world. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has documented that 75 journalists, overwhelmingly Palestinians, reporting on the ground from Israel’s genocidal slaughter in Gaza have been killed by Israel in the three months since October 7.1 The incredible numbers of dead journalists, along with specific investigation and analysis, points to mass murder of journalists as conscious Israeli policy.
There were more journalists killed in the first 10 weeks of the Israel-Gaza war than in any other similar period of conflict since CPJ started recording such deaths in 1992. By comparison, CPJ reported on January 5, 2024, that 15 journalists have been killed in two years of war resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.2
Israel Calls in Strikes Against Journalists AND Their Families
There is a consistent pattern of Israeli military strikes killing Palestinian journalists and their families in Gaza. Palestinian journalists killed in their homes, along with their families include: Jabr Abu Hadrous, killed in his home along with seven members of his family (12/29/2023); Ahmed Khaireddine, killed in his home along with 12 members of his family (12/28/2023); Mohamed Mouin Ayyash killed in an Israeli airstrike on his home in Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, along with 20 members of his family (11/23/23).
A widely followed Israeli Facebook site “Across the Wall” is a collaboration of Palestinian and Israeli writers. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the site’s Israeli co-founder, Yuval Abraham, aimed to have Israelis "listen to Palestinians from Gaza and what they experience – to think about how we would feel if we were in their shoes.” Posts in Hebrew out of Gaza by the site’s co-founder, Ahmed Alnaouq, have been read by as many as a million people. On October 28, Across the Wall reported that Alnaouq’s home was bombed by Israel. He was not killed but 23 of his family members were, “All of his loved ones: His father, his little sisters, his brother, his nieces and nephews, even the babies that were in the house—they are all dead.”
Hamzah Al-Dahdouh, son of Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief Wael Al-Dahdouh, was killed in an Israeli airstrike on January 7. He was driving in Gaza and using a drone to capture footage, when his vehicle was hit by an Israeli airstrike. ABC News reported that Committee to Protect Journalists said Hamzah Al-Dahdouh was operating the drone in line with his work, and the use of such equipment did not make him a legitimate target. Israel confirmed the strike, claiming they were targeting a "terrorist.” Wael Al-Dahdouh said he believes his son was been deliberately targeted. Praying alongside mourners at his son's grave, he said, "All the world needs to see what's happening here."
U.S. Hypocrisy Enables the Slaughter
The ongoing Israeli slaughter in Gaza does not make it possible for investigators to examine physical evidence or collect testimony from witnesses to the killing of journalists by Israel. But Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF, an acronym based on the French version of the name) were each able to investigate the killing of Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah by Israel in Lebanon near the Israeli border on October 13, 2023. The results are revealing of Israeli policies on killing journalists. RSF released a video reconstruction of the killing on October 13 that shows that the reporters were “explicitly targeted” and “were not collateral victims of the shooting. One of their vehicles, marked ‘press,’ was targeted, and it was also clear that the group stationed next to it was journalists” (emphasis added). The U.S. State Department monitors and routinely cites HRW and RSF reports when that serves branding the U.S. as a champion of freedom and democracy around the world. Yet the State Department claims they have not seen any reports indicating Israel is intentionally targeting journalists.
Death of Reuters reporter Issam Abdallah: What happened on the Lebanese-Israeli border?
Israel is systematically killing journalists to cover up its genocidal slaughter in Gaza. Biden, the Democratic Party, and the liberal mainstream media are enabling and covering that up.
Think back to where we started—about what this reveals about the character of “democracy” in the U.S. and Israel. The fact is—and there are many historical examples beyond this we could cite—dissent and even simple exposure of wrongs is allowed up until it begins to run too sharply against what the ruling blocs of capitalist-imperialists see as their interests. Then boom—down comes the hammer of dictatorship on those who pose what those rulers see as a threat to their interests. That basic fact of (capitalist-imperialist) democracy—and dictatorship—has made Israel the most dangerous place on the planet to tell the simple truth.