Hind Shraydeh specializes in covering topics such as political prisoners and human rights | Photo: reproduction

More than 140 journalists murdered in seven months of war in Gaza turned the place into the most lethal terrain for the category in modern history. The number more than doubles the body count during the Second World War, with 69 casualties, and the conflicts in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, with 63.

Since the escalation of the war in the region, after October 7th, there have been at least 35,000 deaths, with one particularity: the significant number of civilians, especially women and children, killed by Israeli forces.

The data is shocking, but the atrocities committed by the State of Israel are not restricted to the mass grave that is advancing on Gaza. Freedom of the press and expression are also preferred targets of the colonial occupation and Benjamin Netanyahu’s genocidal incursion in Palestine.

According to journalist Hind Shraydeh, who specializes in covering topics such as political prisoners and human rights, there is an endless list of crimes against journalists and communicators, ranging from arbitrary detentions to espionage: “Being a journalist in Palestine is like walking through a minefield”, says the reporter.

Shraydeh gave an interview to the Center for Alternative Media Studies Barão de Itararé, the collective ComunicaSul and the Communication Forum for the Integration of Our America (FCINA) on Sunday, May 12, in Johannesburg. At the time, the South African city hosted the Global Anti-Apartheid Conference for Palestine.

“Journalists in Gaza have been the target of systematic killings. We now have more than 140 martyrs, both men and women,” he explains. “Israel aims its sights at journalists not only when they are on duty, but also when they are at home with their families. An entire family is murdered and simply disappears from the map due to the journalistic job and reporting what happens in the region. Others are punished by amputation, losing their legs or hands. This violates any type of international convention”, he protests.

According to her, one of the strategies of the occupation system is the censorship of the free circulation of information. How does this happen? Making the practice of journalism unfeasible. “Israel divided the Palestinians into isolated cantons within its own territory, following the concept of divide and conquer.”

“I live in Jerusalem and I have never in my life met a journalist in Gaza or the West Bank,” reports Shraydeh. “In addition to the geographical distance, there is a huge bureaucracy and more than 700 checkpoints [posto de controle com soldados israelenses que decidem se um cidadão, palestino ou estrangeiro, pode ou não seguir sua rota] that separate us.”

To pass through the checkpoints, as he explains, it is necessary to obtain authorization, even if you are within your own country. “We, journalists, cannot connect with each other. The company I work for has requested entry into Gaza several times and the request is always denied,” he continues.

In her routine, the journalist has to cross the Qalandia checkpoint, the main checkpoint for Israeli forces between the northern West Bank and Jerusalem. “I have to submit my backpack to the x-ray machine and confirm my fingerprint to travel beyond Jerusalem. This makes any trip extremely tiring.”

When the work is carried out, there is another obstacle: “We are often prevented from filming within our own cities. Israeli soldiers stop us or demand to see what was recorded. In the second option, they almost always order the recording to be deleted immediately. They don’t accept you documenting the daily atrocities they commit.”

In practice, explains Shraydeh, it is a very strict censorship system that is not limited only to the humor of the Israeli military. “Palestinians are not only subjected to intimidation and arbitrariness from soldiers, but also to violence from Israeli settlers on their territory,” he denounces. “The Israeli government tried to arm the settlers who illegally occupy the territory. So in addition to the soldiers, we have to deal with harassment from the settlers, who commonly sabotage us and destroy our equipment.”

Arbitrary arrests as a gag

In the West Bank, the Palestinian reporter explains that the violations are different. Many communicators are under administrative detention, a type of arbitrary detention without any transparency, nor indictment or the right to legal process and defense.

“The worst of all is that it is automatically renewable: you are sentenced to six months, then another six months and so on. There is no limit. Most of the time, this happens simply because the journalist wrote something that Israel didn’t like,” she says. “The only way to negotiate freedom is by signing agreements that oblige you to assume responsibility for the crimes – often fabricated – that they point to in your case.”

Hind Shraydeh poses for a photo during a Palestine solidarity event in South Africa

There are also serious allegations that Israel has been implanting spying software on the cell phones of media professionals, making it possible to extract data from their phones.

The software mentioned by the reporter in the complaints she received in her country is Pegasus. Sound familiar? A simple search is enough to remember that the advanced spying program was the object of desire of Carlos Bolsonaro and the infamous “hate office”. Product made in Israel, perfect for the Bolsonarista arapongagem and the clan’s obsession with monitoring opponents and enemies of their government.

In Palestine, the spy apparatus has been used for other purposes, according to Shraydeh. “The installation of the software,” he explains, “allows the fabrication of cases by invading the privacy of Palestinian citizens or even manipulating data from their device.”

Vehicle locking

Proclaimed as “the only democracy in the Middle East”, Israel’s lack of appreciation for press freedom is also evident with the persecution and closure of media outlets in the recent period. The most famous case is that of Al Jazeera, one of the main media outlets in the region.

Israel ordered the closure of all the channel’s offices in the country, taking down its signals and confiscating its equipment, with the obvious intention of silencing one of the few counterpoints to journalistic and television coverage of the war. Israel’s argument was the mantra that the broadcaster would incite “anti-Semitism” by reporting crimes against humanity.

In a statement, Al Jazeera defined the episode as “a criminal act that violates human rights and the basic right of access to information (…), It is a political measure that goes over the principles that must apply in journalism” .

But it is not just the Arab giant that suffers from the authoritarian rage of Zionist censors. According to a survey published by the Palestinian Union of Journalists, only until January 2024 did Israel attack, damage or destroy at least 73 press institutions in Gaza.

Western mainstream media coverage

It is not just Israel’s repressive apparatus that silences Palestinian voices. The media apartheid promoted by all Western corporate media is also the object of criticism by the Palestinian journalist. “There is a lot of complicity in the conflict from mainstream Western media, without a doubt,” she says. “Most hegemonic media simply repeat Israel’s narratives over and over again. Lies, fake news and disinformation are also a problem, such as the false news about the beheading of babies by Hamas, later denied by the White House itself.”

Unlike other tragic episodes involving genocides in humanity, what is happening today in Gaza is being broadcast in real time, with images and reports flooding digital platforms, causing criticism and questions about the biased coverage of the dominant media. “Even with all the images exposing reality, there is a naturalization of barbarity by the press through the adoption of terminologies such as WCNSF – “Wounded Child Non-Surviging Family [no português, “criança ferida de família não-sobrevivente”]”, he asserts.

Despite all the barbarities listed during the interview, Hind Shraydeh does not let up. “We view the student uprisings in the United States and other parts of the world with optimism. We also applaud the brave voices of Jews who have shouted, in several places ‘Not in our name!’, rejecting the genocide”, he emphasizes. “We also see port workers’ organizations refusing to transport weapons to Israel, a very courageous attitude. So despite everything, we cultivate hope. We need to change the narrative and see Israel answer for its crimes. There must be justice.”



Source: vermelho.org.br

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