Withdrawing from Gaza
August 19, 2005
Gal Beckerman over at CJR Daily offers a pointed and overdue critique of the way the U.S. media has covered Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza strip:
Jews barricaded in a synagogue, many wrapped in prayer shawls, refusing to leave. Settler women thrusting babies into the faces of young, weeping soldiers sent to evacuate them. Whole families being dragged out of their homes, while their children stand by, wailing.
It's irresistible. The forced disengagement going on in Gaza provides the press with the perfect confluence of hard news story and human-interest bonanza. That's why nearly 3,000 journalists have flooded into the Gaza Strip, a narrow sliver of land 25 miles long by six miles wide. They're there to catch every last tear. ...
Also lost amidst the drama were the proportions. Just under 9,000 settlers were living on 33 percent of the land, with 1.5 million Palestinians inhabiting the rest. (And the compensation that most of the settlers will get ranges from $300,000 to $500,000 -- apiece.)
Finally, the fact that most of the friction captured in the photos involves young protestors who have infiltrated into the Gaza Strip to disrupt the operation -- not those who actually live there. And that these protestors have a real interest in making the disengagement appear as heart-wrenching and traumatic as possible. After all, they mostly live in West Bank settlements, which might be imperiled next. [LINK]