There has been concern within the Biden administration that a pause in fighting in Gaza will give journalists the opportunity to expose more of the atrocities Israel has been committing, POLITICO reported on Tuesday.
The concern was related to the hostage deal that was reached between Israel and Hamas that, if implemented, will include a four-day pause in the Israeli bombardment and ground campaign.
The report said there was “some concern in the administration about an unintended consequence of the pause: that it would allow journalists broader access to Gaza and the opportunity to further illuminate the devastation there and turn public opinion on Israel.”
Israel’s Gaza campaign has had an enormous toll on journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 46 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israel since October 7. Other journalists have had their families slaughtered, including Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief, Wael Dahdouh, who lost his wife, son, daughter, and grandson.
The killing of the Dahdouh family came around the same time Secretary of State Antony Blinken asked Qatar to tone down Al Jazeera’s coverage of the Gaza war over concerns about global public opinion on Israel. Al Jazeera is funded by Qatar but maintains it has editorial independence.
The Israeli onslaught has also made it impossible for Gaza’s Health Ministry to count the dead, depriving journalists of the ability to gauge the destruction by the number of killed. The current unconfirmed estimate puts the death toll over 14,000, but the latest confirmed number from the Health Ministry was 11,078, including over 4,500 children, which was issued on November 10.
President Biden previously accused the Palestinians of lying about the death toll when confronted about the massive civilian casualty rate. But since then, a senior State Department official said the true death toll is likely significantly higher than what the Health Ministry had been reporting, and that was before counting the dead became impossible.