Despite the valid the complaints about Israel’s suppression of the Palestinian fight against Covid-19 in the occupied territories, Western media continues to uncritically praise Israel without considering the 5 million people living under its control whom are undermined.
On February 28, the Washington Post published an opinion piece which lauded Israel’s vaccine program as the “ahead-of-the-world”, praising their work to combat Covid-19 as a model for other countries. This narrative has been pervasive throughout mainstream Western media and when it is called into question, it seems that they are quick to censor descent.
A letter, authored by writer and researcher Dr. Rosemarie Esber, was published on March 8 by the Washington Post in reply to the February article, only to be later redacted. In the article Esber noted states: “Israel’s ahead-of-the-world vaccine rollout does not provide hope for Palestinians. Instead of vaccinating Palestinians – as required of the occupying power under the Geneva Conventions – Israel has done everything to prevent the Palestinians from getting tested or vaccinated against the coronavirus.”
She further touched on reports from Israel’s top human rights organisation B’Tselem, including incidents documented by Israeli and reputable Western press outlets, regarding the blocking of vaccines entering Gaza, the harassment of Palestinian health workers and the destruction of clinics.
But on March 10 the Washington post decided to write the following “correction”: “Rosemarie M. Esber’s March 8 letter, ‘Gaza needs vaccines, too,’ incorrectly said that ‘Israel has destroyed testing sites’ to prevent Palestinians from getting coronavirus tests and vaccines.”
The problem with this is that according to Esber, she was not informed of the decision to redact portions of her letter and “correct it”, especially as what they stated was not factually accurate. On the contrary the post had made up an alternative set of facts that were contradicted by the most reputable source on the ground.
In a follow up piece, just published for Washington Institute on Middle East Affair Rosemarie Esber, commented the following on the incident: “It is shocking that the Washington Post—a newspaper of record—would deliberately suppress verifiable facts and contravene its own Policies and Standards to “tell the truth as nearly as the truth may be ascertained,” and to “tell ALL the truth so far as it can learn it, concerning the important affairs of America and the world.””
She also further clarified that all attempts to reach out to the Washington Post were a dead end, despite the issue having been brought to the attention of editors and other staff.
What is particularly revealing, about this incident of information suppression, is the ability for reputable outlets to go out of their way to undermine stories that don’t follow their own narratives. This altra politicised climate in which they operate proves their work wholly biased.
Often independent media outlets will be lambasted by mainstream publications for their own political inclinations, yet objective journalism seems near impossible for major news outlets in the West, if Western allies or countries are under fire.
Currently Israel is not only denying access to medical goods needed to aid them in their time of need, but actively working to oppress those under their rule. Five million plus people between the Jordan river and the Meditteranean sea, live under Aparthied rule according to Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem. Whilst the BBC, CNN, Fox News, Sky News and others, present Israel as the world’s leading example as to how a State should deal with the Pandemic, the reality is that Israel is perhaps the worst example.
There is no other country on earth which has actively undermined, attacked and refused to provide for almost half of the people they are legally obliged to protect. In the case of the Gaza Strip alone, which has a health system already overburdened due to Israel’s military attacks and illegal blockade, is enough to make it the worst case study on earth on a State ignoring its obligations to those under its rule during the Pandemic. This juxtaposed to the conditions of Israelis living with the best system on earth for dealing with the Pandemic, some of whom live within a 15 minute walk away from the besieged coastal enclave.