For the past 11 years, Israeli journalists have been forbidden from entering Gaza. This has affected not only their reporting, but also the way fellow Israelis understand what is happening there.
By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org
The main obstacle that faces anyone who wants to report on what is happening at Gaza protests from the Israeli side of the border is that one can hear the gunfire, see the smoke, report on the army’s conduct, and estimate the number of protesters — and yet, you cannot get the full story. A journalist from East Jerusalem who often covers the goings on at the border summed it up perfectly: “We can hear the bullets, but we can’t see the blood.” Since Israel placed Gaza under siege 11 years ago, Israeli journalists have been forbidden from entering the Strip, both in times of conflict and calm. This was never Hamas’ decision; it was Israel’s.
At around noon, dozens of Palestinians gather at the Great Return March encampment at the northern edge of the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli army fires large quantities of tear gas to disperse them. Earlier in the morning, the journalists on the Israeli side stood about and argued about whether it would be a quiet day, or whether the violence would flare up following the noon prayers and the funerals of the 60 Palestinians shot dead a day earlier. Despite conflicting reports, the Great Return March encampment was still there.
Twenty kilometers south of the border, I meet Bar Hefetz, a kibbutz member, farmer, and left-wing activist from Kibbutz Nirim. He takes me for a tour alongside the border in his kibbutz-issued vehicle, and among the banana trees one can see the soldiers’ positions. “Unless you go out into the fields, you can barely hear the gunfire in Gaza,” says Hefetz about daily life in the shadow of the protests happening less than a kilometer from his home over the past few weeks.Read More