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Where are the hostages?

The debate appears under the title “Israel vs. Palestine” rather than “Israel vs. Hamas.”

Press Roundup from German Media from October 30, 2023 By Amos Michael

What’s being said

With the ground offensive launched by the Israeli army in Gaza, there are regular updates in all major news outlets. At the moment, reports of fighting between Israel and Gaza are often mixed with reports about rising antisemitism and many extreme pro-Palestine demonstrations.

The Die Zeit website regularly updates the Israel section on its website. Statements made by Israeli army and government spokespeople are shown directly. They also report on meetings of the UN Security Council and increasing demands by many countries for a ceasefire. In addition, the internal situation in Europe is constantly in the news, with its conflicts and demonstrations, often marked by antisemitism, violence, and support for terrorism.

In recent days, the Tagesschau reported on the deteriorating situation of civilians in the Gaza Strip in addition to the ground offensive. It also reported on the aid being sent to the population in the Gaza Strip. Tagesschau has also reported that Germany has withdrawn its support from the UN Security Council for a resolution calling on Israel to cease fire. They additionally reported that Germany is being criticized in light of their abstention, in which the UN Security Council did not even the Hamas terrorist group.

What’s not being said

Beyond using the word “hostages,” there is almost no comprehensive discussion of the over 240 civilians who are being held by terrorists. Though there is not much new information about the hostages, articles can still be written about them. The absence of regular discussion contributes to the fact that readers are more focused on Israel's ground offensive as a standalone attack, rather than an attempt to free hostages.

In addition, there is still no constant reminder of the atrocities committed by Hamas against the Palestinians themselves. We read about water and food shortages created by the siege, as well as dead civilians, without the factually verifiable responsibility borne by Hamas, including their hoarding of supplies and preventing civilians from fleeing battlefields.

The hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced from the south and north of Israel are dealt with very sparsely. The condition of the families whose children have been abducted, mothers raped, and parents murdered is a topic that is now missing.

What we think

As before, the reasons for Israel's attacks remain in the background, without sufficient mention of why Israel is bombing Gaza and why its ground offensive is now in full swing. In some reports, descriptions such as "the liberation of the hostages" or "the massacre of October 7" have been dropped altogether. There is also a failure to make a clear distinction between Palestinian civilians and the Hamas terrorist group.

At the moment, the debate appears under the title “Israel vs. Palestine” rather than “Israel vs. Hamas.” Though daily reporting means that previously mentioned atrocities cannot be foregrounded every day, still, when watching the news on any of the channels, one has the feeling that this war is not taking place under the shadow of murders, beheadings, rapes, and hundreds of hostages, among whom are small children and elderly people.

In addition, there are many reports that deal with the suffering of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. While these reports may be objectively accurate, they lack any in-depth reporting on why this is the case, or similar reports on the condition of Israeli families who are displaced in Israel. Among them are people with murdered family members, orphans, and parents who have lost their children, as well as families without any contact with their loved ones abducted to Gaza.

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