24 Mar 2009
After the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, broke with the story of abuse by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) during the recent Gaza attacks, the New York Times carried a story on its cover last week - which out of character for this newspaper - had the words "Israel" and "war crimes" in the same paragraph. The BBC has also run a report questioning war crimes in Gaza.
The Real News Network talks to Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC who writes regularly on the Middle East and has recently written a book "Understanding the Palestinian Israeli Conflict: A Primer."
Bennis argues that media coverage of this story in the mainstream press is a very important development, not so much because it is 'news' that the behavior of Israeli soldiers was in violation of international laws and covenants, but because for the first time, Israeli soldiers are coming forward and saying that they had no restrictions, they were told to kill on site -- and that its been picked up by the front page of the New York Times is significant.
In Bennis' view, the fact that the New York Times ran this story, in addition to one a day earlier, about how Israel has never been this isolated in the world, points to an incredible shift in discourse that has occurred in America in the past three years as a result of the work of civil society organizations and churches that have used various strategies, including BDS (boycott, divest and sanctions) to push Israel towards stopping its violations of international law.
For more coverage on this issue, please click on the links below:
Reuters: Israel 'broke ethics code' in Gaza
New York Times: Soldiers' Accounts of Gaza Killings Raise Furor in Israel