August 7, 2014

Gaza Parting Shots: Hamas Revealed, Israel No But(t)s

Fitting of perhaps the most (visually and politically) polarizing news event I can remember, the parting imagery from Israel and Gaza could not be stranger and more cutting, for both antagonists. I’m not suggesting, by the way, that the immediate crisis is actually over. With Israeli troops pulling back from Gaza, however, and a series of false-start ceasefires portending more words and less bloodshed, let’s hope we’re closing this chapter.

To the pictures, though.  After four weeks of near invisibility, a fact that has inflamed those partial to Israel’s side, what’s remarkable is the emergence of video footage from an Indian news crew finally documenting Hamas setting up and launching a missile from a dense residential spot in Gaza.

In parallel, given that same consternation over the virtual absence of photographs of Hamas fighters in action, this photo was also published yesterday by the NY Times Lens Blog. The photo was part of an intentionally “two sided” view, part of an interview (“Photos From Both Sides of the Gaza Conflict“) featuring Israeli news photographer, Uriel Sinai, and Palestinian news photographer, Wissam Nassar.

(That’s not to say, being technically accurate, that not a single photo of a Hamas combatant engaged in military action has been published over the past six weeks. After seeing Mr. Nasser’s photo, for example, I was able to find another photo — on the same day and in apparently the same place, and of, apparently, the same fighter — as Mr. Nassar’s — the 7th photo down in this AP dispatch published at O’ The overall point, however, is that Hamas fighters have been virtually absent and the publication of Nasser’s shot in the Lens piece yesterday is notable for its presence and call out in a major Western news site.)

As for the Israelis, responsible for an enormous toll of Palestinian death and suffering, and the attendant daily tide of horrific news images to live down — the disconnect is represented by the screenshot above from an Israel 24 News opinion piece summarizing the main points of the “victory” accompanied by a Getty photo of Israel soldiers celebrating the withdrawal.

Most painful and descriptive of a futile exit, however, is this Reuters photo. The caption reads:

Israeli soldiers pick up cigarette butts left by comrades near the border with Gaza August 6, 2014.

How is that for a gesture of putting thing things right, a companion to those Hamas fighters finally caught with their tarpaulin down?

Quoting my father, a man known for his constant readiness with a sharp proverb: “business is cleaning up.”

(photos/screen shots 1 & 5: NDTV, photo 2:, photo 3: Wissam Nassar for The New York Times. caption: An armed Hamas militant walked in Gaza’s eastern Shejaiya neighborhood. July 20, 2014. photo 4: Amir Cohen/Reuters.)

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Michael Shaw
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