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For the Israeli media, Gazan lives are little more than expendable

Nearly two months after the end of Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli media refuses to ask the difficult questions. Who decided that killing entire families is now allowed? What is the justification for doing so? And why won’t the army explain why it killed five members of the Joudah family?

Why doesn’t anyone care about the Joudah family? Nearly two months have passed since Israeli Air Force pilots bombed their yard in Gaza, killing the mother of the family and four of her children. Until today, the IDF has not published an explanation of the incident. Actually, almost no one has bothered to ask. A mother and four of her children were sitting in their yard and were killed with no prior notice, and the Israeli media doesn’t deem this worthy of a story. Why?

It happened on August 24. According to Issam Joudah’s testimony, the family was sitting in the shade of their yard in order to get some fresh air during the hot summer months. Issam was making coffee in the house when the missile exploded in the yard, killing his wife and four of his children. Only two children survived – one of them was badly wounded and is undergoing rehabilitation in Germany.

Palestinian children carry goods that were rescued from the village of Khuza'a, which has undergone of intense attacks and was largely destroyed during the Israeli offensive.

Palestinian children carry goods that were rescued from the village of Khuza’a, which has undergone of intense attacks and was largely destroyed during the Israeli offensive.

Why was the home bombed? The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit had this to say: “We do not respond to specific events, the updates on investigations that have been opened can be accessed via the Military Advocate General’s website.” Scanning the website, one cannot find the Joudah family’s name, but rather a list of seven incidents that took place during Operation Protective Edge that the Military Advocate General decided to investigate. That’s it. Any further questions were not answered by the IDF Spokesperson.

As I previously wrote, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily did not even report on the deaths of the family. Not a single word has been written about the bombing since. Even media outlets that initially reported on the deaths of the family members did not come back and demand answers from the army.

And really, why should they demand them? It’s just another incident, after all. Another family. One of more than 70 families who were bombed in a similar fashion, some of them much larger. The dead members of the Joudah family are just five out of over 540 family members who were killed in their homes, among them 250 minors. And if we don’t demand answers for all those deaths, what makes the Joudah family so special?

Nothing. The only thing that makes the Joudah family special is that I read more about them than any other family, not to mention the fact that Yedioth completely ignoring their deaths. Or perhaps it is that that blogger Awni Farhat interviewed the father of the family last month (Hebrew). Or that the photo he took of Rawan Sabah, friend of Raghed Joudah, still lingers in my mind. It could have been any other family. Each family and its “specific incident.”

Rawan Sabah sits next to where her friend, Ra'ed Joudah, used to sit in class. Joudah was killed by an Israeli airstrike along with five of her family members. (photo: Awni Farhat)

Rawan Sabah sits next to where her friend, Raghed Joudah, used to sit in class. Joudah was killed by an Israeli airstrike along with five of her family members. (photo: Awni Farhat)

But we simply do not hear these stories anywhere. Even two months after the fighting ended, no media outlet has seen fit to go back and examine exactly what happened there: How did Israel’s policy change since the assassination of Salah Shehade in 2002? Who decided that it is now logical to blow up entire families? Which intelligence, air force, state attorney or military command experts sat down and agreed that the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians is justified if there is a suspicion that a Hamas member is in the area? Is it true that there was a Hamas member or rockets near every home that was blown up or family that was decimated? Is this what happened in the case of the Joudah family?

These questions remain unanswered. The media, and most likely the Israeli public, simple don’t care for the answers. One need only remember the way in which the horrifying murder of the Fogel family was covered, in order to examine the differences in media coverage between incidents where Israelis are killed by Palestinians, and those in which Palestinians are killed by Israelis.

This article was first published on +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

Related:
Gaza deaths aren’t worth a mention in leading Israeli newspaper
PHOTOS: Gaza’s children face an uncertain future

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    COMMENTS

    1. Richard

      All of your questions have already been answered. The facts don’t paint Israel as the genocidal monster you want it to be, so you pretend you haven’t got the answers yet. Deaf and dumb.

      Reply to Comment
      • Weiss

        No worries … Israel already does a fine job on its own acting like a genocidal monster.

        Reply to Comment
        • Richard

          That’s your delusion, at least.

          Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        Context is entirely missing from Mr. Mattar’s article. Between August 22, 2014 and Sunday August 24, 2014 315 rockets and mortars had been fired at Israel from areas inside Gaza. On August 22, 2014 4 year old Daniel Tragerman had been killed by a mortar fired from areas close to the Gaza border. Hamas was heavily mortaring civilian areas on the Israeli side of the border at the time.

        The area in which the Judeh family was killed was Tel A-Zatar in Jublyaia camp which is very close to the border. This was a major operational area where active attacks were occurring against Israeli civilians like Daniel. This area was part of Hamas’s and Islamic Jihad’s military fortress and fighting machine. It was a major battle ground in the war.

        Israel had long previously warned people from the area to leave and most did. The fighters stayed to fire projectiles at Israeli civilians.

        So why was the Judeh family having coffee on the battlefield between Israel and Gaza? Was the family hit by Hamas mortar or missile fire or Israeli fire trying to prevent such projectiles being fired across the Israeli border. Was Judeh a Hamas rocket man or simply one of Hamas’s human shields. Maybe Mr. Mattar should put some questions to Mr. Judeh and his Hamas overlords.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Noe

      Approximately 800 of Palestinian rockets landed inside Palestinian territory. Without an Iron Dome deflecting them away, many were bound to hit homes and people inside Gaza itself. Why are you certain this was an Israeli rocket? Also, how would a newspaper from Israel investigate? The reporters can’t get into Gaza and stay safe. Hamas manipulates evidence at bombing scenes and their people are afraid to openly speak out, so how would a journalist get at the facts? Should the journalists do it in B’Tzelem style and call up family members and ask them questions?

      Reply to Comment
    3. tomer

      What are Israeli journalists supposed to discuss?

      That Aza is a poor, backward place run by Islamic nutters who hate Jews, Women and Gays?

      Most Israelis have got that message a long time ago.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ginger Eis

      “Why doesn’t anyone care about the Joudah family? Nearly two months have passed since Israeli Air Force pilots bombed their yard in Gaza, killing the mother of the family and four of her children. Until today, the IDF has not published an explanation of the incident. Actually, almost no one has bothered to ask. A mother and four of her children were sitting in their yard and were killed with no prior notice, and the Israeli media doesn’t deem this worthy of a story. Why?”

      The entire People Of Israel cares! That’s why the People of Israel through their democratically elected government have opened up a large scale investigations (plural) re the Gaza war, its conduct, its outcome and lessons to be learned. This kind of stuff happens only in Israel (the Americans are yet to investigate the Iraq war, etc.). As the IDF already informed you, the IDF does not “respond to specific events, the updates on investigations that have been opened can be accessed via the Military Advocate General’s website.” There is NOTHING therein too hard to understand.

      If you or anyone else think(s) that the “Israeli Air Force pilots” murdered “four children of the Joudah family” along with “the mother of the family” and that the IDF is not investigating that, surely, Mr. Haggai Matar, you can report the murders to the Military Advocate General. You know damn well that you (a) have the full right to do so, (b) that the Military Advocate General is obliged to investigate your claims if substantiated and (c) that you – should the Military Advocate General refuse to investigate the merits of your complaint – have to right to take judicial action to force the Military Advocate General to comply and launch a thorough investigation! Again, ONLY in Israel do private citizens and organizations have this kind of power. The question that arises then is this: why, why have you and others not reported the ASSUMED murders to the Military Advocate General? Could it be that you have no clue regarding the basic facts of the allegation you are making? Is it perhaps news to you that Israel was not involved in every single death that occurred in Gaza during OPE and that Palestinians themselves know a lot more than you do re the circumstances surrounding every single death on their side? Israelis wish no harm to befall the innocent, but unlike you, Israelis don’t make up facts and start smearing the honorable men and women of the IAF with blood libel. That’s too easy, too cheap, disgraceful and criminal! In Germany this kind of allegation could get u indicted – under certain conditions (!) (see inter alia: Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichts BVerfGE 93, 266; Urteil des Bundesverfassungsgerichts BVerfGE 86, 1.). But in good ol’ Israel, you can say whatever you want and smear the very ones who pay the ultimate price to protect you, your wife and your children as much as your want. The same freedom IDF soldiers/pilots afford you, you use in smearing them with blood libel. What a little man you are, Mr. Haggai Matar! And btw, why are you not demanding answers and investigation re the bombings of Israeli cities and the destruction, death and injuries inflicted on Israeli civilians from the ELECTED government of HAMAS and the “Unity Government” which you and +972mag support wholeheartedly? Why the hypocrisy?

      Reply to Comment
    5. The Trespasser

      Lives of Arabs are expendable by definition, so there is no reason why lives of Arabs who live in a particular location should be of more interest to anyone that lives of those who live in Syria or Iraq.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ginger Eis

      “How did Israel’s policy change since the assassination of Salah Shehade in 2002? Who decided that it is now logical to blow up entire families?”

      International law decided that, Mr. Haggai Matar. Case dismissed! Pursuant to the provision regarding self-defense read in conjunction with the principle of proportionality, it “could be logical to blow up entire families”. You have to look at the totality of the facts and circumstances of each individual case on a case by case basis in order to correctly determine the legality of each single military act carried out. War is ugly stuff, it is NOT a game, it is NOT picnic, it IS a matter of life or certain death. Anyone who intends to fire missiles into Israeli civilian population centers, while hiding beneath civilian buildings should think long and hard; the Muslim-Arab cowards who are ordering the murder of Israelis while hiding under the hijabs and burkas of their numerous wives and behind their numerous children whom they use as human shield should think loooong and very damn hard before engaging in their murderous enterprise.

      Reply to Comment
      • Richard Lightbown

        (Sigh!), References please, Bor.

        Specifically which law, where?

        Also evidence of the use of human shields, particularly in the case of the Joudah family, but also in the cases of the other 71 incidents listed by B’Tselem?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          I told you before you must always ask nicely if you expect an answer from me. You may have forgotten that so I forgive you this ONE time.

          1. Now, Article 51 UN Charter provides for self-defense (you need no source for that).

          2. The right of self-defense is also a Rule of Customary International law(you need no reference for that).

          3. The exercise of the right of self-defense is legal if the military action taken is proportionate (you need no source for that).

          4. Proportionality is a General Principle of law. General Principles of law are NOT codified. They belong to the body of unwritten law and they govern the application of both the procedural- and the material law (you need no source for that; you need to be an “insider” to know that).

          5. As to how Palestinians use their own people as human shield to kill Israelis and their own people they use as shield, listen to this honorable Palestinian lady give you lecture on how it is done. While you watch the video below, keep the Joudah family in mind (and I am NOT even suggensting that the death of the kids and their mother has anything to do with Israeli pilots’ action as claimed in this article).

          Watch. And Weep!

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzCAqXrBGtU

          (btw. using btselem as a source for anything really undermines your credibility. Not only is btselem a political propaganda machine that lacks basic investigative knowledge, its employees are also Holocaust deniers; one of them was even caught on tape doing so! I am sure you need no source for that as well).

          Reply to Comment
          • Richard Lightbown

            Yes Ma’am (whatever your name is today) I need precise sources for everything, and sources that match your specific claims i.e. in this case the following sequence of yours:
            ‘Who decided that it is now logical to blow up entire families?”
            International law decided that, Mr. Haggai Matar’

            Precisely, please, how does international law condone and support the Israeli killings specifically of the Joudah family and 71 other families in Gaza during Protective Edge. You can do this one at a time if you wish but I need precise data to back up your assertion which currently has as much credibility as Alice in Wonderland.

            In this regard I am not interested in irrelevant issues such as the intimidation of a Bethlehem family by the PA, nefarious as that may be. Please keep to the topic and either back up or retract your statement that I have reproduced above.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            1. You wrote

            “‘Who decided that it is now logical to blow up entire families?” International law decided that, Mr. Haggai Matar’ Precisely, please, how does international law condone and support the Israeli killings specifically of the Joudah family and 71 other families in Gaza during Protective Edge. You can do this one at a time if you wish but I need precise data to back up your assertion which currently has as much credibility as Alice in Wonderland”.

            2. I think you are getting confused because Haggai Matar wrote:
            “But we simply do not hear these stories anywhere. Even two months after the fighting ended, no media outlet has seen fit to go back and examine exactly what happened there: How did Israel’s policy change since the assassination of Salah Shehade in 2002? Who decided that it is now logical to blow up entire families? Which intelligence, air force, state attorney or military command experts sat down and agreed that the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians is justified if there is a suspicion that a Hamas member is in the area?’
            It is clear that Haggai Matar is discussing the death in the Salah Shehade case in this paragraph (which I quoted) and NOT the Joudah family. You got the two mixed up, hence your confusion. Now, I understand your Arabic is not good enough to know the difference b/w two similar sounding Arabic names, that that’s no excuse. Salah Shehade was planning and giving orders to murder innocent Israelis and many Israelis died as a result of orders given by him. Many more Israelis would have been murdered or wheelchair bound/bedridden for life If Salah Shehade was not taken out the very moment he was taken out. The right of Self-defense inherent in Customary International law and codified in Article 51 UN Charter gave Israel the right to defend her citizens (you don’t need a source for that). The fact that Salah Shehade was hiding under the skirts of his numerous wives and in front of his numerous children, while giving orders to murder Israelis and knowing full well that he is ‘a dead man walking’ does not make Israel’s action disproportionate within the meaning of Article 51 UN Charter. If you hold your child with one hand to your chest while shooting at another person with the other hand, your intended victim has every right to blow you out of existence along with your child if the child’s death is unavoidable. If you disagree, you are more than welcomed to make point by point counter arguments.
            (The earlier posts are not showing. This is a repost – in case the earlier posts miraculously emerge).

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            See para, 8 of Haggai Matar’s article.

            It is clear that Haggai Matar is discussing the death in the Salah Shehade case in that paragraph (which I quoted) and NOT the Joudah family. You got the two mixed up, hence your confusion. Now, I understand your Arabic is not good enough to know the difference b/w two similar sounding Arabic names, that that’s no excuse.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Re Jouda family

            If you think that Israel has anything to do with the deaths in the Joudah family, you first need to make that case with point by point arguments backed up by verifiable facts. After that I will rebut. You are the plaintiff. The burden of proof rests thus on your shoulders.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Re “71 other families in Gaza during Protective Edge” claimed by you

            If you think that the IDF has anything to do with the deaths of “71 other families in Gaza during Protective Edge” as you allege (and that the IDF is not investigating it) you equally need to make that case with point by point arguments backed up by verifiable facts. Again, the burden of proof rests on your shoulders.

            Reply to Comment
          • Your undying allegience to the criminal zionist state of israel makes your responses null and void. You are unable to see anything not approved by your masters. The fact that your responses are incredibly and unnecessarily long doesn’t give them any more value. If you’re going to keep lying, keep your responses shorter so it’ll be easier for you to keep track of them.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            What an imbecile!

            Reply to Comment
          • CigarButNoNice

            @Marnie:

            Your undying allegiance to the criminal Arab imperialist attempt to rob the Jewish nation of their one and only state on their one and only piece of land in the world makes your responses null and void.

            Reply to Comment
          • GilGamesh

            In other words. OMG the evidence was provided and I have no rebuttal what do I do now.

            Reply to Comment
    7. gideon gitai

      It is a very important question: “Who decided that killing entire families is now allowed?”
      David Ben-Gurion knew that, and he tried to avoid being judged by historians.
      That is why Ben-Gurion refused to issue a written order to Yitzhak Rabin’s to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian from Lydda and Ramle.
      In his diary PINKAS SHERUT (Service Diary) he wrote that Ben-Gurion simply nodded and “waved his hand”, which Rabin interpreted and signed the expulsion order, which started with: ” 1. The inhabitants of Lydda must be expelled quickly without attention to age.”

      Nowadays Netanyahu Government Ministers are PROUD of ordering Nazi-like measures. And so are senior Israeli generals. Gadi EISENKOT, the ‘Inventor’ of the 2006 DAHIA Doctrine told YEDIOT AHARONOT: “Israel will use disproportionate force upon any village that fires upon Israel, “causing great damage and destruction.” Eisenkot was very clear: “this is not a recommendation, but an already approved plan”.

      Now Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon views this war criminal as the most likely general to become Israel’s CoS.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Gideon Gitai: You show an exceptional depth of knowledge and insight. This forum greatly needs people like you. You are a “breath of fresh air.” I encourage you to contribute frequently. We will all learn and benefit. Thank you.

        Reply to Comment
        • Noe

          What a surprise to see you endorsing someone who used “Nazi-like” when referring to Israel.

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Oh please. That old cheap card trick?

            Reply to Comment
    8. Baladi Akka 1948

      Nobody has even elementary Arabic skills at 972mag ?
      Ra’ed is a male name. On that blue signboard next to Rawan Sabah in the photo is written: as-shahida Raghad Joudah.
      I know Israelis are close to zero in pronouncing Arabic letters but ‘Ra’ed’ and ‘Raghad’ really are different.

      Reply to Comment
      • CigarButNoNice

        Good on ya, Baladi Baladi! You and Rami Younis should really keep at it, reminding the pasty-white useful-idiot Jewish defenders of Arab imperialism how they’re slated to be discarded (in what way, that’s left as an exercise to the reader to think of) once they’ve served their purpose.

        Oh, and I’m looking forward to you and your fellow nationals (i.e. Arabs) pronouncing the P in Palestine some day. Maybe it’ll happen when you remember the original Semitic name of the city you now name in Greek (Nablus, from Neapolis “new town”; oh, that darned letter P again!).

        Arabs are indigenous to Arabia and settler-colonists in the Land of Israel; Jews are indigenous to the Land of Israel. No to Arab colonialism!

        Reply to Comment
        • No “P”? Duh –
          Falesteen.

          Reply to Comment
          • CigarButNoNice

            From the original Latin “Palaestina,” which has a P.

            I don’t really care; my arguments rest upon things more substantial than the ability to pronounce this or that letter. However, a lot of the Arab and lefty posters here think it’s an important point, so a rejoinder is in order.

            Reply to Comment
    9. Bruce Gould

      Newsflash from Ha’aretz: the president of Israel says Israeli society is sick:

      http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.622145

      At a conference earlier this week, Rivlin, Israel’s president, said “It’s time to admit honestly that Israeli society is sick.” He went on to suggest that his country’s Jewish citizens have “forgotten how to be decent human beings.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        From the article that you quoted Bruce:

        “Referring to the mutual expressions of hatred and incitement …”

        Note the word MUTUAL, Bruce. You do understand what mutual means? It means that both Jews and Arabs are guilty of hating and incitement against each other. Not JUST the Jews!

        I agree with him. I also agree with him that such conduct is not healthy. But as a human being, I know that if only ONE side is working to stop such bad conduct, it won’t work. Because if I feel hatred and incitement from the other side and I don’t see anyone on their side trying to stop it, then I will reciprocate with hatred.

        So, Bruce, Israel’s new president is trying to stop this mad cycle. Who on the Arab side is trying to do the same? Give me a link to a site which shows that someone influential (like Rivlin on our side) is trying to do the same on the Palestinian Arab side. I will then help Rivlin to do more of the same. Deal?

        Reply to Comment
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