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Where’s the documentation?

Many reports from the Israeli army, often accompanied by documentation, are missing


Press Roundup from Germany, November 19, 2023

By Amos Grünstein

What’s being said


The German media has been focusing on steps being taken to bring about a humanitarian ceasefire. It has reported the Israeli position that such a ceasefire can come about only with the release of the hostages, whereas among the various options put forth by Hamas are the release of some of the hostages in exchange for a ceasefire. Other topics discussed are Turkish president Recep Erdogan's speech assailing Israel, various aspects of antisemitism and how the situation in Germany is developing.


The Tagesschau is covering events regularly and relatively quickly. It headlined Erdogan’s speech characterizing Israel as a "terrorist state" and Chancellor Scholz’s vigorous rejoinder. The current situation at Al-Shifa Hospital is depicted as increasingly difficult, with the World Health Organization planning to evacuate the hospital. At the same time, Tagesschau also reports on weapons found in Al-Shifa Hospital, and features translated videos. Its coverage is more detailed and comprehensive than that of other German media. For example, today there was a report on the 59 Israeli soldiers killed in action since the beginning of the war. This report was not found in other media.


Die Zeit has reported on the uproar caused by the posting of Osama Bin Laden's 2002 “Letter to America,” rife with antisemitic rhetoric, on TikTok. It reported that in the United States, in particular, this posting met with numerous positive responses lauding Bin Laden’s “correct” or “eye-opening” conspiracy theories. There are many reports that dealt with emerging questions about the rise of antisemitism, both in Germany and elsewhere.


What’s not being said


Many reports from the Israeli army, often accompanied by documentation, are missing from German media websites. The videos of the other hostages mentioned in the last report have not yet been seen. In general, there has been no further discussion of the situation of the hostages. As previously mentioned, there have been no reports on the conditions and daily situation of displaced Israelis.


What we think


Regrettably, although the general tone of German media reports is neutral, many issues are not being discussed—for example, Hamas's refusal to release all the hostages. To date, every offer Hamas has made has included only some of the hostages. The pressure that is repeatedly put on Israel for a ceasefire is not questioned in view of the lack of pressure on Hamas to release the hostages.


Another important undiscussed issue concerns the reported death toll in the Gaza Strip. Until now, the number of dead has been given by Hamas, a total already exceeding 10,000. Given that on the Israeli side, even with advanced technology, it took a month and a half to arrive at a figure of 1,200 victims, one wonders how Hamas can reach such a figure so quickly, and how the media can repeat it without any questioning.


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