For many of my friends, the army’s conclusion merely confirmed what they already believed. Zamir’s report was all hearsay, they said -although they could not think why a committed, respected officer would undermine the army to which he had dedicated so many years of his life. One acquaintance said he knew the stories could not be true because he had served in the army, his son was serving in the army, and he knew that Israeli soldiers simply do not behave that way. Most Israelis believe the international media is biased against Israel, so they don’t believe foreign reports either. And Israeli reporters are still barred, by a law that has so far gone unchallenged in the courts, from entering Gaza. In the end, the only thing we definitely know about Gaza is that nothing can be confirmed.
In addition to this online report from Israel, the Columbia Journalism Review is offering two additional perspectives on the coverage of the fighting in Gaza. J.J. Goldberg, former editor of The Forward, compares the reporting on alleged brutalities against civilians in the U.S. press and the British press, and how this illuminates the different cultural pressures in the two countries when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians. From Gaza itself, Taghreed El-Khodary, a correspondent for The New York Times, writes a Reporter’s Notebook piece on the war. Both articles are in the May/June 2009 issue of the Columbia Journalism Review. All three pieces in this special package were supported by a grant from the Open Society Institute, for which we are deeply grateful.