APPLAUSE FOR REPORTERS

 

I regularly watch television documentaries especially on international issues. I experience a level of interest much stronger when I have walked the earth of that country, felt its presence through my senses and listened to the voices of the people. In some places, such as Jerusalem and Nablus, the main Palestinian town of the West Bank. I know the streets and shops. There is a certain intimacy when watching a television documentary filmed in such places.

 

On an earlier trip to Nablus, Mohammad, the driver said to me as we passed through the last major checkpoint of the Israeli army: “This is the dangerous part of the journey.

 

He said: “I am a Palestinian using an Israeli car.

 

“There are risks from four directions.

 

1. The Israeli army could use an air to ground missile from one of their helicopters or shoot from an armoured vehicle.

2. Jewish settlers could fire at us from the vantage points of their settlements.

3. A militant Palestinian group might fire at us.

4. You are a Westerner and could be taken hostage.

 

“Bush and Blair support totally the policy of Israel. And you are English.”

 

I had a sharp reminder of this recently in documentaries on the Israel/Palestine conflict while watching a Channel Four documentary “Battle for the Holy Land. Love Thy Neighbour.”

 

We can only applaud those reporters who go in daily to war zones in search of the news, of the truth, and are willing to report accurately what they witness.

 

Our hearts reach out to Alan Johnston, the BBC man who was taken hostage on March 12, 2007 in the Gaza. He was the only foreign reporter who lived in the Gaza. At time of writing, he has still not been released. He is a good friend to the Palestinian community. Palestinians are working hard to secure his release.




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