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Dodging Bombs and Insults in the Gaza Strip

5/13/2009 2:09:30 PM

Tags: Media, War, Palestine, Israel, Gaza Strip, Jeff Severns Guntzel

CJR Taghreed El-Khodary CoverIf you believe her most fervent critics, Palestinian journalist Taghreed El-Khodary's primary professional accomplishment is "vomiting Israeli propaganda" onto the front-page of the New York Times, her employer since 2001. As a passionate and talented journalist from Gaza employed by an American newspaper often accused of marginalizing or ignoring the issue of Palestinian rights, El-Khodary walks a near-impossible line.  In a piece for Columbia Journalism Review, El-Khodary writes about her struggles to walk that treacherous tightrope during the recent Israeli attack on the people and infrastructure of Gaza:

Israel did not let any international journalists into Gaza, so I feel the weight of responsibility, the need to explain to the world what is happening. And that is one of several kinds of pressure: I want to maintain my credibility, so I work hard not to exclude any element of the story. I deal with Hamas watchers and fighters, which I know how to do. I feel the pressure and possible death from Israeli drones, F16s, helicopters, and tanks.

The piece (only available online to subscribers) is also a catalog of the horrors she witnessed and reported:

I enter a location that has been hit five times by Israeli bombs. I worry that the drones could hit at any moment, but try to focus on the story. I attend a funeral for more than thirty people, and talk to a father while staring into his dead daughter's brown eyes. "From now on," he says, "I'm Hamas."

At the height of the Israeli attacks—which Israel dubbed "Operation Cast Lead"—El-Khodary gave a gripping television interview that makes a fool of any critic who declares her to be anything other than what she most certainly is: a journalist prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to share the tragedy and complexities of the Palestinian story. Here she is:

Source: Columbia Journalism Review 

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