The children in Gaza have names

The children in Gaza have names

A letter from the director of B’Tselem

Since July 8, 2014, more than 870 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip. Two Israeli civilians and one civilian foreign national have been killed in Israel. Forty-three Israeli soldiers have been killed in the Gaza Strip and in Israel. The figures for Palestinian fatalities are based on data B’Tselem collected for the period up to 26 July; the rest of the figures are valid for 27 July. I shudder to think that many more have been killed since. My heart goes out to the bereaved families, and the sadness does not relent.

More than 170 children (under the age of 15) have been killed in the Gaza Strip. These are the names of a few: Rim al-Kilani, 12; Ghaidaa Siyam, 7; Siraj Abu Jame’, 4; Suhelah Abu Jame’, 3. The full list is available on B’Tselem’s homepage.

Israeli media have consistently refrained from reporting on the persons killed in Gaza, other than noting the general number of casualties. As the Israeli public cannot learn of the individual human stories behind these statistics from local media, we tried to buy a spot on Israeli Broadcast Authority (IBA) Radio that would include a few names of children killed in Gaza. The IBA refused on the grounds that this would be a “politically controversial” statement. Yet the refusal is, in itself, a far-reaching statement: it is an attempt to silence public debate over the incalculable price that Gazan civilians are paying for the current military operation.

See here for reports by Israeli daily Haaretz and The Guardian on the IBA’s decision not to broadcast the names of Basem Kaware’, 10, Saher Abu Namus, 4, Amal al-Batsh, 2, and more than a hundred and seventy young lives cut short over the past few weeks.

Israeli media are not fulfilling their responsibility of providing the public with the full picture of what is happening in Gaza under Operation Protective Edge. But we live in an age in which old media no longer control what information is available to the public: each and every one of us can help disseminate the facts. We posted the censored spot on B’Tselem’s Facebook page and it has already reached over 800,000 people online. And, today we have appealed to the High Court of Justice, demanding that the IBA broadcast the spots.

Together, we can reach many more people. Please listen to the spot and to the names on Facebook, and share with your friends.