18 Nov 2012

Journalists among the injured in Gaza

The night is shattered a little after 2am. Even in our hotel some distance away the entire building shifts momentarily, windows shake. And the reverberation rolls off into the night.

There’s a pause.

Then the screams of the ambulances rushing across Gaza City’s empty streets, will pierce the night again.

Screams this night of journalists too. We meet cameraman Khader al Zahhar after his operation in the main hospital.

Relatives comfort him but he is barely conscious after surgery to remove his lower right leg.

There is outrage here that not one but two TV buildings full of journalists have been hit today.

Of course, Israel knew what these building were and targeted them specifically. The Israeli army (IDF) spokesman said: “By placing communication infrastructure on roofs of media buildings, Hamas uses the foreign journalists as human shields.”

Possibly so. Though proving if any of the many masts and antennae on these two building – probably the tallest in Gaza City, are actually Hamas equipment, is pretty much impossible.

In the past the US have hit journalists in a number of conflicts in recent years from Baghdad to Belgrade.  Now add to that list Israel.

Outside one of the damaged buildings the kids were paying football in the streets oblivious to it all.

On our car radio the Israelis are using frequencies of radio stations blown off the air to warn Gazans to steer clear of any government building or building known to be used by Hamas or the police.

Yet when they warn people to evacuate the TV building early afternoon because they say they’ll hit it again, crews are still doing pieces-to-camera right outside. The football kids are still at it too.

There is resignation, fatalism even, in the air in Gaza.

On one street people run randomly to get away from another incoming airstrike – but it never arrives. A man with two small girls, aged five at most, runs sweating from a burning building into a waiting friend’s car. When we ask him what happened he just says: “Ask Israel.”

Yet still the occasional rocket can be heard being fired from some patch of wasteground into Israel.

That is the time to move and move quite fast, to another place. There will be a reply from the Israeli side in minutes, perhaps several. But it will come.

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25 reader comments

  1. carson says:

    how can anybody believe anything you report , you are the most biased hack in western europe ,you choose what you want the facts to be and ignore the real story , if these murderers stopped firing missiles into israel they the “zionists” would not respond its not rocket science pardon the pun,by the way how is you investigation into cover ups in the east end of glasgow coming along ? or has three names told you to turn a blind eye p.s i will be surprised if this is posted reaffirming my post .

    1. Matt says:

      Investigation into cover-ups in Glasgow? I live in Glasgow and haven’t heard anything about this, but it must be a HUGE story if it is more important than the slaughter of innocent civilians in one of the most picked-on territories on Earth.

      Well done Alex for putting your life on the line, and for maintaining a much more impartial tone than I ever could if I was in that part of the world. Keep up the good work, and take care.

  2. sandra warde says:

    it really brings it home what a terrible thing war ( whatever name they give it) does to human the body and mind.

    thank you a non- partisan piece.knew i could trust channel 4

    keep safe

  3. JohnD says:

    @Carson
    I don’t know how you can consider Alex Thomson biased. I consider Thommo to be one of the most impartial thorough of The media’s investigative journalists that we have. That’s my opinion anyway Perhaps it’s your own position that is somewhat biased, we all tend to take some sort a position.

    1. carson says:

      biased ! you are having the commonly refered to GIRAFFE ! you cannot get into bed with a known bigot like three names and expect to have people respect you , while ignoring the story that makes the saville scandal look like a fairy tale .

  4. boxon says:

    @Carson

    Rangers fan in supporting tyrannical regime shocker, you sir are an idiot!

    1. carson says:

      you are assuming i am a rangers fan and that i support a former spl team ? so am i allowed to assume that you are a supporter of islamic terrorists who murder anybody who does not agree with their fanatical views ?

  5. Dr Christine Gardner says:

    Thank you Alex for your courage in staying in Gaza to tell the world what is happening there. Like many, I really value your balanced non partisan reporting, the straight unembroidered way in which you report and the in depth analysis of whatever you are reporting on. Thank you for giving us a window into Gaza at this time.

  6. Simam says:

    Thanks Alex for updating us about the situation. It is a policy of US and all the oppressors to control the media. The attack on the media building is following the same strategy. If there are no journalists inside Gaza then how the outside world will know what is happening.

    I have been following C4 news for the last 15 years and found them to be the most unbiased of all news company in UK.

    @carson is just doing his/her job which is given by Zionist to show the Isreali actions are justified.

    1. carson says:

      again , to all the bleeding heart brigade , what about the ” zionist” children slaughtered by terrorists ?

      1. Neil Barra says:

        Carson since the inception of the Zionist movement in the 1860’s there have been approximately 22,000 Jewish and Israeli causalities in the 150 plus year period, this includes all victims of terrorism and war. In a three and a half months period approximately 20,000 Palestinian and Lebanese were killed in the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. According to Israeli sources their causalities were overwhelmingly combatants, in the case of Lebanon according to human rights organisations, they were overwhelmingly civilians. Go figure.

  7. Sue monk says:

    Excellent fair coverage once again Alex. Terrible about journalists being under fire. Last time they were not even allowed in. Hope you keep safe and look forward to your next blog.

  8. Akram says:

    Alex. Thanks for the courage you have shown to bring the truth to the world from Gaza. Stay safe. Israel knows know limits when it comes to killing.

  9. Smudge says:

    Carson i am positive your post was allowed to prove the point about the underclass amongst a former spl club,s support.

    Cheers.

    1. carson says:

      you are assuming this ,so can i assume you support terrorists ?

  10. Philip Edwards says:

    Alex,

    Those pictures of civilian casualties are as mortifying as they can be. It is a massacre of the innocents. It is Guernica redux and all the other attacks on defenceless people. Israel, armed-to-the-teeth by the West, is repeating the historic blunders and crimes of all other crazy nationalist regimes. I doubt if they will ever learn. Which means an ultimate tragedy somewhere down the line, whether it is next week or decades hence. I dread to think what it will be.

    The attacks on the communications buildings are exactly the same as those in Iraq and on the Al Jazeera buildings. They are intended to warn all journalists they too will be killed if necessary, that if they report “too much” they too will be eliminated.

    There seems no end in sight to this horror. As usual, Obama and all the other Western culprits will do nothing to end it all. They could stop it tomorrow with the right action. But they won’t. It is in Western interests to keep this awful pot boiling. And they don’t care who suffers or dies. They never have. For which, see Cameron’s recent arms selling junket and Hague’s promise to send further arms to the “Syrian rebels.”

    Please stay safe.

  11. RTB says:

    Frightening, and sobering.
    Biased? you only need to watch the telly for two minutes and see the devastation of one bomb.
    Carson, grow up, this is real world, not the Glasgow pantomime and Alex and others are out there enduring constant danger ensuring the truth is known.
    Stay safe Alex

  12. Phil says:

    @Carson – why dont you pop out there and report whats happening then if you think the stories cominmg out are inaccurate or biased. No? Dont fancy it? Didnt think so

    Stay safe Alex and keep telling it like it is

  13. The Exiled Tim says:

    I anyone cares to do some digging, you will find that between 2000 and 2008, Hamas rockets fired from Gaza only killed 18, eighteen Israelies.

    In fact, there have been more than 430 Israelies who have died in the same time due to Peanut allergies

    Sort of puts things into perspective don’t it.

    1. carson says:

      only 18 israelies ? ONLY ? that sums it up ,you make it sound as if they dont really matter,how many were ONLY children?

  14. Jonah says:

    Israel says it’s doing everything it can to avoid innocent casualties. It is not believed and castgated accordingly as inhuman.

    Hamas say that every Israel civilian (man, women child) is a fair target for their rockets and they are trying to hit as many as possible. This receives almost no comment?

  15. Jules says:

    Alex thank you so much for your amazing coverage of the war on Gaza. That you are there, bringing there to us, gives me hope that more people and more people will see the barbaric nature of the Israeli govts actions and take some action themselves. Thank you,

    Carson, your attack on Alex and the Palestinians is so pitiful but your comment that something could make the Saville sexual abuse of children look like a fairy tale makes me want to cry – for the innocent victims and for you. Shame on you.

  16. P J Fox says:

    Great article. Stay safe Alex. Continue to search out the truth without fear or favour!

    ps. carson’s comments are a typical example of the sub culture that sadly prevails amongst the Rangers support. since their club was liquidated, for failing to pay Her Majesty’s taxes, this curious loyal lot have become more embittered and twisted than ever before. I’m not sure journalists are best qualified to probe into their murky world.
    If you ask me, anthropologists should investigate this curious breed of people further.

  17. David Robinson says:

    A man runs from a building, two small girls aged 5 at most – how did you know? Where are they? What happenedd, you ask. “Ask Israel”, he says.
    Known as a sound-bite… sounds a bit like a terse Hemingway and sounds a bit like, er, “re-phrased?”

  18. Lenny Bruce says:

    The already horrible situation could well get an awful lot worse in the coming months, as Isreal seems to be building towards an attack on Iran before the next election (jan next year, I think).

    Alex, is that the view where you are? The Gaza ‘campaign’ is only the starter for 10?

    The uk media is swallowing tel aviv propaganda and replaying ad naus. It’s horrible. Even Carsons attempts at comedy can’t shake the cloud hanging over me when I think about this.

    Isreal. Rogue state.

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