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January 16, 2009

Gaza By Guided Tour


Concerning yesterday’s Israeli military photo op for Western reporters held just inside Gaza, it seems the primary achievement was to draw attention to the press ban itself.

These stills from the Sky News video report are indicative of the trappings. In the first shot, we see Israeli Colonel Herzi (no last name offered) approaching with notebook in hand, observed by the NYT to contain his talking points. In symbolism that is all too revealing, we see the soldier-publicist backed up by the authority of a tank, it’s turret ominously aimed directly ahead of him.

The second shot offers a scene that would not be unusual if the circumstances involved a press meeting elsewhere. Here though, in this former vegetable field in al-Atatra which Hamas was allegedly using as a launching site, with one person extending a mike and another recording with a hand-held camera, the scene mostly documents the consumption, by “captive” Western reporters, of what they’re being fed.

Video report here.

(Note: I would appreciate it if your comments addressed either the content or the political dynamics of the imagery.)

  • lytom

    Not reacting to this would be accepting the occupying Israeli army talking points.
    This is an attempt to erase the obscene pictures of burning Gaza, the phosphorus bombs, bombings of hospitals, schools and UN buildings in Gaza. This is to erase the count of dead children of Gaza, the injured, the dead civilians…
    In no way can Israeli military and Israeli government justify this war by blaming Hamas.
    I wonder about the Israeli plan, and plan is there. Is Gaza going to become even smaller place?
    Are Israeli settlers going to expand to these lands and settle them or just build walls and mount the cameras to observe and control the life in ghetto? At what count of dead Palestinians are Israeli going to stop? How are the Israeli going to judge when there is the total destruction of Hamas achieved? Are the Israeli going to built reeductation camps? or just Guantanamo camps?
    One wonders about the reporters. Don’t they see through the fog the despair of people in Gaza. The “surgical procedures” described by the military give no idea about the cost in lives and they don’t seem to care. I find that sickening and barbaric! What adds to that is the US role in this slaughter of Palestinians.

  • Karen H.

    I can’t be eloquent on this, but the top photo reminds me of the vulnerability of the individual actor about to be rolled over by the huge power of the state. I know nothing about how individual Israelis feels, maybe I’m projecting.

  • jtfromBC

    The Col’s out stretched left arm suggests: a) openness, b) frustration c) explanation.
    The pics show the machinery of war following the messenger of war, which is the way war has always been marketed.
    This is the first time in a ‘war theatre’ I’ve observed a soldier ‘carrying a book of talking points’ !
    Pointing guns at comrades is a definite no no, at least from my military training.
    I’m some what relieved that the machine gun is directed toward ‘the enemy’
    I’d give Colonel Herzi a 7.5 – 7.8 for his video performance, he has talent and will improvement with assistance from PR specialists within the IDF.

  • Wayne

    Uh…. The tank’s cannon (is that the right term?) is pointed directly at the guy. Hostage? POW? Under threat from the military brass that he’d sure as hell better say the right thing?

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