Final week Israel focused airstrikes at various buildings in Gaza that housed native in addition to international news organizations including the Associated Press, the BBC, and Al Jazeera. These strikes are half of a bigger marketing campaign of violence that has seen mob assaults on Palestinian properties and companies in East Jerusalem, the burning of the Al-Aqsa mosque, one of many holiest websites within the Islam faith, and nicely over 100 Palestinian deaths, together with dozens of youngsters, in accordance with the federal government in Gaza.
In a series of tweets regarding these airstrikes, the Israel Protection Forces, or IDF, tried to justify the actions by claiming, with out proof, that the buildings had been additionally residence to navy infrastructure utilized by Hamas, a militant political group that’s the de facto governing physique within the Gaza Strip space of occupied Palestine. The IDF claimed that Hamas was utilizing the residential and media tenants of those buildings as human shields to forestall Israeli retaliation they usually argued that the one-hour notice given to residents of the building was adequate time for them to securely evacuate their properties and workplaces.
Seeing these tweets, I couldn’t assist however be reminded of the justifications supplied by police and metropolis leaders final summer season when the Des Moines Police Division used chemical weapons and bodily pressure towards non-violent protesters and journalists. In a Des Moines Register story published in June of final 12 months, police spokesman Sgt. Paul Parizek and state Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad are each quoted alleging, with out proof, that exterior agitators had been concealing themselves inside “peaceable” protests with a purpose to instigate violence.
The internationally condemned arrest and prosecution of Register journalist Andrea Sahouri gives additional parallels with Israel’s focusing on of civilians and media. Police and prosecutors tried to allege that Sahouri, who was on project masking protests at Merle Hay Mall, was there not as a journalist but as a protester. Sahouri was not the one journalist assaulted by native police final summer season, and journalists all through the nation have been subjected to assault and unlawful arrest by police of their efforts to cowl protests within the wake of George Floyd’s homicide.
It’s simple to get indignant concerning the focusing on of journalists by brokers of state violence as a result of in some ways they’re the proper “harmless” victims. Metropolis Council member Josh Mandelbaum condemned on a number of events the arrest and prosecution of Sahouri — however he discovered it more durable to summon indignation over the unwarranted violence carried out by Des Moines police towards his constituents who participated in protests.
This deal with journalists distracts each from the principle targets of state violence and the rationale journalists are focused within the first place. Occupying forces just like the Des Moines Police Division and the IDF goal journalists as a result of they are not looking for any unbiased file of the violence they’ve deliberate for protesters or different marginalized or focused teams.
The presence of journalists, whether or not it’s at a protest in Des Moines or within the open-air jail of Gaza Metropolis, ensures that there’s an alternative choice to the state’s narrative of what’s taking place. With out this various file, George Floyd can be remembered solely as somebody who had a deadly medical emergency whereas in police custody. Because the head of the Associated Press said in his statement following the destruction of its workplaces, “The world will know much less about what is going on in Gaza due to what occurred in the present day.”
This end result, and never the destruction of the alleged Hamas infrastructure, is the IDF’s actual objective. Israel’s authorities needs to get rid of any various narratives of its actions in Gaza and the West Financial institution in order that the world will cease being attentive to the continuing ethnic cleaning of occupied Palestinian territory.
Casey Erixon is a kitchen employee in Des Moines.